Joshua House celebrating 10 years in the community

Anniversary Recognition Night scheduled for November 20

The Joshua House Community Center is celebrating 10 years in the Tyrone area community.
Founder and Executive Director Jim Kilmartin said the slogan is: “Building community with kids, youth and young adults through athletics, education and faith.”
To celebrate 10 years of service to the youth of the Tyrone area, Kilmartin is holding a Tenth Anniversary Recognition Night on Thursday, November 20 at 7 p.m. at Joshua House, located at 123 W. 10th Street, Tyrone.
He’s inviting everyone from the community to stop by to help celebrate such a special occasion.
“We just want to re-cap the last 10 years and thank those who played such a significant role, and we also want to see where we’re going in the future,” said Kilmartin of the reason for holding the recognition night. “Everyone is asked to join us as we reminisce over the past 10 years and cast vision for the future.”
There will be light refreshments and a video collage of activities and events that were held over the last 10 years.
Kilmartin thinks his biggest successes over the years have been seeing the kids involved with Joshua House graduate high school and some even moving onto college and working.
“Just seeing them grow and mature, giving them the opportunity is tremendous,” added Kilmartin. “That’s the biggest thing to see these young people become young men and women that are impacting society around them.”
Kilmartin and Joshua House have come a long way in the last 10 years.
Kilmartin started out by talking to kids that were hanging out at Burger King and Mario’s. He wanted to reach out to the kids, and his “whole desire was to provide a safe haven, a place for kids to get off the streets while seeing their lives transformed by God’s abounding love.”
Kilmartin wanted to provide a place in the community for kids to be able to visit and feel both safe and appreciated. He even allowed groups of kids to meet in his parents’ basement before finally opening a permanent location for Joshua House at 10 W. 10th Street, Tyrone. From there, Joshua House grew into an even bigger building, the former Citizens Fire Hall, located at 123 W. 10th Street, and has been located there for four years now.
“It’s a significant landmark for Joshua House going for 10 years. It’s phenomenal,” said Kilmartin. “We’ve evolved as we went along, and we learned what works and what doesn’t.
“It went from spending time with and providing dinners to two or three kids here and there to interacting on a weekly basis with 100-plus kids during the busier times of the year,” said Kilmartin of all the services Joshua House provides to the youth of the community.
Right now, the center focuses on athletics, education and faith.
A big part of Joshua House is athletics. Youth sports through Joshua House gives kids a chance to participate in different activities that might not have been available to them in the past. For example, a kid may enjoy playing basketball but may not play on the high school team. Joshua House offers different leagues and opportunities for all kids to play.
“Not every kid is interested in the spiritual or religious activities at Joshua House, so athletics gives kids an opportunity to still be a part things,” Kilmartin said.
“So many of our activities are held outside,” added Kilmartin. “Our sports ministries are held at different locations, so you don’t always get to see what we’re doing. We’re not always at the physical location of the building.”
This past summer, Joshua House held two adult basketball leagues, with eight teams in the Men’s Open League and four teams on the Men’s 30 and Over League. There will be upcoming winter and spring leagues for those interested.
HoopsFest 2008 was the biggest tournament for Joshua House yet, with 77 teams from at least five states participating. For photos or more information on HoopsFest, visit www.HoopsFest.net. HoopsFest 2009 is scheduled for July 18.
Also, the Cross-Town Basketball League is going strong. This is the fifth year for this league that targets teens from seventh through 12th grades that do not participate on the school teams.
“It has been a tremendous success with 10 teams and nearly 100 players from the Tyrone and Bellwood area,” added Kilmartin of the league.
In the summer, there was also a Roller Hockey League, consisting of five teams, with participants ranging in age from 10-years-old to in their 40s.
Joshua House held six camps over the summer focusing on elementary-aged kids. The themes of the camps ranged from Dance/Arts Camp, Soccer, Outdoor Adventure and a weekly basketball clinic. Seventy children participated in this program.
Along with athletics, Joshua House focuses on faith. Right now, there are two groups: Small Group Discipleship for Teens and Young Adults, and Joshua House also focuses on personal discipleship.
A summer focus is Faith Factor, a weekly summer youth group of games, competitions and motivation. Yearly this draws 50-75 teens for the whole summer. Elementary programs include WildFire (youth group), Camps, and a Family Fun Night, which is a monthly activity for the whole family.
Kilmartin said Joshua House is also trying to become more of a community center.
The closing of the Tyrone YMCA has left a void in the community, so Joshua House is trying to fill in as much as possible.
According to Kilmartin, the building is being used by several groups and organizations for meetings, and it can be rented out for events as well.
“A ton of organizations are starting to utilize it,” added Kilmartin.
Also, over 20 different volunteers help out at Joshua House from everything to cleaning to tutoring kids to making meals to coaching.
“All of the volunteers are interested in helping out the kids and providing an atmosphere that they can better themselves in life,” said Kilmartin.
There are a dozen or so people that are regular volunteers and then there are many more from the community who help out with specific events like HoopsFest or the annual Thanksgiving dinner.
Besides Kilmartin, the assistant director of Joshua House is Nate Verilla; JHouse Jrs. Director, Tommie Murray; Facilities Manager, Aaron Craig; Sports and Development, Theron and Mizpah Glenny and Administrative Assistant, Jessica Knowlden.
A high percent of Joshua House’s operational budget has been through fundraisers, the largest being HoopsFest.
During the slow economy and summer months, giving has been down, which has caused finances to be tight, so Joshua House is always looking for supporters. It is a 501(c)3 purely charitable non-profit organization.
Kilmartin said one of the highlights over the last 10 years is the first ladies group that gave $10 a month to help Joshua House, and 10 years later, some of those same ladies still give $10 a month.
Kilmartin said he has a lot of plans and ideas for the future of Joshua House. Over the next year, he would like to finish the second floor of the Joshua House building to house meeting rooms and offices.
Kilmartin would like to form the Tyrone Recreation Association as a “hub” for area sports programs such as youth baseball, soccer, basketball, football, hockey, and more.
Installation of lighting for the outdoor basketball court is desired at Joshua House in the upcoming year, and Kilmartin would like to have a “Kids in Motion” program that is geared for elementary-aged children to help them become active in life.
There will be a variety of activities offered after school as well, and tutoring is always available.
If the elderly in the community are in need of leaf removal, snow shoveling, or other assistance, feel free to contact Joshua House as well.
Joshua House is located at 123 W. 10th Street, Tyrone. The mailing address is P.O. Box 27, Tyrone, PA 16686.
For more information, contact 684-2032 or visit www.JoshuaHouseTyrone.org.

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