Wendy Armstrong’s Junior League Work Inspired a Career Renaissance in Westchester, New York
When Wendy Armstrong joined the Junior League of Central Westchester, she never imagined her involvement would lead to a new career. Initially, she became a Member to help her community in an organized way, make new friends, and fulfill a dream her own mother never achieved. After three years taking one particular initiative—the Westchester County Diaper Bank—from a good idea to a thriving enterprise, Armstrong was inspired to leave her 30-year career in book publishing to work with nonprofits full-time.
“Within two months, I had landed a position,” she recalls. “My volunteer work was as important as my paid work on my resume! I am where I belong.”
Of all the roles Armstrong has held in her League—Community Vice President, Communications Vice President, Sustainer Director, as well as Co-Chair of several committees—she is most proud of creating the diaper bank. Upon hearing that one in three women struggles to diaper her baby, Armstrong knew she had to bring this issue to the Junior League of Central Westchester. She became Co-Chair of the project, conducted two years of research, created a business plan, and ultimately partnered with the Westchester County Executive’s office and the Westchester County Department of Social Services.
From this germ of an idea, Armstrong and her team operationalized a mini nonprofit within a nonprofit that has been in existence for eight years. The Westchester County Diaper Bank provides diapers at no cost as temporary assistance to families in need in Westchester County. It is operated by the Junior League of Central Westchester, and Junior League Members perform a variety of tasks including operations, donation drives, and community outreach. Diapers are distributed through the Westchester County Department of Social Services and other community-based organizations.
Armstrong’s personal mission statement is to “engage, encourage, and embolden others to serve as part of a talent tapestry creating a happier and healthier community.” It’s easy to see, especially after being so involved in the diaper bank, why she felt called to shift to a nonprofit career. Armstrong is now the Director of RSVP of Westchester, a program engaging people 55+ in community service, at Volunteer New York! The organization addresses an array of community needs, including food and housing insecurity, immigration, and education by compiling the volunteer opportunities of local nonprofits for interested volunteers. Volunteer New York! serves as a “community connector”—much like Armstrong herself.