I grew up in a small town in the southwest corner of Tennessee – Bolivar, about an hour east of Memphis. It’s one of those small, rural towns where everyone seems to know everyone else – who all your “people” are, where you sit in church, what you are up to on the weekend…..(so as a teenager, you better make sure your parents knew too….if they didn’t, they would find out)! A town where despite any number of actual differences between folks, a sense of shared community pride and purpose was easy to find.
When I came to Nashville to attend college, the undergraduate population living on my campus was roughly the same number of people that lived in my hometown (5000 of us or so, if we were all home for the holidays). Talk about a change! I soon realized I would have to be more purposeful in seeking out that shared community that I’d loved growing up, but perhaps taken for granted that it existed.
Junior League was an organization I’d heard about, especially when I had a sister join here in Nashville my senior year of college. After I graduated and decided to stay here, I learned of more and more women I knew who chose to join this organization. Maybe I had FOMO before FOMO was a thing – but finding myself in another season of life when I was searching for a shared community, I had to check it out for myself.
Eighteen years later, I am honored to serve as president of this remarkable organization. We are an organization that encourages women to develop their potential. We promote voluntarism – through formal trainings, experiential opportunities, or direct service – our members get to decide what their path looks like. This work turns into a positive impact on our community. Because if a group of people have a shared pride and purpose in the work they are doing, the entire community is a better place for it.
This website is full of information about our almost 100 year history in the Nashville community and the work we do. Though our work looks different now that it did at our founding in 1922, our mission remains constant. For nearly 100 years, we have been part of an international women’s movement that offers our members the chance to build relationships with others who are also looking for a meaningful way to impact their community.
I have now been a member of this organization for the same number of years that I lived in Bolivar and the decision to come back every year has been an easy one for me. This organization values the same things I learned to value growing up – community, connection, and growth. I again have that sense of shared community pride and purpose whose work truly does make the world a better place.
We’re turning 99 years old this year here in Nashville and I can’t wait to see where our mission takes us in the future. I am proud to stand beside the members of the Junior League of Nashville as we continue our work every day, building the kind of community we all want to live in.
All my best,
Sarah Creekmore Woodall