Decades before her life as a Napa Valley winery owner and philanthropist, Jo Ann Truchard was a school teacher in Austin, Texas. “My first year of teaching, I taught 3rd grade in a low income part of town,” recalled Jo Ann. “I’ll never forget a little girl named Barbara. She was overweight and every time she would make a mistake, she’d say things to herself, like ‘Oh, you’re so clumsy. You are just like a cow.’ When I asked her why she said that, she responded, ‘People always say that to me.’ I told her that wasn’t true, that she was a special gift from God. It was so sad. I’m sure her parents loved her, but they weren’t very kind to her.”
When Iren first learned of Cope from friends, she was interested in learning more and, at some point, getting involved. Her commitment to our mission was cemented about a year later when three year old Kayleigh Slusher died at the hands of her mother and her boyfriend. “The heartbreaking story impacted me so much that I couldn’t sleep at night,” Iren said. “I thought about my children, my grandchildren and my nieces and nephews. I couldn’t fathom how one child could be so privileged and another child so vulnerable that she could be killed by the people who were supposed to protect her”.
When Kathy Glass first got involved with Cope four years ago, she was impacted by the families she met. “I got to meet some of the families Cope serves,” she explained. “And it really touched my heart. I decided to do whatever I can to stay involved with this organization because they do the right thing.”