By Georgia Dawkins, JAWS Board Member
Two years ago, more than 200 women welcomed me and the other 2014 fellows into this sisterhood.
The experience began before we ever arrived in Palm Springs, California. For some of us, it started before we got accepted into the fellowship program.
The women of Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) were already raising money for our travel, lodging and training. Before we could ask our family and friends for financial assistance, hundreds of women we’d never met were already investing in our future. This year, 13 women will get the chance to experience the sisterhood that we can’t do without.
For me, JAWS came at a time when I was on the verge of giving up on journalism and giving up on myself. I learned about the Emerging Journalist Fellowship through the National Association of Black Journalists. For the first time in two years, I was once again inspired. I reached out to my first boss and asked her for a letter of support. I went to my new employer and asked for her endorsement as well. One month later, I found myself in the newsroom bathroom, sobbing. They want me.
After that, the support started to pour in. I heard from JAWS members from all over. Everyone seemed so excited about this new class of fellows. It made me even more eager to get to the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP). I launched my CrowdRise page and my network overwhelmed me with support. I raised more than $1,200 for CAMP. More importantly, hundreds of people learned about JAWS because JAWS first invested in me.
Last year, I launched another CrowdRise campaign to get me to CAMP. That experience was special because some of the same women who donated to my first campaign were now fellows. In addition, two fellows from the 2014 class are now board members. Two others are committee co-chairs. That is the beauty of this network. It’s the beauty of your investment.
Right now, the committee is reviewing applications for the new fellowship class, but, as always, we need your help. Our CrowdRise campaign for the 2016 CAMP fellows is now live. Thank you in advance for your contribution to the future of JAWS.