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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Feb 12, 2020

Justin Bieber Gifts $100K to Union Beach Resident, College Student

Julie Coker and Justin Bieber on MTV

Julie Coker, of Union Beach, received the surprise of a lifetime when she was awarded a $100,000 giant, personal check from mega-star Justin Beiber on live TV.  Coker’s work in the field of mental health caught the eye of Bieber, leading him to surprise her with his gift on Feb. 7 while filming for an MTV special.

Bieber, who has been open about his struggle with mental illness, was interested in helping someone involved with mental health. He and his team chose Coker for her work with Active Minds, a nonprofit supporting mental health awareness and education to young adults. Coker is president of the Stockton University chapter and also serves on the national Active Minds Student Advisory Committee.

Coker, a Red Bank Regional graduate and current senior at Stockton University, is a sufferer of mental health illness, stemming from her childhood when Superstorm Sandy destroyed her home. Coker battled depression and anxiety and said she got help from counselors at Red Bank Regional High School during the aftermath of the storm. That experience prompted her to get involved in helping others as well.

Justin Bieber signing the $100,000 check to Julie Coker

According to other news sources, Coker’s excitement after receiving the gift from one of her favorite musicians could only be described as shock.

“I’m still in shock,” Coker said Monday. “The check is in my room at home, but I still feel like it almost didn’t happen.”

Though it may have been a shock Coker, it is no surprise to those who know her, personally and within the field of mental health.

“Julie is one of the all-time great Stockton students,” said Assistant Director of Counseling Services Nathan Morell, the advisor for Active Minds. “She really hit the ground running and, by her second year here, was president of Active Minds. She works tirelessly year-round, even during the summer.”

Morell said under Coker’s leadership, Active Minds at Stockton has grown “by leaps and bounds” to host some 50 events each year, including some that bring in national speakers. Coker also participated in Stockton University Resiliency Project, telling her story on video to share with the Stockton community and help break the silence and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Coker, a lifelong Bieber fan, will graduate in May with a social work degree and, using some of the funds from the Bieber gift, plans to attend graduate school for social work.

“You don’t go into social work for the money but for the deep desire to help people,” Coker said. “So this life-changing gift will help me start my career on the strongest financial footing possible and will enable me to help even more people. I’m so grateful to Justin Bieber for helping me forward on that path.”

And when she’s not working, studying and helping others, Coker will look forward to attending one of the pop star’s upcoming shows courtesy of his management team.

To see the live presentation to Julie on MTV, click here.