The Lowcountry is known for it's scenic views, history, food, and more, but do you know about it's propensity to give back? Today, Janeen Vosseller and Frances Deschenes talk to us about how joining a civic organization changed their lives for the better and how you can get involved in helping your own community- all while making new friends.
As a College of Charleston student, turned full-time Lowcountry resident, my closest friends here were from my college days. However, after graduation those close friends one by one all moved throughout the country for amazing, new opportunities. I remained in the Lowcountry with the perfect job and a wonderful boyfriend, but no particularly, close friends. I decided to turn to a civic organization to help me get out there and make new friends. The Lowcountry offers a plethora of activities and clubs that anyone can participate in, but with a heavy work load six months out of the year and not liking any activity that involves a ball or frisbee being thrown at me, which to join? I sought out my mom for advice and she suggested what she did at my age: the Junior Woman’s Club. I decided, "Why not?". At the very least, I'd end up volunteering for a few charities that support our community. Luckily for me, I knew someone who was in the club already, so I reached out to her about information on Charleston’s chapter. The response back was nothing but praise and encouragement to join. From my first volunteer event, I knew I had made the right decision. This club is made up of ladies who want to help their community become a better place, while opening up a window to meeting new people. The members are a wonderful representation of Charleston; women who are from Charleston and out-of-state, work in all different industries from health to education to business, and in all different stages of life. Everyone is ready to welcome you to the club and treat you like a friend. Bonds are made quickly in the club, while you are getting your hands dirty and stepping outside your comfort zone at volunteer events. The social events where we catch up are just the cherry on top of it all. The Junior Woman’s Club is a wonderful club where life-long bonds are forged while making the Lowcountry community a better place.
Janeen is an audit associate at Johnson Lambert, LLP in downtown Charleston. She is originally from Cranford, NJ, but now resides in Mt. Pleasant where she enjoys exploring the local parks with her dog Dori and grilling out with her boyfriend, Michael.
For the past five years of living in the Lowcountry, I have seen it receive many accolades; from the top travel destination in the world to friendliest city in the U.S. There is one other title the Lowcountry deserves to be acknowledged for, and that is being the most GIVING. Maybe I never noticed it until the summer of last year, but the people of Charleston come from a giving culture. Last year, I needed a change. I had a sports injury involving my ACL and couldn't participate in the athletic and active things that I had grown accustomed to doing here in the Lowcountry. Luckily for me, a last minute invite to a charity event opened my eyes to a group of women that I would not ever be able to replace. I joined the Charleston Junior Women’s Club after only meeting 2 members. Their willingness to give back to their community and amazing personalities led me to attend a member meeting at the Main Library, a decision that I am glad I made. In that year, I have seen these amazing women volunteer at Lowcountry Orphan Relief, Race for a Cure, Florence Crittenton Programs of SC, and multiple occasions for the PlayToday Foundation. Although the main focus of the group is to give back to the community, they also know how to have a good time and bring the best out of everyone they interact with. Through social events on the Palmetto Breeze, to happy hour at Taco Boy, and the occasional Cypress burger night after our monthly meeting, these women truly invest in each other and the community. I loved being a part of this group so much that I encouraged two other close friends to join with me. I have grown and changed for the better thanks to these ladies and am excited to go into this new club year as a board member.
Frances is a Corporate Sales Manager at the DoubleTree Charleston Airport. Originally from Charlotte, NC, she has lived in Charleston for 5 years. She can be found Sunday's during the fall cheering on her beloved Carolina Panthers with friends.
About the Charleston Junior Woman's Club:
The Charleston Junior Woman's Club (CJWC) is a civic, nonprofit organization, founded in 1966. All members of CJWC are united by dedication to community improvement through volunteerism. The CJWC leadership stresses community involvement among its members, who in turn donate their time and talent to numerous organizations.