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About The Center

After moving into a new facility in the spring of 2004, Community of Hope Church in Columbia City, Ind., had a dream. Having outgrown their building at 201 West Market Street and moving into a new one, they now pondered what to do with their old building. Could this facility become the center of a new movement to grow happy and healthy young people?

From that dream and a partnership with the Community Foundation of Whitley County was born The Center for Whitley County Youth.

In December 2006, Community of Hope Church and The Center were legally separated, and today The Center has achieved its goal of becoming a broad-based community partnership, promoting youth development in the community through service, outreach and collaboration with like-minded youth-serving organizations.

By providing after-school, weekend and summer programming and facility space for other youth organizations, while partnering on important initiatives to support our young people, The Center has become a hub for impacting the next generation of leaders, families, citizens, and the workforce.

Promoting youth development through service, outreach and collaboration.

  • Relationships based on Christian love
  • Cultural relevance that allows us the freedom to change how we accomplish our mission without compromising the mission
  • Service that comes from the example Christ
  • Outreach that points youth to Christ
  • Collaboration of community efforts that leads to a greater outcome
  • Youth development, by the building of assets. (See 40 Developmental Assets )
  • Outreach, which is accomplished through relationships and authentic connections
  • Service, by providing programs that meet real youth needs
  • Collaboration, by providing shared facility space for and partnering with like-minded youth organizations

Our Board

Seth Nash, Chairman
Jake Hoag, Vice Chairman
Trent Shively, Treasurer
Amanda Shortgen, Secretary
Wes Mullett
Vanessa Schoon
Greg Woll
Karen Hedrick
Ashley Harman
Carrie Meyer
Jordan Chapple
RD Schrader

Our Staff

JEFF WIKE
Executive Director 

Jeff was The Center’s first employee, hired as the director in 2005 to help launch and develop the organization and its programming.

  • B.S. in Youth Ministry at Grace College
  • B.A. in Biblical Studies at Grace College
  • Graduate Degree in Intercultural Studies at Grace Theological Seminary
  • Certification in Fund Raising Management from IU's Fund Raising School
  • National D Coaching License- US Soccer

Life-giving activities for Jeff include most outdoor endeavors (hiking, camping, fly fishing, backpacking), road trips, family time, playing/coaching soccer, and spiritual retreats. Jeff also enjoys "keeping things simple and helping young people discover their own God-given potential."

Email Jeff
(260) 248-4977

 
ADAM STETZEL
Operations Director

Adam served on the original board that helped launch The Center and hire Jeff in 2005.  Adam joined The Center team in March of 2016 as our operations director after serving with Youth for Christ in Whitley County for 13 years.

  • B.S. in Business Economics and Finance at Huntington University
  • Certificates in Youth Missions and 3-Story Evangelism

Life-giving activities for Adam include helping on the family farm, playing sports, watching sports, and spending time with his wife and three children.  Adam enjoys reaching students, developing young leaders, and encouraging every young person to reach their God-given potential!

Email Adam
(260) 248-4977

 

KRISTA POPEKrista
Director of Student Growth

Krista joined our staff team in July of 2019. For the past 17 years, she served students at T.R.O.Y. Center and has been involved in youth development for 24+ years. Krista played an integral role in programming as a volunteer when The Center first opened in 2005 and is excited to invest deeply in students' lives through her newly created staff role.

  • BS in Social Work from Taylor University
  • Certified Life Coach

Life-giving activities for Krista include volunteering with her church’s youth ministry, mentoring teens, attending local events, and spending time with her family. Krista loves building authentic relationships with students! She empowers students by encouraging, loving, and speaking truth to them in ways that assist them in reaching their God-given potential!

Email Krista
(260) 248-4977

 
JONATHAN JOHNSON
Program Director/Administrative Specialist
 

Jonathan is a Whitley County native who graduated from Whitko in 2015.  He obtained his BS in International and Community Development with a focus in Global Child Advocacy Issues and a Christian Ministries minor from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2018.

During his last summer at Indiana Wesleyan University, he got connected with The Center through an internship opportunity.  Life-giving activities for Jonathan include watching theatre shows, spending time with friends, cycling, and traveling. Jonathan has a passion for encouraging and developing students to their fullest potential through the love of Christ.

(260) 610-4622
 
 

LEVI JOHNSON
Whitko Youth Program Director

Levi has been the Youth Director at Sugar Creek Fellowship Church since 2017. He has been a volunteer with Youth for Christ since Campus Life started back up in Columbia City in 2018. He then began helping with Whitko’s Campus Life program and the After School Central program at the beginning of 2019. In early 2020 Levi accepted the position as the Whitko area Youth Director. Where he oversees Whitko After School Central and Campus Life programming.

Levi grew up in Whitley County and spent most of his time in the Columbia City area. In 2007 his family started the church plant “Sugar Creek Fellowship Church” in South Whitley, IN where Levi is currently the Youth Director. Life-giving activities for Levi include playing sports, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family. Levi finds joy in working with students, helping them grow to their fullest potential, and sharing the love of Jesus with them.

(260) 452-4324
 
 

JOSIAH MARTINDALE
Churubusco Youth Program Director

Josiah is from Southeastern Ohio and graduated from Eastern High School in 2005. He has a business degree from Hocking College and has been taking online classes in Ministry Leadership at Asbury University. His wife Alicia is from Whitley County and both Josiah and Alicia were sensing a call to ministry and life in Indiana when an opportunity opened up to be the Community Youth Ministry Director and launch a Churubusco After School Program through The Center.

Josiah loves interacting with students and leading a team that models Christ to them. He also loves to play extreme sports and do ninja warrior training. They have 3 girls who are elementary age and younger and he loves spending time with them and serving and enjoying his family at home. Josiah is passionate about seeing every student get a chance to know the life-giving source that Jesus can be.

(614) 284-6090

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