Virtual Community Awareness Trainings: One New Member’s Experience

When I signed up for my new member year with the Junior League of San Antonio, Inc. (JLSA), I had no idea how much would change over the course of just a few months. Instead of gathering with my fellow League members in person, things had to be rescheduled and reimagined for our safety. What has emerged as a result is a river of creativity from both JLSA and our community partners, especially in the area of Community Awareness Trainings (CATs).

New Members are able to learn about JLSA’s various community partners during CATs. Ordinarily, our new members visit the community partner to tour the location and meet the amazing individuals working to strengthen our community. This year, these trainings have included social distancing measures or have gone completely virtual.

I had the opportunity to attend two recent CATs – a Black History Tour of San Antonio with Melaneyes Media and an exploration of women and art with the McNay Art Museum. It was fascinating to learn about the individuals—particularly the many women—who contributed to the story of San Antonio; a story that adds new chapters with each passing year. Whether it was hearing Artemisia Bowden’s journey to transform an industrial school into what we now know as St. Philip’s College or witnessing the whimsical landscapes and underlying exploration of our culture’s notion of happiness in artist Kelly O’Connor’s “Multifaceted Woman” exhibit at the McNay, I found myself counting my blessings that I get to call this amazing city home.

JLSA volunteers at the McNay Art Museum in 2019.

While there are certainly drawbacks to virtual events, I take comfort in the fact that I can attend more virtual opportunities than I might be able to attend in-person events. Let’s face it – we’re all busy. Whether it’s our careers or families, maintaining balance can be a difficult task (particularly given the challenges of this current year). Being able to chat with my mentor and small cluster while I eat dinner, or listen to a community partner present on their organization on the drive home from work, has freed me up to take more advantage of all the wonderful opportunities JLSA offers me.

I look forward to continuing our work to build a better community for our family, friends, and neighbors in San Antonio. While it’s still uncertain what this next year will bring, I know this incredible group of women can meet any challenge together.


Lauren Esquivel

New Member