Our Mission is "To bring hope, education, recreation, and inspiration to youth and families of Branch County by creating a Christ-centered environment. We value unconditional acceptance, Christ Centered living and community."
Branch County is a great place to raise a family and live doing what God has gifted us to do. Coach Floyd Eby's work as a long-time teacher, coach, author, Christian, businessman, and friend of many - was the perfect example of living this life. To honor his legacy, Coach Eby's family gifted the assets to create the Coach Eby Youth and Family Center.
We have hosted and partnered with many local non-profits and churches. The Center's goal is to foster unity and community through its facility's use. Our Center has hosted events like the Salvation Army's Toys for Tots, BCCADV's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Mom to Mom Sales, 4-H Leaders Council Pie Auction and many more.
Friday Night Alive is one of the ways the Eby Center accomplishes its mission to be a community hub and resource for local youth. Every Friday evening, over 40-50 teens gather at the Center for food, fun, and fellowship. The gym offers many fun activities including basketball, air hockey, and pool games. It is a place where local youth can expect to find respect, acceptance, and an open heart from each volunteer.
Coats for Kids is another wonderful program recognized throughout Branch County. We extend free winter coats to children and families in the community. No questions asked. Volunteers help organize, repair, and distribute coats in the downstairs area of the Center. In 2021, thanks to generous donations, we gave over 600 coats away to families in Branch County! Additionally we were able to supply over 700 other pieces of winter apparel such as hats, gloves, boots, scarves snow pants etc.!
Each month, our volunteers distribute 90 boxes of fresh foods, breads, milks and meats to those in need in our community.
Every year we invite all to gather around our tables at the Center to feast on a delicious meal made by volunteers and an opportunity to enjoy the company of others. Last year, we served over 200 friends and families in our community.
During extreme winter below zero temperatures in 2020, the Eby Center quickly organized a 24 hour warming center for the local homeless. This lasted twelve days. Three meals were provided, snacks and drinks were available at all times and in the evening cots and blankets were provided to each person who stayed. At our highest, there were 10 people.
Along with immediate housing we were able to provide them with local resources and a visit from Pines to help them find safe and adequate housing. The community, as always, was amazing with their donations of food and their time. We always found ourselves with plenty to pass on to our guests.
During down times volunteers were able to visit with the homeless visitors. Hear about their day, their struggles, their histories and their plans for the future. This provided a great opportunity for us to pray with them and for them. Several of the volunteers came many different days and were able to grow a quick friendship with our homeless visitors. It was a wonderful feeling be able to help them and pour love into them, without judgement, without pressure, just pure respect and love of our fellow man and woman. They were all appreciative of what we did for them and was the thanks we needed to continue.
One of the most recent changes to our programming at the Eby Center involves the addition of a Wednesday night youth gathering. Our desire is to encourage and build up students in their journey with Jesus by helping them establish faith-building rhythms in their life. These rhythms include looking up to God through prayer, scripture and worship, leaning into each other as family, and loving out the good news of Jesus to others.
Last month, we had the incredible opportunity to take high school students to inner city Philadelphia, where they learned ministry principles about engaging people in faith conversations. Our team of 13 students and 3 adults represented at least 6 different churches, all coming together to serve Jesus. We encouraged the homeless, prayed with drug addicts, served local ministries and allowed God to lead us on mission towards others. Jesus said He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). We want to teach students how to engage in that same mission for the Kingdom of God, and our Philly trip was an excellent training experience!