Junior League of Minneapolis Little Black Dress Initiative

LBDI Advocate: Amanda Theisen

Donate Here: https://www.jlminneapolis.org/fundraisers/lbdi/

Our members are wearing the same black dress or outfit for five consecutive days from September 20-24, 2021. Wearing an outfit for five straight days draws attention to the opportunity gap by symbolizing one of the many barriers to learning for high mobility students – not having consistent access to their own clothes, toys and books. LBDI gives us an opportunity to celebrate and fund JLM’s projects that inspire a love of learning, which can help kids who face these kinds of pressures. 

  • How many years have you been in the JLM? What committee are you on?

I’ve been in the JLM since 2011 – this year marks my 10th active year. This year, I’m serving as the VP of Public Affairs. 

  • With so many great organizations to support, why should others choose to support the JLM?

The JLM offers the unique opportunity for women to develop the skills, talents and networks necessary to make a difference and become involved in working towards common community goals and interests. We emphasize that we are a training organization – we want women who are passionate and enthusiastic to join our efforts, and then, we’ll help them develop their skills so they can make an impact now and many years down the line. The JLM also brings together many voices in order to highlight how working to close the opportunity gap affects so many people, including students, teachers, families and whole communities.

  • What do you enjoy about volunteering with the JLM? What motivates you to volunteer?

I have developed so many great relationships throughout my time in the JLM. This work has allowed me to expand my personal and professional networks of women, introduced me to some fantastic community partners and opened my eyes to the inequities students in Minnesota have faced for many years.

I come from a family that is very passionate about giving back and devoting time and talent to important causes. My work in the JLM and other community organizations I’m part of helps to extend that legacy. In addition to JLM, I am also involved with ThreeSixty Journalism, the PTO at Richfield STEM Elementary and with Girl Scouts River Valleys (my 7-year-old is in her first year as a Brownie Girl Scout). 

  • What prompted you to join in the LBDI initiative this year?

I have participated in LBDI since the JLM launched the initiative in 2019. I think it is a great way to not only show why the JLM is important to me, but it also showcases the causes we’re working hard to address in a unique and engaging way. By using my social platforms to show myself in the same outfit for five straight days, I’m able to connect with family, friends and followers from across many networks and help them make the connection that these are challenges many children face every day.

  • What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I hope to continue my advocacy for students across Minnesota who are experiencing hardships and inequities on a daily basis. I do a lot of work in the field of racial and health equity for my day job, so connecting my professional work with my volunteer work in the JLM and other organizations is really important to me.

  • What do you do when you aren’t working or volunteering?

My husband and I have two little girls, ages 7 and 3. So when I’m not working or volunteering, we’re usually out doing something fun as a family! My girls love to go places like  the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the Minnesota Zoo, Mall of America and CHS Field for a Saints baseball game! This fall, we will definitely visit some local apple orchards and other fun fall destinations. I also enjoy cooking, taking walks in my neighborhood and listening to podcasts.

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