Alaska has some of the highest rates of alcoholism, depression and domestic violence in the nation. Lacking other examples, children grow up in this atmosphere and take ownership of these destructive habits, continuing the circle of marginal behavior. Youth are desperate for a place to spend time after school where they can be free of the pressures of their lives and Fairbanks has very few options.
Joel's Place provides a space for Interior Alaska's youth to eat when they are hungry, play when they are antsy, rest when they are depleted and talk when they are worried. We have a skate park, game room, cafe, basketball court, volleyball court, craft rooms and a concert stage to provide times to play and relax after school. Our staff are welcoming and engaging, looking to provide an alternative example for our at-risk youth while they play and study. We empower youth to change their lives.
Over 900 youth pass through the doors of Joel's Place each year. Many are on the path towards violence, drug abuse and incarceration. We are positioned to change the trajectory of their lives. Instead of trouble with the law, the youth are shown how to succeed in both life and school while being encouraged to give back through our service programs. Young people who would have drained the community's resources will now be adding value to Interior Alaska.
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