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 of Arizona. 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 with her husband Louis, to whom she has been married for 41 years. They have two grown children and two grand children who also live in Phoenix, Arizona.