Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#23: Connect with a Service Organization

When I knew that I would be moving to Milwaukee, one of my main goals was to be more connected to the community. My position in St. Louis often required night and weekend hours, plus I was on the road a lot, visiting Chris or my family. I joined a few organizations, including the alumni/ae groups for my undergraduate university and my sorority, but it was challenging to make the time. In four years, my life was basically consumed with work. I knew that in my new city, I wanted to be able to meet more people, have a social life, and to give back.So #23 went on the list.

A few months into my time here in Milwaukee, I spoke with a colleague about joining the Junior League of Milwaukee. I did not know much about the organization other than what I had seen on tv shows like Hart of Dixie and in movies like The Help. She assured me that I would find the organization to be much different than the "Southern Belle" thing I may have seen portrayed. Similar to my sorority experience, it was a group of women coming together to provide service and leadership to the community. I enjoy both of those things, so I figured I would check it out.

I joined JLM in November, and had my last New Member Orientation last night. Over the course of this past year, our group has met monthly, planned a blood drive with the Blood Center of Wisconsin (which was started by the Junior League), participated in a number of different programs, and most recently, held a successful Dine Out Fundraiser to benefit the League's programs. My main involvement was assisting with the fundraiser, and I was very excited that it turned out so well. We raised over $2,400 in just a few hours! Plus it has been a ton of fun getting to know the other women in our class.

My late night signage crafting for the Silent Auction at our fundraiser. The only picture I took of the whole thing. Oops!
Our New Member Orientation class was a great way to acclimate to and learn more about The League. In a few weeks, we will officially "graduate" and become Active members. As an Active member, I will be assigned to one of the many committees, which will be my main involvement with the organization. Much like sorority bid matching, we prioritize and then are placed on committees based on mutual interest. I prioritized the committees that are under the Community umbrella of the organization, which work with the direct service components, such as our monthly Done in a Day service events and our signature project, which is currently Teens in Transition. I am excited to experience Milwaukee hands on with the other women in the group.

I am so thankful for the experiences that I have had so far and am excited to see what comes next.

#23 is complete!

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