INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to purpose-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.



 

Kali Handford is the President of the Junior League of Denver. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube and learn more at jld.org.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
The Junior League of Denver is an organization of women established in 1918. We have 1,600 members in the Denver metro area and just welcomed 200 new members this past month! There are 292 Leagues in four countries encompassing 150,000 members.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Women are our work. We’re dedicated to training women to be civic leaders and apply this know-how in helping the Denver metro community. We help them grow personally, professionally, and civically. The needs of our community cannot be met by JLD alone, so we collaborate with other nonprofits, government, and businesses. We’ve been making an impact in our community for nearly 100 years.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
The Junior League of Denver focuses on addressing the greatest needs of our community. We’re currently working to improve literacy rates birth through third grade. We host our signature Read2Kids program that is free to the public with the goal of putting books in the hands of children and teaching their loved ones how to help them develop a love for reading. This year we will donate 3,000 books to 1,250 families through Read2Kids and Kids Connect, our signature programs. We’re a proud partner of One Book 4 Colorado giving away 75,000 copies of one book to every 4-year-old in Colorado. On September 23rd, we’re hosting our inaugural, high-impact day of service called Leaders United in Volunteer Service (L.U.V.S.) where 300 trained Junior League of Denver volunteers will lend a hand in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods alongside nine community partners. We’re very excited to continue our commitment to GES through L.U.V.S.! The Junior League anticipates giving back to the community this year with 150 community events helping 2,500 children and 4,000 adults, serving 3,900 meals, and directly distributing 3,600 books.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
I’m inspired by our 1,600 members and the storied history of the Junior League of Denver to continue making an impact. The women I volunteer alongside of are such a passionate, smart, giving, and fun-loving group. They make me want to bring my A game every time and I’m always, always learning something new.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
My big dream is that after this first nearly 100 years of service, that we can celebrate another 100 years.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
We’re so lucky to have the woman-power that we do. Our biggest strength is the time and talent our members bring. To continue the high level of impact and service we’ve had this first 99 years, we need continued partnership in our communities, government, and companies.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
My biggest challenge has been learning to balance work-personal-volunteer life. I’m a wife, a dog mom of two, an entrepreneur and business owner of Berriegood Co., a Pilates lover, a want-to-be-foodie, a cancer survivor, and a Junior League-er since 2008. Like many of our volunteer members, we each wear many hats. Some days there’s enough time for it all, and others I have to prioritize. I’ve learned that you can’t give from an empty well so carving out time for yourself is important. And not being too tough on yourself, too!

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
My lessons learned for making an impact are: 1) Jump in! Don’t wait to be asked. 2) Gather more experiences and less perfectionism. 3) Understand the “why” behind what you’re doing. 4) And lastly, my personal credo, to always look for the good in the bad.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Get involved! Join us as a member, partner with us, or give with us. Our Foundation is celebrating 25 years this year as the first Junior League to establish a Foundation that solely supports our operational budget. To continue our tradition of service, folks can kindly make a donation or attend one of our signature fund development events. Mile High Holiday Mart and The Journey have become some of the best ways to have fun while giving back.

 


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