About First Coast
In May 2009, Joanne’s world changed forever, as she became the parent of a son with Down syndrome. Then in 2017, her daughter was diagnosed with ADD and a Learning Disability. Since 2009, she has devoted her attention to the world of special needs. She started out volunteering with the local Down Syndrome Association by way of being a Buddy Walk Team Captain, being on the medical outreach committee, and being a part of event coordinating for the lower region of Northeast Florida. However, Joanne wanted to expand her reach to impact all of those with disabilities. Over the last few years, she’s seen a great need to help parents, siblings, families, and individuals impacted by disabilities. Joanne launched CampAbility Special Day Camp in 2016, focusing on providing educational and therapeutic summer services to primary-aged children with special needs in a fun and safe environment. It is now expanded to include siblings of these campers. In the fall of 2016, Joanne came across Ability Tree, and after delving into what the mission of this ministry is, she was determined to establish a Branch in the First Coast. Ability Tree First Coast, Inc. was established in January 2018.
Joanne Alicea is the Chief Executive Officer of Ability Tree First Coast, Inc. Being a parent of a son with Down syndrome and daughter with ADD & a Learning Disability, Joanne believes in the collaboration of individuals, families, and the communities they are a part of to work together to create a culture of support, inclusion, and personal growth. She has done presentations on disabilities awareness in various settings, including churches, hospitals, and schools. Joanne is a certified Waiver Support Coordinator for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), with over 18 years of targeted case management & social services experience working with several non-profits, as well as the Medicaid State Plan and Florida Department of Children and Families. Joanne holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Communications from Palm Beach Atlantic University.