In 1998, Billie Jo Hansen (known as Jo or Momma Jo to those around her) transformed her personal home into an assisted living home for those with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues, in the belief that everyone deserves a home, not just a place to live.
In 2015, Jo noticed the need for additional programs and services for the mentally disabled in Wasilla, AK. She decided to take action, creating a service agency that could provide more support to members of the community. Thus, J & J Independent Living, LLC gained certifications to offer group home, supported living and day habilitation services. As of 2018, we have also added supported employment and transportation services to further benefit our participants.
Meet Our Team
Each member of our team cares deeply about our participants and helping them achieve their maximum independence. Our services allow individuals to improve their personal, social, and career skills, giving them the confidence they need to achieve their goals and interact with the world around them. Here, we believe that pride, loyalty, self-reliance, and independence are the keys to a healthy heart and mind!
Billie Jo Hansen started J&J independent living in 2015 when she noticed a lack of services for people with intellectual disabilities around the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. She quickly established a successful program built on the principle that everyone deserves a home.
Jo as most know her, moved to Alaska 1996 and began working in the human service field in 1997. In 1998 Jo transformed her personal home into an assisted living home for adults with intellectual disabilities and continued to run that home until the agency opening in 2015. Jo is proud supporter and volunteer coach for Special Olympics Alaska. She currently coaches the Mat-Su traditional basketball program.
Jo enjoys spending time with her wife and children in her off time. She can often be found outdoors fishing and camping in the great playground that is Alaska. Jo is an avid fan of Notre Dame football.
My Name is Rachel Turner, I am the Program Director. I competed my Childhood Development Associates right out of high school and worked as a Preschool teacher with children with disabilities at Kids Corps Inc. for 6 years. After going back to school, I completed my Certified Nursing Associates in 2003. I have been in the field working with individuals with disabilities for 10 years and have been with J and J Independent Living since the day we opened the agency. I have a wonderful husband, two children and two step children. My family and I enjoy camping and working at the gold claim during the summer, and playing pool and darts in the winter.
My name is Tatiana Polushkin. I have been with J&J Independent Living as a case manager/intake specialist for 2+ years. I have worked in this field for 10+ years. I started working with the elderly in assisted living homes when I was 20, then started working with the IDD population (group homes and day habilitation), after obtaining my degree in human services I started working as a case manager, I have been a case manager for 3+ years now. I was born and raised in Alaska. I grew up in a small Russian Old Believer community in Willow.
My name is Amber Kostek and I am a Case Manager with J&J Independent Living and have been here for a short few months so far. I have been a Case Manager for about 6+ years and have been in the industry for about 21 years from working in Group Homes to working in the field as Supported Living and Day Hab specialists, then moved into the offices to become an even better advocate than before. I am originally from Wyoming and then moved to Alaska in 2003. I am married and have two amazingly beautiful children. I plan to continue in this field to help those to become as successful and independent as possible while advocating for a better life style.
Hello, my name is Brett Ahern and I support J&J as a Residential Group Home Supervisor. I moved from CA to AK 2 years ago. I come equipped with a degree in Psychology and over 15 years of department leadership experience. I am a home body who spends time with my young grandson. I’m new to J&J and am excited by the agency’s respectful support of participants’ efforts in achieving their independent living goals. It’s an awesome approach that is producing stronger lives.
Day Habilitation Coordinator
Carrie Bucheger joined J & J Independent Living in 2016 as a Direct Service Provider for the Day Habilitation Department. After working for J & J for a year she is now the Day Habilitation Coordinator.
Right out of high school Carrie received her Certified Nursing Assistant License and started working with the elderly. Carrie has a son with Autism and after moving to Alaska she decided she wanted to work with under people who are in the same situation as her son.
Carrie moved to Alaska from Northern Wisconsin, where she was born and raised, in June of 2014 with her son and family dog.
In Carrie’s spare time she enjoys going hiking with her son and their faming dog. She also enjoys shopping and gardening.
