This last Wednesday, my volunteer organization, Junior League of Riverside (JLR), had our Annual Meeting. This is my first with the organization, I have been with them for a few months and I have loved every minute of it so far. I have been able to be myself, giving unsolicited advice and ideas, getting involved in newsletters and social media, being a leader in an appropriate way, and having a Book Club (!!!!!).
Now, I have been a part of many organized things, such as sports teams, rec groups, Little League, and others. However, I have never been a part of a group where the members openly welcomed and accepted me. I have always had one or two friends in the group with other organized activities, but with JLR, I feel like I am valued and truly a part of something great.
So, this last week, I attended the Annual Meeting. I knew that they were collecting orders and money for the JLR charm (for a necklace or bracelet) at the same time. Because of my current financial situation, the charm was outside of my reach and I was actually sad about that. I had been a little envious of the ladies who would show up to meetings wearing their charms – I wanted one. I wanted to be able to wear my charm with pride as well. But, I understood why I couldn’t do it now and I just reminded myself that soon I would be able to purchase my own.
Well, at the meeting, which was beautiful, they called up all of the new members one-by-one and presented us all with a square box. Inside was my very own charm from the jeweler. Now, none of the ladies knew how much that meant to me because I held it in (well, they do now if they read this), but I can tell you that I cried when I got home and took it out of the package. I was so happy that I had my very own that I get to now wear with pride.
My point with this story is to share how important and meaningful some of the simplest things can be. My charm means something to me. Its representative of my first commitment to a volunteer organization outside of the ones my parents have been involved with. The things I do for or with the League are all my own, based on my abilities and my commitment. But the best part is that I am developing relationships with women I really like. They, like me, are choosing to commit to the organization because they also love it and what we do. I am with a group of like minded women who want to better our communities and ourselves. My charm represents all of that and it is a charm I will cherish forever.
If you are local and want to check JLR out, let me know! If you are not and want to see about Leagues in your area, visit: ajli.org