Connections was founded by Joan Foley, a Medical Mission Sister, in September 1991, and was incorporated as a Non-Profit Corporation in the State of Florida in June 1992.
Connections is funded by the United Way of Pasco County, Pasco County Commissioners, and generous donations from area churches, individuals and businesses, including generous donations from the Medical Mission Sisters organization. In 2000, Good Connections Thrift Shoppe was established to provide additional funding for the operational expenses of the program.
Connections is governed by a Board of Directors, elected from the community, who, with the Executive Director, guide the development of the program and ensure that goals are met and that the program remains responsive to the needs of the unemployed individuals who come to Connections for services.
Connections is an Off-Site Partner of the Career Central One Stop Center in New Port Richey and networks with human service providers, churches and businesses throughout the area in order to strengthen the circle of support in the community.
After launching and nurturing the program for more than 17 years, Sister Joan Foley retired from Connections in March 2008. She was elected to the Board of Directors in April 2008. Her vision continues today as Connections remains committed to its work with job seekers and employers.
….more on Sister Joan Foley.
Born into a large Catholic family in Worcester, Massachusetts, Sister Joan moved to Arlington, Virginia, at the age of 7. She first heard about Medical Mission Sisters while attending Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, and joined Medical Mission Sisters’ Community in 1954. After training as a Medical Technologist at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, she was missioned to Holy Family Hospital (HFH) in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
“I learned how to live in a totally new culture, and to balance that aspect with the responsibility of supervising an extremely busy clinical lab,” she recalls. Needing more staff for the lab, she initiated the HFH School for Laboratory Technicians, which trained young Pakistanis through a 2-year program. She also served as a local superior, and was then elected District Coordinator in Pakistan.
“We began working on a plan to give over more responsibility to the people with whom we lived and worked, as partners in mission,” Sister Joan explains. “These years were the most exciting and challenging in my missionary vocation … also the most rewarding in terms of the lessons learned and the growth that I experienced.”
Returning to the U.S. in 1974, Sister Joan and several of our other Sisters became involved in community primary health care in rural North Carolina. Next came community and leadership development work with minority groups in Camden County, Georgia. She then served as Coordinator of Medical Mission Sisters Eastern District for 6 years.
For more information on Medical Mission Sisters, please visit their web site at “http://medicalmissionsisters.org”.