I joined J&J Independent Living, LLC, in March 2018, as the Transportation Director overseeing all operations of the Transportation Program. My career in the transportation industry started four years ago as a shuttle bus driver for a local college in Idaho after that I became tour bus driver throughout south central Alaska. For the last two years, I have been in the public transit field as both and driver and a dispatcher. I was born and raised in south Alabama but have been living in Alaska since 2012 and I enjoy camping, hiking, canoeing, watching the northern lights and exploring Alaska with my two dogs, Maddie and Harley. I look forward to the opportunity to provide these new services to our community citizens who need it most.
My name is Mary Childs, I am currently the Finance Coordinator for J&J Independent Living. I have been working for J&J Independent Living 2+ years. I started off as the receptionist and then I moved into the finance department 6 months later. I was born in Michigan and moved to Alaska in 1991, and been here since. I have two children who are both graduating in 2018 from high school. I like playing World of Warcraft with my son. I also enjoy playing pool, bowling, and visiting family/friends.
Supported Employment Director
Mary Jo joined J&J Independent Living in January 2018 as the agency’s supported employment director, and started the process of certification through the Division of Vocation Rehabilitation and long term supported employment services through the State of Alaska.
Mary Jo brings 30 years of knowledge and experience working with people who experience disabilities in many different settings. She has supervised staff in Supported Living, Group Homes, Day Habilitation, and Supported Employment.
Mary Jo lives in Palmer, Alaska with her husband and her children and grandchildren in the area. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as writing and painting landscapes.
Residential Service Coordinator
Rob Boileau has been with J&J Independent Living LLC since March 2016, where he has focused on developing strong customer relations, training, and technical support.
In 2018, Rob Boileau became the Residential Service Coordinator of J&J Independent Living LLC, and in that role coordinates with Residential Supervisors, Program Manager, and Agency Administrator on providing various residential services and compliances throughout the agency.
Rob Boileau joined the military when he graduated from high school. Upon completion of his training was sent to Germany for his first duty station. He fulfilled his service with the military in 1999 and resided in Germany until 2008. Upon returning to the United States his current field was not available at that time. Rob Boileau became a Direct Service Provider did hands on training whiling working with participants with developmental disabilities. After 4 years of working within this field he was promoted to his current position within the agency.
Rob Boileau lives in Wasilla, Alaska and enjoys playing pool and console games.
Susan joined J&J Independent Living in 2018 as the Finance Director.
Susan holds an associate’s degree in Accounting and Business, and brings over 25 years of accounting and business management experience to the team. She has worked in all areas of business while focusing on accounting for many types of businesses.
Susan lives in Anchorage with her husband where they enjoy spending time in the kitchen together and being outdoors. She also enjoys playing games with her sons and reading in her spare time.
My name is Teri Jones and I have recently started working at J&J independent Living as the Receptionist. The people here are great. I enjoy the variety of both management and participants. Seeing the creativity in some of the participants has been wonderful. It does stir my imaginative side as I love to work with yarn, crochet and knit. I’m not great but it does relieve worries of the day. My grown children have insisted on my leaving the previous field I was in for over 20 years. My life has been so much happier since coming here. My family is very important to me and working here I am able to spend time with them as well as continue working to make my life fulfilled.
Tauhney joined J & J in fall of 2016 as an DSP/Program Assistant. She works with the team in many ways and currently focuses on activities at the Community Activity Hall. Before joining J & J, Tauhney worked as a recreation assistant at the local rec-center and AmeriCorps BIRCH member for her community at the St. Paul Health Center.
Tauhney loves helping building activities and getting our participants and staff motivated.
Born in Phoenix AZ and brought home to St. Paul Island AK where she spent move of her childhood before venturing down to central California to complete high school and back to the island, Tauhney made the decision to move to Wasilla in 2015 to begin life’s next chapter with her little ones. She loves spending time with her family, and watching her little ones grow!