What is The Joanna Project?

The Joanna Project is our private effort to assist those who minister to the helpless, the weak, the unfortunate and the forgotten.

We believe it is important to share the blessings you have been given. Many people contribute by donating money or by volunteering their time to deserving places such as nursing homes and hospices.

We try to do those things. But we also have been blessed with an oceanfront house on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina and it is the goal of “The Joanna Project” to use the property to provide a place of rest and respite for people who have dedicated their lives to helping the less fortunate -- not because they are being paid, but because it is their calling.

We have been operating the project since 2005, providing weekly ocean vacations to people from numerous groups who fit that profile. The effort has grown every year and is a pure joy to us.

Among others, our guests have included the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina, the Sisters of Charity of New York, the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary, the Daughters of Charity, the Nashville Dominicans and representatives of Breakthough Urban Ministries of Chicago. We try to add a new group or two every year and in the past few years we have had a full summer schedule.

In 2011 we expanded the project to help military families whose lives have changed because they have taken on the role of caring for seriously wounded loved ones.

Of all the stories of veterans returning from places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the ones that have touched us the most are those involving families who have completely altered how they live to care for a loved one seriously disabled on the battlefield, often suffering major brain injuries, paraplegia or quadriplegia. It is a 24/7 job and it takes a grueling emotional and financial toll. But they do it out of love.

Working with the Wounded Warrior Project, we arranged that year for four such sets of parents to get brief breaks at the house. They would never put it in these terms, but what they are doing is a sacrifice for their country that is every bit as noble as the one paid by their child. That aspect of the project turned out to be a resounding success and we were pleased to work with additional groups such as the Quality of Life Foundation and continue hosting military parents and spouses every year since then.

We receive no funding for this program. All we ask is that the guests treat the house well and thoroughly clean it before they leave. We do not offer time in the house to be raffled off as a fund-raising tool since our main goal is to provide well-deserved breaks for people who could use them and who would otherwise not be able to go on such a vacation.

By providing those people an occasional break from their very demanding tasks we hope we are helping them continue their challenging work and, in this small way, we feel we are contributing to their ministries.

-- Joe & Pat Mianowany,
Arlington, VA

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