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Lending a Hand

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Lending a Hand

Embracing the volunteer ethic

by Jill Yarnall

Julie Heinitsh

Development Director Julie Heinitsh leads a double life.

By day, she’s on campus or traveling throughout the Southeast meeting with alumni and potential donors. After work, you’ll likely find her leading volunteer non-profit boards that help make the community a better place.

It’s all part of the normal—and busy—routine of the 2009 UNC Asheville Distinguished Community Service Award winner.

“For me, there is nothing more personally fulfilling than being part of something bigger than yourself that helps improve the quality of life for a community and those in it.”

The native Texan takes the award in stride and knows she’s not alone among students, faculty and staff who are living the University’s commitment to volunteerism every day.

“The University views itself as being an integral part of the community, and I think one of the ways it exhibits that is the countless faculty, staff and students who are volunteering in all kinds of ways,” she said. “There are a lot of unsung heroes in our campus community.” In addition to serving as chair of the Literacy Council of Buncombe County board of directors, Heinitsh volunteers with the Junior League of Asheville, St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Brevard and UNC Asheville Athletics’ Mentor Volunteer Program.

The volunteer ethic was instilled early in her life, Heinitsh said. Her parents and grandparents were actively engaged in several community groups and considered themselves public servants.

But volunteerism truly hit home in college. A skilled college tennis player, she became involved with the Texas State Special Olympics, lending a hand at events and eventually coaching.

Today, Heinitsh credits the University and her colleagues in part for helping her continue her volunteer work. And because of the spirit of service that is instilled in UNC Asheville students, faculty and staff, she’s often in familiar company when she joins a community board. For example, in her role as board chair at the Literacy Council, Heinitsh works closely with Amanda Edwards ’99, an alumna and executive director of the council, as well as several other alumni board members.

“For me, there is nothing more personally fulfilling than being part of something bigger than yourself that helps improve the quality of life for a community and those in it,” Heinitsh said.

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