Over the course of these past few months of training to run the New York City marathon on behalf of the New York Junior League, I’ve written an awful lot about the running but not as much about *why* I’m doing it and raising money for the Junior League.
You can read more about what the NYJL is and what it means to me here, but what is it about this organization that gets me returning week after week, and devoting my time and cash money to our causes?
I was hoping that I’d get into the NYCM via lottery this year, but when that didn’t happen, I knew I wanted to raise money for something I truly believed in. Not only would it be a more meaningful experience for me, but if I was asking my friends and families to open their checkbooks, I knew it had to be something I felt I could confidently “sell” to them. An organization I wholeheartedly believe in that helps the women and children of New York City?
I know there are so many misconceptions about this organization, and when I led our communications, I aimed to help change that. Sure, we have some killer fundraising events, but our 2,600 members contribute more than 250,000 hours of service a year. Our community partners depend on us because we provide them with trained volunteers whom they know they can count on to show up.
Our volunteers do everything from offer emotional support to victims of domestic violence (and can then go on to become crisis counselors certified by the state of NY), to teaching life skills to women just released from prison to tutoring at-risk students in the foster and child welfare systems.
Through our Playground Improvement Project, we’ve cleaned up Manhattan parks for the past 24 years so that children can have safe and educational places to play.
Not only do we train our own volunteers to be effective leaders — for our own organization, their other community work and in their professional lives — we also train outside volunteers through our Nonprofit Boards Clearinghouse, which teaches the skills necessary to serve on a nonprofit board to help them meet their mission.
I’ve so far only volunteered in roles on our support side, but after my current role this year is up, I would love to work directly in our community. To be honest, I’m not sure which of our community areas I want to focus on, but I want to make that direct impact.
If you read this and you think what we do is valuable and you’d like to support our work, you can either donate on behalf of me here or donate to our overall team here. I was lucky enough to meet my fundraising minimum just before I left for Chicago (which was a HUGE relief), but several women are so close and a donation to them would be truly helpful.
If you’re reading this and want to join…you can find more information here. We have several orientations coming up!
So those are just a few reasons why I am SO excited to run through the five boroughs of my city wearing a shirt representing an organization that gives so much to our community and its volunteers. Thank you so much to everyone who’s supported me over these last few months — through reading here, donating, being there IRL. It all means so much to me.
This race is bigger than just me — it’s an amazing experience to share with basically an entire city — but raising money to help others and getting to do it with some amazing like-minded women? That is pretty damn special.
Do you volunteer? Have you ever raised money for charity for a race?