Thank You to The Mapps
A Four-Year Legacy of Family Memories
Newlyweds Rachel and Jeremy Mapp (married for only three months) decided to apply for the positions of house parents for Joe’s Place four years ago. In researching the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District for a teaching position, Jeremy was immediately attracted to the mission and work of Joe’s Place. Jeremy called Rachel at her work and Rachel began to explore Joe’s Place “by watching video clips of Matt Seilback’s documentary film about the house”, said Jeremy. Once she began to cry, Rachel remembers, she knew she would agree to the house parent role with Jeremy. Since becoming house parents, the Mapps have devoted four years to taking care of the boys with unconditional love, patience, counsel, understanding and support.
Rachel and Jeremy have celebrated the high school graduations of six boys since joining the Joe’s Place family. From the beginning of their commitment to the home, they have had many “aha” moments and have built many memories. Rachel shared recently that she was impressed by three of the boys being able to “adopt” one another unconditionally when they lived at Joe’s Place together. When one of the boys had a serious breakup with his girlfriend, one of his Joe’s Place “brothers” dropped everything to go out with Rachel and take his friend over to the high school track for some fresh air and then go out for dinner to offer love and support. One special Christmas, Rachel remembered that one of the boys was more excited about what his “brother” would receive than any other preparations they went through to get ready for the holiday. It seems that for many of the boys, living in this home with their Joe’s Place family created many opportunities for the boys to think about themselves and others. Rachel and Jeremy always worked hard to create special occasions for the boys to celebrate – like birthdays – and discovered that one of the boys had never really had a homemade dessert, decorations around the house, or other things families typically do together to celebrate a birthday. Rachel shared that building these activities into the everyday routines was one of the special roles she and Jeremy always enjoyed together. Jeremy shared that both he and Rachel have recognized that some of the boys come to the house with a team to support them. For some of the boys’ networks of parents, family or friends, the desire to collaborate with the house parents and the school district has been instrumental in the success of the boys.
For Rachel and Jeremy, their work and devotion to Joe’s Place has been a family affair. Both sets of their parents have provided guidance to them and have supported Joe’s Place in a variety of ways. The Mapps have received encouragement for things like learning patience with teenagers to reminders about their own work and life balance. Their parents have attended the boys’ soccer and basketball games, graduation parties and other celebrations. Like Rachel and Jeremy’s parents did for them when they traveled to Truman State University to begin their lives in college, the Mapps drove four of the boys to college and helped them move in. Witnessing each of the boys’ feelings of independence and accomplishment has given Rachel and Jeremy a tremendous sense of completion.
Building on the many ways in which family unfolds, Harris Mapp, who was born two years ago, has only known Joe’s Place as his home. Looking ahead to the end of the school year, Rachel and Jeremy plan to move on from Joe’s Place with Harris continuing to help people through their professions – including their new roles as “agents of change” with Clarity Street Realty. They both see their work helping people own their first home as a “big, empowering accomplishment” for people living in their community. Jeremy plans to finish his EDD in Educational Leadership at Maryville University in May 2019. Both of the Mapps are committed to continuing their work focused on youth and development.
For over 10 years, Joe’s Place has built a foundation of love and support provided by house parents Alyssa and Dan Reeve and Rachel and Jeremy Mapp. Like the Reeves, Rachel and Jeremy have made a lasting impact on the lives of the boys they cared for and we wish them every happiness, new adventure and success as we thank them for their years of devoted service to Joe’s Place.