Columbia resident gives back in many ways
COLUMBIA - From the classroom to the boardroom, Julie Middleton has worked at various level in education.
Beginning her career as a first grade teacher in 1971, Middleton now serves as director of organizational development for MU Extension, which is the outreach arm of the University of Missouri system.
"We run the gamut, across the broad range of assistance that families and youth may need in the community" Middleton said.
With three degrees and many awards, Middleton continues to serve the community in several capacities.
She serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club in Columbia, volunteers at the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
"It means so much to me to go over to that club and see the youth, and see the impact we've had on the youth," Middleton said.
During her tenure on the Boys and Girls Club, Middleton helped raise money to build a new facility including a technology room, literacy room and music room.
Now Middleton has her eyes on fundraising for a new indoor gym to help promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.
"I want to communicate and pass on to the youth in our community, they can achieve as well," Middleton said. "They can be anything they want to be."
Middleton credits influential women like her mother and Muriel Battle as important mentors who have helped shape her in her career.
That explains why Middleton did not turn down the opportunity to be co-director and co-producer of the Mid-America Emmy award-winning documentary on Elliot Battle.
"It is a story I believe really needed to be told," Middelton said.
As a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Middleton is also engaged in community service projects like Cleanup Columbia and assists in mentoring young girls in the Gems Program.
Gems teaches at-risk high school students life skills, personal development and offers a safe recreational environment.
"For those young girls in Gems, I want them to know that they can have a terminal degree as well," Middleton said. "If they just want to work for it."