How It Started

We all experience stress and anxiety and have encountered people who keep talking about wanting to lose weight, change jobs, or quit smoking but are never able to get there.  In fact, more than 50% of all adults will experience at least one major depression in their lifetime.  Our emotional wellness is delicate and complex and it takes work. It affects those around us–spouses, parents, kids, friends–either lift them up or drag them down.  

Becoming a mother to an autistic child with moderate to severe behavioral issues plunged me into behavior modification 24/7 by surprise. For 20+ years, I’ve lived in Asia and managed marketing, sales, and products in the audio & video industry with teams in China, Taiwan, and the US to bring products to market for companies like Harman, and Amazon.   I loved working, closing deals, and making the impossible happen.  My professional success enabled me to obtain every resource for my special needs twins, one of whom is autistic, but the demands of motherhood increasingly clashed with my career when the calls from school requesting that I pick up my daughter came more and more often. I can write a whole book about the disappointments, frustrations, and rejections we faced.  The search for the right kind of support for my family has taken us from Taiwan to California, eight different schools, and countless specialists. 

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For more than five years, behavior therapists, counselors, and social workers came into our home 3 to 5 hours at a time, five days a week. My neuro-typical daughter flipped out one day and said “Mom, can we just have one dinner alone without somebody watching us?”  Even crying is a luxury when you’re a parent who’s leading your family alone.   I remember sobbing uncontrollably at church, away from the watchful eyes of my kids, feeling crushed between the multimillion deals I just made, with people who staked their careers on me, and the crumbling, suffering mess at home.  Despite every available help from the government, healthcare, and school systems, I eventually almost lost my daughter.  I won’t go into details–against the advice of our marketing and branding folks.  I’ll give my daughters, who are both thriving now, the choice to share what happened when it’s no longer so raw and when they’re ready.    

When I started developing curaJOY, many savvy investors, close friends, and even family asked me why I made curaJOY a nonprofit when there’s clearly a desperate need (thus a strong business opportunity) for what we do.   It is because of this conviction: Family emotional wellness is too important to be dragged down by business interests, personal egos, and bureaucracy!  Supporting families’ emotional wellness is the only reason why curaJOY exists, the basis of all our decisions, and I wanted it to stay that way forever. Our emotional wellness affects every aspect of our lives and each other’s lives, from physical health, academic performance, career stability, and productivity to substance abuse, crime, disability, and violence. curaJOY needs to be a movement and needs to be bigger than me.  It may seem like the world runs on money, but it is people that make the world go round.  People matter!  Let’s build them.  

I’m fortunate to be joined by two capable co-founders and outstanding volunteers from 16 countries since starting in late Fall of 2021.  Please join us in any way you can, and help people from the inside.  Contribute your resources, time, knowledge, network, or even stories.  

This is going to take all of us!

Caitlyn Wang

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