After several months of online meetings, the St. Augustine Lions Club returned May 10th for regular in-person meetings at the Village Inn due to Covid-19. Regular meeting are held the 2nd & 4th Monday of each month at 6:30 pm.

The program director Amy Moring introduced Ms. Joanne Alicea, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ability Tree First Coast Branch. Joanne Alicea, parent of a spunky boy with Down Syndrome and ADHD and a creative teenage girl with ADHD, anxiety and depression, saw the need for support for individuals with disabilities and their families in St. Johns County.
Joanne collaborated with the Ability Tree parent company and started a branch in SJC. Joanne makes presentations and trains on disability awareness. Among other accolades, she has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology.

Ability Tree’s Mission is to educate the community about children and persons with disabilities and provide service activities. They have operated through the pandemic with virtual socials, virtual dances, games, etc. They have held small summer camps for young children for 6 years. In the Summer of 2021 plans are to add a Youth Camp for ages 12-18. The organization is launching a mobile sensory unit that they hope to have in place by October for Disability Awareness Month. Ability Tree is one of the many non-profit organizations the local Lions Club provides donations each year.

Ability Tree First Coast is volunteer-driven and always looking for individuals to join their team as a volunteer, board member, and/or resource council member. They are also seeking individuals and businesses to partner with them financially to develop their supports to the disability community, which in turn impacts the community at large. If you would like to learn more, check out their website (http://abilitytreefc.org), or if you would like to get involved, contact their founder and CEO, Joanne Alicea, at joanne@abilitytreefc.org or 904-494-8583.