Youth at core of Julie Martins latest career |

Youth at core of Julie Martins latest career

Post Independent Photo/Jim NoelkerJulie Martin is the Spanish liaison and outreach manager for YouthZone, after previously working in veterinary medicine.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS Julie Martin is a woman of many callings. As a teen growing up in Oakland, Calif., she danced with the Oakland Ballet, performing and touring with the company from age 7 to 18. She also studied at the Joffrey Ballet in New York when her family lived in Manhattan when she was 15 and 16.But because a dancers career is often as short as a professional athletes, Martin started thinking early on about what she wanted to do after her last pirouette. I knew my body would be a wreck, she said of the physical pounding a professional ballerinas body takes. I started thinking, What happens after? Thats when Martins second career started taking shape. Since shed been volunteering since she was 14 washing dogs and cleaning cages at a veterinary hospital, and later worked as a vet tech, she decided shed major in zoology at the University of California at Davis. Exotics and a world viewMartin has always been intrigued with other cultures especially when the Martin family moved to New York. I didnt make my older sister happy, because she was trying to keep track of me and I was running into people from all over the world and sitting down and talking to them, she said. She was more worried than I was. Martin said it was a trip to Kenya in the summer of 1990 studying captive monkeys with simian (primate) HIV that truly opened her eyes to the world. It got me hooked on the world outside myself, she said.Meeting a 9-year-old Kenyan boy during her summer in Africa widened her overall perspective. He knew exactly where California and San Francisco were, and he spoke three languages, she said. There, its perfectly natural for people to know between three and five languages. They know so much more than just the immediate world around them. Inspired, Martin took up Spanish upon returning to California to complete school. After an internship at the Bronx Zoo in New York, she decided shed specialize in exotic animals specifically, rabbits, birds, reptiles, small animals, ostriches and emus.Martin graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine in 1992, and worked for several years in California before a Japanese environmental company contacted her to help with an ostrich farm on the northwest coast of Costa Rica.When I travel, I dont like to just go visit, she said. I like to go and work and really be a part of the place. Martin said thats when she really learned Spanish.Im not fluent but Im very functional, she said. Fifi not cutting itA mountain bike trip to Colorado sold her on the Roaring Fork and Colorado River region. I decided I had to live up here, she said, of moving to Carbondale in 1994. Martin worked as the medical director for the Gabriel Foundation for four years rescuing exotic birds.She also worked at All Dogs & Cats in Glenwood treating, yes, dogs and cats and exotics. She practiced medicine at Valley Veterinary Hospital east of Aspen as well, and at Red Hill Animal Center in Carbondale.Martin said she enjoyed her work, but something was missing.I wasnt finding meaning vaccinating Fifi and FooFoo, she said. And I wasnt using my Spanish skills. What was interesting to Martin was the interactions shed have with pet owners. People feel comfortable talking with their vet, she said. I ended up knowing a lot about the dynamics in a family, which can affect the animals that live with them. I really liked learning about these people, but vet medicine isnt set up financially to allow for the time needed to do that. CompassionIt took getting sick and breaking her leg twice for Martin to realize that maybe another career was calling.I kept getting these messages and not listening to them, she said. Finally, I listened.After going to a career counselor at Colorado Mountain College and looking through the want ads, Martin answered an ad at YouthZone.I didnt even know what YouthZone was, she said of the youth advocate nonprofit organization. And as I learned more about it, and the people who work here, I couldnt believe it. I thought there must be a catch. The staff was nice, honest, real and ethical.Martins been working at YouthZone for two and a half years. She is the Spanish liaison for the organization, and works as the outreach manager. Shes now getting her masters degree in counseling from the University of Colorado at Denver. She said her work at YouthZone has made her see how resilient people are and what really goes on in the world. I realize that greater than 50 percent of people have been abused either sexually, physically or emotionally and sometimes all three. That gives me such compassion. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext.

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