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"Julie has been my mentor, friend, advocate, and coach for 14 years. Our friendship began with an invitation. Julie inspires others through learning about their passions and finding doors to open around them. She invited me on traveling adventures, a passion that we share. She invited me to be honest about myself and has helped me find out who I want to be. She invited me to engage in a transformational experience that taught me to set my intention and take active steps toward my goals- personal, professional, and relational. My life has taken many turns since we met; some tough, some triumphs. Each time we connect, Julie always shares her joy and celebrates my successes. As a coach, she will not let you off the hook of your goals. She understands how pivots can be just as important as the plans you have. She has challenged me with the utmost care and positivity. She is honest and is willing to be vulnerable with you. She’ll help you find your rhythm so don’t be surprised when it’s time to dance."

– Josie Hudspeth

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"The journey I signed up for was a river float with Costa. We set off on our voyage in a huge raft and what normally takes three hours to complete, ended up being 5 hours. We made stops along the way, sang, danced, and swam. It was such a fun trip.

There are not many people in this world that I can say I have had an immediate connection with, however, Costa was one of those people for me. She is so warm and friendly and has a beautiful love for all people, nature, and the world around her.  Personally, I tend to put up a wall; I’m viewed as unapproachable and unfriendly because I have trouble opening up to people, but with Costa, I instantly felt like I could be myself.

One of the largest issues I had yet to realize about myself was how much alcohol consumed my life. It was near the end of the river trip that clarity came to me and that is all thanks to Costa.

Costa jumped in the water, just floating, head bobbing inside her life vest. I took the opportunity and went out to join her with my life vest on and we just floated. We talked about life, struggles, where I was looking for meaning, and what would make my life worth living.

She compared life to the river we were floating in, saying how along the way there will be drama, pain challenges to surmount but like the river it's important to stay fluid and keep ongoing. That is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I recall, clear as day, the impact the conversation with Costa was and how monumental it was in my life moving forward.

Her ability to uplift and support me cannot be truly justified through words, but I will try by saying that the conversation and impact she had on me was monumental. My feelings and emotions were acknowledged that day on the river. Those feelings and emotions are clearer than anything else that happened to me during the Pandemic year of 2020. This was the first time after the evacuation from the Peace Corps that I felt that I could relax. I finally began to feel like myself and the man that I am today.

For being a complete stranger, the conversation that Costa and I shared helped me reshape, understand, some of the struggles and pain that I was experiencing and how that was holding me back in my future post-Peace Corps life. I found peace with myself.  She offered multiple healthy pathways forward in my life, one of which was how to conquer my destructive habit of drinking and the tools to use to dismiss it from my life.

She really is quite an exceptional human being and I really appreciate and respect what she did for me.

Thanks to the clarity I gained from this experience and the support from Costa; I finalized my trip by applying for a job as a manager with the CDC Foundation in COVID containment. A day later, they scheduled an interview for me, and a day after that they offered me the position.

Patience. I discovered patience was a barrier for me, the act of being patient, especially today when everything else in this world can sometimes be available instantly. Having taken the advice from Costa, I let the river take me and didn’t fight it. I actively put my name out there and then found a nice place to enjoy my life to patiently await my future."

– Eric Westerfield, Evacuated and returned Peace Corps volunteer from Georgia (Republic) 2018-2020

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