History of REAL
2008 – Rod Redcay started volunteering at different school events and activities.
2010 – Rod gathered a Board of Directors and started the process of forming the REAL Life Community Services formerly known as R.E.A.L. Youth Ministries. R.E.A.L. was an acronym for “relational evangelism affecting lives.” The first board members were Rachel and Kris Zajac, Brad and Sarah Sauder, Deryl Hurst, Steve Goble and Sunny Redcay.
2011 – R.E.A.L. Youth Ministry received its confirmation from the IRS that is was a 501©3 REAL Life Community Services.
2012 – Kevin Eshleman came on the Board of Directors as the President of the board.
2014 – The Denver Bible Church dissolved and gifted their church building and parsonage to the ministry for $1. The building was renovated and became the Lighthouse Youth Center on October 15, 2014. The parsonage was quickly adapted to use as a home for women coming out of the Good Samaritan Women’s Shelter in Ephrata.
2015 – Bill Landis, Director of YWAM Caribbean, asked Rod to start praying about the Denver House, which was located across the street from the new Lighthouse Youth Center. The building, a 27 room hotel/bar, was built in 1863 and was once the most beautiful building in Union Station, PA. It had since deteriorated into a very seedy, dangerous place, with the highest police call volume in the Cocalico area. Rod organized a group of prayer warriors to pray for the property and, in February of 2016, the bar closed.
At that same time, the Board of Directors saw that the ministry was doing more and more work with the families of the youth in the community and officially changed the name to REAL Life Community Services.
2016 – Rod met Ray D’Agostino, of Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) and they discussed the possibility of turning the recently closed Denver House into something of more value to the community. They decided to convert the property into 10 affordable apartments, 3 commercial/retail spaces on the street level, a satellite office for Welsh Mountain Health Services, and finally, official offices for the ministry.
2017 – The Denver House Project officially became the property of REAL Life
Community Services and LHOP, and the dream of the Declaration House was born. Demolition unofficially began in November, with over 200 volunteers coming out on Saturdays to remove 27 dumpsters of trash and debris left from the previous owners.
2018 – In February, REAL Life signed the papers to purchase the building portion of the property and groundbreaking was held September 17.
2019 –The Declaration House was officially opened to the public on August 27th, 2019.
2020 – REAL purchased an old warehouse behind the Declaration House in March 2020. By September the building was renovated to become “Warehouse916” Food Distribution Center.
2021 – In April, REAL purchased the apartment building next to the Declaration House which has 3 apartments and plans are in the works to renovate the 3rd floor to add 2 more small apartments.