10th Annual JLP Community Leaders’ Round Table a Success

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On Wednesday, October 27, The Junior League of Pelham gathered approximately 40 community leaders from over 26 community organizations at the 10th annual Community Leader’s Round Table at the Pelham Art Center.  Maggie Klein, Publisher and Editor of thePelham Weekly, was the featured speaker. Darby Dunn, Junior League Member and president of her own media consulting firm, moderated the hour-long dialogue.Mary Beth Fisher, JLP President, opened the evening by discussing the upcoming 70th anniversary of the JLP.  She said that this round table discussion serves as a means to generate new project ideas, including, potentially, the JLP’s next signature project. She also reminded the community partners about JLP’s grant program, where funding is provided to community programs and projects in Pelham and surrounding communities that address the JLP’s focus areas of healthy families, education and Pelham improvement.  Maggie Klein started the discussion with an overview of recent local events and issues, including the recent proposal that Pelham High School students be required to perform 40 hours of community service as a graduation requirement, including five hours in their senior year.  While Mike Daly of the Danny Fund said they would be happy to have students help with the updating of their website for example, others felt that five hours in a year would be too short to justify the training and supervision that a non-profit would need to provide.  Past JLP PresidentKristin Barsanti, representing Friends of Pelham Sports at the round table, brought up an idea first suggested during her JLP presidency: a community volunteer fair to help students find volunteer work that meets their interests, which might result in a more fulfilling experience for both the volunteers and the non-profits.Ms. Klein observed that in a small town like Pelham, there is a high level of fundraising competition among the numerous non-profit organizations. She reminded attendees to consider other groups’ fundraising event dates when planning their events. Lisa Robb, director of the Pelham Art Center, recommended that the JLP provide fundraising education to local non-profits.  Mary Beth responded that the JLP will look at ways to offer additional events for the community partners to provide training to address the needs raised.  “Over the next few years the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) has determined that the Junior League will focus its efforts on producing civic and community leaders,” said Junior League of Pelham President Elect,Daragh Murphy.  “As a result, the Junior League will be making a wealth of information available to non-profit organizations,” she noted.  The evening concluded with a discussion of how community organizations have been using modern e-communication. “The American Legion has an updated effective website and used Facebook to advertise the Pelham Memorial Day Parade last May,” noted Kenneth Kraetzev of the American Legion. He suggested a “central website for all Pelham-related events.”   Ms. Klein noted that thePelham Weeklyuses both Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information, but pointed out that it is difficult to determine the amount and type of information that can be effectively distributed in this way without causing information overload. Josephine Catalano of the Sound Shore Volunteers suggested “a Pelham community non-profit Facebook page for organizations to post questions and share ideas.”In direct response to this suggestion, the JLP created a Pelham Community Round Table Facebook page to encourage continued support and communication amongst the non-profits and for planning upcoming training events.  The JLP thanks Maggie Klein and all of the groups which participated, and particularly Lisa Robb and the staff of the Pelham Art Center for their hospitality.  The Junior League of Pelham is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Visit www.jlpelham.org for more information. Press Contact: Diana Lada, dianalada@hotmail.com