About The Center

Our History
After moving into a new facility in the spring of 2004, Community of Hope Church in Columbia City, Ind., had a dream. They moved into a new facility, having outgrown their building at 201 West Market Street, and now they 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.

Our Mission: Promoting youth development through service, outreach and collaboration.

Our Vision: To support Whitley County youth through...

  • 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 Values: We are committed to doing all things with excellence and integrity.
The following core values define the very character of who we are and drive what we do...

  • 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


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. He earned a B.S. in Youth Ministry and a B.A. in Biblical Studies at Grace College and then completed a graduate degree in Intercultural Studies at Grace Theological Seminary.  Jeff recently received his Certification in Fund Raising Management from IU's Fund Raising School.  Life-giving activities for Jeff include most outdoor endeavors (hiking, camping, fly fishing, backpacking), road trips, family time, and spiritual retreats. Jeff also enjoys "keeping things simple and helping young people discover their own God-given potential.

Adam Stetzel - Operations Director

Adam served on the original board that help 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.  He earned a B.S. in Business Economics and Finance from Huntington University.  Adam also holds 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!

Summer McEvoy - After School Central Director
[email protected]
(260) 503-1988

Nathan Baker - After School Central Director
(260) 446-4318
Jonathan Johnson - After School SERVE Director/Administrative Specialist
(260) 248-4977


Terry Dailey - Facility Maintenance

Board of Directors
Rex Schrader II, Chairman
Seth Nash, Vice Chairman
TJ Himes, Treasurer
Amanda Shortgen,  Secretary

Jake Hoag
Wes Mullett
Andy More
Vanessa Schoon
Greg Woll
Karen Hedrick


The Center - Parent Perspective

Maria on mission

Zach's journey