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The Foundation was formed in memory of 7 year old Brownie Scout, Joan Angela D'Alessandro. Its mission is to give neglected children positive experiences that will make them feel cared for and help them develop an outlook that will be beneficial for their future. The Foundation seeks to raise awareness of child protection and safety issues. Its message is," Remember Joan Today So Tomorrow's Children Will Be Safe." It also advocates for the rights of victims and provides victims with support.
The Joan Angela D'Alessandro Foundation was formed in memory of 7 year old Joan Angela D'Alessandro. Although she was sexually assaulted and murdered while delivering Girl Scout cookies to a neighbor on April 19, 1973, her spirit lives through the work of the Foundation and a movement. The primary work of the Foundation is to invest in the safety, protection and well being of children by spreading the message through preventative measures such as education, safety awareness and events that benefit neglected youth. The Joan Foundation also promotes victims' rights and supports victims. It is involved locally and nationally.
The Foundation's president, Rosemarie D'Alessandro, is a member of Surviving Parents Coalition and works with advocates from all over the country on child protection measures. At the recent fundraiser Gala, SPC members Mary and Doug Lyall, from upstate New York, spoke about their daughter who has been missing since 1998. This past March, Rosemarie spoke on behalf of Jessica's Law with Jessica's father Marc Lunsford in Trenton, New Jersey.
National work began as far back as 1998 when the Foundation was formed and a federal version of Joan's Law was signed by President Clinton. This law mandates life without parole for anyone who murders a child in the commission of a sex crime. There have also been versions passed in New York and in New Jersey.
The Foundation has been helping to provide life changing experiences for children in homeless shelters who have only known pain and misfortune. It gives the children and youth opportunities to go on excursions and have season passes to Great Adventure. This summer the Joan Foundation contributed $4,500 so the children could go to more than 15 different places such as the New Jersey Shore, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Science Center and out for Sunday night ice cream treats. These recreational events were used as "rewards" for progress in terms of behavior and treatment goals. By having more opportunities for recreation both boys and girls, were more motivated to do the hard work of overcoming their challenges, the very causes of them being in placement. Thus the staff saw a difference in the children trying to do well and developing good habits because they knew there were so many activities planned. The Foundation would like to be able to help more homeless, neglected and abused youth so they will be able to have motivational activities throughout the year. It would like to broaden its scope to include not only children from Passaic County but in other counties throughout New Jersey and counties in New York State.
We also will be getting involved to team up with YAP, At Risk Youth Summer Camp career program which is a nationwide program. The summer camp is designed to teach the children about future career opportunities while working with puppies in training for American Security It is a major goal of the Joan Foundation that youth will be more prepared for further education and a promising future
- Rosemarie D'Alessandro
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