Joyce Cleveland Barnett is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and has lived and worked in Washington, DC.
In 1984, she entered the Nursing profession as a Mental Health Nurse with the Prince George's County Department of Health. Barnett retired from the Nursing profession in 2007, and began to explore the next chapter of her life.
In 2012, Barnett received a phone call from the late Arlene Blevins who operated a Street Ministry for Women in Washington, DC. Blevins, whom Barnett referred to as Sister A, invited her to come back to the District of Columbia. Blevins needed an extra staff person to assist with teaching Life Classes to the women and to help in other areas of the ministry.
Barnett worked in Street Ministry from 2012-2014, teaching life skills to homeless women and distributing food at McPherson Square. Although the work was very challenging at times, Barnett has discovered her purpose.
“ I saw how society has a lot of pre-conceived notions about homeless women. I met some who were intelligent, had no substance abuse problems, but were living temporarily in shelters until they found another place to live. Many of them had that experience after losing jobs. I will continue working in street ministry as long as I am able.”
Barnett is also an advocate for people born with Autism, a syndrome that affects a person’s intellectual abilities and motor skills.