February Skater Spotlight:

Helena

Inspirational

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. In the city, I lived the first sixteen years of my life with my parents and younger sister. It’s a place with a lot of opportunity and different cultures, perspectives, life experiences. It’s also easy to lose yourself and your values in a place as vast as New York.

 

I came to live in a sober living home here in Kalispell in August of 2018. I needed to get away from the pressure of New York that had become so toxic. I enrolled at FVCC as a high school senior. In therapeutic treatment, I’ve grown a lot as a person. I was able to reconnect with my values that I had lost at home and become more grounded in myself. I used to love skating in Brooklyn, but I used a lot of drugs while hanging out with friends. Last summer, I heard about JuJu from a friend and decided to check it out. Some of the boys who are in the same treatment program I’m in occasionally come to JuJu as well.

 

Skateboarding in Brooklyn used to be a toxic environment for me, but JuJu provides what I need, and I’m building back up my skateboard skills. At JuJu, I’m learning new techniques and dropped in for the first time on a ramp. The more experienced skaters at Juju have helped me get back on a board and offer a lot of encouragement. I appreciate the girls who come to Girls’ Skate Night on Wednesdays. Skating is mostly a male-dominated sport, so it’s awesome to have our own space to connect and encourage one another.

 

I especially appreciate Pastor Miriam at Juju. Since I began showing up at open skates, she’s always been very supportive and welcoming. We’ve had a couple of deep talks about what my life was like at home, how I’ve grown, and what skateboarding is to me. I admire that Miriam treats everyone equally at Juju, no matter if they’re religious, just come to skate, whatever. It’s a quality that’s rare, and she’s got it.

 

Although I don’t identify myself as religious, I respect the truths that religions teach, such as respecting all people, giving to others, and having compassion for everyone. I appreciate that Pastor Miriam doesn’t try to force Christianity onto the community at Juju; she simply speaks from the heart and gives people the option to consider her words. She teaches the importance of respecting others for who they are and how to handle conflict effectively and with grace. JuJu accepts me for who I am, without expecting me to become Christian. At Juju, I feel free to be myself, and know that will be respected.

 

I would love to become an artist and love mixed media—painting, drawing, sculpture, glass blowing, or ceramics. When it comes to art, I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

 

Community is something JuJu highly values, and it’s felt. It’s a huge part of what makes me choose to show up to open skates. It’s rare to find a community that emphasizes and encourages such compassion and openness. It’s what I think today’s politics is sorely lacking - empathy for the “other”. No matter what your political leaning it’s safe to say that politics today is extremely divided. It takes away power from people when you divide them. It’s important for us to practice tolerance toward one another even when we feel it’s not earned, and respect each other’s humanity. We all want compassion from others and need to treat others with respect.

 

To anyone out there who’s hurting I’d say, when someone is struggling, it’s hard to stay grounded in your strengths, know your worth, and feel like you have control. It’s important to live in the knowledge that you do have power, worth, and strengths and can rise above whatever it is that’s getting you down, if you choose to.

 January Skater Spotlight:

Kyle

Still growing

I’m originally from Tacoma, Washington and I’ll turn 20 years old next month. At the age of four, my parents, older brother, and I moved to Kalispell and I’ve lived here ever since. My mom and dad split up some time ago. She’s a stay-at-home mom with her boyfriend and my dad is a diabetic who lives at home and is not able to do much.

About three years ago, I came to Serious JuJu with a friend not knowing what it was about. Even though I liked what I saw, I didn’t come back for another month; but once I did, the JuJu experience has kept me coming to the warehouse almost every Friday night since. JuJu struck me as an organization that connects kids to each other who wouldn’t ordinarily connect. I felt a connection to others almost immediately my first night and felt they connected with me. I think it was the first time I’d felt this unconditional acceptance while being around a lot of people. JuJu has become like a second home to me. When I walk in the door of their warehouse, I’ve come home.

