I’m Joanne Greco, aka Joanne Greco-Akerman, which is my married name. I’m a daughter, wife and mom to three humans, two canines, two felines and one reptile. I’m a native New Yorker, currently living in Central Florida. I’m a blogger, business owner, adoption advocate, unschooling mama, vegetarian and a libertarian.
I grew up in a typical Italian-American family, in Bensonhurst Brooklyn. My grandparents immigrated from Italy to Brooklyn in the early 1900’s and my father didn’t learn to speak English until he started school. My parents adopted my brother Michael when he was five years old. I was eight at the time and remember being excited to have a sibling.
As a young teen in the late 70’s – early 80’s, I immersed myself in punk and hard rock. The disco scene, that was so popular at the time, did not interest me at all even though Saturday Night Fever was being filmed in my neighborhood. When I started working, I knew I wanted to work in the East Village and Greenwich Village area, since I was already hanging out there with my friends. Being able to to to CBGB’s after work was great!
At 23, I was between jobs and saw an ad for exercise instructors for Elaine Powers and was quickly hired. I trained to be an aerobic instructor and got certified through the NDEITA (now NETA); National Dance Exercise Instructors Training Association. I moved up to manager and stayed when the company became Living Well Fitness Centers.
During this time, I met my husband. I was 25 and he just turned 23. We were both pretty wild at the time and had no interest in a committed relationship so we casually dated and hung out with mutual friends for about a year.
After a few years of working at the gym, I decided to go out on my own, and I opened The New York Dance & Fitness Center in Brooklyn. It quickly became a neighborhood favorite. My staff and & taught dance and exercise classes for children during the day, and adults in the evening.
My husband Billy & I got married the following year on June 4th. Our wedding was beautiful and we had a great time with our family and friends. After my dance studio being open for seven years, we closed our doors and my husband & I talked about having children and buying a home.
Soon after, the events on September 11, 2001 shook our world. We lost two friends that day; Marie was an instructor at my dance studio and Rita was one of our members. I’ll write more about this in a blog post.
A few months later, my husband, myself and my mother moved to Florida, where she had her husband were “snow birds”. We bought our first home a few months later and started the adoption process. In 2003 we adopted three siblings through foster care. About a year later we removed our kids from school and began unschooling. They were 6, 9 and 12 at that time. I kept two blogs for several years, one for adoption and the other for unschooling. They are in the process of being updated and I’ll link to them here when they are.
I’ll probably add more to this page at some point. Connect with me through my social links at the top of the page.