It is an exciting time for JLBC. This year marks our 70th Anniversary as an associated Junior League. It was in 1948 (circa 1935 origination) that we joined the Association of Junior Leagues officially. We will celebrate this amazing milestone by incorporating highlights of JLBC history throughout the 2017-2018 League year/ Including meetings at historical JLBC projects such as the Art Center of Battle Creek and the Kimball House Museum.
I am extremely humbled and equally ecstatic to be the first African American President in JLBC history. I am one of many leaders, in Leagues throughout the U.S. and internationally, experiencing this gratifying first. It speaks volumes to our Junior League concept as a whole; that no matter what your background, ethnicity, age, or experience, Junior League offers all women the opportunity to exemplify leadership skills. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is that: the Junior League welcomes all women who value our Mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations, and communities. At JLBC we echo those sentiments and aim to engage and develop a diverse group of women as leaders.
This year we will focus on empowering women to lead and creating supports for them to do so. One of the best parts about JLBC is that we give women the opportunity to grow and experience success and failure through volunteerism. Often times our failures come as small disappointments that we aim to recalculate, redirect, and retry. It is our experiential learning and investment in personal/professional development that produces women leaders that are ready to make an active difference in our community. During the 2016-17 League year alone, members united together with their combined strengths to achieve some impactful community results:
• Trained 4 women on a national scale for leadership via AJLI conferences
• Won Honorable Mention for the AJLI Vision Award: JLBC Branding Strategy
• Hosted over 100 women via our mission-based annual fundraiser: the 2nd Annual Women’s Summit & Brunch
• Raised $4,500 through our annual fundraiser
• Continued to develop and promote our issue-based Community Impact Project: Personal Care Products collection/distribution
by collecting over 5,000 personal care products to distribute to local schools and nonprofit organizations serving women and children
• Partnered with Grace Health to garner a 3-year commitment to supply JLBC with contributions of several thousands of dental hygiene products
• Partnered with a state-wide organization to collect and distribute over 40 personal care packages and 1,900 feminine hygiene products to SAFE Place & the Woman’s Co-Op
These accomplishments demonstrate the power of women working together, serving together, and reaching to make a difference. Together we do the meaningful work that some dare not venture into. As I write this letter I feel equipped, knowing our work is not finished. We have a massive support in our sustainers and women excited to do the daily work to accomplish our goals. Together there is no dream that we cannot obtain and I look forward to making our dreams reality. We Believe in Battle Creek!
President, 2017 - 2018