This year, the League has much to look forward to. Continuing to move the needle on important community and League initiatives. Pouring into the women within our organization and growing them in all the roles they serve. Celebrating 90 years of serving our community.
As I think of the what the 2022-23 year has to offer, I think about how humbled I am to be able to lead this organization. Coming into this role, I spent time meeting with members, hearing about their whys and passions. I sat with different leaders, stakeholders and partners listening to what current obstacles we’re experiencing within our community. I looked to see how we could align what our members desired with meeting the critical needs of our community. And I am proud to say that today, we are putting these desires into action. Through collaborative efforts among League leaders, local businesses, nonprofits, and community partnerships, I am proud of the progress our volunteers and leadership team have made in moving the needle on important community and League initiatives.
Our goal is to empower our membership and our community. We plan to do this through increased leadership training that we hope extends beyond our membership and is inclusive of women in our community. By investing in the potential of women, we hope to make significant impacts in seeing more women in leadership positions, either at home, in the classroom, in their places of worship, in board rooms and even c-suites. In growing each individual, we look to increase our impact in building the confidence of children in Polk County through our literacy and clothing initiatives. Education creates opportunities, regardless of income, race, gender, or upbringing. By removing barriers that limit our students, and empowering a love for learning, we hope that children in Polk County are coming to school eager and willing to learn, not limited by their ability to read or feel confident in themselves.
The League continues to be a well-respected leader whose focus is on building a stronger community for the future of Lakeland. This year we look forward to numerous community initiatives. Ready to Read and Reading is Fundamental, both literacy outreach programs the League hosts annually within Title I schools in our area, are already setting dates in collaboration with local schools and the Polk County School Board, to help revitalize these programs and increase our outreach and impact. We’ve already distributed more than 200 reading-level appropriate books to children in our community through back-to-school drives and look forward to filling even more home libraries in the months to come. We’ve distributed more than 3,200 clothing items to community partners such as Tenoroc High School, T.A.S.S.E.L., One More Child, and many more. We look forward to hosting successful fundraisers, like Black Diamond Ball, Little Black Dress, and ProAm Tennis Tournament to help support these community programs for years to come.
All of this is happening alongside our organization celebrating 90 years as a League. 90 years of community impact. 90 years of investing in the potential of women. What began as a group of women meeting in secret in the basement of the Terrace Hotel has now turned into one of the largest volunteer nonprofits in the Lakeland Community. Along our 90 years of service, we molded some of Lakeland’s most notable female leaders and philanthropists. We contributed significantly to Lakeland’s historic preservation efforts, like the restoration of the Frances Langford Promenade or Polk Theatre. Acting as Lakeland’s “first” incubator for nonprofits, we helped establish community assets such as Achievement Academy, Learning Resource Center, and the Polk Museum of Art. We’ve heavily invested time, talent and treasure towards community organizations we believe in, like Florida Children’s Museum and Bonnet Springs Park. We look forward to celebrating our community, our members, and so much more.
I cannot emphasize enough how appreciative we are of our Provisionals, Active, and Sustaining Members. As a 100-percent volunteer-led organization, we are not capable of doing good and making a significant impact in our community without each and every one of you. We are a incredibly dynamic, well-respected and powerful organization comprised of diverse women in our Lakeland Community. And each of us are leading progress and change. Thank you for the generosity of your time, resources, ideas, and passion that drives our organization forward.