I’ve always had a hard time talking about my problems with most people but shortly after coming to JuJu, I talked with Miriam and really opened up to her. She understood where I was coming from and assured me everything was and will continue to work out for me. She’s the one who pushed me to graduate from high school which I did in 2018. Support is what a lot of JuJu is about. I’ve received help from other kids who could tune into what I was going through and over the years, I’ve helped others who I could relate to because of problems I’ve had to deal with. JuJu is a supportive community of skateboarders who watch each other’s backs.

I prefer the long-board for skating because my skills are pretty simple. I like to stay on the road and don’t do tricks except the “skid” which is a technique that stops the board while making a skidding sound.

JuJu has helped me with depression quite a bit. About five months ago, I was into drug and alcohol abuse but through the support of JuJu people, I’m completely off the drugs and intend on staying this way.

My favorite part of JuJu is the “Word” on Friday nights. I always get something out of it and feel like I’m part of something big.

When I come to JuJu, I try to help out as much as I can like doing cleanup and serving food. It’s my way of giving back to people who have given me so much. Over the years, I’ve brought many friends with me and after experiencing what JuJu has to offer, most come back. I do wish there was more space because the warehouse can get a little crowded at times; but that doesn’t lessen the positive experience JuJu provides.

To any kids who are hurting out there and feel like no one cares and there isn’t much hope, it’s gonna be ok. Come to JuJu, it’s gonna be ok.

 November Skater Spotlight:

Ian

A true believer

I was born in Helena but my family moved to Vancouver, Washington when I was very young. When I was 12 years old, we moved to Kalispell. My dad manages Smith Grocery in Kalispell and my mom lives in North Dakota where she manages a truck company. I have two little brothers, two step-sisters, and another sister that I’ve kind of adopted.

 

When we moved here, my parents enrolled me at Evergreen Junior High School in seventh grade. I had it kind of rough because I got bullied a lot in school. I was 14 years old and desperately needed to find a way to release my tension and anger. A friend provided the remedy; he gave me a skateboard. Not knowing any other skateboarders, I taught myself by riding to and from school. I progressed through experimenting and watching a lot of YouTube videos. Skateboarding is an amazing stress reliever. It’s an art form that gives a feeling of freedom from those bad things that pile up in life. I put music in my ears with pods and ride the bad away.

I began going to Serious JuJu almost immediately after beginning skateboarding. My dad would give me a hard time at home so I’d go to their warehouse on Airport Road and hang out with J.D. and watch the older skateboarders. I learned a lot by watching and skated in my first skateboard competition by the end of that first year of skateboarding. I took 5th place in beginner class and a year later competed in intermediary competition.

 

My experience with JuJu has been mostly positive. I’ve made friends with other skaters and we encourage and help each other out. Lately, I’m learning a technique called frontside air. That’s when you’re going up a pipe and ollie out of the pipe and go right back in.

 

When I first started skateboarding, I didn’t have many friends and JuJu was there for me. I now give back by teaching skateboarding to others by volunteering as a coach for the beginner skaters.

I’m 24 years old now, married and have two children, a girl and a boy. My wife and I spent a weekend helping to build the half-pipe in the warehouse along with a couple of other guys. I’d like to see improved sturdy rails at JuJu. The ones they have are pretty well worn and it’s hard to control a board sliding on them.

I also enjoy boxing and participate in Beast Athletes Fight Promotions as an amateur boxer with two wins and two loses to my record. I also do gymnastics at Flathead Gymnastics Academy. For employment, I work as an apprentice carpenter at Mindful Designs which is an elite home construction company.

I feel what really stands out about JuJu is their willingness to feed the kids at no charge to anyone. Few places show that kind of generosity. The kids are accepted when they walk through the door with no questions asked and treated equally by their peers and the adults. JuJu provides a safe place to go and the people who come don’t tear each other down, they build each other up. JuJu is one of the best places for children to learn about Christ. They have the know-how to teach Christian teaching to young people so that they can understand the message being taught. If you’re hungry for food, God, support, and skateboarding, come to JuJu. They’ve got it all and Serious JuJu offers it freely to anyone who walks in the door.

