For more than two decades, JoAnne worked ceaselessly to make a difference in the lives of older adults and their caregivers. Many times, her motivation to act was associated with national issues that had local impact.
JoAnne understands that transportation is vital to the health and well-being of older adults. She often says,
“For seniors, it’s all about the car”.
With that as the driver, JoAnne launched a series of mature driver activities focusing on safety. After applying for and receiving a grant funding, a new, multifaceted, initiative was created to address older driver concerns. Project Safe ROADs (Safe and Responsible Options for Aging Drivers).
Project Safe ROADs resulted in solid deliverables benefiting older drivers including working with communities on volunteer driver programs and counseling caregivers on conversations with their loved ones around the issue of “taking the keys away”. JoAnne did not close the door on transportation after Project Safe ROADs. She knew that older drivers would be at risk of isolation, anxiety and physically decline if they were not able to get where they needed to go.
JoAnne coordinated the first “United We Ride Coalition”. The Coalition was comprised of transit stakeholders with shared goals of increasing rider options and simplifying access. Recognizing the increasing needs for transportation in all areas of the county, JoAnne began to write grants to fund community-based programs in both urban and rural areas of the county. Her efforts to increase transportation options could only be described as great! In fact, as of the end of 2017, the United We Ride Transportation Coalition traveled enough miles, providing rides to seniors, to circumnavigate the globe …..7.5 times!
Responding to the diversity of need is what JoAnne does best. Today, JoAnne is also a much requested speaker at various events in the community, including at Vera House’s annual Elder Abuse Conference as well as at the annual Elder Law Fair. She also speaks to many smaller groups sharing her wisdom, insight and visions. JoAnne served on the Board of Directors of the Hearing Loss Association of America-New York State. She served as President of the Board for three years. Having a hearing loss herself, JoAnne is fully aware of the social consequences relating to potential isolation, anxiety and depression. Though no longer serving on the Board, she continues her advocacy.
JoAnne volunteers for the Interfaith Works annual Duck Race to End Racism, volunteering at the event and selling duck race tickets. She is an avid collector of rubber ducks, which she shares with her ticket buyers. As the event gets closer each year, JoAnne’s work area gets duckier and yellower…and every year she sends her “go quackers” email to help support the event. JoAnne’s lifelong work with seniors shows her champion spirit.