Who We Are

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Our Mission & History

 Mission: Empowering youth, families, and community for their greatest potential. It is SVYC’s belief that every young person, ages 5-21, living in the Sun Valley neighborhood deserves equal opportunities for growth and success. 


The Sun Valley neighborhood has a long history of crime, poverty and low academic performance. Community and civic leaders, residents, and service providers performed a comprehensive neighborhood assessment in 1997 to determine the root causes of these marginal outcomes. Findings revealed that the greatest need—and greatest opportunity to make a sustained difference—was to offer youth services. The Sun Valley Youth Center was born in 1998 as a result of these findings. Founded by the Christian Reformed Churches, the Sun Valley Youth Center is a faith-based organization that serves youth in Sun Valley regardless of their socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or religion. 




Our Values

Compassion: Agape Love – That’s what we’re all about

Empowerment: We equip our youth and families with the life tools to achieve their own successes

Commitment: We show up, even when it’s hard, and provide resources for the families we serve

Safety: We work to cultivate a safe haven for the community to grow and thrive in

Collaboration: We work with the community and its strategic partners to create a positive environment of diversity, inclusivity, and shared values





Today, we enroll our youth beginning in kindergarten and support them through high school graduation, by which point many have staffed our team. Our primary focus is to walk through life with our youth and their families.

Most of the youth that we serve struggle with overcoming obstacles, and so our approach is rooted in trauma-informed practices. To put it simply: when our kids run, we run with them, help them regulate, and bring them back. We are in the business of building trust and we seek to provide a safe place for all members of the Sun Valley community to find support.

Our Community

Sun Valley is a unique neighborhood that, though small, has a lot to offer.


Our community is deeply connected and diverse. Everyone knows the people who live and work in the neighborhood and there is a strong communal spirit. Through hardships, Sun Valley sticks together and remains family-oriented. 


Currently, Sun Valley is undergoing redevelopment. To learn more, please visit the redevelopment website here. The uncertainty and trauma created from displacement has had a big impact on our families. Additionally, the neighborhood is a food desert, which means that healthy options are not readily accessible for families. Once youth graduate elementary school, there is no direct feeder into middle and high school, meaning that our kids travel all over the city, often on their own. Finally, mental health support is a community-wide challenge as youth and families navigate life.  


sun valley kid chalk drawing

Around the World and In Sun Valley

Our families come from countries all over the world. Here are a few:

  • Eritrea
  • Jordan
  • Ethiopia
  • Cameroon
  • Burundi
  • Somalia
  • Ivory Coast
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Mexico
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

(Click on the image above to expand)

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