While we have highlighted our new staff members over the last couple of months, we want to recognize our incredible tenured staff who have helped provide consistency and continuity throughout the years. This month we would like to offer our heartfelt appreciation for Julius Jackson. Over the last 17 years, Julius has provided support, guidance, and education to all members of the adoption constellation. Julius is currently our Training & Volunteer Coordinator – although he has held many roles over the years - and is our longest-tenured staff member other than our founder, Betsie Norris. In his role as Adoption Network Cleveland's Training Coordinator, Julius guides prospective, adoptive, kinship, and foster parents, before, during, and after their journey. He also coordinates the professional training offered at Adoption Network Cleveland through the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP). Additionally, Julius coordinates volunteer efforts for the organization, supporting over 150 volunteers each year to provide more than 2,000 hours of service for the organization! We are truly appreciative of the difference Julius makes within our organization and for those we serve.
Have you ever completely changed your career path? If yes, what did you do previously and what inspired you to take a different road?
Prior to working for Adoption Network Cleveland, I was a welder, painter, and a landscaper. I also did light mechanic work fixing tires, oil changes, and transmission oil changes. I was inspired to take a different career path after I sustained a burn injury while working on a welding job. I used to weld the insides of car seats for corvettes and a piece of hot metal fell on my boot. I was off work for some time and ended up with an implanted device that blocks nerve pain called a neurostimulator. After recovering from my injury, I completed some computer training and started volunteering with Adoption Network Cleveland in 2005.
How are you personally connected to the adoption community?
I do not have a personal connection to adoption or foster care. I really didn’t know much about the adoption constellation prior to working here. We all know people who have been adopted or who have been in foster care, but historically, people rarely spoke about their experience, so I had minimal knowledge of this community prior to working here.
What inspired you to join the team at Adoption Network Cleveland?
One day I came into to the office to fill some envelopes in our old building. There were two floors, and I did the envelope stuffing in the basement part of the office. Linda Bellini also had a desk down there. While I was stuffing envelopes, I heard Linda talk to someone about their search, but I could only hear one side of the conversation. Linda showed such compassion and understanding while talking to this person. Just listening to Linda made me want to work for Adoption Network Cleveland, but I never actually thought I would have the chance to work here since I had never worked in an office position before.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family. Especially my two granddaughters, one is 4 and the other is 4 months old.
What do you like most about your current role?
My favorite part about serving in my current role is when people call me inquiring about the process of adoption/foster care. Often, they have called several places before reaching out to Adoption Network Cleveland. When I am able to give them the information that they need to move forward with the process, they are often so grateful to finally have a reliable, non-biased source of information. Sometimes, they have not had an opportunity to even speak to anyone, and they are very happy that I answered my phone and was able to guide them in their journey.
I realized when I was off work after my injury that I love to help people in any way that I can, and as long as I was helping others, I would be a very happy person.
Thank you Julius for continuing to be a valuable member of Adoption Network Cleveland!
Want to connect more with Julius? Julius can be reached at Julius.firstname.lastname@example.org or (216) 482-2324.