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Say Hello to Our New Staff!

January is almost over, but we don’t want the first month of 2020 to slip by without properly introducing JMF’s newest staff members! Keep reading to hear what they’ve learned, what they’re most excited for, and why they’ve chosen to join the JMF family.

Bri Dimit: disABILITY Awareness and HOPE Assistant Manager

What have you learned in your time at JMF so far?

I have learned JMF radiates inclusion, kindness, and compassion in every facet of the organization.

What are you most excited about as a new JMF staff member?

I am excited to immerse myself in all aspects of JMF in hopes to support, aide, and grow our mission to serve children of ALL abilities.

What is your “why JMF”?

At the age of five I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Due to my personal experiences living with seizures, I have become passionate about creating space for individuals in the community to feel safe to show up and share as their authentic selves. Understanding that we are all uniquely made with a purpose, and that every person is enough, today. At JMF I am able to live out this practice each and every day. This is why I am grateful to be a part of JMF and everything it’s founded on.

Jeanne Spaletto: Accounting and Stewardship Manager

What have you learned in your time at JMF so far?

I have known about the JMF disABILITY Awareness program for years. Two of my children had the incredible opportunity to be on a Joseph Maley Friends puppet troupe that performed at multiple schools and community events. In my short time here, I have quickly realized that JMF is much bigger than the disABILITY Awareness program. While that program is amazing and growing rapidly, we are also making an impact through programs like HOPE, Joseph Maley Fitness, and Joseph Maley Family Support, as well as our Junior Board of Directors and our Professional Development opportunities.

What are you most excited about as a new JMF staff member?

I am most excited about the opportunity to work with this passionate team who is committed to our mission of serving children of all abilities. My role supports every facet of this organization which means I will personally work alongside every staff member.

What is your “why JMF”?

I have one of the sweetest goddaughters you can imagine. Her smile is infectious and her laughter is one of the best sounds you can hear. She happened to be born without a tiny piece of her first chromosome…just a small tip is missing. Because of this, she communicates via sign language or with a device (when she wants to – she can be a stinker like every other twelve year old), and she has received multiple therapies since birth to accomplish tasks that come naturally to so many. At one point, her parents were unsure if she would ever walk unassisted.
Today I look out my window and see Lily jumping on a trampoline…jumping. The little girl that might not walk can now run and jump thanks to the tireless dedication of a loving family who has never stopped advocating on her behalf. It takes a wide support system to raise a child with a disability, and I am blessed to be part of an organization that not only teaches awareness but also supports families and children through their programming.

Gracie Poynter: Joseph Maley Family Support Associate and Junior Board Coordinator

What have you learned in your time at JMF so far?

There is so much to learn at JMF. I have learned the best way to spread a message, is to believe in one. JMF has given me a cause to believe in and for that I am forever grateful. I also learn something new every day, either about a life that is lived differently than my own, or a life changed by the work that JMF does – it really is an amazing organization.

What are you most excited about as a new JMF staff member?

I am most excited to make amazing professional relationships both in JMF and outside JMF. I also would love to spread the word on Special Education Law and work with more firms and attorneys in the upcoming years. As for Junior Board, I cannot wait to help the teens fulfill their potentials and chase after being the best versions of themselves both personally and professionally.

What is your “why JMF”?

I choose JMF for the kids. The kids who have a voice to spread awareness, and the kids who need a voice. I used to be a kid who was afraid to use her voice for issues I cared about, but being at JMF taught me that I have the precious opportunity to make a difference and teach people that we all have the ability to step outside the door and make a difference. I once thought I just needed a job, but I found out I needed a mission, JMF provided that for me. I get to put my passion of working in law and supporting a mission together, and it’s the most rewarding position to be in.

Lauren Maley: Development Associate 

What have you learned in your time at JMF so far?

So far, during my time at JMF, I have learned how many people it takes to keep the organization and all its programs and departments running smoothly. Everyone is so talented and works incredibly hard.

What are you most excited about as a new JMF staff member?

I am most excited to have found a job where I truly feel supported and lifted up by my co-workers and bosses. The team at JMF is so kind and does such beautiful work; I feel very lucky to get to learn from all of them and help them change the lives of so many people.

What is your “why JMF”?

My “Why JMF” is deeply personal, for a few reasons. Joseph was my first cousin. We were the same age and eldest children to our fathers, so grew up together. When Joseph died and I started my freshman year at college, I felt guilty. I always wanted to be able to support my family and do my part to carry his memory on. When I was 25, I was diagnosed with SLE, or Lupus, and I now live my life every day with a number of disabilities as a result of the disease. One of my biggest sources of support and inspiration came from my Aunt Vivian and Uncle John, who have the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known. I am so passionate about awareness being brought to  abilities of all kinds. It feels like the perfect fit for me to be doing work with JMF. It’s an honor.