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

Jake Hoag, Chairman
RD Schrader, Vice-Chairman
Trent Shively, Treasurer
Carrie Meyer, Secretary
Vanessa Schoon
Amanda Schortgen
Ashley Harman
Jordan Chapple
Katie Dewitt

Our Staff

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

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

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) 248-497

Whitko Program Director

Shawna is our Whitko Program Director. She graduated from Huntington University with degrees in Missions and Youth Ministry in 2018. She met her husband, Nick, at HU and they love the life they are creating together! Nick is a pastor at a local church in Huntington and they love doing ministry together. Together they have their dog, Frannie, who is the cutest dog in the history of all dogs. 

Shawna loves to interact with students and hear their laughter at After School Central. She believes in her students and understands how much can change in your teenage years from personal experience. Jesus has changed her life and she is privileged to be a part of growing His Kingdom at Whitko. In her free time, Shawna loves to go on country walks with Nick and Frannie, have random dance parties, and grab coffee with her friends.

(260) 251-7507

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
Facility Maintenance