Being a member of the Junior League of Indianapolis is an unparalleled opportunity for women to make a real difference in the city. As a returning native of Indianapolis, myself, I’ve found that the Junior League helped me to feel much more connected to my city and to make lifelong friends while I volunteered in nonprofit organizations across Indianapolis.
Here are ten of the things I’ve learned about being a member of the Junior League of Indianapolis that you should know, too:
You’ll make a significant impact on your community.
As a member of the Junior League, you’ll volunteer with local area organizations and intra-League service projects in a wide variety of capacities, and you’ll be a part of fundraising efforts that result in over $250,000 in annual contributions to Indianapolis-area organizations.
You’ll learn a lot.
You’ll spend time in both local area organization projects as well as intra-League activities, which includes both service projects and administrative efforts (running the organization). All of these activities act as one of the most comprehensive training programs any woman can get in terms of how a nonprofit organization functions.
Plus, in addition to the “on the job” training, the JLI offers workshops throughout the year on a wide variety of topics, as well as a Leadership Academy, to specifically train members for civic leadership positions in the JLI and throughout Indianapolis.
You’ll feel more connected to your community.
As you work with local area nonprofits and embrace the betterment of Indianapolis, you’ll feel much more connected to the city as a whole. You’ll engage with civic and political leaders across the city and find yourself spending time in parts of Indianapolis that you may not have visited before.
You’ll join the ranks of some pretty heavy hitters.
JLI members include Rep. Susan Brooks, Renee Washington, Molly Chavers, Alicia Gooden, Tanya Overdorf, Jane Burgess, and Adrianne Slash. Our members are corporate executives, doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, wealth advisors, executive directors of nonprofit organizations, moms, teachers, and more. But don’t be intimidated by how awesome our members are! While many of our members are Type A leaders, everyone is welcome in the Junior League!
You can join any time in your life.
Most people think that Junior League means you have to be young to join. Not so! In the past, there was an age limit, but today, any woman at any age is welcome to join. I myself joined when I was 42 and have always joked that, “I’m not the “Junior” part of Junior League.”
You’ll make lifelong friends.
One of the often-cited benefits of the Junior League is the lifelong friends we’ve all made as members. Through affinity groups you can find women with similar hobbies and interests or at similar stages of life to socialize with. And our Member Outreach Committee is fantastic at organizing fun get-togethers, exclusive shopping events, and after-meeting cocktail parties where you have a chance to get to know other members. Power Tip: the best way to make friends is through volunteer opportunities and placements. You’ll chat as you work!
You’ll become a real civic leader.
The Junior League is no longer an organization of “ladies who lunch.” We eat lunch, as our President recently noted, but Junior League isn’t about being a socialite. It’s about rolling up your sleeves, digging in, and doing real volunteer work that matters. And through that work, you’ll learn the ins and outs to become a true civic leader.
You’ll have opportunities you might never get elsewhere.
There are many organizations where you can volunteer. But the Junior League offers benefits that you can’t get anywhere else. As a member of the Junior League, you’ll have access to national conferences and trainings (through the AJLI, the Association of Junior Leagues International), as well as unusual experiences. For example, in honor of our 95th Anniversary, the JLI was presented with a concurrent legislative resolution from the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives. During this “JLI Day At The Statehouse” members were able to network with legislators and Statehouse staff over lunch before participating in presentations on the House and Senate floors.
Where else could you be a part of building a food pantry from the ground up? Where else could you participate in 95 consecutive hours of community service? Where else could you learn how to run a massive fundraising event to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, with real, on-the-job experiences?
You’ll be a part of a legacy.
The JLI is one of the oldest Leagues in the nation. We’ve been around for 95 years and are still going strong. The JLI history is a rich legacy that means you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, something long-term, something that generations of women before you have been a part of. As a member, you join in that legacy.
Your soul will be fed.
My first volunteer experience with the Junior League of Indianapolis was welcoming kids to summer camp. I quickly learned that the kids who have been to camp before are excited; the first timers are apprehensive. Since I was the first face they saw, I made it my mission to make them feel safe and welcome. I will never forget that experience and how good I felt when my shift was over, and it remains my favorite opportunity every summer.
In the last three years of my membership in the Junior League, I’ve packed school supplies, bar coded books in the library, conducted program surveys for nonprofit organizations, and assisted merchants and customers alike at fundraising events. I’ve taught classes for other JLI members in social media and marketing. I’ve sat at the Board table making big, strategic decisions. I’ve taught children about community gardens and healthy eating. I’ve had a wide range of experiences and opportunities and just about every one of them has fed my soul.
The Junior League of Indianapolis is one of the best, if not the best, places to learn, grow, lead, and give back while making friends and yes, getting your soul fed, in Indianapolis. Join today!
By Susan Baroncini-Moe, Director-at-Large, Board of Directors, 2015-2017