 October Skater Spotlight:

Kamia

True to herself and friends

I was born in Fallon, Nevada. When I was four years old, my parents and I moved to Kalispell. I attend Kalispell Middle School in the seventh grade. My dad is in jail and my mom works at Qdoba restaurant in Kalispell. I have Three brothers, one step sister, and three step brothers.

I heard about Serious JuJu from my friend Shaylee. The first time I went was with friends Bella and Heather on a Friday night. JuJu seemed fun and exciting but it took a couple weeks to get up the nerve to get on a skateboard. I fell off a lot at first, but kept at it till I could control the board pretty well. I’ve been skating for about a year and been working on pumping lately. That’s when you use your legs to gain speed on the skateboard while going up and down a ramp gaining more height with each pump. I like all forms of skating. It’s challenging but in a fun way.

JuJu helps me a lot. The people are supportive and everyone treats everybody really nice. The JuJu skaters all look out after each other and respect others when they skate by not cutting in their way and waiting for their turn to make a run. The adults at JuJu are always looking out for you and doing things for everyone, like, giving us food, treats, and sometimes gifts. It’s really neat for us skaters and we appreciate what they do.

A short time ago, Miriam told me about Freedom Horse Farms which is a place where they take care of horses and people can spend time with them. I found a horse named Crystal who warmed right up to me. The horse handler will let go of the halter rope and we watch what the horse will do. Crystal immediately began following me. We take long walks together. People who go to Freedom Horse Farms spend time with the horses which helps them get closer to people and we get closer to them.

I like the Christian part of JuJu. Sometimes it can get hard paying attention to learning the Word because one can get distracted easily. Sometimes, what I’m hearing makes me emotional and I cry and other times I laugh. I really enjoy it all though.

 

For fun, I skateboard, hangout with my friends, eat good food, laugh a lot; all of this you’ll find at JuJu.

I really like JuJu like it is but do wish it would grow larger with numbers of people and the size of the warehouse.

Serious JuJu is a happy place. I would say to anyone who is hurting in some way, go to JuJu, you’ll find the help you need and people who care. JuJu is there for you and anyone else who chooses to come.

 September Skater Spotlight:

Raylee

Staying positive

I originally come from Columbia Falls but about five years ago, my parents and I moved to Kalispell. My mom works at a local pawn shop and my dad is a cabinet builder. I have two sisters and go to Kalispell Middle School in 7th grade.

I first came to JuJu last January with my friend, Kamiam. She was coming here with a boyfriend and invited me along. I noticed right away that everyone at JuJu was super nice and supportive of each other. I learned that JuJu people help others out when they are going through rough times in their lives. I’m sure that if anyone is having problems, they could go to any of the adults and they would be helped. Also, many experienced skaters help the beginners learn the basics of skateboarding and also new tricks. There’s a lot of helping and support at JuJu no matter what a person is going through and it’s challenging in a good way for those who want to learn new things.

 

Skateboarding is challenging but easy at the same time. It can be hard to learn but easy to do once you get the hang of it. A lesson I’ve learned through JuJu is that no matter how frustrating learning a new move can be, don’t quit, keep practicing. I’ve applied this lesson in other parts of my life also. My skating has really improved over the months. At first, I couldn’t go down the pyramid without falling off the board. Now I can skate up a wall and do a kick-turn and keep on going.

JuJu has changed my life in a lot of ways. I’ve become more aware and eager to help others than I was before coming to JuJu. Serious JuJu is like a family to me. The people here are very close and I care about them a lot and they make me feel they care about me.

I like how JuJu is like a church but also a skatepark too. They give out free food to everybody and are there to help everyone. I also like the Christian part of JuJu; I’m learning things that are important to me. It’s a real positive.

For fun besides skateboarding, I like to play volleyball and just got on the middle school team.

My advice to the adults who run Serious JuJu is JuJu skaters are great for helping the beginners but I’d like to see a little more time devoted to helping them learn.

