The roots of The Beatbox can be traced back to
the basement of a business in Fairfield, Iowa
in August 1999. 19 year-old Roland Wells had recently
moved back to Fairfield after living for two years
in Atlanta, Georgia and Phoenix, Arizona. He felt
that there was a need in Fairfield for shared
space where local youth could participate in creative
activities and enjoy a supportive and respectful
environment enriched with ideas of peer mentoring
and expressive freedom. He rented out a business'
basement and started activities influenced by
youth hip hop culture, including break dancing,
deejaying classes, and Saturday night dances.
Meanwhile, Julie Babb and Barbara Rail, two mothers
of teenagers and youth advocates, had obtained
IRS recognition for a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
entitled Fairfield Youth Advocacy. In January
2000, Babb's 18 year-old son introduced them to
Wells, and they found that they shared a vision
of providing a safe and healthy environment for
Fairfield's youth. A partnership was formed between
the two mothers and the teenager and in May 2000,
Fairfield Youth Advocacy dba The Beatbox opened
in a 2000 square foot facility.
An overwhelming demand for space to continue
and expand youth programming necessitated the
purchase of a new building and in November 2001,
The Beatbox moved to an 8500 square foot facility
right off of Fairfield's main square. Babb and
Wells have continued to serve as co-directors
since then, with Rail serving as an advisor in
the mission to promote positive youth development
through innovative programs in a safe, clean environment.
The vision of The Beatbox remains a guiding light
in all of our programs and activities.
We envision a community that welcomes all youth
and supporters of youth to a safe, engaging, inclusive
and respectful environment and encourages them
to enhance their personal, social, economic, and
We envision a rural youth that are given equal
opportunities to better themselves through access
to creative and educational activities as youth
in urban and suburban areas.
We envision a rural community confronting the
economic, cultural, and technological challenges
associated with living in areas of periphery and
we envision a rural youth whom are provided the
skills to help revitalize, build, sustain, and
lead strong rural communities.
We envision a community of adults that is educated,
understanding, and supportive of the needs of
youth and responds to these needs with volunteer
efforts, successful programs, and continuous emotional,
mental, physical, and financial support.
The goals of The Beatbox are achieved with every
youth inspired to follow a dream, every entrepreneur
enriched economically, every person educated through
technology, and every individual empowered through