Terry Hunka is director of ChildReach Ministries in Canal Fulton, which opened The Martin Center in Canton last year.
Terry has dedicated all of his time and effort in serving as the Executive Director of The Martin Center.
Before the Martin Center, Terry was a disc jockey for Christian radio stations in Stark County. Now, he said, he is living on faith and what his wife, Brenda, earns working part time for Prudential Insurance.
The Martin Center exists to bring together like-minded organizations to have an eternal impact on the students and communities in Canton. We collaborate with local non-profits and ministries to provide Christ-centered opportunities in athletics, academics, and life-applicable programming. It is our belief that hosting multiple organizations in one location will increase collaboration; consequently, the community will prosper and Christ’s love will change lives.
Our prayer is to house community programs such as GED courses, as well as free classes in dance, karate, and parenting. We plan to host faith-based volleyball and basketball leagues, which include mentoring. We also hope to install a laundromat for community use.
Would you consider volunteering 1 day a week or month? Are you looking for a short term mission project? Check out our GET INVOLVED PAGE.
The former Canton City Schools building, Martin Elementary, was bought from the Canton Community Improvement Corp. in 2011 for $1 by ChildReach Ministries. Since that time, the building has received thousands of dollars in much needed upgrades, yet needs hundreds of thousands more.
Terry and Brenda Hunka aren't in it for the money. They are in it for the kids. The Hunkas have built a safe haven for children and families to go for fun, learning, and counseling [if necessary].
"We are here for the teens and the families in the community to help them make better decisions," said Terry, who is executive director. The center has a basketball court, weight room, recording studio, game room, computer lab, cafe and a dance studio.
"We also offer ACT training and jobs for life training," Terry said, noting that these programs help build relationships with children and families.
"Our goal is to keep kids off the street," he said. "We average about 300 to 350 visitors a month. Some come five times a week, others once a month. We have had people come to us and talk about hunger in their family, talk about real problems."
The center is privately funded by donations.
Excerpt from November 30, 2013 Canton Repository
On any given evening, teams of teenage boys are playing, fast and furious under the watchful eyes of volunteers and mentors.
“The Lord drew me down here,” said Tom Robb, a volunteer from North Canton who met Hunka at a Bible study. “We have a lot of good boys down here. This is something for the community. I want to be where I can make an impact.”
At 24, Skylar Roberson is not much older than the players on the court. He became a volunteer last year. “I’ve worked with kids before, in another organization,” he said. “They’re no different from other kids; they just need some guidance.”
Roberson added that were it not for the Martin Center, “these kids would be walking the streets.”
McKinley sophomore Kristyle Travis, 16, said the center is well-known among teens.
“It gives me a place to come in my free time,” she said. “I learn more about God apart from church, and I like the people here.”
Volunteer Nathaniel Chester III, 26, grew up in the Martin neighborhood and remembers what it was like with no recreation.
“It’s night and day,” he said. “We don’t have too many rec centers around Canton anymore. God put it on my heart to be here. I see myself in a lot of these kids. Most of them are missing a father figure. I just wanted to be a mentor.”
Hunka said the center is in constant need of volunteers and mentors like Robb and Chester. “Nate is a success story,” Hunka noted. “The kids look up to him something fierce.”
Excerpt from May 5, 2014 Canton Repository