Having earned a reputation as the Volunteer Powerhouse, we obviously have a special place in our hearts for National Volunteer Month. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, build stronger communities and transform the world.

But, while an extra set of hands can literally help organizations and communities “move mountains,” The Junior League believes the personal benefits of voluntarism run even deeper. For decades, we’ve viewed voluntarism as a vehicle for the women across our organization, and around the world, to develop as leaders.

In celebration of our more than 140,000 female volunteers across the world, we’re sharing four ways voluntarism builds leadership from the perspective of some of our inspiring members:

Establishes confidence/voice

“My years of service and voluntarism within The Junior League have given me avenues to sharpen my interpersonal communication skills and a safe space to learn how to best voice my opinions and perspectives. Whether engaging with people one-on-one, participating in a small group or inspiring from a podium, I’ve learned to speak with confidence. That’s something I carry into my professional career.” — Tycely Williams, VP of Development at YWCA USA and President of The Junior League of Washington (D.C.)

Shapes personal identity

“The Junior League has helped shape and influence my personal identity. I’ve been able to embody different types of leadership through my time in this organization. I’ve discovered a lot about myself, and that has helped me learn how to show up in the world as a leader.” — Jessica Sharp, Capacity Building Specialist at South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and member of The Junior League of Greenville, S.C.

Encourages professionalism

“There is so much to appreciate about The Junior League, but our commitment to civility in actualizing our values creates an inclusive and open environment that encourages professionalism and regard for others. The education and training I’ve received as a Junior League volunteer enable me to do better and be better in all areas of my life.” — Tycely Williams, VP of Development at YWCA USA and President of The Junior League of Washington (D.C.)

Enriches awareness

“Awareness on so many levels. As a Junior League civic leader, you are aware of your members – you tap into their needs and desires and the value of their Junior League experience. You champion, nurture, appreciate and recognize them. You become super aware of how your leadership style and personal conduct can inspire and galvanize others into action. You become aware that there are those that save and those who wait to be saved. Junior Leaguers are first responders — it’s in our DNA. Your awareness is heightened to the changes taking place in your community. Ultimately, you will see inequality all around and if you choose to epitomize civic leadership excellence, you will forego the Band-Aid approach and delve deeper into the root to address change.” — Pamela Antoine Weekes, Sustaining member, the Junior League of Long Island and VP of Affiliation at The Association of Junior Leagues International

Since our founding in 1901 by social activist Mary Harriman, the Junior League has embraced voluntarism as a way to raise quality of life at the community level, while setting the stage for women across our organization to lead.

There’s a leader waiting to be unlocked within each of us. Reach out to The Junior League to find out how you can make voluntarism a part of your life and professional development  today.

Photo courtesy of Junior League of San Diego