Junior Leagues around the world are full of amazing women volunteers. During National Volunteer Month, JLCD celebrates a few of the women volunteers that lead our organization. As a volunteer-led organization, the women who make up JLCD dedicate their time and energy to our mission and each other. We celebrate all our members this month.
Who Inspires You To Volunteer?
While most volunteers can name a famous woman who has said or done inspiring actions, many of us are most impacted by the women in our everyday lives. The hard work, tenacity, and perseverance of women in our circle can energize and influence us to be our best selves and positively impact our community.
I recently asked some of our JLCD leadership: What woman has most inspired you? And why?
“A woman I most admire is my late grandmother, Carmen. She was a woman before her time who taught me many values I hold near and dear to me. She was a WAC (Women’s Army Corps) who was often mistaken as the spouse of a veteran and proudly let others know she was a veteran, too! She traveled the world into her senior years, always wanting to learn more about people and places. A life-long volunteer, she inspired me to give back to my community. I credit her for leading me to my profession as a Volunteer Director. While I respect many women in history, my grandmother is an example of how an ‘average’ woman can lead an exceptional life.” –Melissa Moré, Treasurer-Elect.
“My younger sister. She navigated the pandemic as a resident physician-turned-fellow in the field of gynecologic oncology. Her support of women from that personal and clinical dimension is inspiring (to me). And my boss — mother of three, working mom while juggling out-of-state travel, and a perpetual optimist who overcame a cancer diagnosis in the past year. Finally, an extended family member who lost her college-aged son unexpectedly but who has continued to live a life dedicated to philanthropy and a duty of care for so many people and passions. Grateful to be surrounded by these examples.” –Stephanie Johnson, Nominating Chair
“In the JL realm, Vicki Clark. Once you meet, you are instant friends. She has an aura about her that just says welcome. She offers wonderful theories and advice on leadership. However, my favorite part is how she has taken control of her life and reinvented herself to be the woman and leader she wants to be for herself and others.” –Mary Ellen Shaffer, President
The Foundations of the “New Women” of the Junior League
In 1901, Mary Harriman founded the Junior League during the Progressive Era, a time marked by rapid industrialization, an influx of immigrants, the growth of inner-city tenements, corruption in business and politics, and poor working and living conditions for many.
The time was also marked by reform in education, sanitation, public health, government, and the environment. Women who participated in reform efforts were often married middle-class white women who did not work outside the home. This class of “New Women” turned to reform as an intellectual and creative outlet.
A Diverse Group of Women Volunteers
Over time, some of the Junior League’s most notable members have included authors, lawyers, tennis pros, actresses, and former First Ladies. The Junior League continues today as a diverse group of passionate women from varied professional and personal backgrounds – entrepreneurs, teachers, homemakers, doctors, accountants, mothers, and gals rollin’ solo – all united by the desire to connect and make a difference in the lives of others.
JLCD Women Volunteers Continue To Improve Lives in North Pinellas
Since 1948, the women of the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin have committed themselves to improve the lives of women and children in Northern Pinellas County. Over 650 members have raised more than 1 million dollars and contributed over 1 million volunteer hours since its inception.
Learn more on how you can become a woman volunteer with the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin.
The article was written by JLCD Member Amy West.