The Power House Youth Center was created from a vision of outreach to a population of teens in need. Pastors Brian Gerig and Brad Bame shared this God sent vision with their home congregations. From much prayer came the ideal building, funding, and church support. Maplewood Mennonite Church and Central Mennonite Church agreed to purchase the building and allow The Power House Youth Center to use it free of charge for the duration of their existence. These two congregations also made the investment to support part of the general operating expenses each year.
With many volunteer hours spent on remodeling, maintenance, cleaning, and planning, in May of 1995 the 8,000 square foot three-story building opened to the youth of New Haven and the surrounding communities. The entire operation was supported and manned by volunteers. The focus of the first year was to win the confidence of the local teens. The volunteers built relationships with the teens and determined some of the immediate needs. From this first year came many of our current programs, rules, and relationships.
After several years, The Power House Youth Center applied for its own not-for-profit status and incorporation. In May of 1997 we received our official status as a corporation. Then in November of 1997, we were awarded our 501 (c) (3) status as a not-for-profit organization. These standings allowed us to move forward as our own entity.
With the help of The Paul Clarke Foundation, the Power House Youth Center was able to hire one full time and one part time director in 1998. Because of the continued support in 1999, it was able to raise the needed funds to move the part time director into a full time position. Having two full time staff allowed it to provide better services for its membership, more efficient organizational management, and overall organizational growth. Over the years, the Power House has been able to hire additional part time staff to assist with the growing operations.
The Power House Youth Center has been instrumental in starting four other teen youth centers in the United States. We worked with local visionaries in Washington, Indiana, Macon, Georgia, Auburn, Indiana, and Lima, Ohio to lay the groundwork and open the doors of after school programs. In 2005, The Power House Youth Center, Inc. united with the other existing Power House in Macon, Georgia and became The Power House Alliance, Inc. This merge did not change the basic operations of the centers, but did allow for some organizational and legal benefits. The desire of this alliance is to see the mission of The Power House carried out in each location and to help others who have a passion to start a Power House in their community. In April of 2008, the Macon Power House had to close due to the lack of financial support from their community. The Power House Alliance will continue to seek God’s vision and direction to carry out the mission where ever He directs.
The Power House's effectiveness in its mission has come from building relationships with the teen members, volunteers, and the community. Having become established in its community has also allowed the teens to feel secure. They know they can count on The Power House Youth Center, the volunteers, and the staff to be available for them on a long-term basis.