Workforce Development and Java Grounds Manager--



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OUR REFEREES-- Jerardo, Nick, Billy, David with our volunteer mentors

Our Heart for the City Kids Grow Up and Become Part of the TEam

HFTC "Mom," tutor, scholarship writer and advocate for the kids--


About Us


We are always in need of mentors and tutors for our after-school and summer programs, coaches for our sports programs and gardeners for our community garden. 

Email:  jchaves@heartforthecityaz.org or call 623-734-2382.

Joe Eriquez has been the inspiration, organizational head and Executive Director of Heart for the City since its inception.  Joe was a high school athlete, active in Young Life in Arizona and coached baseball for 10 years at Glendale High School.   As a coach, his program flourished simply because he offered HOPE and a divergence to these lower-income, inner-city kids. 

But, he noticed many of the kids did not have the tools and/or potential they would need to pursue a life-time baseball career.  So, he came up with the idea of a Heart for the City sports program that could give hope, healthy activity outlets and the emotional support they would need to climb the steep inner-city walls that entrapped many of them.  While his love was baseball— he first noticed that inner-city kids needed a more physical sport to take out their frustrations.  So, football has become the primary method for the boys and volleyball for the girls.  Joe developed these programs so that his more than 70 coaches and mentors were focused on walking along side of these kids—giving them tools to master the struggles and pressures inner city life brings.  As these kids progressed in his program, he began to notice that their grades improved and he started a tuition program to help set their sights BEYOND just making it through high school.    Many of the kids in the tuition program are going on or have gone on to college.  

But, Joe didn't stop there.  He kept hearing the same question, “Where can I get a job, Coach?”  So, Joe came up with the idea of a workforce development center/restaurant.  And, Java Grounds was created.  And this connection with nutrition encouraged Heart for the City to build a community garden.   

NICK-- Now a Java Grounds Manager and Referee

President of HFTC

HFTC Administrator


It's ALL about "THE KIDS!"

Mission & Vision

Heart for the City has been working tirelessly to do whatever it takes to raise up a new generation that challenges the physical, psychological, intellectual, social and emotional walls that trap inner-city youth.   They do this by working with the WHOLE kid.  Not just through sports, not just through education, not just through mentoring, not just through job training—but, a program that breaks down the walls in all of these dimensions of an at-risk youth’s life.

JERARDO-- Now a HFTC Driver and After-school/Summer Leader

Joe Eriquez

Driver and Staff Photographer--


Our Heart for the City Staff and DEDICATED Volunteers

Kat-- Now a HFTC After-school/Summer Leader

Sports Director--


After-school and Summer Program Director--


Master Gardener-- MIKE

Garden Director--