In March, the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) held their first Organizational Development Institute (ODI) conference of 2011 in Tampa. Junior League of Boca Raton members Marya Gill, Jackie Schatz, Allison Lane, Shannon Moriarity, and I were honored to represent our League at the 3 day event which brings together representatives from Leagues all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and even London. ODI is a powerful experience designed to help develop our potential as League members through workshops, discussions on thought provoking topics and networking opportunities. The goal is to then bring those skills and ideas back to our own Leagues.
The opportunity to interact with other League members is both inspiring and enlightening. It was a fantastic and humbling experience to witness the power of nearly 160,000 women from 292 Leagues making a crucial difference in their communities. Over the course of the conference I was fascinated to learn about the various projects and issues other Leagues have undertaken.
- The Junior League of Atlanta is working on a Pilot Project to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
- The Junior League of Alexandria, La. partnered with Pregnancy Care Closet to help teenage mothers shop in the closet if they completed parenting classes.
- The Junior League Long Beach teamed up with their local metal health department to raise awareness for perinatal depression.
- Several leagues including those in Memphis, Baton Rouge and Kalamazoo have a “Cinderella Project” where gently used dressed are donated to junior and senior girls in need of a prom dresses.
- The Junior League of London is working on a project to foster an interest in reading and a love of books to young children from low-income families. The League is working with Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library and Penguin UK to mail one book per month to each enrolled child.
The list goes on and on but I think you get the point. ODI is an incredible League conference that every Leaguer should participate in at some point during their League experience. It reaffirmed my love of the League and a desire to make a important difference in our community.