Stacey Higdon, an active local volunteer and Mom of 3, is the executive vice-president and president-elect of the Junior League of Greenwich. The Junior League has been doing amazing work in our community for many years and is currently focused on programs to advance youth wellness and education in our community. They are also the ones behind our favorite community focused events such as the Touch-a-Truck every spring and the upcoming beloved Enchanted Forest which will be held November 17 – 19 at the Bruce Museum.
Stacey shares with us how she got involved with this incredible organization, why volunteers are so important to their mission and how you too can get involved!
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally? Names/ages of kids, etc.?
I am from a small town in Manitoba, Canada and my husband Henry grew up in Greenwich. We currently live in mid-country with our three active children. My daughter Blake is 11, and I have twins Hank and Paige who are 8. Like most families, we are in full fall activity mode, and I know once I get my head around the schedule it will change for winter. However, I love staying busy and seldom like downtime. I am currently the executive vice-president and president-elect of the Junior League of Greenwich and I am very involved in my children’s schools and sports organizations.
Where do you live in Greenwich and what do you love about Greenwich and your neighborhood/ what made you decide to move there/ how long have you been there?
We love all the areas of Greenwich. We eventually chose to live in mid-country because of its proximity to our children’s schools, town and the highways. We love that our street is tree lined, and private, yet is still busy with neighbors going for walks with their children and pets. Our dog Dodger often sits outside to greet everyone passing.
Please tell us about The Junior League of Greenwich?
The Junior League of Greenwich was established over 60 years ago and has been a hidden powerhouse in the community during that time. You have likely interacted with a Junior League project and might not even realize. The Boundless Playground at Bruce Park, the Greenwich Pool at Byram Park, and the Skateboard Park are some examples of Junior League projects. We also established Safety Town, the Child Care Center at Children’s Day School, and Kids in Crisis.
The legacy continues today with our focus on programs to advance youth wellness and education in our community. We currently offer a free program called Positively Me! which teaches 3rd grade girls the skills to be confident, assertive, make good decisions and build self-esteem.
Our fundraisers are also community focused. We host Touch-a-Truck at the Greenwich Town Hall every spring which draws hundreds of families. And Nov 17-19 please save the date for our beloved fundraiser the Enchanted Forest which will be held this year at the Bruce Museum.
How did you get involved with the Junior League ? What is your professional background?
I worked for years as a brand manager in the consumer packaged goods industry in both Canada and the US. After meeting my husband I moved to the US to obtain my master’s degree in communications and switched careers to become a television news reporter in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. I often reported on the struggles of people and communities in need. I stopped working when we moved to London for my husband’s company and I was pregnant with my first child. I like to always be busy, and I decided I wanted to get more involved with the solution to those struggles I often covered. I learned about the Junior League of London, and it appealed to me because each year it forms a new member class to train as a collaborative team. I liked that I would not be the only newbie, would have access to incredible volunteer opportunities, and their leadership program helped fill my resume while I wasn’t working.
The Junior League was also a great choice for me because it accommodates the ebbs and flows of life. I was able to take leadership roles the years my family life allowed, and when it didn’t (like with newborn twins) I was able to take a role that required less time, but that was still integral. The Junior League is also an organization you can be part of for life. It is one of the most established women’s organizations in the world with 295 Leagues in 4 countries. So, I was able to easily transfer my membership to Greenwich when I moved back which instantly connected me to the community and a network of women.
Why do you personally feel volunteering is so important?
We are so fortunate to live in Greenwich, and I feel it’s important to give back to our community. I also want to set an example to my children of the importance of service. It not only touches the lives of others, but benefits our own soul. One of the Junior League values is that “through service we build core relationships with others.” I have made strong relationships not only with those who I have volunteered alongside, but also with those who I have helped.
How important are volunteers to this program?
The Junior League of Greenwich is run by volunteers. Our members change roles every year to try different experiences and gain new skills. We appreciate the experiences our members bring to the League and often tap into their expertise. However, we also encourage members to step out of their comfort zone and try a new area – and we happily train them. We even have a committee called membership trainers. Members can learn about finance, fundraising, nonprofit management, public relations, marketing, and advocacy as well as personal development. We are always researching ways we can advance the quality of life in Greenwich and empower our members to be leaders in that change.
How can people get involved if they’d like to volunteer?
The Junior League of Greenwich offers a new member training class each fall. We are currently recruiting! If someone is interested in joining the Junior League of Greenwich they can visit the Junior League of Greenwich website. Our new member class starts October 19th so there is still time.
How do you balance work and being a Mom?
It’s less balancing and more prioritizing. I don’t always succeed, but I find it easiest to do a task as soon as the request hits my inbox. I am involved with multiple pursuits and so I block off time to work on different organizations in my calendar each week. The best part about volunteering is that I can choose to volunteer with the parents of my children’s friends – and so we can discuss the projects while the kids play.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
“Life goes by fast so cherish your time with your children when they are young, even the tough times.” I often thought of this advice in the middle of the night as I walked around a dark house rocking a crying baby (or two!), I tried to enjoy the moment and savor the cuddles rather than calculating my lost hours of sleep. I am glad I listened to the warning because it really was a fleeting moment.
What do you like to do to relax/have fun for yourself and as a family?
I have never been one to really sit still and relax. I prefer to go for a run or complete a creative project. As a family we enjoy spending our time with family friends, especially summer poolside barbeques. We also enjoy traveling together and going out for dinner.
We love to support local businesses. What are your fave places when you are in Greenwich to:
Grab coffee: I like CFCF Coffee, (their yogurt parfait is my daughter’s favorite).
Workout: You will often find me running laps on the track around Havemeyer Park Baseball Field. It’s on the avenue in the middle of town, but you can park easily at Town Hall. If I take a class, I love Forme Barre.
Go on a date night: Hinoki
Go out for a girls night: I like to try all the new places, most recently I went with friends to Moli which was fun!
Go out to dinner as a family: We love Louie’s and Boxcar Cantina
Get your hair done: Elvana at Salon Mimoza, and Lara at Salon O
Get your nails done: Cozy Nails
Have fun as a family: You will often find us at the Greenwich Skating Club. The rare times we are not scattered at activities, we take our dog on walks at Pinetum.