Hello I am Joseph John Justin, the Jersey Boy with three first names and proud of it!
I always wanted to help people and growing up in an alcoholic family I knew for sure there was more good to life than this and thanks to my college education I finally understood the disease and all its effects in hope to make this place we call home a better place for all to live.
I graduated high school in 1989 and never thought about going to college until I met Cindy and her family. I was shown the right direction to go in and I was off; for no one in my family had gone on to college. I was the youngest of five and the first to go. I was scared at first, but then all just seemed to fall into place. Looking back now, college was the best time of my life, and I have the Lawrence family to thank for that! I even pledged a fraternity, which I recommend to all. Some really good friends came out of this (TKE) forever… Kyle, thanks for the memories and the help. I even played sports throughout my life, and this gave me much focus. Football, Wrestling, Baseball you name it, I played it. And I have to say that I was and still am pretty good at them.
I took all that my parents and siblings showed me, "good or bad" and put it to use.
I finally graduated in 1995 with a BA and went on to start my Master in Psychology dealing with children of alcohol and drug abuse, not to mention the fun I had with special populations. I've had the chance to run my own Boys and Girls Club, work with Alzheimer's patients, and even those with Developmental Disabilities - I truly enjoyed it all.
But the key to my story is that I knew I was bound for something greater, and to show all the children I have worked with that with focus anything is possible. I thought it were to be dealing with or playing professional sports, but at the time I needed to be focused there wasn't much structure in my life especially as a child and sports took a second seat to mayhem.
So I now knew that I needed help and had to reach out to someone and did just that. Therapy for about 10 years gave me a focus, direction and belief in myself to venture forward. I knew what I needed to do help others, when I needed it, it seemed to always be there and I know had the ability to give it back!
It was at that point that I was lucky enough to run into a person also named Joe while attending a sporting event in the Netherlands. We talked of what we were doing at that time for a living and really seemed to hit it off. Well, when the sporting event was over, we parted. We were not sure if we would ever see each other again, but this was not what was meant to be. Fate was on our side! I had taken a job in NJ, and somewhere along the line remembered what we had spoken about thet. Irony has it that the very first day of that job in the very first meeting, I found myself standing across the room from Joe. We were both in disbelief, but yet ecstatic. I mean to meet half way across the world and then a few months later in NJ - go figure.
In this residential setting for emotionally disturbed children, I felt at home with a whole bunch of surrogate brothers, sisters and kids of my own. It was at this point I felt so comfortable with my life, doing good for all who I came to deal with; my life's dream was taken. I lost my job, my life at the time and the dream of helping others just like me. I had become close with all I worked with, staff, children and even their families.
Well, in this story I can only give thanks for being let go, for being able to move on to something greater; with a strong possibility for even more greatness and eventually enough money from this to help even more in my own belief that is is so much easier being nice and able to put a smile on one persons face if for only one day out of their lives. Then it would be a good days work…
I had become an Actor and with some schooling in the area, a not too shabby one at that! I saw what I was meant to do, and try to reach on a daily basis the best I can be, in hopes that someday I can earn enough money to give back to the community, and I see that light now at the end of the tunnel. I hope to be that person who walks down that Red Carpet of dream someday, knowing that I have achieved such greatness and a level in life that will allow me to help other in the process.
I have met some great people good and bad, and even built a family of my own. Always wanting them, each of us, to know that we will always be there for each other no matter what the obstacle. I mean, out of the billions of people on this earth, why are a select few called Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Niece, Nephew, Partners in crime all who are dear to us all. I think with another opportunity in life it's time to take advantage of all that is around me, and help others do the same in the process.
I haven't got to the end of the tunnel yet, but it is in sight. And with the coaching I was giving in sports, to give it your all and never give up, I try to apply this to a new way of life in hope that I can make my family's mark as well as help other in this process.
I can only dream of being that superhero or superfriend of all who are in need, from the homeless person on the corner, to that person going through a divorce, and even that person who wish he was born with legs to do something we all take for granted.
So I Say Thank You With All Of My Heart,
and I Hope To Receive The Same Thanks Someday!
Joseph John Justin