Women Who've Got What It Takes
Lyda Hill of The Junior League of Dallas is the winner of the 2015 Mary Harriman Award for Community Leadership
The true leaders in our society are the individuals whose insights, ideas and relationships enable them to change the lives of those who live in their neighborhoods and nations for the better. In The Junior League, members are trained to recognize a deficiency in a system such as education, transportation or healthcare. They also are attuned to the hardships a particular city may face, such as a prevalence of homelessness, a lack of after-school care, a high rate of unemployment, or a dearth of grocery stores selling nutritious food.
To fix the problem, they rally together their allies from a variety of community entities. These can include social services agencies, education administrators, local philanthropists, law enforcement, and healthcare providers, and others. Together these partners then produce and implement a plan that addresses the problem.
These multi-stakeholder solutions for which The Junior League is known for example can include initiatives such as:
- after-school programs
- mentoring and life skills for kids aging out of foster care
- domestic violence education and shelters
- awareness-building and advocacy efforts on the behalf of the homeless or the jobless or targeted at a particular environmental issue, for example
- comprehensive nutrition and fitness efforts like Kids in the Kitchen, which aims to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity
Though varied in scope and subject matter, all of these initiatives share an important characteristic: they are designed to meet a need unique to a community that has otherwise been ignored or forgotten by the agencies that would conventionally meet it, either because of a lack of awareness or a cut in funding.
Here are a few of the women of The Junior League who have served as change agents in their communities.