I originally joined the Junior League to serve in my community—at the time, that was a new community for me, in Monterey, CA. I had spare time, I wanted to get to know where I was living, and I was feeling ambitious, just out of graduate school and starting my career. Now, three years later and in a different city, volunteering with the Junior League of Washington (JLW) serves a similar purpose, but I am more focused on the value of what JLW provides—both for the community and me. I figure, as I learn more about the city I live in (wherever that may be), the people in JLW, and myself, my reasons for serving will probably continue to change, too.
The volunteer assistance that JLW members provide our communities is incredibly important. But I also take to heart the fact that in order to be better volunteers we have to keep learning new things, continue to work on our daily interactions with people around us, and make an effort to grow our individual skill sets (We can always improve—focusing on the “product” instead of the perks, for instance). JLW, and the Development and Training Committee, provides at least a piece of this service in my life. Seeing firsthand the incredible training opportunities we can offer our peers is inspiring; personal branding, being a mentor, public speaking, even retirement planning—those topics are useful. Maybe half of the women attending these classes are showing up because they need a membership credit, but does that really matter if they are learning something in the process? Absolutely not; better volunteers make a better League.
When I first joined Junior League I was so pleased to have my mini placement on the Development and Training Committee—having been raised by two teachers it seemed like a natural fit. Now, 3 years later and on the same committee, when I consider what purpose I want a Junior League membership to provide me, I know that there are deeper reasons for my service than simply wanting to know my community. Yes, I serve because it’s fun, but I also serve because I want to have a positive impact on the people around me. Personal growth is a bonus.
Clare Richardson-Barlow, JLW Development and Training Volunteer
Check out Development and Training events online! Upcoming topics include Transitioning Into Motherhood and The How To’s of Home Buying.