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Joel


The founder and even more so, the “Father” of Catalyst, Joel, has had his success with Catalyst after a calling from God when he was 16 years old. It was at this age, that his father passed away, he dropped out of school, he had to work to maintain his home and he even wanted to commit suicide. This roughly affected Joel but even though it was a downfall, it was also a turning point into something that would make him who he is today. In his calling from God, he decided to change other’s lives. This all became possible after an encounter with a kid at a park that was head spinning and when Joel approached him, he pulled a knife on him! Joel jokes that he realized that kid “still had rough elements of the gang life.” But this was not his finding. He then learned that the kid was break dancing for a church nearby and it was through him that Joel got in contact with other individuals about their approach to street kids and break dancing. It was then that Joel had a vision for the future : CATALYST. 

Catalyst= meeting a point.


Joel jokes that he obviously did not attend biology class that day to find out what the scientific definition is “a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected. “ But then he found out, he was not too far off when another definition stated exactly what he had in vision, “something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.”  

A meeting point of all these forces of interests of art expression through music, art, dancing and religion that then allowed for a community of Catalyst-goers.
Joel states, “We’ve done over 600 events so far, safely, which is unheard of.”
As Catalyst has become quite successful in what it entails to do, Joel’s vision is still farfetched. The ultimatum would be a “free standing building and free standing graffiti wall” that does not have to come off every week.  But for now, Catalyst is his life, he even proposed to his girlfriend at Catalyst one night.
It’s been a great start for Joel as Catalyst has become a big family, but the visions for the future are quite motivational for the founder.