That’s a question we ask ourselves a lot at AJLI. And the answer is (drum roll, please!) a great deal, even if difficult to measure in traditional professional terms.

Voluntarism has many meanings for different women. For some, it’s joining with friends and neighbors in projects that create lasting community impact. For others, it’s giving in to an urge to give back to the community. For others, it’s a way of life they learned from their mothers and grandmothers.

By the way, women continue to outperform men in their commitment to voluntarism. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the volunteer rate in the U.S. rose by 0.5 percentage point to 26.8 percent for the year ending in September 2011, with some 64.3 million people volunteering through or or an organization at least once in the preceding 12 months. And the volunteer rate of women increased from 29.3 percent to 29.9 percent in the same period, a higher rate than men across all age, education and demographic categories.

At The Junior League, however, we believe that voluntarism provides our members with a path to becoming civic leaders, first with their Leagues, and then, often, with other community organizations. That’s why we focus so much on training leaders.

So it was with great pleasure that we received news from the Junior League of Wichita that four of its active members have been selected to join the 31-member Leadership Wichita 2012 Class, which is sponsored by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce to train young business leaders to step up to become leaders in the community.

Chosen for the honor were: Cari Clayton, who has served in various League leadership positions, including the 2011-2012 Board of Directors; Kim Doze-Lohmann, who is serving on the Holiday Galleria Steering Committee and has worked on Project Development; Cynthia Schmucker, who is deeply involved in JLW’s focus issue of child abuse while also mentoring new members; and  Coleen Tabor, a second-year active who has already stepped into a leadership position as the Fund Diversification Chair for 2012-2013.

Naturally, this is in addition to their professional work at businesses in the Wichita area.

”All of our members are committed to making Wichita a better community,” notes JLW President Amiee White. “At Junior League of Wichita our mission is to provide the training and support to create leaders both inside and outside of our organization.  For our members to be selected to such a prestigious leadership training program confirms that Junior League of Wichita is dedicated to being at the table to facilitate positive change within our community.

We couldn’t agree more!