Joanne Uyeno grew up in Long Island, New York as the youngest of five children. When she went to college, she developed a passion for working with special needs children and got her undergraduate degree in elementary, special education & reading. She also obtained her master’s degree in special education. From there, she spent much of her career evaluating children, establishing IEPs (Individualized Education Plans), and teaching both special and general education classes. The school environment she worked in included homelessness, children of gang members and addictions. The school district did not have the resources or enough counselors needed to handle the type of crisis the children were experiencing. This inspired Joanne to go back to school to get a second master’s degree in school administration. She felt as though that would help her have a bigger impact on more than just the small group she was working with. After Joanne retired and moved to Florida with her husband Don, she decided she wanted to find a way to help provide more mental health services and started working with a nonprofit called Samaritan Health & Wellness. That nonprofit provides family healthcare and counseling with no insurance required to help extend their mental health services. Joanne’s goal is that “no child will ever go without healthcare or mental health services along with anyone else in the community who needs it.” To reach that goal, she created a nonprofit along with her husband Don to provide more resources for mental health. Thus, the Uyeno Foundation was born.