Remembering Jean Julian: 1933-2020 | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content

UNICEF Canada staff were saddened to hear of the passing of longtime volunteer Jean Julian in December 2020. In recognition of Jean’s work and tireless dedication, we are pleased to share some memories from her fellow volunteers.

Jean (right) counts money from the Trick or Treat for UNICEF campaign at the Guelph Fire Hall in 2008. For many years, Jean had persuaded the Fire Chief to let the Guelph UNICEF Committee use communal space at the Hall to collect and count donations.

Jean Julian was a member of the Guelph UNICEF Committee for thirty years. After joining this active group of volunteers in 1979, Jean went on to serve as Chair for fifteen years, beginning in 1993,  During this period UNICEF Canada had many community based committees that were very important in fundraising and  promoting UNICEF at the local level.

Originally founded in 1967, available records show that in the period of 1968 – 1980, the Guelph UNICEF Committee organised Christmas card sales at several consignee stores and at the University, as well as an annual Spring Tea to launch the newest UNICEF greeting cards. Additionally Halloween boxes were distributed to around 30 schools and the schools were encouraged to hold additional fundraising activities as part of the Trick or Treat for UNICEF campaign.

Under Jean’s leadership, fundraising activities expanded from the sale of UNICEF greeting cards and school based Halloween activities to  more unusual projects. Included amongst these were a Carved Pumpkin Contest - held at a local mall – originally to supplement, and then replace the Halloween campaign when the trick or treat boxes were discontinued. 

In honor of UNICEF’s 50th anniversary, Jean (centre) along with other Guelph UNICEF Committee members arranged to have UNICEF’s logo added as a feature to the floral clock in Guelph’s Riverside Park.

Perhaps Jean’s most original idea - a Sotheby’s Heirloom Discovery Day was held in 1992 and again in 1996. These events were very popular and sold out on both occasions.

Candles of Hope started as project to welcome the new millennium. A small pottery candle holder was ordered from a local shelter workshop and was packaged with a tea light, with the idea being that on December 31, 1999 the candles were to be lit to promote peace and hope for children worldwide. The fundraiser was a success and another set of candles was sold at the Christmas Store in 2000.

Also in 2000, the Guelph Male Choir agreed to stage a UNICEF benefit concert if the Guelph UNICEF Committee were prepared to host an after concert reception. Jean made this happen, with two benefit concerts being performed every year until December 2019. 

Another ingenious fundraising idea from the Guelph UNICEF Committee; schools held competitions to see which class could collect the heaviest socks – with each sock being stuffed with loose change!

In recognition of her contribution to the work of UNICEF Jean was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.

Jean is remembered by the Guelph UNICEF Committee for her leadership, enthusiasm and for her passion for UNICEF. Jean was a warm, good natured person with a great sense of humour who had a talent for persuading people to volunteer for a good cause. She will be greatly missed by her fellow Guelph UNICEF Committee volunteers, UNICEF Canada staff members and all those who knew her.

Jean's family extends their thanks to those who donated to UNICEF in her memory.

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