Inner city youth have energy, enthusiasm, and great potential! However, because they often lack the support of family members and community, many lose hope and never see the fulfillment of their dreams. Phoenix Inner City Kids'(PICK's) mission is to bring the HOPE of Christ to youth and their families. PICK is a mentoring program and exists to provide: Help, Opportunities, Partnership, and Encouragement.
PICK is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to serving inner city children and families. It is our desire to instill moral, educational, and spiritual values into today’s youth at risk and to partner in encouraging and supportive ways with their families. Our mission is to reach out, showing God’s love in practical ways, and to come alongside the family to help as needed. In so doing we strive to bring hope to the hopeless and to build trust and unity in the community; thus ensuring a positive and healthy future for the next generations.
PICK Christ Center provides an atmosphere where children can grow and develop into confident young adults, gain self-esteem, and develop creativity. The center seeks to provide growth opportunities for youth that will help them to find and develop their God given talents and abilities. PICK’s outreaches include: weekly after school programs, field trips, summer camp in Colorado, special events, and Christmas and Thanksgiving programs, etc. All PICK's services and prorams, including transportation, are provided free and without regard to race, ethnicity, or spiritual affiliation. PICK also distributes food, clothing, and other donated products to families as needed.
The Phoenix Inner City Kids Program (PICK) was birthed in 1988 by Teen Challenge of Arizona and was well known throughout the valley in the 1990's as the Flintstone Kids Program. In August of 2002 PICK obtained status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization and assumed the name Phoenix Inner City Kids.
Rev Joan Gray, Executive Director
Joan Gray is a passionate advocate for the disadvantaged and troubled youth of inner city America. Compelled by a fervent desire to encourage and support a generation of young people, she has devoted 25 years of her life to working with children and youth living in the projects and neighborhoods of inner city Phoenix.
Joan first became aware of the distressing plight of inner city children in July of 1988 while volunteering to feed the homeless at Teen Challenge of Arizona’s newly founded Phoenix Inner City Church. Motivated by a firm belief that one person can make a difference, she plunged heart and soul into the effort.
After four years as a volunteer, Joan accepted the full time position of Children’s Director for Phoenix Teen Challenge. In conjunction with this position, she served as an associate pastor at the Phoenix Inner City Church for twelve years. She received credentials as a licensed minister from the Full Gospel Evangelistic Association in June of 2000 and was ordained through the FGEA in July 2004.
With ever increasing vision and a firm conviction that more needed to be done for inner city youth and families, Joan formed a non profit organization in June of 2001 under the name Phoenix Inner City Kids. This organization received 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable status in August, 2002. She resigned her position as an associate pastor at Phoenix Inner City Church in July, 2004 to fully devote her time to the establishment of an inner city community center for youth and their families.
In November of 2011 the Phoenix Inner City Kids (PICK) purchased a 7600 sq. ft. boxing gym in downtown Phoenix and began a complete renovation program to remodel the facility for PICK Christ Center. Joan is currently Executive Director of Phoenix Inner City Kids and Senior Pastor at PICK Christ Center.
Joan lives in Peoria, Arizona with her husband Louis to whom she has been married for 41 years. They have two grown children and two grandchildren who also live in Phoenix, Arizona.