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Joseph was a happy kid, and he wasn’t afraid to show it. One of the few times that his kindergarten teacher had to put him in time out was because Joseph stood up in the middle of the class and started loudly singing opera. His mom isn’t sure where that came from (he certainly didn’t watch a lot of opera as a baby).

He loved nature when he was growing up. We took this picture of Joseph on a trail where he used to go to watch wildlife. He got to know the deer so well that he learned their calls. He later watched a documentary on deer and knew most of the information already.

Other people trusted Joseph with their secrets, and he naturally gravitated to the kids in school who didn’t seem to have many other friends. Over time, Joseph listened and counseled his friends when they were having a major life crisis. In high school, he talked someone out of suicide. Although he wanted to be a veterinarian at first, Joseph realized that people needed help with their mental health. Already at a young age, he had experience with mental health counseling that no book could ever teach him.

Joseph graduated from Goucher College with majors in Psychology and Religion and a minor in Education. He’s now working at the psychiatry unit of the University of Maryland hospital system. And he’s just getting started. He wants to open a therapy practice, and he’s already buying a house. “People ask me if I’m really doing this,” he says with a laugh. “And I tell them don’t worry. I’ve got a plan and I know what I’m doing.”

Are you a WIC Baby? We would love to tell your story! Email us at MDH.WIC@Maryland.gov or message us on Facebook or Instagram @MDH.WIC.