Month: March 2016

What the Junior League of Seattle Means to Me

By Shanna Lisberg

 Shanna shift photoWhen I lived in Washington DC, sometimes I would walk into Georgetown and I would always see this beautiful 3-story brick building. There was a plaque on the building that read “Junior League of Washington” and it always intrigued me. I didn’t know what the Junior League was but, after some research, I discovered it was a women’s organization devoted to training and volunteering. I always wanted to join but unfortunately never had the opportunity.  

 When I moved to Seattle in 2011, I had pretty much forgotten about the Junior League; I was busy trying to find a job, trying to meet people, and trying to settle in to my new city. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that a friend mentioned the Junior League and I thought it would be a great time to join. I enjoy volunteering and I thought it would be a wonderful way to get out in the community and meet people.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined the League. I knew there would be volunteering, I knew there would be meetings, and I knew there would be fundraising.

But the Junior League is so much more.

It’s more than just a group of women in a room talking about their causes. It’s more than just a monthly meeting where service awards are handed out. It’s about advocating and going out into the community to support and help the population. It’s about book clubs and socials, and learning how to become effective leaders. It’s about friendships and knowing that the person sitting next to you cares about the same things that you do.

 The Junior League has afforded me so many opportunities to contribute to my community. I’ve spent my Saturday morning packing bulk food at a food bank, tagged and sorted clothes at the Treehouse Wearhouse store, gotten dirty while gardening, helped set up Christmas parties at Mary’s Place and the annual Harborview Children’s Holiday Party. I’ve mingled with lawmakers and learned about causes important to the Junior League while touring the capitol during Capitol Days. I’ve watched documentaries, engaged in thought-provoking conversations, and listened to panels regarding our foster care system. I’ve gone to trainings to learn about starting a business. And that’s just in the past few years.

 Additionally, I’ve met so many amazing ladies in the League. The Junior League is a wonderful assortment of countless, diverse women who all choose to make a difference. There are women from all walks of life, in all areas of professions, all giving their time to volunteer and fundraise for the same cause.

 Not only am I able to build lasting friendships, but by volunteering in the community, the League allows me to connect so much more to the place where I live. I enjoy giving back to a community who has embraced me so fully and knowing that I’m able to give back to those less fortunate makes my time spent with the League that much more gratifying.

 I’m proud to be a member of the Junior League of Seattle.

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Being a Provisional

Guest Blogger & 2015-2016 Provisional: Sarah Ledbetter

Eastside Baby Service Shift 2

Women join Junior League for many reasons – networking, training, and leadership, to name just a few.  For me, one of the main drivers was the opportunity to give back to the community.  As part of the Junior League of Seattle (JLS), where part of the mission is to promote voluntarism, I knew that I’d have a chance to incorporate service back into my life.  And so far, it’s been great – shifts organized by our Done in a Day committee allow our members to participate in a variety of activities, and through our work, the League is able to make a huge impact!

Provisional members of the JLS have a requirement of four service shifts during their first year, and I’ve had the opportunity to participate in three.  The first was through Treehouse Seattle, which provides support to foster children in the area.  A group of ten of us spent an evening after work sorting, tagging, and stocking clothing items that would become available to the foster children who shop in their store, which usually sees 2,000 visitors annually.  I’m sure that you could imagine how proud we were when the Treehouse representative working with us said that Junior League groups were her favorite to work with!  It was such a fun evening getting to know other JLS members while supporting youth in foster care.

My second service shift was quite different:  it was arts and crafts at Harborview’s annual Holiday Party, whose attendees were underprivileged youth who had once been patients there.  It was Harborview’s 30th year organizing the event, and it showed:  the festivities were incredibly well-run and enjoyed by nearly 600 children.  Many of those kids wouldn’t have another holiday party throughout the season, but this was a great one to attend – the kids got to meet their favorite characters, such as Batman, Winnie the Pooh, and Snow White!  The Sea Gals were also in attendance with the Mariners mascot, Moose.  Kids got to play games, do arts and crafts with us, and even received gifts at the end of the day.  What a fulfilling day and incredible feeling to take part in such a special event. 

Holiday Service Shift

Most recently, I spent a morning over in Issaquah at Eastside Baby Corner with 13 members helping to sort and stock donated items, such as diapers, clothing, and toys.  EBC provides these items to 500 families in need – per week! – through local social service agencies.  I absolutely loved spending my time in this way while getting to know other Junior Leaguers, one of whom had even brought her husband to participate with us.  It was clear that the work we were doing made a big difference. 

There’s a lot of power in numbers, and I think that’s one of the strengths of the Junior League.  Together, we can accomplish a great amount, and I can already tell that our community partners – who are changing lives across the community – are so appreciative.  For me, the difference we’re making together is the most rewarding part of being in this organization.