I’d say to anyone going through a rough time in life to keep your head up and always look forward to what you can do to make your life better and not focus on the past.

August Skater Spotlight:

Judah

Growing up at JuJu

I was born and raised in Kalispell, 19 years old, and I’ve never lived anywhere else. I discovered skateboarding the summer going into sixth grade. I had bought an old board at a rummage sale and worked out a trade for a new board at Wheaton’s. Three of my friends skated and we’d practice mostly at the elementary school. By the time seventh grade rolled around, we were really into it. Our skating expanded to Woodland Park and eventually I heard of Serious JuJu through other skateboard kids. JuJu was located on Airport Road at this time and I decided to check it out.

I found JuJu to have a great environment and was really interesting. All kinds of people went there. They had built all their own ramps and their setup was different from anything I’d seen. I found it amazing that volunteers had built this place and managed to keep it going even when they had little money to do so. J.D. and Nikki, the couple that started JuJu, were supportive toward everyone who walked through the door and accepted them as they were, no questions asked.

The skateboarders who had been around JuJu for a while were supportive of others too. They treated and encouraged everyone else to treat all who came to JuJu with respect. JuJu became my go-to place to skateboard because it had a consistent supportive environment while other places had skaters that maybe were friendly but maybe weren’t. I learned you can always count on JuJu people to be there for you.

Skateboarding is hard or impossible to learn on your own. Someone has to show you how to do things. The ollie wasn’t invented for a long time after skateboarding began because someone had to discover the technique and teach others how to do it. It was eventually passed around to the point to where most everybody has learned the technique. But they learned from someone, not on their own. At JuJu, the skaters frequently teach each other skateboard techniques and they pass it on. At JuJu, we’ve formed a supportive community of helping each other.

Christian values are what founded JuJu and it’s also what keeps it going. Without the people who are giving of their time and money, JuJu wouldn’t exist.

Besides skateboarding, I also enjoy working with videography both filming and editing. I’ve also taken something I’ve used in teaching myself skateboarding and that is the application of music into videography. I went to FVCC last year studying music theory and music production and I’m presently teaching myself more about it. I haven’t developed the finger dexterity yet to learn to play piano but I do understand how a piano produces music and can read printed music. Music theory is applying this knowledge to make it all sound good. My hope is to learn to incorporate what I’m learning into videography.

I work for Pepsi in Kalispell as a merchandizer and I’m working on getting my CDL to drive commercially for Pepsi.

To anyone out there who’s having a rough time of it I’ll say, life can get hard and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want it to. But no matter what happens, always work hard. Never give up and keep on working to make things better and it will. It’s just like skateboarding; to learn and get good at it, you have to work at it and not give up trying to do what you want to do.

July Skater Spotlight:

Maverick

Keeps Getting Better

I was born in Tucson, Arizona. My family moved to Medicine Lake, Montana when I was one year old. At the age of ten, we moved to Ronan to finish out the school year and then to Whitefish where we spent two years. I now live in Kalispell and attend school at Kalispell Middle School in the eighth grade. I have one sister, two step-sisters, and two brothers. My step-dad is a carpenter and works for local contractors and my mom works as a hair stylist.

I started skateboarding about six years ago. My brother Dom was into skateboarding and was always talking about it. I decided to give it a try and skated off and on for about three years. After we moved to Whitefish, Dom was going skating at a place called Serious JuJu and one night, I decided to tag along. The whole scene at JuJu struck me as being really nice. I noticed people talk friendly to you and the adults, like Miriam, are easy to talk to about anything. There’s free food, games to play, and everybody treating everyone else great. After that first time at JuJu is when I got really serious about skating and have been improving ever since.

JuJu has lots of rules like, you have to wait your turn to make a run and no snaking is allowed. Snaking is when someone cuts in front of you when skating and it can cause skaters to crash. The rules bring order to the fun and everyone gets along.

