Coach’s Place was birthed out of a desire my husband (Trey Vernon) had before we got married. He looked at me one day (while we were still teenagers and only dating) and told me he wanted 11 or 12 kids. I (Heather Vernon) looked at him, and as politely as I could (but not really), told him he was with the wrong person and we should probably just call it quits while we still had our youth. This dream has only grown over the last 15 or so years. What we didn’t know then, was we would eventually have WAY more than 11-12 kids, but they would come to us in an unconventional way. Trey has been a football player, and now coach, as long as we’ve been together/married. God placed him in a very strategic position to have maximum influence over the lives of locker rooms full of young men. Since we’ve been married we have been inviting his players to our home. I feed them physically and he feeds them spiritually, and we both attempt to show them the same unconditional love the Father shows us each and every day. One day just having these young men over wasn’t enough anymore. We could only hear story after story from these broken young men before we knew we had to do something. God revealed to Trey that we would one day open a home for these boys to come and be fed, only they wouldn’t leave after they got their bellies full. We would be their last stop before college, trade school, or whatever career they chose.
Coach’s Place is a foster care community, a safe haven, for young men who need refuge, love, encouragement, support, consistency, structure, and a forever home. Broken homes have become an epidemic in this country. In our area there are many single parent homes, habitually incarcerated parents, grandparents raising their grandchildren, you name it. This creates instability, and whether you know it or not, children crave (and desperately need) stability and structure. Coach’s Place will be that place for some of those young men struggling just to keep their heads above water. Young men, who if not given a chance, not shown that there is something different, will continue down the path that is being modeled for them. Now, it’s not always true that you become a product of your environment, but those who “make it out” are in the minority, and I can guarantee they had someone, at least one person, behind them. Someone pushing them towards better things. Someone encouraging them in their gifts, talents, and abilities. That is what we do at Coach’s Place. We love you where you are, but know there are greater things for you. We have been led to open our home to young men in our community that are in desperate situations. Young men who are in need of someone that is always there for them, no matter what. Someone who believes in them and cares deeply about them. Someone who will consistently show up, whether that be to games, plays, speaking engagements, awards days at school… Coach’s Place is a permanent landing zone. No more moving from town to town, or even house to house. No more wondering if there will be enough food for supper. No more hoping mom or dad finally come home. No more witnessing violence in the place that should be your safe space. Now they will have a truly safe space. Our boys will thrive in their new environment because they will no longer have certain worries, and we believe in the power of prayer. We know without a shadow of a doubt God has His hands all over Coach’s Place and He will protect His babies from further harm, damage, or trauma. I’m not saying these young men will never again face difficult times, or experience traumatic events. The difference now will be the Lord. Before, they were on their own fending for themselves. Now they know they have God and all of heaven’s armies surrounding every side.