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This fundraiser ended on 08/01/12

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The family and friends of Julia Huffman are uniting to set up a Memorial Scholarship in her name.

The family and friends of Julia Huffman are uniting to set up a Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor Julia’s never wavering commitment to young people with multiple learning disabilities. We would like to have a scholarship each year in Julia’s name for a high school graduate with multiple learning disabilities seeking post-secondary education and hoping to live independently while prospering in society. Please give what you can for Julia and share this message with a friend so they can help the same way you did by pledging to Julia’s Scholarship Fund.
We knew Julia Huffman as a kind loving person who loved spending time with her friends and family, loved to write music, poems and essays, danced the rumba and salsa, loved yoga, played guitar and piano. Julia’s love for creative writing led to her writing her own poetry and music, which she shared with very few people. If you know the Huffman family, you know they are a soccer family and love it, now did you know Julia didn’t care much for soccer but played a season for her soccer fanatic dad? This was the season Julia learned to blow the best spit bubbles ever, Brian recalls. She liked to run marathons, loved a stray cat named Lucy, and truly enjoyed watching every sunrise and sunset? Julia’s mother, Debbie, can recall the phone calls from Julia at 6:30 in the morning because Julia loved sharing those sunrises with her also. That’s not all that made her special…
Julia’s first job as a 12 year old was “babysitting” or as she thought of it as, caring for someone who needed her. You see, at 12 years old Julia was already caring for a child who had special needs. Julia was a compassionate advocate of young people with learning disabilities and from an early age followed her heart. Her heart told her to listen, give, and to commit to helping people with special needs. It was then she felt her young 12 year old heart pulling her towards a very specific calling.
Julia knew she was a special education teacher way before she graduated from Michigan State University. As she grew, Julia learned sign language because that’s what you do when you know you’re going to assist special young people that need a unique way to communicate. She didn’t stop there, she knew she would need a great education and some great experience for the plans she had. With her families support, she succeeded in a big way. She was 2 classes away from completing her Master Degree when she left us.
Julia started work for LAP Respite Center while she was a student at MSU. The mission of LAP Respite Center is to “Enhance the quality of life for family members and caregivers of individuals affected by life altering conditions due to disabilities, chronic illness, or the risk of abuse or neglect by providing a wide-range of high quality, accessible, and affordable life-span services.” It was a great fit. Julia’s compassion and desire for helping people drew her to this incredible organization. She was truly loved by the families and children she worked with and respected by her co-workers because of her success with so many children.
After graduating from college, Julia moved to Chicago and worked at Misericordia. “Heart of Mercy is to support individuals with developmental disabilities in maximizing their level of independence and self-determination within an environment that fosters spirituality, dignity, respect and enhancement of quality of life.”
Julia last worked on the faculty of National Louis University PACE program in Chicago as a vocational instructor or job coach at 24 years of age. PACE “is one of the leading on-campus programs in the country that integrates formal instruction in academics, career preparation, life skills, and socialization to prepare students for independent living.” Julia taught students how to use the bus system, sought out work sites of interest for each student, how to interview, act appropriately, and generally made sure they were doing their job. The PACE program had a beautiful memorial ceremony for Julia at Northwestern University in Chicago. This is an excerpt from one of her student’s tributes.
“Gentle, graceful, strong, and wise, it seems so foolish that your time was just sprouting with us. I don’t understand why you had to be gone, when you could have been a great pillar. It seems so senseless, like lighting a candle then just blowing it out. But I don’t see your life as being partially accomplished, or half full. Your cup was smaller but you filled it to the brim with your work, volunteering, and unique life. I can’t deny that though I barely knew you, I am changed because of you. Like a chemical reaction that takes place in a moment, but the result lasts forever. Your life was not meaningless because it was short, and I know now that worth or accomplishment is not measured in years.”
To Julia her purpose was clear. She was helping and caring for people who needed her. She was indeed gifted. These were the organizations Julia was empowered and inspired by. And the rest of us were empowered and inspired by Julia.
Today you’re invited to become part of the group of people who completed a great task, to thank Julia for being who she was by being part of the group of people who set up Julia’s Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund is specifically being set up to honor Julia’s never wavering commitment to help people with multiple learning disabilities continue their education past high school. Everyone who was lucky enough to have Julia in their lives is a better person because of it and now is the time to thank her.
All rejoice at her beautiful, giving life and marvel at the impact she made on so many people.
Please give what you can for Julia and share this message with a friend so they can help the same way you did, by pledging to Julia’s Scholarship Fund.
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