One Hope Tulsa: A Place For Youth To Grow
TULSA, Oklahoma - The former Rose Bowl Bowling Alley along historic Route 66 is finding new life as a community center for at-risk youth.
One Hope Tulsa, headed up by Joe Blankenship, uses sports to build relationships with kids to give them hope, structure and love.
"I'm from a coaching family," Blankenship said. "My dad was a coach and so we thought man, that's something we could do. We went into North Tulsa, East Tulsa and began doing sports clinics introducing kids to soccer, volleyball and baseball and football as well as basketball and other sports and building relationships with kids."
Joe's brother Bill is also a coach. Bill currently is the head coach for the Owasso High School Football team.
One Hope Tulsa has grown since it launched in 2001, in both the amount of children it serves and it's programming.
"We exist to love our neighbors and to find ways to actually help our city. It let's us build relationships with them to give them real hope," Blankenship said.
Blankenship said that he prayed for 10 years about where the home base should be for One Hope Tulsa and through prayer he was led to The Rose Bowl.
"In the 50's and 60's the Rose Bowl was the happening place," he said. "It was blowing and going, hosting national events, and people. It would just be flooded."
Now, it's under a major renovation from top to bottom as the old space turns into something new for the community. The bowling lanes have been replaced with a basketball court and turf for the kids to play on. The basketball court is historic in its own right as it's the hardwood that Bill Self went to the Final 8 with this TU team on. The cement flooring is also under repair as it's currently being restored by Solid Surface Care.
"I can't imagine something like this not being here and taken care of and I'm excited," Roy Bowman with Solid Surface Care said.
Bowman said what his crew is doing is being donated to One Hope Tulsa at a value of about $80 thousand.
"I'm excited A, to see it restored. B, for what it's going to do for the community and C, that we get to help," he said.
The One Hope Tulsa Community Center is expected to open sometime this Fall but an exact date hasn't been announced yet.
"I think it's gonna be the landmark place on Route 66, at least this side of town," Blankenship said.
One Hope Tulsa is in need of volunteers for each area sports, tutoring and the arts. Blankenship said they're also accepting monetary donations.