Being raised by parents who gave back to their congregation and community, Joy Decker was destined for a life of service. In high school, she volunteered for a service project helping children with significant disabilities that Joy credits as having a significant impact into where she is in her career, working with people with disabilities.
Early in her career, Joy worked on bringing awareness to the mission that individuals with disabilities are people, first and foremost. Finding early that most were unfamiliar with or maybe even scared of others with disabilities, Joy says it’s still one of her greatest obstacles to overcome today. Her goal is to change the hearts of those in our community towards opportunities working with the kids, or volunteering on service days, that truly change the lives of those they’re helping.
After working with other agencies throughout her career Joy was looking for a new challenge. What drew her to Esperanza was the sense of family she got from everyone there. Esperanza has since added additional services and now serves adults in their adult day program. They continue their learning, independent living skills, and offer vocational training. In addition, they work with artists with disabilities to curate their art at different exhibitions. Whatever art is sold goes directly to the artists themselves. It’s also been a great way for Esperanza to connect with the community and introduce them to the services they provide.
"Esperanza Community Services began as a school in 1969, created in response to the lack of services available to students whose learning needs were not being met in traditional classrooms. Our founder, Guadalupe Reyes, was driven to help her son Bobby, whose developmental disabilities were caused by spinal meningitis. Guadalupe Reyes made Esperanza School a place where students with developmental disabilities found a solid foundation of education, support, and encouragement upon which they could grow."