I left a magical place, Verona, NJ, nestled in Essex County, only 30 minutes from New York City. Verona was a place of happiness, safety and a beautiful county park. The teachers at school are all married to the local policemen. The elementary school consisted of only two classes per grade and no buses. I walked my kids to school and everyone showed proper thanks to our crossing guards at holidays and year-end. Magic, I tell you.
In Verona, I was an active member of the Junior League of Montclair Newark (JLMN). That League's mission was (and is still) Children at Risk. I joined JLMN because a number of my friends were already members. I also felt it was an organized and social way that I could give back because I have been blessed with three perfect, healthy children and there isn't much more to life than that.
In 2013, my family decided to seek employment in/around metro Atlanta. While I loved almost everything about Verona, the insane property costs, snowy weather (my nemesis), parking issues, and the fact that you can't do u turns in NJ got to me. While most folks relocating to a new area look at schools and real estate, I immediately checked out the local Junior Leagues.
My research led me to learn that the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties would be the geographically logical League to join. I reached out via the proper channel. That led me to Renee Adams, my transfer chair.
Not everyone will have Renee as a Transfer Chair. We realized we were both Keller Williams agents and our children attended the same preschool. Later we discovered we both gave a son the middle name of James, we are both December babies, and left-handed. Our friendship turned into magic.
But it didn't stop there. While not all JLGNF members and I lead parallel lives, everyone I met made me feel as if I had known them forever. Everyone I met was sweet, smart and sincere. I immediately loved everyone. I felt closer to these women after the first General Membership Meeting (GMM) than after a year in my other League. The acceptance was immediate, both administratively and emotionally. The Board was quick to "process" me, and everyone else was quick to make me feel like I belonged without having to be sponsored or invited. I was able to begin this transition into my new world immediately.
This all-inclusive, open-armed League is the perfect fit for me right now. I would not have wanted to wait to become established in order to join the JLGNF. I am thankful that they allowed me (and other transfers) to join first and establish later.
When my friends in NJ ask me how I like Georgia, without missing a beat, I tell them it's magical.
-- Melissa Boozikee, Active Member; Attic Sale Co-Chair