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What is your story? How did you end up in Milwaukee?Julie Jablonowski

I was born and raised in Franklin, WI, then traveled to UW-Green Bay (yes, huge Packer fan) where I got my bachelor’s in human biology. After graduating I came back home to see what the big city had to offer while completing my masters program in nutrition & wellness online from Benedictine University. My move to the heart of downtown Milwaukee began only a year ago with my job having clients down here - and for that I couldn't be more thankful!

What keeps you in Milwaukee/What do you like best about Milwaukee?

The broad spectrum of people has to be one of my favorite things about Milwaukee, aside from the pop-up street fairs and night farmers’ markets. There is never a dull moment - meaning you could walk right down the street and find a new restaurant you haven't tried, or end up in a volleyball tournament down at Bradford Beach.

Favorite spot in the city?

This is a toss up between a few "no-name" coffee shops - Dry Hootch and Alderaan to name a few - and the paths along the lakefront for a good run or walk (when the gnats aren't out!).

Milwaukee festival you are eager to attend each year?

I personally love all the local vendors that come to Brady Street Days during the summer months - including the camel rides.

What drew you to Echelon?

The opportunity to meet individuals who literally all came together for the exact same sole purpose of helping others was the biggest draw. I mean, how refreshing to be able to share your ideas and thoughts for changing the city and improving the lives of others with friends who completely agree with you. Like they say - it only takes one person to change the world - imagine what we can do with a crew our size!

Share with us a memorable experience you have had thus far with the organization.

Being able to hear the struggles the downtown Milwaukee Salvation Army Emergency Lodge faces on daily basis was more eye-opening than expected - but the brainstorming of ideas to change this and help was beyond motivating. Just watching the chatter around a room filled with 40+ members, each with completely different ideas, was fulfilling and memorable.

What struggles do you see our city dealing with? What can our generation do to help?

I think that one of the biggest struggles our city is dealing with right now is a combination of having the most dense amount of nonprofits in one area, but not being able to collaborate and come together, as well as the lack of involvement from the younger generations who almost don’t know that they can get involved. Our generation can help to bridge the gap between the thinkers and doers. It is obvious how easily the youth can go and spend $5 on a coffee at Starbucks - when maybe they could cut this out once a week and put the $5 towards a better cause. It is up to us to show them where they can help - because you never know when that could be you needing a hand.