Usually you can summarise me in four words: Skydiver. Runner. Musician. Geek. (Not necessarily in that order.) But since that doesn’t really tell you anything about me, have some more information.

My name is Julie, I’m from California, and I make it a regular habit to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. I’m a classically trained cellist who is slowly turning into a long-distance runner and gardener. Over the years I’ve worked in many fields – library work, sailing instructor, tutor, non-profit administration, orchestral librarian – but I’m currently focusing on lapidary work/jewelry making and streamlining my mom’s business.

Harnessing my slightly chaotic energy to help construct something useful in Jacmel was incredibly fulfilling and such a blessing; I can’t wait to return to Haiti to do some more work!

Hugs, Julie

Meet Julie Yip

Where are you from? Oxnard, California

What made you want to go to Haiti? With all of the natural disasters and tragedies of the past few years, I’ve felt like there’s absolutely no way to help everyone. After each new disaster, the one before gets forgotten, and while some places have an infrastructure to help them cope with earthquakes or tsunamis or what have you, Haiti doesn’t have that. If I could go and help everywhere, I would. But since I can’t, I feel like I should focus my small efforts somewhere I can be really useful.

What are you hoping to take away from this experience? I’m hoping to meet like-minded people and use my muscles for good while visiting a new place and being immersed in a different culture.

How did you approach the task of raising $5,000 in donations? I begged. A lot. I made sure that all of my approaches were very personal, appealing to each of my supporters in a way to which they would most likely respond favorably.

What are a few of your best fundraising tips? Be personal! People respond better when you appeal to them directly, rather than sending out a form letter. Also, be creative – even if you don’t think you’ve any creativity, there are so many different things you can do. Can you use a shovel? Volunteer your services tearing out weeds. Try to find some way to turn what you already love doing into a fundraising opportunity.

Can you offer any words of encouragement to those still working towards their fundraising goal? Keep at it! Don’t give up. Trust in the generosity of your friends, and even in strangers. They will amaze you.