In our new series, “The Board Corner,” we are getting to know our Board of Directors and learning what drew them to serving with Sister Schools.
Julia’s history with Sister Schools goes back 15 years, when she first traveled to Uganda on a student distribution trip in 2005. Since then, she has grown up, graduated college, landed a job in PR/communications at a national architecture firm, and oh yeah, joined the Board of Sister Schools!
Outside of work and volunteering, she loves to travel, be in nature, and spend time with family and her dog Ziggy.
Learn more about Julia’s journey as a Sister Schools-alumni-turned-board-member and why she wants to “pay it forward” for the next generation of students.
To start, tell us how you got involved with Sister Schools.
Sister Schools did a supply drive at Catharine Blaine K-8 School when I was in fifth grade. During Program Director Terry McGill’s presentation, he offered my class a unique opportunity to go on a student trip to Uganda so we could distribute our donations firsthand, spend time with the students at our partner schools, and learn more about life in Uganda.
I brought the flyer home and told my parents I wanted to go. My mom agreed on one condition: she would chaperone. That trip in 2005 opened both of our eyes to the dual impact of Sister Schools. My mom stayed very involved, joining the Board and traveling back to Uganda several times over the years while I was still in school.
A decade later, in 2015, I returned to Uganda for another distribution trip. Re-engaging with Sister Schools as an adult, with more time to volunteer and some PR/marketing skills under my belt, seemed like a good way to “pay it forward” for the opportunity I had as a student. I started by volunteering on the gala planning committee for two years and then joined the Board in 2017.
As a PR/marketing professional, what part of our mission and program connects with you most?
Storytelling through picture pairs. This is unique to Sister Schools and it visually explains what we do. Can you imagine how many photos Terry and others have captured over the last 30 years? Each of those photos tells a powerful story. In PR, it’s all about connecting with people on a human level through stories.
Why is it rewarding for you to serve on the board?
It’s important to me that today’s students have the same opportunity I did as a fifth grader. Realizing that you can make a positive impact, no matter who you are, where you come from, or how much money you have, is something that stays with you the rest of your life. As a Board member, I can help spread that message.
If you could ask the local community to do ONE THING to support Sister Schools this year, what would it be?
Before COVID-19, I would ask you to consider traveling to Uganda like I did. Now, acknowledging how much the pandemic has changed things, I would encourage you to support Sister Schools in whatever way makes sense for you right now. The easiest thing you can do is follow Sister Schools on Facebook and Instagram for updates, stories, picture pairs and opportunities to give.