Before starting The Blogunteer last year, I hadn’t heard of many of the organizations I have profiled. I have learned about some through Twitter connections, Facebook friends, and recommendations. Today’s organization, on the other hand, is near and dear to my heart. It is actually part of the inspiration behind The Blogunteer.
In 2003, I had just settled into my post college career and was over the newlywed phase with my husband when I received a postcard in the mail asking me to attend a meeting of a local organization. I figured – “what the heck” and attended. I left that night without joining. A few months later they sent a postcard inviting me to the local Mexican restaurant, I went and ended up joining that night. After becoming involved, I learned that this was just one chapter of a statewide and national organization called the Women of Today.
The Minnesota Women of Today began in 1950 as the Minnesota Mrs. Jaycees and were affiliated with the Minnesota Jaycee organization, a men’s organization dedicated to community service and leadership training. Over the years the organization went through a couple of name changes. Following a United States Supreme Court decision that required the Jaycees to no longer exclude women from full membership in their organization, the women of the then Jaycee Women were then given a choice – fold their organization into the Jaycees or split into their own organization. In 1985, eighty percent of the membership voted to split and become the Women of Today.
Since then, the organization has focused on their mission of helping women improve their own lives and the lives of the people in the communities around them. The organization is an altruistic non-profit unaffiliated with any religion or political viewpoint, which allows for a diverse membership.
The motto “Service, Growth, and Fellowship” summarizes the organization’s mission. Opportunities exist for volunteering and giving back, gaining leadership skills, and making personal connections with other members around the state and nation. Minnesota Women of Today members strive to uphold the Women of Today creed by “leaving the world a better place because we lived and served within it.”
The reason that I love the Women of Today organization is the fact that you don’t need to commit to serving only one organization. The Minnesota organization promotes several different statewide charities each year. Some recently promoted organizations include CanCurables, First Book, The American Cancer Society, Jacob Wetterling Foundation, March of Dimes, Clutch for a Cause, Camp Get-A-Well-A, Can Do Canines, and more. In addition, individual chapters can vote to promote local organizations and events. For example, I have participated in the Relay for Life, picked apples for the food shelf, collected used books, repackaged laundry detergent, made homemade greeting cards, and raised funds for a wide variety of organizations – just to name a few. The other reason I love Women of Today is all the amazing women I have met. It is great to be around so many amazing women that want to make a difference in this world and do great work toward that goal.
In the past five years, Minnesota Women of Today has raised over $1.5 million for various charities and members have volunteered thousands of service hours. There are currently about 80 chapters around the state of Minnesota.
Financial donations to the Minnesota Women of Today Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, can also be made via their page on GiveMN.org.
For those on other states around the United States, you can find their website at uswomenoftoday.org. In addition, the first international chapter of the organization was started on the island of Cyprus. The organization has a vision of new expansions to other countries (and states) in the future.
Like I said, the Minnesota Women of Today is near and dear to my heart. I have grown as a person to do things I wouldn’t have envisioned doing prior to joining. One example is in 2010 I decided to start a Women of Today chapter closer to my home. I stepped outside of my introverted comfort zone to talk to a lot of people and have met many great new people in the process. I have also seen other women transformed into great leaders. It is an organization overflowing with love and support – so members are willing to step outside their comfort zone because they have a safety net of friends and members around the state.
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but this I know: the only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” ~ Albert Schweitzer