My big brother Joey, I love him more than words can express! He and the Lord have made me who I am today! His love caused me to have a heart of compassion, a desire to help our community and change our world! After having been a special education teacher & professional advocate I brought Joey to live with me after some sketchy issues at his former house. When it didn't work out four months later, I was devastated and racked with guilt. The day we moved Joey into the new group home he was more than ready and said “bye” as if he lived there is whole life, not putting any shame or guilt on me. I cried like a baby as I drove away and stepped back from the “disability” arena feeling a little lost. Seven years later mulling over life and jobs with my hubby I realized my passion was back! That night I got up at 1:00 am and wrote a children’s book series about Joey and his life experiences. I had the first book written in one hour and illustrated within a month. Now 18 months later and the first book is published and available at Barnes and Nobles bookstores, Joey and I are closer than ever! As his youngest of six siblings, only sister and co-guardian I carry many roles for Joey but the best one is being his little sister! His smiles and little antics crack me up, helping to remind me that life is short and we are all more alike than different. All of us need a little more help at one point or another, we are all valuable members of our communities & families. Each one of us has and is a unsung hero! Now I am shouting it from the roof tops! JOEY IS MY HERO! Thanks to Joey I am now a published author, speaker and business owner. All was inspired by him and for him! As a sibling, guardian and professional in the field of disabilities I carry a unique perspective. My book about Joey, Will You Be My Friend? has acted as a spring board to speak about how to transition care of a loved one smoothly and why the sibling role is so important. That rolled into starting a service to help aging families find, sort through and organize supports, resources and materials for when the transition takes place. The most fun part is our book signings as this picture shows. Joey is the center of attention at all our local book signings and loves signing or stamping the books giving them an extra special touch. He especially enjoys meeting the pretty girls! Joey teaches me more than any teacher ever will. Even when it is hard to handle the truth and the future, his smile and hugs always brighten the day. I wouldn't have it any other way!