Dear Friends and League Supporters:
Welcome to the Junior League of the Oranges & Short Hills (JLOSH) 2022-2023 League year! I am honored to be serving in my third year as its President. Since its founding in 1913, JLOSH has been dedicated to supporting families and their children residing in East Orange, Orange, West Orange, South Orange, Maplewood, Millburn, Livingston, Springfield and Short Hills. Our long history of service and our commitment to volunteerism and community leadership has led to JLOSH being a critical partner to many community-based organizations in our service area. I am enormously proud of our League and its many accomplishments and look forward to the impact we can make together.
At the Annual Business meeting for the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) in May 2022, all Junior Leagues came together to vote on and pass a new mission statement. This historic measure took time to be done; League Delegates representing all Junior Leagues reviewed and deliberated on several revisions to the mission statement in structured dialogues over the past two years. Collectively, as Delegates, we understood that we were responsible for shaping and evolving a mission statement that reflected our values as Leagues and captured our identities as Junior League volunteers.
After hours of civil debate at the Annual Business Meeting, we agreed on a new mission statement: The Association of Junior Leagues International is an organization of women whose mission is to advance women's leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration, and training. The new statement will be fully implemented in 2024.
I believe deeply in the intent of organizational mission statements. They not only explain the purpose of an organization but also serve as a mirror of an organization's culture and belief systems. I support AJLI’s new mission statement. JLOSH is an organization of women seeking to advance meaningful community action. But I also believe we are so much more than volunteers. This is why JLOSH has taken additional steps to cement our values as a League and our identities as League members. In the past year, thanks to the vital work of JLOSH’s Task Force on Racial Justice & Equity, we adopted a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) statement.
Our DEIB statement reads: We are a Junior League committed to being inclusive and representative of the diverse communities we serve. We welcome and value women of all races, identities, abilities, economic statuse and belief systems who align with our mission. We believe that a sense of belonging empowers people to serve and lead across differences effectively. Our members feel inspired to be the best versions of their authentic selves. We continuously develop our members’ greater cultural awareness and competency to better support one another and the communities we serve.
This is who we are. We are not just women who volunteer. We are women who prioritize collaboration and inclusion, we understand that our differences are what makes us stronger, and we recognize that our purpose is to serve and to serve effectively, we must take steps to empathetically understand the many barriers families in our communities face. I am hopeful that if we continue to intentionally practice our own mission, our collective impact will be immeasurable.
Today, with nearly 200 League members, JLOSH stands alongside a network of more than 140,000 women in 291 Junior Leagues within the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Together, we constitute one of the largest and most effective women-led volunteer organizations in the world.
We continue to be enormously grateful to our sponsors, supporters and the many friends who align with our mission. Without this continued support, JLOSH could not provide community grants to organizations serving families in our communities or support our members' training and personal development interests. I am also grateful and appreciative of the dynamic women serving on this year’s Board of Directors. The strength of our diversity, experiences and values will guide our governance and the strategic execution of our mission. Our history, legacy and staunch commitment to community motivate me. I invite you to join me and all of our members as we move toward a more equitable and impactful League. We are better together!
Yours in service,