Julie Anderson, from Burlington, Iowa, has been named the 2023 Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Annually, a woman from the community is selected for her dedication to making the world a better place. On Thursday, April 20, 2023, at Catfish Bend Event Center, Julie will be recognized for her award at a community celebration.
Julie dedicated 44 years of her career to Hope Haven, an organization that empowers people with disabilities. Julie began her career right after college supporting adults with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. As Hope Haven expanded, she led a new development department at the organization, increasing the number of people served. Hope Haven served 35 people across two locations when she began her career. When she retired, the organization was reaching 500 children and adults across 30 sites annually.
“It was easy to stay for 44 years, knowing we were providing a much-needed service to very deserving people. I honestly loved going to work and being around the clients and dedicated staff nearly every day,” says Julie. “The desire to work and live in their own communities near family and friends is a right that is often taken for granted. I believe in Hope Haven’s mission to provide a lifetime of opportunities for the children, adults, and families whom we are fortunate to serve.”
Julie developed a love for serving her community as a Girl Scout. She was a member of the organization through sixth grade. Her mother served as a troop leader, although she led the grade in between her and her sister’s troops to not show favoritism.
“I reconnected with Girl Scouting when I became the leader of the Hope Haven troop. It was so much fun, seeing the girls become part of such a great organization that promotes self-worth and independence,” she says. “None of the Hope Haven troop members had previously experienced camping, so that was really special for them!”
Today, Julie’s daughter, Khari, is carrying on the family tradition of Girl Scouting, serving as a troop leader for her daughters’ troops.
In addition to her work at Hope Haven, Julie has also been a board member of the YWCA, Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Partners. She was also a PTA President and a Sunday School teacher for people with disabilities. Currently, she serves on the board of the Burlington Public Library Foundation, volunteers on the Staff Parish committee of First Methodist Church, is a member of PEO Chapter HU, and is part of the What-So-Ever Circle of the International Order of the King's Daughters and Sons of Burlington, Iowa. Julie also continues to help at Hope Haven.
All community members are invited to Woman of Distinction on Thursday, April 20, 2023. If you would like more information about the award and event, please get in touch with Shelly Cain, Chief Development Officer at Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, by calling 309-737-3007.