Daphne Johnston has put her master’s degree in gerontology and public administration to work for the community. After managing an Alzheimer’s unit in Valley, AL, she then moved to Montgomery, AL and served eight years as the executive director of a 175-bed retirement community where she oversaw a staff of 60. After being in senior administration for 15 years, she saw Respite as an opportunity to use her gifts and experience in the non-profit world of the faith community.
Daphne possesses a wealth of clinical, administrative, and teaching experiences that have allowed her to build a thriving Alzheimer’s ministry, which includes 120 dementia-trained volunteers and over 175 participants, and she is in the process of developing a network of similar volunteer-led programs across the state of Alabama. She is an advocate for those living with memory loss and their care partners, and she has made it her personal mission to help families, professionals, and the community better understand the challenges and changes that happen following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
On any given day, Daphne may be found carrying out a wide array of tasks as director of Respite Ministry, such as speaking with health-care experts, offering support to families who are seeking guidance for a loved one, headlining speaking engagements around the state, or playing pool-noodle volleyball with the participants. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and enjoying the outdoors with her family.
The Respite Ministry is pleased to introduce Laura Selby as the assistant director of the program. She joined the staff in June of 2015. Laura is from Montgomery, Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama in Early Childhood Education. After 27 years of service, she retired from Montgomery Public Schools in May of 2015, her last assignment being the Reading Coach at Blount Elementary.
Laura is a member of First United Methodist Church where she has served on the Board of Trustees, the Stephen Ministry, the Young Adult Council, a youth group volunteer, a confirmation mentor, and as Assimilation Committee chair. Laura has also been involved in many community activities. She was president of the Junior League of Montgomery 2005-2006, graduated the Leadership Montgomery Class of 2004, is a member of the Rosemary Homeowners Association Board, and participates in the Montgomery chapter of Alpha Chi Omega Alumni.
Of the many talents and gifts Laura brings to Respite, the most evident is her ability to make every person in the room feel special and loved. In addition to leading Respite on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she assists with the care partner support group and has started a grief support group called Good Grief. Her heart for service and compassion for all makes her an invaluable addition to the Respite staff.