A diving accident in 1967 left Mrs. Tada a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, unable to use her hands. During two years of rehabilitation, she spent long months learning how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Her high detail fine art paintings and prints are sought after and collected.
Due to her best-selling books, beginning with her autobiography, Joni, as well as having visited 35 countries, Joni's first name is recognized around the world. World Wide Pictures' full-length feature film, JONI, in which Mrs. Tada recreated her own life, has been translated into 15 languages and shown in scores of countries around the world.
Mrs. Tada's role as a disability advocate led to a presidential appointment to the National Council on Disability for three-and-a-half years, during which time the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.
Joni and Friends was founded by Mrs. Tada in 1979 and has grown into four flagship programs that affect the lives of thousands of disabled people and their families. Joni and Friends serves over 500 special needs families through Family Retreats across the nation. Through Wheels for the World, over 14,000 wheelchairs have been collected nationwide, refurbished by inmates in correctional facilities, and shipped to developing nations where physical therapists fit each chair to a needy disabled child or adult. Joni and Friends, a daily five minute radio program, is heard over 850 broadcast outlets and this year received the "Radio Program of the Year" award from National Religious Broadcasters. Through ten Area Ministries offices, Joni and Friends teams provide church training and education to promote inclusion of people with disabilities.
Mrs. Tada is a highly sought-after conference speaker both in the U.S. and internationally. She is a columnist forMoody Magazine, the United Kingdom's Christian Herald, and several European Christian magazines.
Joni Eareckson Tada is the author of over 30 books. Her best-selling and award-winning works, cover topics ranging from disability outreach to reaching out to God, include: All God's Children; A Quiet Place in a Crazy World; Diamonds in the Dust; More Precious Than Silver; Holiness in Hidden Places; and Extraordinary Faith. A Christmas Longing includes reproductions of her best-loved Christmas paintings. The Life and Death Dilemma addresses the tough issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide. She explores the nature of Heaven in Heaven...Your Real Home. When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, is co-authored by long-time friend and mentor, Steve Estes.
Mrs. Tada and her husband Ken have been married since 1982. Mr. Tada recently retired from 32 years of teaching and has come on board with Joni and Friends to serve as Director of Ministry Development. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and recently received Family Life Ministries' Robert McQuilken Award honoring "The Courageous Love of a Marriage Covenant Keeper."
Programs and Resources
For nearly a quarter of a century, Joni and Friends has been dedicated to extending the love and message of Christ to people who are affected by disability, whether it is the disabled person, a family member, or friend. Their objective is to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of this group of people in practical ways.
The strategy of fulfilling the mission of Joni and Friends is primarily based upon Area Ministries mobilizing and equipping local congregations "to do the work of the ministry" (Eph. 4:12) to the disabled of their city and region according to Christ's mandate in Luke 14:15-24.
Area Ministries are:
Their primary work includes:
Christian Fund for the Disabled — Connecting Churches and People Affected by Disability
The Christian Fund for the Disabled is a matching grant program designed to meet the spiritual and practical needs of people affected by disability.
Through the fund, Joni and Friends seeks to strengthen relationships between people affected by disability and their local church.
We want to see people affected by disability involved in a warm fellowship of Christians who honor the Lord and practice what the Bible teaches.
Friends of People with Disabilities
Joni Eareckson Tada writes, "You're invited to join a growing movement of friendship with people with disabilities around the world—friendship that will bring people to Christ and transform lives forever! "There are over 600 million people with disabilities in the world in need of a friend. That's why I'm asking you to join me in a new adventure called Friends. By becoming a Friend, you'll join a growing number of people who want to see barriers to friendship torn down and people with disabilities enjoy a new life in Christ."
Wheels for the World—Giving the Gift of Mobility with Christ's Love
The World Health Organization estimates that there is a need of over 18 million wheelchairs around the world. In some of these countries the cost of a wheelchair can equal a year's wages, resulting in the impossibility for people affected by disability to ever receive one. Living in isolation, lacking simple mobility and cut off from life, many of the disabled are also tragically cut off from the local church. As a result, many have never heard the gospel message or experienced the love of Christ.
For more information on the special programs of Joni and Friends contact them at:
Joni and Friends
PO Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376-3333
(You may give a contribution through EPM. 100% of designated contributions go directly to the ministry noted.)