Marsha Florence is the founder of both The “Just Ask” Talk Show and The “Just Ask” Foundation, Inc. a non-profit organization. Although separate mediums, they run in conjunction with one another to further advocate quality services for the disabled, elderly, caregivers, and the general public. Marsha has been the creator, host and executive producer of The “Just Ask” Talk Show since its inception 17 years ago.
The show is aired in over 78 cities in the Wayne, Oakland and Tri-County areas along with 15 additional states on the Telos Network. She is also the founder and director of the “Just Ask” foundation since it was established in 1998.
Marsha is an active volunteer for the arts, a motivational speaker and an advocate for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
In addition to her duties at “Just Ask”, Marsha works full time for the State of Michigan, as a Job Placement Specialist for persons with disabilities. As a placement specialist Marsha works tirelessly to assist individuals with disabilities in finding viable employment. Marsha has dedicated both her professional career and personal life to providing assistance to the disabled and elderly.
A Passion for Helping
The seeds of her passion for the disabled came at the tender age of five years old. This is the age where most children enter kindergarten, write their name, have their first big birthday party. For Marsha, this was the year that she discovered she was not like “most” children, It was discovered that five-year-old Marsha suffered from a severe hearing loss in her right ear. Later it was discovered that this hearing loss was a result of her having a bout with the Mumps twice. This was the first time Marsha was now labeled, “disabled”, but it would not be the last. This label would affect the rest of her life and present her with several obstacles along the way.
As a master lip reader and basic sign language person, Marsha thought she had control over her disability, but in her first year as a student at a major college she discovered that her hearing loss was affecting her grades. Marsha was expelled from college from the results of having poor grades due to her hearing loss it was difficult for her to understand her lesson and she considered giving up hope of ever graduating. It was then that a family friend encouraged her to contact the Michigan Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (formally known as Michigan Rehabilitation Services) for help. They provided Marsha with her first set of hearing aids at the age of 22 and assisted in re-enrolling her in College.
As time went by, Marsha observed and experienced prejudices regarding people with disabilities and made a promise to herself that when she graduated from college, she would find a way to help them.
As Marsha recalls the first day she wore her aids she heard running water for the first time! And her mother cried with joy! Marsha graduated from Mercy College of Detroit, with a B.S.W. in Social Work and Associate Degree in Gerontology.
As time went by, Marsha observed and experienced prejudices regarding people with disabilities and made a promise to herself that when she graduated from college, she would find a way to help them. After working as a social worker for several years, Marsha decided to take a course in television production. She developed a script for a show that would provide useful and supportive services for the disable, elderly and their caregivers.
Active & Engaged
In addition to her formal training Marsha is a trained Camera Operator and television producer and has acted in motion pictures, television commercial and stage plays as well as owned and operated a fast food restaurant. Marsha is also a motivational speaker and volunteers for the arts. She is on the board of several charitable organizations. She is an active member of Community Media Network and served on its Board of Directors as a representative from Troy, MI.
In 2000, Marsha Florence was the keynote speaker for Eastern Michigan University’s Disability counsel and a contributing writer for the Michigan Chronicle. Recently, Marsha became a new board member of Sarcoidosis Foundation. Marsha works directly with over 100 organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties that support and provide services for individuals, families and caregivers in the area of health, education, technology, finance, legal rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The “Just Ask” talk show has won many awards for both content and production value. In 2002 and 2004 the show received the Producers Choice Award for Overall Community Impact for Excellence in the Community for Oakland County.
Marsha Florence has spent years working diligently on behalf of the disabled, personally and through the “Just Ask” talk show and foundation. Whether she is hosting her show or exercising her duties as Director of her organization or in her personal and professional life, Marsha’s focus is on improving conditions for the disabled and elderly. Her pursuit of new resources, services, technology and programs for the disabled, elderly their caregivers and the general public is continuous.