Joy believes in the transformative power of creativity and the possibility of a just and equitable world. And with the unique perspectives and deep empathy she brings to her work with ACEs, it’s no surprise she started her journey in the theatre arts.
Joy specialized in applied theatre, theatre for young audiences, and the development of new works for the stage and has directed, designed, produced, and managed hundreds of theatrical productions. She was a theatre arts instructor at her alma mater, McDaniel College in Maryland, and at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Washington, DC.
In 2006, Joy shifted to social services to bring her skills and experiences to bear on helping people understand and heal from trauma, with a focus on addressing the lasting impacts of toxic stress in childhood. She served as Outreach and Education Specialist for the KIDS Network of Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara County Child Abuse Prevention Council and, later, as the Communications and Outreach Manager of the Sonoma County Human Services Department.
In 2015, Joy signed on as the Creative Arts Director of Child Parent Institute, a nonprofit aimed at ending child abuse and strengthening the health of children and families in Sonoma County, California. Her focus was on researching, developing, and implementing trauma-informed creative arts programs that build social and emotional skills, promote healing, and reduce the impact of ACEs.
Joy has completed the Advanced Mind-Body Medicine Training Program with the globally renowned Center for Mind-Body Medicine as part of the Sonoma County Resilience Collaborative, formed to bring community-level healing to the region following the 2017 wildfires.
She has trained teaching artists in the effects of trauma on behavior and development, and trained educators, counselors, and other service providers in integrating creative tools, largely based in improvisational theatre techniques, to support connection, empathy, growth, and healing.