Julie McGarvey came to Operation Exodus with a passion for education, having spent years in the classroom as an educator, and guiding three of her own children through numerous New York City schools. Julie has seen firsthand how minority students and families can be shortchanged by the large, under-resourced public school system.
Julie was born and raised in Detroit Michigan, both her parents working as educators. She attended Central Michigan University where she got a degree in Communications. After graduation, she made her way to New York to write and produce videos for corporate clients and work in feature films. A string of free-lance jobs led to years of experience creating marketing pieces and devising marketing strategies for companies like SWIFT, the international banking communications network and Waters Communications, a financial technology publishing company.
Julie first volunteered at Operation Exodus in 2010, and was quickly moved by what she witnessed. Rather than the simple after school program she was expecting, Julie also saw high school students with troubled lives find a home base, and Spanish-speaking parents getting translation help and advice on how to apply for schools. She also watched as elementary students not only learned literacy, but were also exposed to important skills like empathy, teamwork, and self-control.
“We are deeply grateful for every volunteer, mentor, donor and friend-they make it all possible.”
One day, Julie was asked to give homework help to a 2nd grader. He spoke very little English, but was apparently a math whiz. He worked quickly, smiling and occasionally showing off his work. Then he turned the page…“and his expression changed,” she remembers. “He looked very uncertain.” She took the workbook from him and saw the second page was full of story problems that he could not read. In that moment, it became clear to her how difficult it must be for a student that does not speak fluent English to do well in any subject, even math.
This was a defining time, as it sparked in Julie a desire to put her faith into action and join the world of non-profits. She worked at several neighborhood organizations, eventually landing full-time at a YMHA pre-school where she taught in the threes program, and in their summer camp. When a position opened up at Operation Exodus as the Development and Communications Manager, she was thrilled to have the chance to go back to Exodus, and combine her passion for education with her first love: writing and communications.
She now takes great joy watching and recording the stories that define for those outside the organization the amazing impact Operation Exodus has on students, and the wonderful work God is doing through the organization.
Julie has lived and worked in New York City for over 25 years, never dreaming that one day she would share a small 2 bed, 1 bath apartment with a husband and three teenagers. In addition to working at Exodus, she serves on the board of the Friends of Columbia Secondary School, a 6th through 12th grade STEM school that gives opportunities to high performing, low-income students to excel in the fields of science, technology math & engineering. She also works as a site manager for the local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that provides organic produce from a farm in Upstate New York to Washington Heights residents.