In May 2009, Joanne’s world changed forever, as she became the parent of a son with Down syndrome. Then in 2017, her daughter was diagnosed with ADD and a Learning Disability. Since 2009, she has devoted her attention to the world of special needs. She started out volunteering with the local Down Syndrome Association by way of being a Buddy Walk Team Captain, being on the medical outreach committee, and being a part of event coordinating for the lower region of Northeast Florida. However, Joanne knew her calling was to impact all of those with disabilities.
Over the last few years, Joanne’s seen a great need to help parents, siblings, families, and individuals impacted by disabilities. She launched CampAbility Special Day Camp in 2016, focusing on providing educational and therapeutic summer services to primary-aged children with special needs in a fun and safe environment. It is now expanded to include siblings of these campers. In the fall of 2016, Joanne came across Ability Tree in Arkansas (the national office), and after delving into what the mission of this ministry is, she was determined to establish a Branch in the First Coast. Ability Tree First Coast, Inc. was established in January 2018.