New York, April 20, 2015 – The Association of Junior Leagues International today announced that the Junior League of Baltimore’s Karyn Riley and Margaret Nasser of the Junior League of Scranton are the recipients of the 2015 Rising Star Awards, the Association’s highest award for individual members. The awards, which recognize and celebrate emerging leaders from within the 292 independent Junior Leagues, were made at AJLI’s 93rd Annual Conference in Los Angeles on April 18.
AJLI President Ellen Rose said, “From its founding – 114 years ago – The Junior League has provided talented and committed young women with the training as well as the opportunity to bring positive change to their communities. As the selection of Karyn Riley and Margaret Nasser as 2015’s Rising Stars demonstrates clearly, today’s Junior League women are prepared for the challenge!”
Ms. Riley’s key initiatives at the Junior League of Baltimore have included reinvigorating the Penny Wise Internship Committee, which works with disadvantaged women seeking retail training and experience, and assuming key roles in community impact, fundraising and diversity outreach.
A consummate mentor to both local youth polishing their public speaking skills and in assisting women seeking asylum from domestic abuse, she has also served as a board member on organizations focused on the arts, education and youth development, including the Maryland Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Community Advisory Board for the African Art Gallery, and the Eubie Blake Cultural Center.
In her professional life, Ms. Riley has served Baltimore as director of public affairs and as chief of staff for Visit Baltimore, where she developed the first formal outreach program to youth.
Upon joining the Junior League of Scranton, Ms. Nassar worked with other Provisionals to develop KNOWME, a program that tackles the perils of bullying and low self-esteem among at-risk teen girls through immersion in the arts. In an offshoot to that work, she chaired her League’s beloved Cinderella’s Closet initiative, which provides underprivileged girls with the opportunity to find prom dresses and accessories for under $10. Eventually, Cinderella’s Closet was spun off into an independent 501(c)3 organization called Cinderella’s Closet of NEPA and Ms. Nassar was asked to lead it as president, expanding the involvement of the students it helps while providing them with access to community leaders.
Ms. Nassar’s other volunteer commitments include her work with Jewish Family Services and those in need of mental health services; Marley’s Mission, where she is engaged in equine therapy for children who have suffered abuse or neglect; Project Vitality’s playground-building mission; and spearheading programming for a local nursing home.
About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.
Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) is comprised of more than 150,000 women in 292 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world.
Tracy Van Buskirk
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