I’ve made a lot of friends at JuJu and they are good friends. We look out for each other a lot. The Christian part of JuJu is okay with me but sometimes I feel frustrated when we have to stop and do that part of the program. Sometimes I feel like I just want to skate. Skateboarding makes me feel free and I get a thrill out of learning new moves. The first trick I learned was a 180 on level ground. My brother tried to teach me how to do an ollie but I couldn’t get the hang of it consistently so I concentrated on the 180 which is when you bring the board completely off the floor and turn it 180 degrees at the same time.

Besides skate boarding, I like to ride my 125-cc two-stroke dirt bike. During the winter, I also snowboard.

New skaters are welcome at JuJu. Me and a lot of the other experienced skaters help them learn and its fun for everybody.

If I knew someone was really hurting and thought I could help, I’d get in a conversation with them and let them know there’s an indoor skate park where they can go and people are there who care. You can hang out and talk to people who will listen and it’ll help with whatever problem you’re going through. JuJu is always there for me and it’ll be there for anyone who wants to come.

May Skateboarder of the Month: Anthony

Just Getting Started

I was born in Whitefish. My family moved around the state for a while but settled in Kalispell many years ago. I have two brothers and one sister.

My dad works in aircraft control at Glacier Park International Airport and my mom is a doctor at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish. I go to school at Kalispell Middle School in seventh grade.

About two months ago, I asked my friend Maverick if he’d like to spend the night at my house. He said, “Sure,”but insisted we had to go to the skate park first. This was Serious JuJu’s warehouse. When I first got there, I was surprised as to how small it was but quickly settled in and noticed how much fun everyone were having. It didn’t take long to feel like I fitted in. Maverick told me it was open Tuesdays, Fridays, and sometimes Saturdays. The whole thing looked and felt exciting. I’d never been on a skateboard but I sure felt eager to learn. When I got home, I talked with my dad about going to JuJu. He had never heard of it so he came to the warehouse and checked it out and was pleased with what he saw. 

The next time I went to JuJu, I asked Maverick if I could try skating with one of the JuJu boards. He said, “Sure, go for it!” I stepped on the skateboard and it immediately flew out from under me and I hit the floor. I got up and tried again, and again, and kept at it till I could find my balance and stay on the board. I practice every time I go and am getting better at it.

Besides skateboarding for fun, I have a dirt bike and four-wheeler which I ride a lot. I also do woodworking with building supplies like old 2x4s and build stuff out of them.

JuJu is like a second home to me. I know most everyone there and they treat me and each other like family. The experienced skaters are really supportive of the beginners and many of the kids have helped me out. JuJu is a Christian organization and without the Christian part of it, it wouldn’t be the same. JuJu is a place anyone would feel welcome. I’d never stepped on a skateboard before I went and they welcomed me and make me feel at home.

 

JuJu people accept you for who you are when you walk through the door and you don’t have to be a skateboarder to go there. There’s lots of fun stuff to do like board games and hanging out with friends. I’m looking to improve my skateboarding and lately I’ve been working on dropping-in.That’s what you do when you’re standing on the top of a ramp and begin the straight-down descent.

 

Serious JuJu is there for anybody who wants to come. I’d say to anyone who’s having a rough time, go to JuJu and talk with any adult there. They’ll help you with whatever the problem is and the kids who go there are supportive as well. You won’t be disappointed.

April Skateboarder of the Month: Tasia

Tasia is Heading to Job Corp

 

I’m 17 years old and was born in Kalispell. I dropped out of school my freshman year due to circumstances that were, at the time, overwhelming to me. I’ve worked at Taco Bell and Taco John’s and recently enrolled in Job Corp. I’m going to their facility at Darby, Montana in a few days to train in masonry.

About three and a half years ago I learned of Serious JuJu from a friend named Ivy. The first time I went with her to the warehouse on a Friday night, I felt like the stranger who didn’t fit in. Later, another friend invited me to go with him and fortunately for me, I said, “Yes.” This time, I met several kids that I could connect to in a special way. The JuJu kids struck me as being unique; they were different from most by being colorful in their own way. I kept going back and my JuJu friends multiplied. Many of these wonderful people offer unconditional love and acceptance to anyone who enters their space. They are family to me.

