Sitting down with Junior League of Orange County, Ca (JLOCC) sustaining member Sally Lawrence is similar to spending time with a favorite aunt; equal parts ease and awe. We met on a summer afternoon in San Juan Capistrano – near her home in San Clemente. Sally and her husband of 45 years, Bruce, live in San Clemente, near their son and three grandchildren. Her daughter, born just after The Christmas Company (TCC) – when Sally was the event chair, lives in Las Vegas with her husband and two children. Family, friendship, and community are cornerstones in Sally’s life.
Joining as a provisional member in 1979, with 50 other women, Sally’s time in the League has provided her the opportunity to be a volunteer in the Orange County community and learn about issues that are relevant – creating a new awareness of her community. Through her 30+ year membership, Sally has had the opportunity to participate in each type of volunteer experience the League provides, from frontline fundraising, to hands on volunteering, to organizational and non-profit management and advocacy.
When Sally joined JLOCC, the provisional program was 12 months and culminated in a class project. The 1979-1980 provision class elected to refurbish the Albert Sitton home. Designed to hold 35 foster youth and youth in need, the home had been holding anywhere from 60 to 140 children, overcrowded and in need of repair. JLOCC provisional members refurbished the home and provided new furniture and toys. At the 1980 annual meeting, provisional members presented a slide show set to music to the League’s Active and Sustaining members. The response? A standing ovation. That fall, JLOCC made a decision to dedicate all the proceeds from TCC as a challenge grant to the community, to turn the Albert Sitton home in to a newer and better facility for our youth. In 1985, after the initial $117,000 contribution from JLOCC, Orangewood was opened. Participating in this provisional project, the 1980 TCC, and then leading the 1981 TCC solidified for Sally that there isn’t anything she can’t do.
Sally shared that learning in the League is a wonderful growing experience and gives you a lot of confidence. It is okay if you make a mistake — the League allows you to learn and grow, and to fail. But it isn’t just the wonderful skills developed in the League that keep Sally a member, it is her lifelong friendships and her unforgettable memories. One of Sally’s best friends was a member of the 1979 provisional class with her. For years, Sally still had the second phone line “the Junior League line” her husband put in when she was TCC chair. Even now, Sally spends time with her League friends – young and old at social functions and by continuing to act as an advisor and mentor to League committees.
Sally’s life is dedicated to volunteering. So much started with Junior League. When she needed to meet with community leaders or begin networking to develop her own skills, she could call up high level community leaders and share was with Junior League – doors opened. She catapulted her training in fundraising to do something in our community with lasting reach. After time with the Girl Scouts, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Arthritis Foundation, March of Dimes, and now the Boy Scouts – Sally is one of those community leaders the League reaches out to. As a recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Outstanding Professional Fundraiser award and a JLOCC Kathryn Raulston Award recipient, her community contributions have been recognized by many.
I asked Sally what she thought women in the League would say about her and she shared two incredibly true statements. First, she is always impeccably dressed (she always matches). Second, that no matter her role or time in the League, that the women she lead and served with loved working with her. That her leadership and mentorship helped them grow, enjoy volunteer work, and enjoy each other, no matter what position they held. I had the privilege to serve with Sally, and I can attest that her mentorship and guidance helps all League members; her fun style, sparkling personality, and kind heart make even the most difficult of meeting days fun and focused.
Thank you, Sally, for your membership.