During her sophomore year, Julie Johnson served as a member of the Justice and Urban Studies Team (JUST), a program through the Honors College at Abilene Christian University that gives students the opportunity to engage the problem of urban poverty through hands-on learning.
"For our entire Sophomore year," says Julie, "my team of 11 lived and studied in Dallas in partnership with CitySquare, a non-profit committed to fighting the root causes of poverty. We believe that the best way to solve the problem of poverty is to ask the people who know the most about it--those who are on the streets."
“While in Dallas, our learning comes not only from textbooks and in-class discussions, but also from experiences, projects, and relationships formed through our investment in various communities of Dallas. I worked on a project with 7 others from my team to implement an empowerment based curriculum called Design for Change in 3 elementary schools and 1 middle school in South Dallas. We guided over 220 students to identify specific problems in their communities, imagine solutions, carry out a project to change the problem, and share their results to their community to inspire more change. Our students completed 12 amazing projects, and they believe that anyone can change the world.”
"The JUST program changes the way we do education to have a real impact on the community of Dallas and in the lives of others," Julie emphasizes. "JUST has been an incredible opportunity to use my education to bring about God's kingdom for the sake of the world."
"After our Sophomore year, we have the opportunity to take a 6-week trip called Justice Along the Meridian (JAM) to England, Spain, and Ghana, to apply our learning abroad. After this trip, I will return to the ACU campus to complete my degree in English. I would like to continue my education after I graduate, and then... who knows? JUST has given me a sense of focus. I am passionate about God's peace and justice reaching those on the margins of our communities. Whether I become an English professor or work for a nonprofit like CitySquare, I know that ultimately, I will choose to be a light in the darkness, seeking God's peace and justice for all people."