I’ve tried skateboarding but found it too difficult. If I get on a long board, I can handle it to a point but not the shorter commonly used skateboards.

JuJu is a Christian ministry and when I first began, I simply didn’t believe in what is called God. Over time, I find myself opening to the idea there is something spiritual that is available to me and others. It’s still pretty vague but I am thinking about it.

For fun, I like to color, listen to music, hang out with friends, and do makeup. But my favorite activity is cooking. When I was little, my grandfather would set me up on a chair or countertop and show me the art of cooking. If I was having a bad day, he would say, “Help me out with my cooking today;” which always lifted my spirits. This is what motivated me to go to Job Corp to learn to become a chef.

If I could speak about Serious JuJu to kids out there who are hurting, I would say, If you don’t like Serious JuJu because you’ve heard that it’s just a Christian place that works with troubled kids and if you went there and checked it out, you’d find kids with a wide variety of personalities and some of them you’ll really click with who accept you as you are and many will become close friends. 

When I first began going to JuJu, I was rebellious, distrustful, and felt like I was basically a bad person. Through the JuJu experience of positive attitudes and loving acceptance toward others, I’ve gained valuable attitudes for myself such as, self-appreciation, confidence, and abilities to interact with others. JuJu is like a second home and now I strive to be that person who welcomes new kids when seeing someone sitting alone obviously feeling uncomfortable and unconnected. I might say to them, “Hi, you’re hanging out with me tonight. I’ll introduce you around.” I used to be that kid and know how the warm acceptance from a stranger breathes hope and self-acceptance to the person who feels like they don’t belong.

When I first started at Serious JuJu, I was at my weakest. Now, I’m leaving to build a life for myself filled with the inspiration and self-confidence JuJu has given me and I will succeed.

December Skateboarder of the Month: Addy

December Skateboarder of the Month: Addy

Photo by Bob Paulus

Photo by Miriam Mauritzen

Addy Watson Has the Brightest Smile at JuJu

 

    My name is Addy; I’m 12 years old and attend 5th grade at Whitefish Middle School. My parents moved to Whitefish this past summer from Kalispell where I was born. My dad works changing oil and my mom is a stay-at-home mom. I’m the youngest of seven children. An older brother lives with me and my parents.

I heard about Serious JuJu from my cousin Kyle who’s quite a bit older than I am. He was always talking about it, especially about Friday nights. I thought it would be fun so I asked if I could tag along the next time he went. That was about two years ago and I’ve been going ever since. I’m the youngest girl skateboarder at JuJu.

    I’ve made a friend at JuJu named Shiann who’s kind of like a big sister to me. She’s an eighth grader from Kalispell Middle School and gives me skateboard lessons every other Friday.

Last week, Miriam said that anyone who does something on a skateboard they’ve never done before wins a candy bar. I grabbed my board and went to the top of the pyramid and skated down by myself with no one holding on to me. Then, I did it again! The candy bar was super good.

    JuJu has done a lot for me. It’s really fun and I meet new friends, eat good meals, and I’ve grown more confident in myself. I enjoy when they take me to churches and we talk to the people about Serious JuJu. Miriam has me advance the slides while she’s doing a presentation. We’ve been to FPC Kalispell, FPC Whitefish, United Methodist Church in Columbia Falls, and Bethlehem Lutheran in Kalispell. The people we talk to always give us a warm welcome and I’m sure it does a lot to help Serious JuJu stay open and running and care for all the kids.

    Serious JuJu is like a second home to me. The people there are like family. I recently was given a skateboard used by a girl named Jessica who was the first girl skater when JuJu got started years ago. I already had a donated Flip skateboard but I’ve outgrown it so the retro one from Jessica is a real treasure to own.

Among other things I like to do is artwork using blended colors. I also appeared in a play, the Lion King, this year for Alpine Theatre as part of a school project.

