Scooter in the JP
The mission of Joel’s Place Skate Park and Youth Center, the only facility of its kind in Fairbanks, Alaska, is to give creative, adventurous, adrenalin seeking youth a good, positive outlet for their energy. Joel's Place offers youth a safe place to call their own, with a concert venue, gaming room, an indoor/outdoor skate park, media lab, retail skate shop, a community garden, outdoor volleyball and basketball courts, snowboard park, and a café, where volunteers and food donations, allow us to feed hungry young people. We serve over 6,500 free meals each year. Youth can participate in action sports, tutoring, music and art lessons, life and job skills training. It is a place where young people know that they will be safe and respected while having an incredible amount of fun and developing the tools that they need to thrive in the world.
On December 19, 2015 Joel’s Place announced that we were closing our doors indefinitely due to financial issues. After an outpouring of community support and donations, we were able to reopen our doors on January 29, 2016 and were thrilled to end 2015 with all the bills paid.
We have now reopened with volunteers and are dealing with cash flow and unsustainable staffing issues. We have added a program that will help make up any deficits and have developed a budget based on actual income patterns. We have new hours of operation and have slightly increased our session cost for the skate park giving parents an opportunity to partner with us.
Our plan is to continue feeding young people ages 10-20 over the weekend. The facility will be available to rent for parties and meetings on a limited basis bringing in additional income.
The new program we have added is called RAW Joy School Age program (the name combines Randy Smith Middle School, Anne Wein and Joy Elementary Schools that are in our neighborhood). This program will reach 5-12 year old students and foster emotional resilience, academic excellence, physical stamina and give stability to children while parents or caregivers work. It extends the target age of Joel’s Place (10-20) to include 5-9 year olds for the morning and afternoon program and will allow younger children to have access to our indoor skate spot.
Presently, the staff is working on licensing as a child care facility to formalize our program allowing parents access to Child Care Assistance funds. In 2015, Joel’s Place served 130 students in this demographic. This program will be more structured meeting a need in our neighborhood for before and after school activities. Our goal is to serve students 7am- 7pm depending on parent’s needs.
Thank you for your support in giving creative, adventurous and adrenalin seeking Alaskan young people a good, positive outlet for their energy!