Entrepreneur Tina McIntosh is celebrating 20 years as Founder and President of Joy’s House, a multi-site adult daycare center. Learn how this woman of faith turned her passion into reality by taking one small step each day, and how the mission remains alive because of the joy found in each patient served
Multiply Magazine: How did you develop the passion that is the mission of Joy’s House?
Tina: Our mission is to serve adults living with life-altering diagnoses and their families by providing exceptional adult day and caregiver services. I’ve always been drawn to older adults, but volunteering for various organizations seemed like enough when I was younger. It was twenty years ago that I felt God calling me to open an adult day center. Through a series of happenings, God was gently tapping me on the shoulder, asking me to walk in this direction. But one day, God’s taps became a two-by-four. I wasn’t hearing Him, and He needed to get my attention. It was then that I really listened and did something about it. In that time, one of my friends committed suicide, and my dad was beaten by five guys with baseball bats on his way home from a bar. I was listed as his next of kin. I was devastated, confused and overwhelmed. Suddenly, I could see the [adult daycare] center with my eyes wide open, and I realized that I couldn’t wait any longer. So, I took the first step to starting this needed and impactful not-for-profit organization. I was 27 and had no idea how impactful Joy’s House would become for thousands of families.
MM: How did you get the business started?
Tina: When I was first moving toward starting Joy’s House, someone gave me the best advice— to do one thing every day toward my goal. And so, I did. I researched or I called someone; I asked for donations, held a meeting or prayed. Most days, I admittedly did all of the above. But the point was to do at least one thing every single day. All of those days eventually added up to opening our doors for service at not only our original location but eventually a second location. We have committed to opening a third daycare center in the not-so-distant future.
MM: Tell me about a time or a daycare guest who helped clarify and re-impassion your vision?
Tina: Years ago, I attended the funeral for one of our guests, Miss Kathy. Miss Kathy had been coming to Joy’s House five days a week for years. We had come to know each other well and spent a lot of time and emotions with each other during that time. It was beautiful being at her funeral, surrounded by her family and friends. The minister was sharing her life with touching words and familiarity. But as he began to close, he said, “We can thank God that Miss Kathy no longer suffers from that terrible disease called Alzheimer’s. She is now free. After all, who she has been these last ten years is not the Miss Kathy that we all knew and loved.”
It was all that I could do to stop myself from jumping up and shouting, “That Miss Kathy – the one living with Alzheimer’s – is the only Miss Kathy that I ever knew, and I loved her with everything I have.” The reality for us at Joy’s House is that we meet people after their life-altering diagnoses. We meet them when they are scared and tired. And we love them right where they are – for the person that they have always been, who they are today and who they will be in the days to come. One amazing day, I believe that I will get to see them in heaven. I can’t wait until the day we run to each other—when our bodies no longer ache or limit how we move, when we can have the clearest conversations, and we see each other as we were created to be. That will be a glorious day.
Adult daycare activities include art, horse therapy, and recreation
MM: How is your business model unique to who you are?
Tina: If someone forced me to describe myself in simple words, I would say I am an entrepreneur, but also a faithful friend. While Joy’s House is not a Christian organization, I don’t ever want to be shy about sharing my love for Jesus and how the Holy Spirit has held my hand from the very beginning of this adventure. People tell me all of the time how lucky they are to have found Joy’s House to support their caregiving journey and how we have saved their family and changed their lives. I usually smile and tell them that they are welcome, but what they don’t realize is that by allowing Joy’s House into their lives, they have changed who we are as an organization and who I am as a person. I am grateful for moments shared with Miss Kathy as well as other guests who graced us and allowed us to be a part of their care during this beautiful, yet vulnerable, time in their lives.
For more on Tina’s mission at Joy’s House, please visit http://joyshouse.org/about/.