The name ‘Joy’ represents Joy Araujo well. She always has a smile on her face, has a great sense of humor and keeps things upbeat. She is also a beauty queen (no, really – she participates in pageants throughout the country!), and lights up when you ask about her dachshund, Franklin.
Joy has been involved with School on Wheels in one way or another since 2011. She started off as a Program Coordinator for Project Home Indy (PHI) and worked with the girls there for two years. The girls at PHI are expecting or recently gave birth, and are juggling school and motherhood. Joy assisted not only with homework, but as one staff member described it, offered a ‘ray of hope’ for the girls to have a better life. Joy’s passion for her work was evident. The girls there adored her.
She ‘floated’ to various sites to assist with tutoring where needed. In 2013 she found out that the kidney she had been given when she was 16 was starting to fail. She took a hiatus from working as a Program Coordinator, but continued to keep in touch and spread the word about School on Wheels. She would often be our special guest at meetings or celebrations.
In 2015 she came back as a volunteer tutor at the school she attended as a child, Fox Hill Elementary. Her kidney was still failing her, but she managed to fit tutoring in amongst 11 hours of daily dialysis. Joy continued to shine as a tutor and ambassador of School on Wheels and kept us updated on her life and, of course, her dog Franklin.
Over the summer of 2017 she sent us an email to sign her up for tutoring again at our new site, Cold Spring Elementary. She said she was doing well and that Franklin had recently hosted a hot dog roast. Staff members knew she was awaiting a new kidney and Joy was continually in our thoughts. In August, just as Joy was about to represent Indiana in the Miss International pageant, we received the best excuse we’ve ever heard for a tutor not returning for the Fall – Joy had received a kidney transplant and her doctor has advised her to take it easy for the semester! Everyone in the office was thrilled with the great news!
We at School on Wheels, wish Joy the best in her recovery and look forward to seeing her next year out at tutoring!
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