Joel's Place mission: To provide creative, adventurous and adrenaline-seeking youth with a good, positive outlet for their energy. In a community with high teen suicide rates, Joel's Place involves young people in relationships that foster emotional resilience, academic success and physical stamina. Joel's Place has indoor/ outdoor skate park, a cafe, concert venue, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts. This project will ensure we have adequate adult mentors to accomplish our mission.
Alaska has the highest rates of alcoholism, depression/suicide and domestic violence in the nation. Adverse childhood experiences are the highest indicator of suicide risk. Alaskans face some of the most inclement weather in the nation with temperatures dropping subzero most of the winter and indoor play spaces are minimal.
Joel's Place Skate Park has offered a continuum of care including mentoring, tutoring and play for over 17 years. Healthy activities, a hot meal, positive friends, mentors and generosity are all provided to build resilience in children and teens through our programs. Data driven upstream prevention programs like ours show that young people thrive when given consistent adult role models and mentors. We are implementing best practice Sources of Strength for teens and BrainWise for children.
Over 500 young people pass through the doors of Joel's Place each year. When their energy is expended skateboarding or riding their bikes, building relationships with adults who care about them over the course of 12 years results in resilient members of our community, graduating from high school, avoiding teen pregnancy, addiction and suicide. We know that our youth are least likely to take their own lives, get in trouble with the law or drop out of school.