The Starke County Youth Club, Inc. ​
About Us
In 2000, SCYC was in the planning stages. Concerned citizens knew that Starke County children were spending too many hours unsupervised. The founders dreamed of a nurturing, guiding, and educational environment for our kids. Partnerships with schools allowed SCYC to begin hosting programs in 2001, achieving nonprofit status in 2003. In the intervening years, multiple sites have been added and hundreds of families benefited from the services provided.

The Starke County Youth Club, Inc. (SCYC) is committed to supporting children and families. We believe that children deserve a safe, enriching environment with positive role models. At SCYC, we deeply believe in this mission and each of our projects build on this concept. We help young people find their own superpowers.  Exploration and education leads to kids discovering that they're really great at math, are super kind, or have tremendous grit. 

For us, after-school is a great time to learn and grow. We host programs each weekday at six locations across the county. Our sites include: North Judson-San Pierre Elementary and Middle School in North Judson, Oregon-Davis Elementary and High School in Hamlet, Knox Middle School and Knox Community Elementary in Knox. Our programs are built to answer the wide variety of needs found in our membership, from safety to academic struggles. Children in Starke County in kindergarten through twelfth grade are eligible to join SCYC. The registration fee for SCYC after-school is $20 per child per year. Scholarships are available for families that cannot afford even this modest fee. Our objective is to host accessible, safe programming, to assist families, and to improve academic achievement.

Focus Areas:
Homework Help is mandatory for all children in attendance. This session provides a quiet, focused environment in which to complete assigned tasks. Students who do not have day-school assigned work may also choose from a variety of good habit forming activities: reading, writing and supplemental education activities. Trained staff members assist children with homework. Club provides plenty of positive role models who assist with homework questions, and encourage reading for pleasure and an increase in overall literacy. Goals at Homework Help include learning good study habits, goal setting, and follow through. An overflow center is provided for students who cannot complete their work in the time allotted. This gives members a smaller student to teacher ratio, and additional assistance with in depth problems. Individual tutoring is available for a limited number of students. This provides intense, one-on-one assistance for members struggling in a specific subject area.

We are building future citizens of our community daily. Children need specific assets to succeed: cultural and educationally varied learning, service to others, music, art, drama, or other creative activities. These are just a few of the 40 assets that lead to success as identified by the Search Institute. At SCYC members have the opportunity to explore technology, foreign language, ethnic cuisines, hand arts, character development, nutrition and fine arts. These creative approaches to learning spark creativity and curiosity in our kids. In this way, children can learn without fear of failure. Some of the enrichment projects available at SCYC are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Culture In Action, Craft, and Drama. Children benefit from active learning in these centers. This up out of your seat process caters to the way children learn best, by doing!

Recreation and Socialization:
Get up and get moving! There are currently state and federal initiatives to increase the physical activity of young people. Obesity is a growing risk. Being physically fit impacts the rest of a child's life. At SCYC there are many opportunities for getting active. Teamwork and constructive use of free time are also goals at Club. Both structured and unstructured activities address the need for children to move and learn. Children who have healthy, interesting alternatives available engage in less risky behaviors. Children can be physically active, play scooter hockey, basketball, dance, martial arts, or free recess. The possibilities are limitless.
Having a structured social time is important for children to develop the skills to succeed on an interpersonal level. Making friends is a skill set that can be taught! Game rooms, movie nights, talent shows, and dinners encourage the interaction of children with their peers and families. It also provides the opportunity to connect children with their community. These skills- common courtesy, caring, and thoughtfulness- will assist students during their entire life.

A habit, started early, can have a huge impact. Youth Club members learn they can influence their world. With community projects, we develop empathetic, generous citizens. We are proud of the ways we give back, like our food drives, school cleanup, and service learning endeavors. Family days and guest speakers round out the network of community at Club. These often introduce children to new vocations, hobbies, and organizations. Movie nights, prevention programs, fun fairs, and educational visits have all been successful helping children grow closer to their family and more aware of their community.

Our Locations

  1. Knox Elementary Site
    210 W. Culver Road Knox, IN 46534
  2. Knox Middle School Site
    901 S. Main Street Knox, IN 46534
  3. North Judson - San Pierre Elementary Site
    809 W. Talmer Avenue North Judson, IN 46366
  4. North Judson - San Pierre Jr./Sr. High Site
    1 Bluejay Drive North Judson, IN 46366
  5. Oregon - Davis Elementary Site
    5860 N 750 E Hamlet, IN 46532
  6. Oregon - Davis Jr./Sr. High Site
    5990 N 750 E Hamlet, IN 46532
Leadership Team
  1. Irene Szakonyi
    Executive Director
  2. Melissa Smith-Watkins
    Program Director
  3. Ryan Michel
    Knox Sites Coordinator
  4. Linda Howell
    NJ - SP Sites Coordinator
  5. Becky Pflugshaupt
    O-D Elem. Site Coordinator
  6. Amber Millar
    O-D Jr/Sr Site Coordinator
  7. Emily Michel
    Assistant Site Coordinator
  8. Becky Williams
    Administrative Assistant

Board of Directors​

Judy Caudill

Margaret Dalphond

Autumn Ferch

Board Member
LaPorte Physicians Network
1st Source Bank
Board Member
Starke County Prosecutor's Office

Angie Garner

Janet Gillon

Jerry Gurrado

Board Member
Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning
Board Member
Starke Hospital