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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Aug. 30, 201112:00 PM EST

Nonprofit CEO Showcase: Joanne Hickox

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Executive Director, Founder Seniors on a Mission Inc.

Mission
Seniors on a Mission exists to love and encourage live-alone-at-home senior citizens, enabling them to live longer, healthier, more grace and purpose-filled, independent lives.

Serving Jacksonville
We are a Jacksonville-based 501c3 nonprofit organization incorporated Aug. 23, 1999, as Barnabas International Inc. We changed our corporate name to reflect our program name Seniors on a Mission Inc. on May 21, 2010.

Those served
Seniors on a Mission has nine bus pickup locations throughout three counties — Duval, Clay and St. Johns. The bus pickup locations are in Murray Hill, Ortega, Orange Park, Fruit Cove, Beach, Regency, Southside North, Baymeadows and Lakewood.

Currently more than 350 senior citizens are actively involved in Seniors on a Mission. Over a year those seniors touch the lives of more than 500,000 people in North Florida with the work of their hands.

Our seniors have performed their work at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Communities In Schools; Angelwood; Project SOS; Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies; Family Promise; First Coast Women’s Services; Community Connections of Jacksonville; Seamark Ranch children’s home; Healthy Start; Hope Haven; YMCA of Florida’s First Coast; Mission Harvest America; Salvation Army; Teacher Supply Depot; Englewood Elementary; Volunteers in Medicine; Sanctuary on 8th Street; Oceanway Elementary; Jefferson Davis Middle School; The Bridge of Northeast Florida; and more.

Biggest challenge
Our biggest challenge right now is usually everyone else’s blessing. Our biggest challenge is getting a flood of calls from senior citizens after a newspaper article or TV interview has been done on Seniors on a Mission, who then want to be a part of our program. We have been a “word of mouth” and an “in the background” organization for many years, and have accomplished massive amounts of work on a very small budget. At this point, we need awareness to enable us to acquire sponsorship for every senior already in the program before we can take on new seniors.

Biggest satisfaction
Seeing a senior’s demeanor, disposition and self-esteem change. Often when seniors first join our program, they are timid, disengaged, downcast, unsteady, unsure or depressed. Even at the end of their first mission trip we often see a smile that they didn’t arrive with. By the end of their second or third mission trip, they are connected, more confident, have lighter spirits and you can tell by their attitude that they feel appreciated. All the work that we do is geared to seeing that change in them. Their smiles and thankful hugs make our entire program worthwhile.

Hometown
Listowel, Ontario, Canada

First experience with community service
I was raised on a farm in an Amish community in Ontario, Canada. Community service was a way of life. My first experience with seniors was in 1993. I had joined Bel Air Presbyterian Church and was encouraged to tithe my time as well as my finances. I was busy in the movie business, and had no problem tithing my finances, but was working 14-18 hours a day and didn’t know how to tithe my time. At that time I was hired to audit a series in Paris, France, and was leaving the next week. I wrestled with God about how I could tithe my time while working outrageous hours in a foreign country. I was sitting in church and saw the “Love in Action” flier and saw a list of five people on the “sick” list that needed prayer and encouragement.

I arranged for the Love in Action flier to be faxed to me the next week (and every week following for six months) in France and I sent those ill people cards from France each week. One man was on the list the entire time I was out of the country. When I returned to the church six months later, I had a room full of senior citizens who wanted to meet me, because they wanted to meet the lady who blessed them for weeks with cards of encouragement.

Your job before Seniors on a Mission Inc.
Motion picture accountant.

Upcoming events
Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Book fair

Oct. 6: Office open house

Feb. 16: Sock Hop with

“The Four Preps”

Contact information
www.SeniorsonaMission.org

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