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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Nicole Malone, a 2015 Julie Billiart School Lyndhurst graduate, beautifully balances college classes, friendships, and volunteer work.

After graduating from JB Lyndhurst, Malone attended Beaumont High School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She said that she felt prepared for the faster pace of high school because of the attention she received at JB.

“High school was an adjustment, but I really liked it,” said Malone. “JB is extremely student-oriented. The teachers at JB won’t move on to the next topic until every student gets it. That’s not how high school is. You just don’t get as much one-on-one support. But because of my years at JB I felt very prepared for the transition.”

Now a sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan University, Malone studies education and psychology. She chose Ohio Wesleyan for their strong academic reputation and for the school’s program for people with learning differences. She knew that she wanted to attend a university where she could ask for help if she needed it. Malone credits JB for the self advocacy that has now become an integral part of her life.

“The faculty at JB helped me get out of my comfort zone and realize that it’s okay to ask for help,” Malone said. “JB made me very comfortable with the fact that I do have a learning disability. I’m not shy about it. I don’t hide from the fact that I have ADHD, and I’m not not afraid to pull a teacher aside to ask for help. That’s because of JB.”

In college, she lives in a service, engagement, and leadership themed cohort. She and her housemates spend time volunteering as a group and as individuals. House members are encouraged to explore their passions to strengthen their service to their community. They’re also tasked with promoting service opportunities to the rest of their campus community.

Though Malone has always cared about others, it wasn’t until college that she began to truly focus on how her volunteer work impacted the lives of individuals and her community. She has tried many different service projects to find where her heart, her experience, and her community’s needs meet.

She currently serves with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), RAINN, which is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. All of these organizations allow her to be a supportive voice or a helping hand to individuals in need. NAMI, in particular, allows her to be a resource to those struggling with mental health challenges.

Malone’s volunteerism with NAMI has even connected her back to the JB family. Recently, a former JB graduate learned about Malone’s work with NAMI and called her for support. Malone lent a listening ear to her former classmate and commended the caller for self advocating and asking for help.

“It’s hard to talk about how you’re feeling,” she acknowledged. “But everyone has emotions. There are so many people you can talk to for support. I need support for myself AND I want to be a supportive friend to others.”

She and her housemates openly discuss the stigma around therapy and counseling. Through her volunteering, she wants to help reduce this stigma so that every individual can get the support they need to grow and thrive.

“I recently accepted the fact that counseling is normal and getting involved in it has made such a huge change in my mental health,” she said. “It has allowed me to grow as a person and give more of myself back to the world.”


Nicole is just one beautiful example of how JB students learn how to ask for help, share their needs, and tackle new challenges. We can’t wait to continue watching her thrive and know that she is making, and will continue to make, a lasting impact on the lives of others in her community.

open-quote My kids love everything about JB and look forward to going to school every day and seeing their friends and teachers. JB is truly a one of a kind school enriching young lives everyday. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools gave us hope after our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability. At JB, she thrived in the small classes, received necessary therapies, and developed the self-confidence to ask for help when she needed it. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools has helped my child become a better version of himself. The teachers and therapists at JB really know and understand how to reach children who learn differently. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am that you saw my daughter for all that she is today and all that she is yet to become. close-quote

Tammie Sommer

open-quote All of the teachers and staff at JB are patient and willing to take the extra time to make sure we, as parents, understand and are comfortable. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote They have all the resources necessary, specialized to the individual learning of each child, and the heart that goes with it. I don't think we would have stayed in Ohio if it wasn't for JB! close-quote

JB Parent

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