Growing up the oldest of three sisters, I love connecting with women. After graduating from Oklahoma State University, I moved to Oklahoma City and worked to establish a professional career in my twenties. One of my favorite memories of that time is the monthly reunion dinners I had with my best friends from college. Luckily, many of us worked and lived in Oklahoma City, so we have always remained connected. One of my friends, Brandy Parson, joined the Junior League in 2002. Although she encouraged the rest of us to join as well, I was very nervous about it. It seemed like an organization that was only for women of a certain social or economic stature. How would a girl from small-town Oklahoma ever find a place?
Here I am, nearly fifteen years later, serving as president to this organization that I have grown to love. I love it because time and time again, I have witnessed our members making someone’s life better. Through volunteering with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club, I have witnessed how children’s self-esteem skyrockets when they improve their reading comprehension. In many of our projects, we have helped children feel pride in their accomplishments, and that pride lives inside them as they leave our time together and go on to face other challenges and opportunities. We also connect with adult men and women in many ways. We work with women who are brave enough to extricate themselves from abusive home lives, and we have helped veterans overcome their trepidation to participate in group games and animated discussions.
Junior League women can accomplish anything because we work together in an environment of mutual respect and admiration for the different strengths of the women with whom we work. Junior League members receive training that is beneficial in all professional environments. I remember the dreaded “group project” assignments in school and worrying that the other people in my group wouldn’t contribute their fair share of the work required to complete an assignment. This is simply not an issue in the Junior League because we are an organization of doers. Whether presented with an opportunity or issue to tackle, a Junior League members asks, “What can I do to help?”
At its core, the Junior League of Oklahoma City is an organization that, through education and volunteer effort, makes our community a better place to live every day, and I’m so proud to be a member.
Sara Sweet, President, Junior League of Oklahoma City