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That thing that makes your pulse jump, that makes your heart ache, pay attention to it

Below, you will find all the reasons why Felicity Judge is our #WCW!

1. What's your story? What makes you unique?

I grew up in a small tourist town, Hilton Head Island, SC with my parents, two younger siblings, and my grandmother who has lived with us since I was in middle school. Technically speaking, I was born in New Jersey, but I consider myself much more southern, so we’ll keep the northerner piece of me a secret. After 15 years of small class sizes and knowing someone everywhere I went, I moved into a dorm that housed more people on my hallway than graduated from my high school. After a difficult initial transition, I fell head over heels in love with the University of Georgia. I got involved in service based organizations on campus and deepened my love for giving back. I continued to fuel my caffeine dependence by frequenting Athens coffee shops, and still can constantly be found with a cup of something in my hand. I love reading and often have 3-5 books started at a time. I am secretly very competitive, more specifically, when it comes to card and board games, I hate to lose and will call bluff on anyone who beats me (even if they did so fair and square). I love live music and can memorize lyrics faster than I can anything else. I am always willing to meet for a giant cup of coffee, or anywhere where I can get a taco covered in avocado. Also, I can only wink with my left eye.

2. What motivates you?

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded” My hope for people is that we could all be on more of an even playing field in our world. I know that there needs to be competition, and that not everyone should fall in the same tax bracket, but certain opportunities and situations—quality education, living wages, food on the table, decent health care—these are things that I believe we all should have, regardless. I was born into a great family and very blessed situation, and to me, all people should have that, people work exceptionally hard to have a portion of the things that I was lucky enough to be born into. There should be realistic opportunity for people to do better for themselves, their children, and to be treated with dignity. I am motivated by hoping that I could be a piece in that, that I could have even some small influence on a life, or help provide opportunity for growth. For me, that especially applies to children, and making sure that from early on we provide them with the tools to succeed.

3. Who is a hero of yours?

I feel like I have a lot of people whom I look up to, that I can consider heroes in one way or another. My parents are definitely that way for me, I am blown away by what they have accomplished and done in their lives. Neither of my parents went or graduated from college, and they have owned and operated multiple businesses, have purchased, restored and flipped houses, they were able to give my siblings and I wonderful lives, and they did so graciously and by working their asses off. They are some of the hardest working people that I know.

I’m also really really proud of the fact that I have friends who are doing amazing things both personally and professionally across the country. I’m honored and proud to say that I have friends who: are teaching in low income schools, who run shit and work their tails off at advertising and marketing firms, who are kicking butt battling anxiety, who have fought hard for international long distance love, who recruit talented college and high schoolers, who are spending hours upon hours studying in graduate school, who are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up and own it that they’re still not sure. As much as I wish that every one of my friends lived in the same place, when I think about the fact that I can go to most any big city and there is an amazingly talented individual who I can call up, I am so stinking proud of and happy about that.

4. What's your future plan? Your goals?

My plan…. That’s a good question, really. To be honest, I want to do so many things. I’m planning and hoping and expecting for everything. I want to get my masters in social work, I want to work in a school and pour love and support into the lives of children, and I want to help run a nonprofit that addresses the needs of students and teachers. I want to travel all over—a life bucket list item for me is to visit all of the continents (I’m 4/7 so far!). 5. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

That thing that makes your pulse jump, that makes your heart ache, pay attention to it. If something breaks your heart, do something about it. That may not mean that you quit your job and move half way across the world—it may be taking on a position in hiring, enabling others to get new jobs, maybe it’s taking one lunch break a month and reading to kids at an elementary school, maybe it’s donating money towards a cause that you truly believe in. But, don’t be afraid to take a jump, a leap, a really scary transition, if that’s what you feel your heart is calling you towards. On a personal note, this hits close to home. This April I quit my job with nothing lined up next. Now this is not my recommendation, per say, but I quit knowing that my heart and my soul were not in that current position. Even though it was a stable job, I had awesome coworkers, and a great paycheck; I ached to be elsewhere. I spent three and a half long months sending resumes and emails and LinkedIn messages, and in late July I began working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta as an Enrollment Specialist, a position that I proclaimed “made for me”. I interview potential bigs, littles and parents, give them an overview of our program, and my ultimate goal: match ‘em! Those months of stresses and the stricter budgeting I have to do now, don’t compare to the joy I feel leaving my office after connecting a new match or getting a hug from a thankful parent. I am so happy where I am and those scary months of unemployment were definitely worth it in my book.

6. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?

Children’s issues and education, hands down. I deeply believe that our education system needs an overhaul and that with better education for the children in our country our society as a whole will benefit. For me, many of the issues our country faces can be traced back to a lack of equal and quality education. While my experience in no means makes me an expert, I did see first-hand the drastic inequality that exists in schools—things like running out of paper for the printer and not enough books for children and decent teachers leaving the school due to lack of resources, finances, etc. Additionally, I have massive respect and think we need an increase in school based counselors and social workers. When children experience instability and chaos at home, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me that they can’t focus on completing their math homework. If given outlets to express their stresses, I feel this is a great benefit to children. We talk always about how children are the future, well let’s give them every chance, opportunity and resource they deserve to get them to be successful now and in the future.

7. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?

City Year Miami was the coolest, craziest, stressful, rewarding, and unreal year of my life. After I graduated from UGA I moved to Miami, to an apartment I had never seen and roommates I had only chatted with on Facebook. In my role as a City Year Corps Member I served as a tutor, mentor, and role model, and spent most of my time in a struggling, low income middle school. I got placed on the most amazing team during our corps year, and our group of 15 became a small family. Every day we arrived to the school early, circled up, checked in, and got ready for our day. We greeted the children as they arrived to school. With hugs, songs, or cheers, we were the first faces they saw. As a corps member I was assigned to work with the English and Language Arts department, and worked with the lowest performing students in a few classes. Most of my students were 7th graders, and I also had a class of 6th graders. They were some of the toughest days and the most amazing. I saw students who could barely read or write, and they broke my heart. I saw fights and tears and anger. But, I experienced students opening up to me, students excitedly running to tell me about a good grade, students telling me about their college and career goals. I saw the impact that having a second pair of hands, eyes, and ears in a classroom made. When my lead teacher was answering the questions of a few, or was working with a small group of students, I could do the same for others. This program is amazing. I wept the day that we left, as did many of our students. I will never have a job like this in the future and that is both amazing and heartbreaking to me.

8. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about.

I’m just super excited to have been featured on here, it’s so amazing that some of the “heroes” I mentioned above, have been highlighted on this blog as well!

Also I love quotes, here are some of my favorite words of wisdom:

  • “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

  • For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. –Jeremiah 29:11

  • “I'm enough of a realist to understand that I can't reach every child, but I am more of an optimist to get up every morning and try”—Preston Morgan

To reach Felicity for networking opportunities or to learn more, you can e-mail her here.

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