At the January 2024 General Membership Meeting (GMM), two Junior League of Columbia, Inc. members came up and shared their stories. What makes this story so special is the intertwined lives these two ladies share and the impact one may have without even realizing it.
Misty Burton, who served as the Junior League of Columbia’s President in 2018-2019 and is now a local, successful business owner, began by sharing of a time when she was a first-year 5th grade teacher. During this season is when Misty initially met Cassie Hanvey, a current new Junior League member. Cassie was a fifth grader in Misty’s class. The two parted ways after that year only to be reunited 23 years later.
This past October these ladies’ paths crossed once again. Misty was hosting a GMM in her business that Cassie attended. Cassie’s story she shared that night in response to the ice breaker question, “What do you want your Junior League legacy to be?”, is one that Misty will soon not forget.
Cassie grew up as a child of the court. Her childhood included visitations, counseling, and more. School was Cassie’s safe place and refuge during this time. Misty, or Ms. McCullough as Cassie always calls her, was a big part of making school feel safe. She gave Cassie space to just be herself or seek a place of calm, whether that was in quiet moments before afterschool or during lunch. Cassie never felt any judgement or made to feel less than from Misty. These actions had a lasting impact on Cassie, far greater than Misty knew at the time.
Sixteen years later, Cassie stumbled upon a picture of Misty for the Little Black Dress Initiative and through this also discovered the Junior League of Columbia. Cassie had heard of the Junior League but was afraid she wouldn’t fit into this group because she didn’t come from the right family or social status, even though she has a passion to give back to the community. While doing some research into the Junior League of Columbia, she discovered that the Junior League impacted children just like her. This realization helped Cassie to make the decision to join the League. Cassie had unknowingly benefited from people like Misty and the Junior League’s Guardian ad Litem project and wanted to give back just as others had given to her. When Cassie saw the GMM that Misty was hosting at her business, she knew she had to go and be reunited with the person who made such an impact on her all those years ago. It was just like being back in that fifth-grade classroom, safe and sound.
Misty and Cassie’s story is what the Junior League is all about. We are here to serve and give back to our community through meaningful relationships with each other and our community partners. The Junior League of Columbia strives to develop the potential of women in the Greater Columbia area. While serving in the Junior League, you may not think that people are noticing, but more thank likely someone is. Whether or not we ever see it come full circle like these two, know that your actions and the relationships you are building do have an impact. What will your Junior League legacy be?