    Serious JuJu is a great and I encourage anyone who has a heart for getting together with other skateboarders, whether you’re a newbie or already real good on a board, to give JuJu a try. We’d all love to meet you.                                                       -Interview by Bob Paulus

Addy Has the Brightest Smile at JuJu

 

    My name is Addy; I’m 12 years old and attend 5th grade at Whitefish Middle School. My parents moved to Whitefish this past summer from Kalispell where I was born. My dad works changing oil and my mom is a stay-at-home mom. I’m the youngest of seven children. An older brother lives with me and my parents.

I heard about Serious JuJu from my cousin Kyle who’s quite a bit older than I am. He was always talking about it, especially about Friday nights. I thought it would be fun so I asked if I could tag along the next time he went. That was about two years ago and I’ve been going ever since. I’m the youngest girl skateboarder at JuJu.

    I’ve made a friend at JuJu named Shiann who’s kind of like a big sister to me. She’s an eighth grader from Kalispell Middle School and gives me skateboard lessons every other Friday.

Last week, Miriam said that anyone who does something on a skateboard they’ve never done before wins a candy bar. I grabbed my board and went to the top of the pyramid and skated down by myself with no one holding on to me. Then, I did it again! The candy bar was super good.

    JuJu has done a lot for me. It’s really fun and I meet new friends, eat good meals, and I’ve grown more confident in myself. I enjoy when they take me to churches and we talk to the people about Serious JuJu. Miriam has me advance the slides while she’s doing a presentation. We’ve been to FPC Kalispell, FPC Whitefish, United Methodist Church in Columbia Falls, and Bethlehem Lutheran in Kalispell. The people we talk to always give us a warm welcome and I’m sure it does a lot to help Serious JuJu stay open and running and care for all the kids.

    Serious JuJu is like a second home to me. The people there are like family. I recently was given a skateboard used by a girl named Jessica who was the first girl skater when JuJu got started years ago. I already had a donated Flip skateboard but I’ve outgrown it so the retro one from Jessica is a real treasure to own.

Among other things I like to do is artwork using blended colors. I also appeared in a play, the Lion King, this year for Alpine Theatre as part of a school project.

    Serious JuJu is a great and I encourage anyone who has a heart for getting together with other skateboarders, whether you’re a newbie or already real good on a board, to give JuJu a try. We’d all love to meet you.                                                       -Interview by Bob Paulus

November Skateboarder of the Month:  Kadin

Photo by Bob Paulus

Photo by Bob Paulus

Photo by Bob Paulus

Kadin Speaks of his Life, JuJu, & Baptism

 

I was born in Shelby, Montana but when I was young my parents moved to Whitefish. My dad is self-employed and my mom works for a printing company just outside of Whitefish.

 

I attend Whitefish High School and will graduate in June of next year. I don’t have specific plans after graduation and figure it’s best to stay loose as insights and opportunities will probably arise that will give me a clearer picture of what I want to do going forward.

 

Athletics is something I enjoy and I play varsity basketball and compete in track and field competition. When I was a sophomore, I tied for second in high jump. I was also the first freshman to dunk a basketball.

 

I’ve been skateboarding since I was six years old. It was the only thing I felt I could cope 

with and spent most of my free time at the park when weather permitted. Most other things that came my way tended to overwhelm me but at the skate park with my board, I was free.

 

As I got older, I got into drugs and alcohol and my life was spiraling downward. One day in winter a friend asked me if I’d like to go skateboarding. I said, “We can’t skateboard during the winter!”He said, “Yes we can,”and told me about Serious JuJu. I put him off the first time he asked but went with him the next Friday night. That was close to three years ago and JuJu has turned my life around. In time, I got off the drugs and alcohol, have made many good friends, and found a confidence in myself I never had.

 

I try to come to Friday night skates as often as I can but working two part-time jobs makes it difficult but I find ways to get there pretty often.

