As we continue our journey through the AJLI value statements, we will examine service. The statement reads: We believe it is through service that we build core relationships with others. Service is the lens through which we decide how we will invest our time and resources. Living the value of service empowers us as catalysts for lasting community change.
Service is our product. It is what we offer the community. It is why the community supports us as much as it does. Realistically, we are currently not garnering as much support as we need. Last September our Treasurer gave us a realistic financial report, letting us know that JLOEB has ended the last few years in the red. How do we address this issue? Making sure our product is excellent and our projects are successful and then telling the community what we’ve done. We’ve recently adopted training and volunteer shift accountability policies designed to encourage you to honor your chosen commitments. Reliability is the first step in improving our product.
The second step is a quality improvement. We want to train our volunteers to be excellent leaders. The board is considering re-implementing the training continuum that would give you tools to learn and practice volunteer leadership skills. The end goal is preparing you to serve on a board of directors or lead a team in a non-profit organization. Women who are training with a goal in mind can be incredibly successful in elevating JLOEB’s talent pool. The league is also considering conducting a skills assessment next year so that we can better match members to projects. The objective is to improve both member engagement and project design and output.
The third step is building core relationships with the partners we serve that are reciprocal. How do we get something back in exchange for our excellent volunteer service? We want to earn the success stories and the right to share them. We want to earn the trust of our partners so that they are willing to share the stories with their constituent and support bases as well. This starts with networking then bringing in referrals and connecting them with league leadership. As President, I am attending Leadership Contra Contra Costa monthly and connecting with up-and-coming leaders in the community. Relationships forged there are bringing in trainings, DIADs, speakers, and potential fundraising partners. We are serving and receiving.
Service is at the heart of the Junior League. It is reflected in our leadership style (remember servant leadership?) our product reliability and quality, and the development of reciprocal relationships in our community. We serve each other, we serve our vulnerable neighbors, and we serve our partners. When we, as individuals, are mindful of the value of service it puts our activity into perspective and helps us determine what efforts are worthwhile. Your membership is about service. You are here to serve with like-minded women and have fun doing it. That is our foundation. Let’s plant our feet firmly on it and reach for the stars!