I am honored to serve as the JL Boston President of 2016-2017, as we celebrate our 110 years of impact in the greater Boston community. Since we began in 1906, we have identified and advocated for community needs, created charters for other local non-profits, facilitated critical community dialogues, and developed community service programs that positively impact the wellness of girls and women. We are a nearly 1000 member women’s volunteer organization. Together we are developing tomorrow’s healthy confident women leaders. Throughout the past 110 years, we have touched the lives of over 1 million families.
Our diverse and talented membership mentors, leads, trains, and serves the local and international community. The 291 other leagues across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom provide a support system of over 150,000 members. We are catalysts for lasting community change. For example, in March 2016, a group from JL Boston traveled to Morocco on a service trip to volunteer in an orphanage and teach English to adults. The cultural exchange was incredibly impactful and we gained valuable global perspectives.
Our vision is that every girl has the skills and confidence to thrive in life and unlock her potential. Like a house needs a solid foundation, so do the girls in our community. Through Leader Within, a JL Boston signature project, we empower girls to discover their strengths and practice civic leadership. Local schools have said that girls who take part in JL Boston programs are more likely to raise their hand in class than those who have not. From our service programs to our members’ experiential leadership, we build a pipeline of women leaders in the Boston community. The data show that organizations with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance, than those with the lowest representation of women. Our members have the experience and skill to serve on Boston area boards.
In alignment with the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives, we teach girls healthy, simple and affordable recipes to cook and provide food to-go for their families. We also introduce athletics, physical activities, and performing arts to the girls. Historically, 80% of the girls we serve qualify for free lunch. Low-income neighborhoods consistently work to have equal access to fresh healthy foods and safe space outside to play; without this, lower income residents have worse health outcomes, affecting the whole community.
Help us improve the Boston community, promote voluntarism, and develop the potential of women. As a 501c(3) organization, we rely on external support. I invite you to join our mailing list and watch for upcoming events. Or consider a donation to our Community and Training Fund, which funds our community service initiatives and training for members and the community, or our Annual Fund, which supports the greatest needs of the organization. We accept new members in April and May each year; I hope you will consider joining us.