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Shining Bright in the Media Spotlight

Being featured on Twin Cities Live and in local and national magazines is a true honor. It's a chance for us to showcase the joy we bring to our community and beyond.


We're thankful for this recognition and excited to continue spreading happiness to even more youth.


Backyard playhouse
with zip line is wish
come true for Minnesota
boy with cystic fibrosis

January 05, 2024

Just about any kid would be thrilled to be gifted with an outdoor getaway that includes hammocks, a zip-line, a curving slide, a rock climbing wall, a library stocked with more than 300 graphic novels and even a secret door — accessed by pulling a hidden lever — that leads to an escape-hatch ladder. (Heck, even a few adults might think this sounds like a dream come true.)

Impressive as the newly built structure is, the story of how this magical spot came together is even better. It's a tale that includes caring adults from all over the metro who rallied together to create something truly special.



Read the full article here 

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Thoughtfully created therapeutic spaces

Mark Ostrom is no stranger to creating immersive environments that engage all the senses. He was part of the creative team to bring Rainforest Cafe, one of his first built projects, to life at Mall of America. "It wasn't about the aquarium or the three-hour waits," he says. "It was about watching how people came in and seeing how it changed them—how going from a small corridor into a very deep experience made kids smile." See the full article here on page 42.

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‘Joy Rooms’ bring hope to kids with special needs 

Brian Johnson


A young East Bethel resident with cystic fibrosis is enjoying a new therapeutic backyard play area with help from the Joy Collaborative, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that taps into the time and talents of construction professionals to create unique spaces for kids with special needs.

MSR Design and Gardner Builders had a hand in designing and building the recently completed play area, which addresses the health and wellness needs of 10-year-old Isaac, who has cystic fibrosis. From a therapeutic perspective, the play area promotes heart, muscle and lung functions, which are critical for treating cystic fibrosis, the Joy Collaborative notes.


Read the full article here.

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On this episode of The Curious Builder Mark Ostrom joins to discuss Joy Collaborative. He describes past projects and the impact of the spaces on families. We discuss ideas for future projects like a mobile sensory unit, collaborating with schools on building projects, and partnerships with companies to sponsor spaces. The discussion highlights how design can empower children and shift their futures through accessibility and experiences tailored to their specific needs.

Listen now

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Spaces of Joy

Mark Ostrom, Founder, Executive Director & Creative Director of Joy Collaborative, was interviewed and published by Minneapolis Lakes Lifestyle magazine.


Executive Director and Founder of Joy Collaborative, Mark Ostrom, has a long history of working with those affected by life-limiting conditions.  While in college studying design, Mark began working with an organization that helped kids with clef palates. It was during that time that he connected with the families and individuals affected by this condition and learned where they needed the most support.


Read the full article here. 


Meet Mark Ostrom
By Canvas Rebel

I had worked in commercial interior design for almost 20 years then a stint in furniture sales. Neither paths were stirring my soul until I realized it was kids with limitations that due to no fault of their own, were stuck in spaces that didn’t work for them. Often times the caregiving team is depleted of resources and energy to make meaningful changes on their own. Founding Joy Collaborative is providing me with the soul-filling design-driven purposeful work that I feel I am meant to lead.

Read the full article here.

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