Impact Story

A Mom’s Perspective: Michelle and Joanna


Joanna is 16 years old and has special needs and disabilities that affect her areas of hearing and communication.  Joanna started attending Girls Inc. of Bay County at the age of 13 during the fall of 2014.  Joanna’s mom, Michelle, recalled “Some of my first memories of Joanna at Girls Inc. is the excitement in her face when I would come pick her up and she would show me her new friends, teachers and the exhilarating teen room.”

“Our experience with Girls Inc. has been positive for Joanna’s development in the areas of socializing with her peers, increased confidence in trying new activities, and learning to use her voice more.”  Joanna has a Cochlear implant and has been working to develop her verbal communication skills.  “The staff at Girls Inc. have encouraged Joanna to use her voice and communicate her wants and needs as well as general conversation.”

Michelle says, “The experiences and skills my daughter is learning at Girls Inc. will prepare her in areas of work, daily life skills , health and how to be a good citizen un her community. Joanna will forever have the memories and foundation of attending a program that empowered her to be the best person she can be in life. Joanna carries her pride to be a part of the teen group all of whom have become her friends.”

Michelle shared that, “The day that Joanna was awarded Girl of the year was one of the happiest times of her life. The excitement my daughter displayed while standing on the stage receiving her award is priceless. “   Girls Inc. Executive Director, Niki Kelly, said “Normally we take a picture with each individual winner of the Girl of the Year awards, but Joanna insisted that one of her best friends who also won an award be in the picture with her.  There was no saying no to Joanna’s excitement to share that moment with her friend.”

“The new skills my daughter has learned at Girls Inc. while attending the “Living Safe and Strong” Program has helped her become more independent and very confident in defending herself. The day she walked up on the stage, got into her stance and successfully broke her board and while using her voice to say “No” I knew that was another day her confidence grew. There is no doubt in my mind that each day my daughter comes to this program she will gain and build new things that will impact her life forever. “ Michelle Rozier, Mom