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LC4YF award winnerLakes Center for Youth and Families is pleased to announce that Forest Lake educator, Julie Ohman has been selected to receive the 2016 On Behalf of Youth Award. This award is given annually to one area adult and one area youth in recognition of outstanding dedication and service to youth in our community. 

Colleagues Nancy Blocher and Nancy Siefert nominated Julie for the award noting that “You can clearly see that Julie does not stand idly by when there is a need related to youth.”

 

Julie Ohman came to Forest Lake to begin her first teaching job in 1981 and her impact on the community continues way beyond the classroom walls thirty-five years later. Julie’s first 25 years were spent teaching grades K–4 at Forest View Elementary.  She loved volunteering to visit the children in their homes as a way of welcoming the students and their families. Every year she attended activities that her students participated in outside of school like music recitals, church programs, scout activities and athletic games. It was paramount that her students knew that she cared about them.

 

In 2006, Julie was asked to lead the school district’s Community Education program, a job that she retired from in 2016. While leading Community Education, Julie continued with a keen eye for recognizing a child who would benefit from an adult taking a special interest in them. Over the years, many students in the community would attest to the fact that Julie has been a constant source of support.

 

Julie and her husband, Ross, raised three children in Forest Lake. Julie supported her children’s activities and the activities of their friends during childhood – she could always be counted on. Julie says “I am so grateful to my husband, Ross, who is supportive of me giving of my time to volunteer and I also thank our three now grown children: Jonathan, Joel and Jackie, for their willingness to ‘share their mom’ as I volunteered both with their activities and with other youth activities as they were growing up.” When no one volunteered to coach her child’s basketball team, Julie agreed to do it even though she knew very little about basketball.  She dedicated many hours to this endeavor and although the team did not win many games, Julie and the kids were elated when the kids won the Best Sportsmanship award.

 

Julie also stepped up to chair and fundraise for the Forest Lake Area Children’s Clothing Fund, Inc. when United Way funding disappeared.  Hundreds of children in Forest Lake have warm winter clothing because of Julie.

 

Julie directed the children’s choir and has served in many volunteer positions at Hosanna Lutheran Church.  She was an assistant Girl Scouts leader, volunteered in several positions for the Minnesota Boychoir, served as the First Lake Dance Team Booster Club secretary, and chaperoned many youth events throughout the years. Julie did the Rotary Polar Plunge and is a member of the Lake Fest Planning Committee, the Forest Lake Lake Association and the Festival of Cultures Committee. She is proud to have been on the Black Tie Blue Jeans Committee for the LC4YF for the past three years.    

 

In 2015, Julie worked with the City of Forest Lake to apply for a TEFFLA grant to help children learn about healthy eating choices and activities that would improve their health. This project was completed at the local Farmer’s Market last summer and was a huge success thanks to Julie’s insights and dedication to working many hours to make this free opportunity for youth a reality.

 

Even in retirement Julie volunteers to read and help at the district preschool classrooms. She attends a wide variety of activities at all eight of the School Age Care program sites and she supports the Columbus PTO helping out in the evening. She volunteers at local Youth Nights and helps at fundraising events including LC4YF’s Black Tie Blue Jean and TASTE events.

 

Julie has truly lived her life committed to LC4YF’s mission to “ensure the success of youth” in Forest Lake.  “I am so grateful to all of the other many adults who give so freely of their time to support children in the Forest Lake area. I know first- hand that a child has the best ability to become a health adult when the community takes an active role in contributing to their development.  I am just thankful to be able to be a part of it all in our great community,” says Julie. We congratulate Julie and thank her for her commitment to youth in our community.  

 

A reception  and awards presentation for Julie and for our youth award recipient Ben Gornick will be held Thursday, June15th  at Lakes Center For Youth & families - suite 103, 20 North Lake Street in Forest Lake.  The dessert reception will start at 6:00pm. The awards program will begin at 6:30 pm. Please show your support and attend. All are welcome.