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Helping seniors stay in homes
Long-time Bethany staffer now working on remodeling
Julie Bethany DSC 7006
Bethany Homes Julie De Araujo is seen with two awards given to her at the height of her philanthropic career at Bethany Home in Ripon in 2011. She is now focused on home remodeling that will allow seniors to remain longer in their homes with their disabilities. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Julie De Araujo has made a difference in the “heart and soul” department in Bethany Home over the past 15 years.  She is leaving to make the community an even better place for seniors to be able to remain in their homes for a lifetime.

There were more than 50 hugs and boxes of tissue on hand when she was the focus of a good-bye reception at the main dining room at the  Second Street facility Tuesday morning – her last day on the job as director of fundraising and development.

De Araujo is joining her husband David in his construction operation where she is establishing a focus on AdvantAGE Home Design for making a senior’s house a home for a lifetime.  She has earned the distinction of becoming a certified Aging-in-Place Specialist.  De Araujo has been certified by the National Association of Home Builders.

The home design operation has been lauded and underwritten by AARP and Lowes Home Improvement Store.  She is getting the word out about her new construction focus on elders’ residences through direct mail and she will have a booth at today’s Main Street Day and the upcoming Healthy Aging and Fall Prevention Summit at the Modesto Center Plaza.

On November 2, she will be at the Care Givers’ Symposium slated for care givers of Alzheimer’s patients explaining their series of projects offered to the seniors 45 and older including removing bath tubs and replacing them with walk-in showers, grab bars and sit baths.  They are also promoting the raising of sunken living rooms for seniors restricted to walkers and wheel chairs so they can more easily navigate through their homes.

De Araujo has been working on the Bethany campus for some 15 years starting as a senior at Ripon Christian High School.  It was September 8, 1998 and her mother Margaret DeJong was on the staff of a Modesto physician serving has his RN.  DeJong joined the Bethany staff as director of staff development. 

“I’m looking forward to my new flexible schedule and I am planning to golf on Tuesday mornings,” she quipped.

Aside from her one-on-one work with Bethany’s residents, she said the highlight of her career to date was being selected as the Fundraising Executive of the Year in 2011 at the Modesto Center Plaza.  It was co-sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Yosemite Chapter – and the Modesto Rotary Club.

The award was in recognition of outstanding philanthropic service to her community.

One resident Ruth Henrichs and a recipient of De Araujo’s kindness stopped in for hug and was open with her feelings about Julie’s leaving. She was unassurred by a promise that she would come back to visit on a regular basis.

“I’ll be around,” Julie quipped, “it’s just so long for now.”

“You have blessed us so much.  I can’t believe everything you have done for us,” she told De Araujo and those standing around her.   “She couldn’t be better.  I don’t know what we are going to do without her,” she added.  “We will find out just how much we miss her tomorrow.”

More information is available about the home design effort at .  She can be reached on line at  Telephone (209) 918-5910.