For our second Board of Director’s blog post of the year, we’re introducing Carole McAteer. An early member of the Joseph Maley Foundation’s board, Carole has come back to help us serve children of all abilities once more, and we couldn’t be happier to have her. Keep reading to learn more about what brought Carole to JMF in the beginning, and what’s bringing her back now.

How long have you been a board member?

I am a returning board member. I was a board member in the early years of the Joseph Maley Foundation, and then moved abroad for a few years. I am looking forward to JMF activities in 2019!

If you could describe the Joseph Maley Foundation in one word, what would it be?

Respect: The foundation of JMF is based on the tenant of ‘respect for persons.’

What do you hope JMF can accomplish in this new decade?

As a previous board member, I have had the opportunity to witness JMF events and programs develop from origin. I participated in the first disABILITY Awareness program around 20 years ago and watching the expansion into dozens of schools across the greater Indianapolis area has been heart-warming. In this next decade, I hope JMF can accomplish further expansion of the existing disABILITY Awareness program and the HOPE program, which encourages adolescents to have conversations about emotions, into more school systems. Through the expansion of these programs JMF will be established city-wide as a resource for adolescent peer support groups and continue to support children in their physical, mental, social, and emotional health.

Have you spent time volunteering with any of our programs? If so, would you please share your experience?

Over the years, I have volunteered and participated in the JMF Run, Walk, Roll. I also participated in the first disABILITY Awareness program at St. Monica School. Our classmates chose, at random, a physical disability, out of a hat, and spent a portion of our school day with that disability. Watching my classmates try to complete their everyday tasks with the disability and learning how to successfully approach obstacles instilled an empathetic approach to understanding the lives of those living with a disability. Now, almost 20 years later, I recall the conversations we had at the end of the day, listening to my peers’ change in vantage points and an increased understanding for those living with a disability.

Why does JMF and it’s mission matter to you?

I had the amazing experience of spending time with Joseph Maley and his brothers as their summer nanny. During high school, I spent my summers with the Maley family, and watching Joseph and his brothers interact was the best part of my day. Joseph was so loving and although, non-verbal, expressed sheer joy when someone walked into the room and had zero qualms about giving anyone a hug, coupled with a giggle. When Joseph would scoot down the stairs to come to the lunch table, all of his brothers greeted him with a smile, and he participated in the meal along with everyone else. The JMF mission of “serving children of all abilities” has molded my own career path and helped me to live the mission. Joseph and his family exhibited unconditional love and practiced the core value of respect, which can be so impactful, globally. I spent my post-graduate years in Kenya, working with adolescents and children living with HIV – an often, over-looked and marginalized population. Utilizing my experience working with Joseph, his family, and as a board member of JMF, I instilled that same value that they taught me of respect for persons and unconditional love through my work with HIV-infected children to create programs that would help them live better lives. I have witnessed the positive impact of the JMF mission, globally, and will always be grateful for the number of lives that have been impacted by it.

This is our “Year of Stories”, what’s your favorite JMF story?

My favorite JMF story:

  • My experience participating in the disABILITY Awareness Program
  • Volunteering at the JMF Run, Walk, Roll
  • Participating in the Chili Cook Off with my twin Sister and brother-in-law (both previous board members of JMF), and watching my brother-in-law receive the Crystal Butterfly Award.

Finally, what is your “Why JMF”?

JMF continues to impress me with their programs that serve children of all abilities. I choose JMF because of their core values and their mission that influence families and contribute to a more inclusive, and respectful society.