WHO WE ARE
The vision of Independent Youth Services Foundation, Inc. is to see the young men who graduate from our program continue to be productive and successful citizens.
It is the mission of the Independent Youth Services Foundation, Inc. to establish programs, activities and events that enable youth to develop their individual potentials in order to achieve their personal goals in life.
The Independent Youth Services Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit community youth service educational and research organization based in Chattanooga. We are supported entirely by the generosity of private foundations and individual donors committed to supporting youth towards developing a thriving, vibrant life as they work towards high school graduation and beyond.
The Independent Youth Services Foundation, Inc. was founded in 1993 as the Chattanooga Basketball Foundation, a nonprofit youth sports organization that used basketball as a platform to draw young people into the program and expose them to life skills.
That strategy proved to be an effective approach and hundreds of children were served from 1993-2001.
As we became more proficient in developing the other non-basketball components of the program, we changed our name to the Independent Youth Services Foundation, Inc. to indicate the comprehensiveness of the model and to emphasize service.
Under the direction of Founder Herbert ‘Book’ McCray, our program offerings include the after-school academy in which our participants will have the opportunity to strengthen their reading skills Lexia Reading and other literacy strategies, math skills and engage in social and emotional learning
Herbert “Book” McCray is the founder and president of the Independent Youth Services Foundation, Inc., a non-profit youth service organization created in 1993 as a youth basketball club that served youth from all over the Chattanooga region. In the year 2001, IYSF, Inc. shifted its service model focus to male mentoring, primarily stressing personal and social development with educational attainment as the “END-OF-GAME GOAL!”
Book earned his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Education Administration/Supervision from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He earned his Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Tennessee Technological University. He was also a presenter at the 2013 National Dropout Prevention Conference in Atlanta.
As a Boys Club counselor, classroom teacher, coach, school administrator, non-profit leader focusing on youth issues, Book has more than 35 years of experience in the field of youth development in the contexts of youth at-risk. In his current role as the president of IYSF, Inc., he is responsible for all aspects of the organization: Raising the necessary funds to operate, programming, evaluation, cultivating partnerships, training staff and positioning the organization to serve children in powerful and impactful ways.
Book and his wife, Willie Belle, have three adult children and seven grandchildren. They reside in Chattanooga, Tennessee.