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.
The Eaton Rapids Community Alliance (ERCA) is a community-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that initiates and supports projects that promote community connection, health and wellbeing, and the Eaton Rapids legacy. ERCA is the umbrella organization over Eaton Rapids Teen Space, a community-based teen center founded in 2018 that offers after school programming and activities Monday through Friday for Eaton Rapids area youth in grades 6-12.
- Parents/grandparents of teens, and other interested residents with varied backgrounds in business, public service, health care, teaching, law enforcement, government, and finance.
- Representatives from our local governments: the City of Eaton Rapids, Hamlin Township, and Eaton Rapids Township.
- Leaders, organizers, and workers 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.
ERCA began as the Eaton Rapids Area Teen Initiative (ERATI) in 2016 to research the possibility of starting a teen center in the Eaton Rapids area. In February of 2017, ERATI formed ERCA to handle the legal and financial aspects of starting the teen center.
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 Eaton Rapids Teen Space March 2018.
Since then, our primary community project has grown and flourished in attendance and the scope of its programming. We see dozens of local youth every day of the week coming to socialize, do homework, practice instruments, receive free instrument lessons, play games, learn new skills, and more. ERCA is proud of the success of Eaton Rapids Teen Space and hopes it will be an asset for generations to come.
Meet the ERCA Board of Directors!
Our starting goal was to open and operate a teen center that meets the needs of youth in the Eaton Rapids area. It was our priority to include both adults and teens in our teen center project. We welcomed any interested persons who would like to join us, either on an ongoing basis or to help with specific projects or programs.
In 2018, we met our first goal by opening Teen Space at Union Street Community Center in Eaton Rapids. We hired a director to run the center and work with the advisory board and ERCA on an ongoing basis to develop the center’s programs and policies.
Eaton Rapids Teen Space focuses on youth from 6th through 12th grade.
We provide the following:
- A safe, supervised place for teens to go to after school hours
- Physical activity such as basketball, gaga ball, dodgeball, and other activities
- A quiet room for doing homework and studying
- Individual tutoring
- Space for socializing, playing board/card games, etc.
- Areas to explore creative activities such as art, music, writing, crafts, etc.
- Programs/classes for enrichment, technical training, teaching life skills, & more
- Opportunities for teens to do volunteer work in our community
Funding for operational costs comes from grants, donations from individuals, businesses, churches, fundraising events, and other income-producing activities.
But we have more goals…
Eaton Rapids Teen Space quickly outgrew its first home, so our next goal is to construct our own building from the ground up!
Our first steps toward that goal have already begun. Plans are being drawn, input is being gathered, partners are lining up, and funds are being raised. But we need your help. Volunteers, community support, and financial help are all necessary to make this project come to life. If you are able and willing to help us financially please find our donation tab, or contact us by clicking our contact tab to tell us how you might be able to help.
Our community helped us to achieve our first goal of opening a teen center, and we know we can reach our next goal of constructing our own building with continued community support.
Learn more about the Teen Center and our current programming at erteenspace.com!
To support ERCA, Eaton Rapids Teen Space, and our ongoing building project, you can CLICK HERE. Thank you for your generosity.
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:
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 uswith details and we’ll get you the info you need.
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. We will get a volunteer form to you to be filled out, and you will have to pass a standard background check as well.
Catch up on any latest news about ERCA, ERATI, or the Teen Center itself…..
A few weeks ago we started offering FREE ukulele & guitar lessons at our teen center! These group sessions take place every Thursday between 4 & 5… Read more “Free ukulele and guitar lessons”
The wait is finally over. We are opening our doors on March 5th, 2018 after school and ready to start this incredible adventure with the students.… Read more “Teen Center now open!!!!!”
Here is a list of needs that the Teen Center Board and Administration have identified in order for us to get up and running and open for… Read more “Teen Center Donation Needs”
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.