"a place to be known, to be encouraged, and to encounter Christ's love."

      I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.                              John 10:9        




    About Us

    In collaboration with area churches, schools and other community partners we offer a wide variety of academic and social programs. Our volunteers are positive role models and mentors who build relationships with the youth through academic tutoring, a weekly encouraging lunch and a safe place for kids to hang out each Thursday after school. For more information check out our page of Frequently Asked Questions.

    Joyce Wahl, Executive Director

    "I believe it takes the whole community to fully raise a child. Community collaborations working together to help all youth maximize their potential excites me!"


    Donn Wahl, President

    "Few things excite me more that seeing kids reach their potential.  Helping dreams come true will have a major impact on our community."

    Donn grew up in McMinnville, Oregon and has worked as an engineer, business manager and small business owner. He is now retired and an original board member and officer of The Gate Youth Association. He serves as a Financial Secretary for First Baptist Church and volunteers with the Awana Clubs and the YMCA in addition to his service at The Gate. He has served on the Central School District Board since June of 2013.

    Chris Robertson, Vice President

    "Fifteen years of working in youth ministry has given me a deep passion to see youth develop healthy relationships. The Gate is exactly what Polk County needs to give all youth a positive place to grow up."

    Chris grew up in Independence and Dallas, Oregon and has worked as a youth pastor, concrete finisher and small business owner. He is now lead pastor at Way of Life Fellowship in Salem. He served as the youth pastor at Independence First Baptist Church where he built the vision for The Gate. He is passionate about collaborating and championing the mission of The Gate.

    Mike Ainsworth, Secretary

    "I am invested whole heartedly in this community, I always want to be the lead cheerleader. Kids have purpose. I want to help them find it and pursue it."

    Joy Hoffman, Board Member

    "I love to watch kids excel in their passions. We can help that happen with the Gate!"

    Joy came to the Monmouth/Independence area in 1977 to go to Oregon College of Education. She and her husband, Jerry, have raised 4 children here and are now enjoying their 2 grandsons. Joy is the Secretary at Central Baptist church and in charge of their Youth Ministry. She also serves as our Executive Assistant and is one of our Tuesday Lunch Moms!


    Joe Johnson, Board Member

    "I know the great work the volunteers are doing with the high school kids. I know kids respond to adults who show a genuine, caring and loving attitude toward them and I want that to continue through The Gate."

    Joe grew up in Newport, Oregon and now lives in Monmouth with his wife Vicky. He has been employed in the Salem/Keizer School District as a P.E. Specialist at Grant Community School for 20 years. He worked for Willamette Industries plywood mill for 13 years before teaching. He and his wife have 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren.

    Pastor Mike Parks, Board Member

    "My hope is to have a safe place like The Gate for youth to enjoy enriching activities, hear the good news of Christ, and grow in maturity and wholeness with Him."

    Mike and his wife have lived in the Monmouth/Independence area since 1999 and raised three children who each graduated from Central High School.  He has been in fulltime ministry for over 25 years serving as a Youth Pastor, Education Director and is currently the lead Pastor at First Baptist of Independence.  He can be seen most Thursday’s at The Gate, has spoken at Tuesday Lunch and volunteers with AWANA clubs.