Meet Joyce from Louisville, KentuckyWe’re proud to include Joyce in this week’s group of heroes. Joyce works as a high school instructor and is helping the Shawnee Little League Football Team in the inner city of Louisville. She says the coaches provide support on and off the field and their equipment, all of which is provided by the coaches, is in disrepair. “There's no tryouts. You can play or cheer even if don't have the fee,” says Joyce. “They even buy shoes. These coaches have their own families but they don't hesitate to give their all. The change in these kids’ attitudes, grades, and behavior is amazing. They belong to something good, positive & safe. Please help them continue to build men/women.”
Joyce’s grant of $12,000 will make a big difference for 120 children, ages 5 to 13, in the Shawnee Youth Golden Eagles. They are receiving:
• 120 game pants
• 120 shoulder pads
• 40 helmets
• two repair kits
• two agility ladders
Joyce is a team mom for the junior team and we admire her commitment to sports, which benefits all children.
Diary Starts Here
July 23, 2008
Yesterday was the 1st official practice date and Joyce was totally awestruck. They usually start with 30 kids per level and they had close to forty! "Of course," says Joyce, "some will decide that it's too hot or football is not their sport but to start out with these many kids is a good sign." Every one is excited. They've received everything except those shiny pants! Joyce said the best part of this was, "Our president was putting the face masks on the helmets and he called to tell me that he loved me. He said 'I'm standing here looking at all this equipment and tears start rolling down my face.' I guess that says it all." Hearing this from Joyce made my day, and it's why I love giving these grants.
July 7, 2008
Good news on the personal side. Joyce's kids all passed. She now have 2 seventh graders, 1 sixth grader and 1 fifth grader. They are all in different schools so that will be a challenge. As for her sports purchases, she finally received the exercise equipment and the kids will be able to use it soon. They have sign-ups on July 12th & 19th and practice starts on the 21st. "I hope we get everything back by then," says Joyce. "The waiting is killing me. I want to see those 'shiny pants!'".
June 23, 2008
Joyce sent us an update: The uniforms haven't come in yet but they did get the practice equipment. They have signups on July 12th & 19th and will probably start practice on the 21st. "I can't wait to see the kids' faces," says Joyce. "They will pass out when the see the new tackle dummies. The ones we had were so full of duct tape the Miteymites stuck to them like velcro." Joyce has gotten a lot of positive feed back from the community and says, "I still can't believe this is happening."
April 2nd, 2008
Things are moving along with Joyce's football equipment. Here's an update she sent today... "...So far, we have selected helmets for the Senior squad. They will be gold and match the high school. I also selected the uniform pants. I always wanted the shiney kind and now we have them. We'll be selecting the shoulder pads soon..."
March 18, 2008
I decided to give Joyce a call today just to say hi. Things are moving along - she said the coaches have already contacted some stores for pricing on their new equipment.
March 14th, 2008
When I called Joyce to give her the good news, she was at work at the high school where she is an instructor. Luckily, we had the assistant principal, Matt Kingsley, in on our secret. So Matt and I coordinated that he would call Joyce into the main office for a phone call and I would already be on the phone waiting for her to walk in. While he and Joyce were walking over there, I called ahead and so I'd already be on the phone. Matt told me that a woman named Mary would answer the phone, or it might be Lorissa, but not to worry because they would know what was going on. But when I called, somebody else answered the phone and I said, "Hi, this is Jenny Jones calling from California for Joyce." She said, "I'm sorry there are no personal calls allowed in the office. I'll have to take a message." Wait a minute! Why couldn't this be easy? Just then, Joyce walked in and took the phone. Finally, I got to give her the news that she'd be helping her little league football team. There's no question that she's a hero to the kids on the team, but she also told me that she was a foster mom and now has adopted four special needs children, ages 12, 11, 11, and 9. Now that's makes Joyce an even bigger super-hero. God bless you, Joyce.
3/14: Jenny wrote... "Congratulations, Joyce. Not only will this gift be great fun for the kids, it will also keep them safe."
3/14: Damon wrote... "Hi, Joyce. It's a wonderful thing you're doing for your local youth football program. They'll have you to thank for all the great new equipment they'll be getting. Congratulations!"
3/14: Steve wrote... "Joyce; I knew you were a hero the first time we met last year in class. You helped me survive my first year as a teacher here at Shawnee and I will never forget it. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor. Please accept my heart felt appreciation and congrats."
3/14: Travis wrote... "Joyce-I'm totally familiar with the expenses when it comes to youth football, and the dedication of the families to donate their time and talents, as I have two son's who have benefitted from these games. It's important to build the confidence of young men and women so that these traits can be carried over into their adult careers. I congratulate you for winning the Jenny Jones grant and know that it will really benefit these kids."
3/15: Liz wrote... "Great going Joyce, You're one of a kind. Your team will certainly have a huge morale boost thanks to you. There's no better feeling than new gear! Way to go."
3/15: Anthony wrote... "Wow Joyce you must have your hands full. You are a very special woman to be able to provide and reach out to your new special kids. What makes me more amazed is that not only are you focused on bringing four new children into your home but you are also thinking of many more children at the school. You are definitely an angel in disguise."
3/15: Nancy B. wrote... "Joyce Johnson is about the most remarkable woman I have ever known. I worked with her as she helped other foster and adoptive parents in the Louisville area. She knows how to blend competence, style, and optimism with the most fantastic sense of humor. Congratulations!"
3/16: Terri wrote... "Hi Joyce, congratulations, your heartfelt request has been answered! The kids need hope and help, and you've given it to them. You're a beautiful lady."
5/12: Jackie B. wrote... "Congratulations Joyce on your success. I have worked with several mother’s over the years, that have had kids to play for the Golden Eagles,& the Titians just to name a few. I am positive that the parents are grateful for all the hard work and sacrifice that you have made not just for the children, but for the parents as well. Keep doing what the Lord has guided you to do, and He will bless you in all that you do. May God Bless you and your Family."