JAF (Joni and Friends) has moved all of their operations from Florida.  A few days ago, they met with their Florida representative and told him that he had been laid off.  I understand, but this has not been confirmed, that they asked for the keys to his office, his computer and files.  It is suspected that financial concerns may have resulted in the closure.  For more than a decade, JAF has had one of their Family Camps in Florida.  Their state headquarters was in Orlando, Florida.  When you go to their national map on their website, there is no longer a dot in the state which indicates that they have operations in this state.. 

JAF is the premiere organization within the disability community.  As Joni Tada, the founder and head of this national ministry, has aged, it appears she wisely wanted to move the emphasis from a personality-based ministry to a ministry that highlighted needs within the disability community.  From the viewpoint of JAF headquarters, this move must have appeared to be a natural outgrowth from their prominence.  Their goal was to establish community-based support ministries to aid and empower other special needs ministries that were smaller and perhaps struggling.  That support has not actually materialized in to the type of intricate web of support that was originally envisioned.

Like Mrs. Tada, I believe there is a need for a national organization that supports, trains and certifies local ministries.  Even though a certification process did not appear to the part of the JAF vision, it is sad to see that this ministry is no longer operating in the fourth largest state in the US.

Advertisements