Joyce Johnson recently completed her last term as a board member for Mitchell-Yancey Habitat for Humanity. She served for 22 years beginning in 1992 as a member of the first board. During these many years, Joyce served several times as Secretary of the board and most recently as the board Vice President.
She immersed herself in numerous governance and management roles and tasks to help build and sustain our Habitat affiliate. She brought stability and sustained focus to Habitat’s mission to provide safe and durable housing for low-income families. Joyce involved herself in the many jobs required for Habitat for Humanity to build homes and change lives in our community, including :
- working with area churches, businesses, and social service agencies to help select families and maintain families in their homes,
- collaborating with lending institution and funding agencies to provide low- interest mortgages,
- helping to select building sites and maintaining building standards,
- establishing and supporting a volunteer base for construction and other tasks of the affiliate; and
- assisting with Habitat’s commercial retail operation at the ReStore in Spruce Pine
One of her more passionate endeavors was to create Mitchell-Yancey Habitat’s Family Support Committee dedicated to helping partner families secure and successfully maintain ownership of their homes. Guided by her training and experience as a social worker, Joyce helped families learn financial management, homeowner maintenance, and good neighbor concepts and skills. She maintained close communication with families in need, working as a safety net when medical, work, or family issues created difficulties. During the difficult financial times of late, she worked tirelessly with designated families, social service agencies and mortgage lending institutions to modify mortgages, helping families deal with debt by reconfiguring their mortgage payments. Many Habitat families can share how Joyce made it possible for them to keep their homes during troubled times.
“I have always felt passionate about helping families, who live in substandard housing, to be able to afford safe and comfortable homes. One can clearly see the impact on the health and well-being of children when their parents can own a home and become part of a community,” states Joyce.
Joyce is no stranger to the challenges of community organizing and governance in our counties. In addition to her service to Habitat, Joyce has been a leader in education and in the arts. Since relocating to the Celo Community in Yancey County from Detroit, Michigan in the early 70’s, she and her husband Gil raised their three children in the South Toe River Valley. During these times, she served as Co- Director of the Arthur Morgan School in Celo from 1974-2001, spending 7 years recruiting teachers and students for the school. She was a founding member of the Toe River Crafts Council, serving as President of the board and a board member, Coordinator of the Children’s Art Program in area schools, and Director of Music in the Mountains for 3 years.
Thank you to Joyce Johnson for all she brought to the Habitat mission in our community.