We Have Lived: Julie Phelps

May 2, 2023

Julie Phelps


“There are many helpers in the world.”

I grew up in rural Athens County as the oldest of 4 siblings. I remember my childhood of not always having what others had, but never felt “poor,” looking back now, I realize just how poor our family was, but my mom always made things work, and we always had what we needed. Once I graduated high school and became a mom in my early 20s, I also experienced many of the same hurdles and obstacles of poverty that many of my clients face today.

While raising my two children, I learned how to navigate many of the social service systems, as well as finding the resources to help take care of my small family. This resiliency inspired me to want to help others, and I began my education of being a “helper” I was an Emergency Medical Technician for many years, but then life sent me another challenge, and I found myself a single mom. I found a job closer to where I lived, working with AmeriCorps doing health education in schools and the community, as well as running the local car seat program. After my grant service ended, I started working for a local drug and alcohol treatment agency working in schools and with adults to help prevent drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and as a youth mentor. While this job was amazing, and I enjoyed it, I felt I could do even more, so I returned to college and got my bachelor’s degree in human services management.

Once I had my degree, I was invited by a friend to come to a job interview with Integrated Services, and almost 12 years later, I am still doing what I love, helping others. My past experiences often mirror many obstacles in my clients’ lives. I can often see that these make folks feel overwhelmed and anxious, and through my love to help, empowerment is so much more important. This job is not always about doing everything for folks but gently encouraging them to see they are able to do these amazing things with a bit of positive support. When that happens, I feel I am truly helping. I live in Athens County, but I work in Meigs and feel it is like a second home. I am a CBHW and work as an Intensive Family Services worker for Meigs County. I am also a small business owner/artist and a volunteer firefighter in my community. My early life helped prepare me by showing that there are many helpers in the world; I am blessed to be one myself and hope to inspire others to become helpers too.

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