Stacey has been a practicing pediatric occupational therapist for the past 18 years. She has a specialty in neurological and developmental disorders and has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient/outpatient hospital, outpatient clinic, educational/school setting, as well as home health. Working with children who have disabilities and their families achieve the highest level of independence has inspired Stacey to take on a role of disability advocate to educate others about disabilities. Growing up, Stacey had a cousin who had a developmental disability. She watched him struggle and persevere in all areas of his life. It didn’t take long for her to know she would devote her life to helping children like him. She is also a freelance writer and lives in a suburb outside Chicago with her husband and three beautiful children.
Her enthusiasm for writing, her love of picture books, and her creative spirit were the motivational forces behind the creation of her characters, Joshua and his Dragon. She is now taking Joshua's Dragon on the road hoping to empower and motivate children to reflect on their own personal stumbling blocks and come up with realistic strategies to overcome them. "I want to change the way people perceive disability, with a focus on courage and perseverance," she explains. "With the 20th century push for inclusion must come the educational component in a way children can understand." Stacey believes we are all more similar to Joshua than we think. We all have a dragon!!!
Katie has been interested in art for about as long as she can remember, but there was a moment when she was nine years old, that crystallized her future artistic endeavors. During a family holiday her grandma displayed a set of illustrations and political cartoons that her grandfather had created during World War Two. Katie was captivated by her grandfather’s artistic abilities and felt an overwhelming desire to paint and draw as he did. She knew, from that day forward, that art would be a crucial part of her life. She began sketching that very day and has been at it ever since. Katie’s parents have been incredibly supportive throughout the course of her artistic evolution. They allowed her to paint murals over their walls, portraits on her furniture, and ink sketches on her jeans. They encouraged her to think outside the box, which is where, Katie says, "I have always been most comfortable."
Following her passion, Katie studied graphic design and oil painting at Indiana University, and graduated with her BA in Fine Arts. Through Katie’s artistic accomplishments, she has been given an amazing opportunity to be an artist for Disney.
Katie believes that art has enabled her to express her inner self to others. "When I am sketching and painting," she explains, "my mind is clear and I am at peace. I truly enjoy what I do and I hope to convey these feelings to others through my work." She acknowledges that countless people have helped her along the way and she appreciates their assistance more than words can express. “Someone once told me," she explains, "that one of the best ways to give back is to use your God-given talents to help others. I feel very blessed to be given the opportunity to paint and share it with those around me.”
Joe was the drummer and sound engineer for the band Makeshift Prodigy under Atlantic Records and spent the past few years drumming his way coast to coast performing music from their record, Illuminate. Joe is also a music producer and fosters his creative energy producing record albums for bands looking to follow in his footsteps. Robbie is an independent drummer playing live drums for various hip-hop artists. Coming from musical backgrounds of over 15 years, both Joe and Robby decided to take their knowledge of musical production and start a project from the ground up. "I have had to conquer many dragons throughout my life," explains Joe. "Being a part of the Joshua's Dragon Crew will change lives."