A League of Their Own

The Ladies of JSLB are Making a Difference Locally

JSLB 0718

July 2018 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford

Last year I attended the Thrive local women’s conference, where I had the pleasure of joining Diana Morrison for a breakout session entitled: “Find Your Posse.” Intrigued, I listened to Diana talk about how important it is to build a network and support system outside your close family and friends, to surround yourself with people who harbor different skill sets from your own, and to learn from them. As I sat and pondered, it dawned on me that I was lucky to already have such a network. I may not have built my posse, but I’d found it in the incredibly talented and dedicated community leaders within the Junior Service League of Beaufort (JSLB). And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that some of my closest friends are also members ... don’t I have good taste?

I joined JSLB seven years ago for all the wrong reasons. Stereotypically, I thought it was something you did in order to get to know the right people in the community. And as much as I would like to say I’m now among the “right people” in the community, this organization is far from the stereotype. JSLB is an organization of women committed to making a difference locally through service, fundraising and grants. Since I joined, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting women from all walks of life, who have taught me about what it means to give back and serve others through volunteerism. This is our mission: “JSLB offers an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with others who share a desire to give back to our community. Through the talents of our diverse membership we will support and enrich the lives of women, children and families in our community. Together we have a greater impact than we do individually.” Who knew such a heavy burden could be so much fun?

The league is generally made up of women in their 20s and 30s who are getting married, starting young families, establishing careers, and balancing multiple organization memberships to which they dedicate their time and energy. I am always in complete awe of how our members continue to dedicate themselves through their service and talents. Each year we serve the Beaufort community through at least three primary projects. Our signature service project is JSLB Prom Boutique. We collect prom dresses and create a one-day pop-up boutique where junior and senior girls from Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton counties “shop” for their perfect prom dress and accessories for free. Now in our eighth Prom Boutique year, we have collected nearly a thousand dresses, and this project remains one of the most meaningful and inspirational for me. In addition, we have “Terrific Tuesdays” at CAPA (Child Abuse Protection Association), nights at Hopeful Horizons where we interact and entertain the children, and numerous drives and smaller projects.

We also have two major community fundraisers: JSLB Touch a Truck—Save the date! November 3rd—an event where we recruit large machinery for families to come climb on, play on, and interact. This past year we had nearly 20 vehicles, including a full size crane and a helicopter. It’s a great afternoon of fun for the whole family! Our second major fundraiser, JSLB Jubilee, our spring event, is a night of music, food, libations, and a silent auction. During this event, we have the honor of awarding our yearly grant recipients. These two major fundraisers are our main resources for our grants, and this year we gave out nine grants to local non-profits totaling $19,500.

How can you make a difference?

Donate/Sponsor: All monies received by the league are tax deductible and go directly into our service programs and grants. It’s a great way to give back to numerous organizations with one donation.

Attend: JSLB events are tons of fun! So grab your friends and come on out.

Join: Our league year runs from September to May. We are always looking for more great women to join us!

So if you are looking for some purpose, if you have a little time on your hands, if you’re looking to meet like-minded women, and/or to hone your leadership skills, Junior Service League of Beaufort may be just the ticket. After serving in numerous capacities that eventually led to my serving as president this past year, I can tell you from personal experience that this organization has truly helped me to become a leader all while allowing me to create lifelong friendships with incredible women I may not have had the chance to meet otherwise. As I pondered my president’s plaque this year, I wrote these words: “I received this plaque last night, and it’s hard to express how meaningful it is. It stands for so much more than the hundreds of hours of hard work. It stands for realizing you are the CEO of a non-profit, and you’ve been entrusted with an organization that’s been built and led by a line of incredibly strong women, and it’s your job to keep it successful. It’s sitting in a boardroom with 10 other strong leaders and ensuring that everyone works together to make decisions and execute services and fundraisers. But, most of all, it stands for a learning curve. One that has had its mistakes, wins, happiness, fear, overwhelming scary and humbling moments, and a feeling of relief and success as my league year comes to a close.” That is powerful.

For more information about the Junior Service League of Beaufort log onto www.jslbeaufort.com or call 843-252-1477.

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