Our mission is to provide a safe environment for adult-led, youth-driven after-school programming, tutoring, volunteer opportunities, and social activities which will impact teens so that they come successfully engaged in their families, schools, and communities.

Who We Are

The Eaton Rapids Area Teen Initiative (ERATI) is a group of community members that was started in November of 2016 to research the possibility of starting a teen center in the Eaton Rapids area.

We are…

  • Parents/grandparents of teens, and other interested residents with varied backgrounds in business, public service, health care, teaching, law enforcement, government, and finance
  • Teens who are children or grandchildren of our members, and students from Eaton Rapids Public Schools
  • Representatives from our local governments: the City of Eaton Rapids, Hamlin Township, and Eaton Rapids Township
  • Representatives and resource contacts from organizations such as the Eaton Rapids Public Schools, Eaton Rapids Medical Center, Eaton Rapids Health Alliance, Eaton RESA, Barry Eaton District Health Department, and the Eaton County Juvenile Court System

In February of 2017, ERATI formed a corporation called the Eaton Rapids Community Alliance (ERCA) to handle the legal and financial aspects of starting the teen center.  ERCA has received 501(c)3 (non-profit status), which allows contributions to the teen center project to be tax-deductible.

Through hard work and generous donations from citizens and businesses in the area, we have seen our dream come to fruition with the opening of our teen center as of March 2018.   Come see your hard work in action.

It’s truly a community effort

Goals

Our goal is to operate a teen center that meets the needs of the Eaton Rapids area.

From the start it has been our priority to include both adults and teens in our teen center project.  We welcome any interested persons who would like to join us, either on an ongoing basis or to help with specific projects or programs.

We have hired a director to run the center, and who will work with a parent advisory board, a teen advisory board, and ERATI on an ongoing basis to develop the center’s programs and policies.

We want to encourage volunteers to lead classes/programs, tutor, and supervise activities.

The center focuses on youth from 6th through 12th grade.

There also may be opportunities to coordinate with other organizations in the area, so some activities might take place at locations other than our teen center.

The majority of teens and adults in the Eaton Rapids area who took our online survey would like a teen center to provide the following:

  • A safe, supervised place for teens to go to after school hours.
  • Physical activity such as basketball, gaga ball or exercise/fitness programs
  • A study area for doing homework and using computers
  • Individual tutoring
  • An area for socializing, playing board/card games, etc…
  • Food
  • Areas to explore creative activities such as art, music, writing, crafts, etc…
  • Programs/classes for enrichment, technical training, teaching life skills, etc…
  • Opportunities for teens to do volunteer work in our community

We expect the funding for operational costs to come from grants, donations from individuals, businesses, churches, fundraising events, and other possible income-producing activities.

Yes – Together we can do this!

 

Why

Why have a teen center?

The Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth Survey (MiPHY) conducted at Eaton Rapids Public Schools in 2016 showed that among the 7th and 9th grade students surveyed, there were increases in depression, thoughts of suicide, incidence of bullying at school, and relationship violence.  Our teen center would supply resources and adult guidance to help teens struggling with these important issues.

Eaton Rapids Public Schools reported that 52% of their students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.  We feel that teens in this low-income population would benefit from the structure, safety, and support our teen center would provide.

ERATI conducted an online survey in February of 2017, and over 900 teens, parents, and other adults from the Eaton Rapids area responded.  Over 80% were in favor of a teen center that would be open after school and provide snacks, physical activity, tutoring, and programs for teens.

Both the need and interest are there

Donate

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To find out more about us, please visit us on Facebook or Email Us any questions you may have or head to our Contact page.

Want to join our efforts?

If you would like to volunteer your time and/or skills to our teen center project, please Email us.  Please include your name, mailing address, phone number, as well as your areas of interest/talents.

Donations are always appreciated and can be done securely online by clicking here

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and any donations are tax deductible.    Checks may be made out to Eaton Rapids Community Alliance and mailed to:

ERCA
PO Box 215
Eaton Rapids, MI  48827

To inquire about donating specific items you think the teen center could use, please email us.

We are currently able to accept securities for donation.  If you are in a position to give securities, please email us with details and we’ll get you the info you need.

THANK YOU!

 

News

Catch up on any latest news about ERCA, ERATI, or the Teen Center itself…..

Contact

If you need more info, have questions, or just want to raise your hand to get more involved, let us know in the form below and someone will get back with you.  You are also welcome to visit the teen center during operational hours and talk with our Director or volunteers….we’d love to talk with you.