 

The people at Serious JuJu have been like family to me. They 

provide support and encouragement and I’ve made many new 

friends that are good friends. I’m there for them and they’re there 

for me. We watch out for each other.

 

I’ve not only learned how to take care of my problems and ask for help when I’ve needed it, I’ve also learned a lot about skateboarding. When I first started at Ju Ju, all I knew for moves was a shove it and an ollie. I’m kind of a monkey-see-monkey-do kind of guy and watch other skaters and imitate what I see them do. It takes me a few tries but I’ll usually get it down. I take my falls like anyone else and learn from them but every time I fall I get back up and go again and I’m still going strong.

 

There was a baptism last August at the Flathead River. When I heard about it, I felt excited wanting to be part of it. There were ten of us that accepted baptism and the experience helped to heal old wounds and put bad memories to rest.

 

My message to anyone out there who is hurting and feeling trapped, I can’t thank JuJu enough for all they’ve done for me and I hope you find JuJu like I did and get on the right path. I’m ready and willing to support anyone who comes into Serious JuJu and you’ll find more friends to give you that unconditional help you need.                                                                          -Interview by Bob Paulus

 March Skater Spotlight:

Deveren

Growing in Wisdom

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky 15 years ago. My Dad is a barber by trade but recently began sales work dealing in Turkish rugs. My mom is a stay-at-home mom and does a lot of volunteer work for the church we go to including Serious JuJu. I have three younger sisters and an older brother.

In 2013, we moved from Louisville to Kalispell where I’ve lived ever since. I attend Flathead High School in the ninth grade.

The first time I got on a skateboard was about seven years ago after watching my brother and a friend of his skating. It looked like a lot of fun and I decided to give it a try. The first year, I fell a LOT; but like anything, it takes practice and I got better. I stayed with mainly sidewalks and level surfaces for the first year or so, then began going to Woodland Skate Park in Kalispell and Serious JuJu’s indoor skate park on Center Street.

My dad took me the first time I went to JuJu. It felt a little intimidating because most of the skaters were older and a lot better on a skateboard than I was. For the first couple of weeks, I mostly stayed out of everyone’s way but slowly learned to join in and feel like I belonged. Within a month, I probably knew everyone’s name I’d interact with while skating. JuJu people are great for welcoming new skaters and for that matter, anyone who walks in the door is accepted for who they are, no questions asked. More experienced skaters are eager to give pointers to beginners and I’ve picked up several style-choices from others. What I try to do is watch the techniques other skaters use and try to replicate it in my own way. In doing this, I’m developing my own style of skating. I really like moves that enable me to launch into the air where I get a super intense feeling of freedom.

JuJu has done a lot for my family and me as well. I’ve learned a great deal about how to be a better person and also about God. Several of the older skaters have positively influenced me over the years and I’ve made many good friends. JuJu’s program is really good offering free food, a winter place to skate, and teachings about God. I like the “Word” which is a time when we learn about God on Friday nights. I get a lot out of it and learn something every time I go. Some of the kids don’t really care for it but I do and am glad they have it.

Besides skateboarding, I like running and am involved with track and field in high school. I also like listening to music, especially Rap but really, anything that has good melody and on-beat lyrics. I also like to draw cartoon characters and occasionally an abstract creation.

JuJu is a great place to go but I’d like to see better enforcement of the rules by the adults in charge of things. Also, sometimes the non-skaters can get in the way of others in the food area and hallways. I’d like to see them settle down a bit.

JuJu helps a LOT of people and a donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in providing that help. JuJu is there for anyone who comes whether they are a young skater or an adult. They give what they have including a meal and the word of God.

I’d say to anyone going through a rough time out there, never forget there is always someone who cares. It may not be family or friends at the time but you can be certain, someone is out there who cares about you and is willing to help. JuJu has many caring people and they will welcome you anytime you want to stop by.

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 705

Kalispell, Montana 59903

Location:

707 West Center Street

Kalispell, Montana 59901

Pastor Miriam

406.212.0999

jujukalispell@gmail.com

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