When Julie Turley was 23 years old, she walked into Manor Thrift to pick out some curtains for her new apartment down the street. At the counter, she noticed a newsletter for a place called Immacolata Manor detailing their work with women who had intellectual and developmental disabilities. Julie had some experience in the disability field and decided to apply for a job. 37 years later, she doesn’t still have those curtains or that newsletter, but she does still have the job.
Now, two mergers, one agency name change, and countless growth later, Julie has been promoted to Vice President of Day Services. This honor, which is well deserved and no surprise to those who know her best, is also a testament to her hard work, dedication, and compassion for her team members and the individuals she serves.
When Julie first started in 1984, the large house on Manor Way looked a lot different than it does today. The meeting room was a chapel, offices were bedrooms, Benedictine nuns lived on the 3rd floor and 16 ladies with disabilities lived on the second. Julie applied as a cook but was hired on as the day-time direct care worker for all 16 women.
After Julie’s daughters were born and before they were old enough to attend day care, Julie would bring them into work with her. For the first year of their lives, they were loved on and cared for by the Benedictine nuns and the 16 ladies Julie served. The lines between Julie’s work and her family were blurred, the ladies celebrated holidays at Julie’s house with her husband and kids, cheered Julie’s daughters on at their dance recitals, and sometimes spent a weekend away at Julie’s house.
Her two daughters are now grown with jobs of their own. Both of them worked at Immacolata Manor in some capacity over the years, Bethany now works at Maple Valley State School with children with disabilities and Bailey is a teacher to 5th grade and special education teacher to 3rd grade. Both of their life-long passions stemming from those months coming into work with their mom.
In early 2000, Immacolata Manor added the Day Service program called ‘My Day’ and Julie was asked to oversee it, which at the time served eight ladies. Under Julie’s leadership it has grown to serve up to 90 people every day.
Rochelle, the My Day Program Support Supervisor, said about Julie, “Julie is someone I consider a mentor professionally and personally. She has taught me everything I know about Day Services and working with people that have developmental disabilities. Her famous quote that she has shares from her days of working with the original Sisters of Immacolata Manor is, “Always act as if someone is watching.” Some may not know that Julie came to see me while my son was in Hospice Care. It meant the world to have her there showing her support. She has a lively, compassionate personality defines the spirit of My Day.”
Her colleague and friend, Sandy, had this to say about Julie, “Julie has grown up with Immacolata Manor/Life Unlimited and the individuals we serve. She started with Immacolata Manor/Life Unlimited at a time when IM was fairly new to assisting people with disabilities. She was the person that the individuals and staff all looked to for the answers. She was very close to many of the individuals and their guardians/families.”
Throughout Julie’s 37 years at Life Unlimited, she has made an impact on the thousands of individuals she has served, their families, her Life Unlimited team, and everyone who’s been lucky enough to witness her passion and commitment to her work.
Julie with Governor Mike Parsons
Julie on Halloween.