FUSE is pleased to announce that Joanne Tedescohas been appointed as Executive Director and will officially take the helm in mid-August when she relocates with her family to central Indiana.
As a mother of child with a disability, a Human Rights Commissioner who has focused on educating her community about the disability population, a newly elected School Board member, and a public relations and branding professional, Tedesco brings a unique set of skills and experiences to the table.
In addition, Joanne was one of 34 Indiana residents chosen to be part of the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities - Partners in Policymaking Academy and graduated in 2017.
“Joanne certainly has a heart for the disability community. It was obvious when we first met her that her drive and passion for this population sparks a certain energy within her that fuels her to create events, educate families and do all that she can to make an impact,” said Denise Arland, previous Executive Director and Co-founder of FUSE.
As a Human Rights Commissioner in Michigan City, Tedesco worked tirelessly to educate her community and raise the awareness about issues that impact the disability population. In this role she partnered with Michigan City Area Schools, prior to securing a seat on the School Board, to recognize Special Education staff including support staff and therapists who enrich the lives of students with disabilities and push them toward independence.This year alone, and as a soldier of one, she developed, promoted and hosted six events – The Special Education Forum, The Autism Forum, Multiple Sclerosis – the Invisible Disability, The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Forum and two appreciation events for Special Education staff and bus drivers and monitors.
“The selection of a new Executive Director is one of the most important duties a Board of Directors has to perform to ensure the future success of the organization,” said Cheryl Blocher, FUSE Board President. “Joanne has just the right combination of skills and passion to lead our organization into the future. We look forward to her getting started.”
As the founder of the Michigan City Parents Support Group, she hosted events to try and raise the bar on disability awareness. The events focused on special education offerings and services in Michigan City Area Schools, parents’ rights and Article 7, sub-minimum wage with the showing of the movie, Bottom Dollar, Autism and ABA therapy, Down Syndrome and Vocational Rehabilitation services available locally to adults and children.
“It’s just simply my calling to increase awareness of people with disabilities to ensure equality for ALL people,” said Tedesco. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with families and individuals in Hancock and Shelby counties as well as others across central Indiana.”
In 2017, during Disability Awareness month (March) Tedesco announced the formation of Dance with Me, a creative movement class for children with disabilities, developed through a local partnership with a dance studio. The class offers the disability community the opportunity to participate in a freeing activity that has no boundaries.
Tedesco is also a Board Member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council (Indiana Disability Rights) and Special Olympics of LaPorte where she worked to develop a bowling league for youth with disabilities.
Families United for Support and Encouragement (FUSE) is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization (Federal I.D. # 35-2106430) that empowers families and individuals with disabilities and mental health needs by providing information, training, support, and encouragement. FUSE serves individuals and families across central Indiana, with educational events hosted monthly in Hancock and Shelby counties. To request information or support, contact FUSE at 317-462-9064 or visit www.fuseinc.org.