On July 7, 2007, JD and Nikki Carabin opened their garage to skaters on what would become the first Friday Night Skate. He started small: going out to area skate parks with a cooler of water and a love for these kids no one else seemed to want. JD and his wife Nicky began to invite skaters on Friday nights to skate in their garage. Soon, close to 20 came each Friday night. Many of these kids would show up right after school and stay till midnight. No one was calling to see where their kids were. No one was checking to see if they had eaten. So JD and Nicky began to serve the kids dinner and share The Word. JD confessed, “My wife and I sold anything we had of value to fund the ministry. Eventually, we sold our home as well.” Over the next few years, a dozen kids stayed with the couple to escape substance, physical and emotional abuse. Meanwhile, hundreds of skaters professed a growing faith in Christ.
Tom—a lawyer—has been a member of First Presbyterian Church since the mid-1980s. In Rotary, Tom first heard about JuJu and decided to take them some meals. He then asked his church to do the same. After a while JuJu couldn’t pay the rent, so the church helped. Later JuJu still couldn’t pay their rent and shuttered their doors. On that very day, the skate ministry received a grant for being a bright new worshipping community. JuJu resurrected! Paying off their debt and leaving the building behind, Serious JuJu became mobile, taking to the streets. With portable ramps, they set up all over town. JD and Nicky would eventually move out of state and once again, the ministry was threatened.
Today, JuJu meets in a new space at the Gateway Mall. We are excited to welcome skaters to our new space. Our Mission as an indoor skatepark is to see and feed skaters of all ages and backgrounds and to serve Christ.
For hundreds of youth, JuJu is the only church they will enter. Our lawyer and champion Tom confessed, “JuJu has changed me. You see, I was the Apostle Paul. I used to prosecute kids like these all the time. Now, they’ve changed my life!” Let these athletes and young people change your life too. Become a supporter today!
A NEW WORSHIPPING COMMUNITY OF SKATERS & ALL WHO LOVE THEM
At JuJu we don't take God anywhere. God is already everywhere. The community gathers. The question is, are we showing up where they congregate? Serious JuJu is a dynamic and diverse worship community drawn together by our love for skaters and Jesus. Every day of the week, kids show up at our skateparks to exercise, care for their mental health, emotional health, and often with JuJu, their spiritual health too. At the skatepark, they practice Sabbath.
At JuJu we believe God is generous. It is our job to keep up.
We don't ask who deserves grace, kindness, food, support, or generosity. All of us are unworthy and all of us are worthy. God is a perennial giver. If one gift doesn't work, God gives another, then another, and another, ultimately giving us Christ, making us all adopted, related, and giving us the Spirit to encourage us through the mess and mystery of life. Skaters are some of the most generous people you will ever meet. They know whose deck is broken and who needs a ride. Who can't go home and who needs a home. They know who yelled at who and they are frontline peacemakers in wild landscapes.
Skaters are amazing athletes who have much to teach and offer Christians. Like faith, skateboarding is a way of life. The community struggles to make enough space for people of all different skills and abilities, to honor boundaries, and to build each other up. In fact, when Christians join our ministry they often discover their faith enriched and their spirits restored through personal relationships with our skaters. Serious JuJu is committed to sharing and celebrating life together and seeing and feeding those not often seen or valued in our communities.
Serious JuJu is a community ministry: serving skaters and so many more! While serving Christ, seeing, feeding, and strengthening kids, celebrating skaters, JuJu's community has grown to include so many more than our 400 skaters and their families. Volunteers, community leaders, donors and partners, moms, dads, grandmas, and step-parents also consider JuJu part of their spiritual family and seek out service and worship, pastoral care, and support when they need it. Together, we are a better tribe for the kids and skaters of our community. This wider community makes us better.