The ALA Stories blog series showcases positive American Legion Auxiliary experiences, thoughts, and ideas of ALA members. We hope these blog posts will inspire and encourage all who read them.
Patriotism, positive mentorship, and a strong enthusiasm for helping others is what motivates American Legion Auxiliary Junior member Jayleen Reid.
“I love my country. It’s that simple. My brother is in the military, the U.S. Air Force,” said 16-year-old Reid of Auxiliary Unit 294 in Powder Springs, Ga.
Reid understands what is sacrificed or put on hold by servicemembers who defend our country, its principles, and its interests. She can relate to military families who support their loved ones as they serve in America’s armed forces. All of this may explain why flag folding is one of Reid’s favorite things to do.
She is in tune with the American Legion Auxiliary’s mission of helping and honoring veterans, servicemembers, and military families; promoting patriotism; encouraging good citizenship; enhancing communities; and supporting The American Legion.
“One of the things I like about the ALA is that we are one whole group, and we like to work as a group,” said Reid, who just completed a term as Honorary Junior President for the Department of Georgia. She said she decided to pursue a leadership role within the ALA after watching her mentor, adult ALA member Mary Breeding, lead Unit 294 as its president.
As part of the mentorship, Reid and Breeding have attended several Auxiliary conferences together. For example, while Breeding attended ALA Mission Training when it was available in Georgia, Reid went to the national Junior meeting held simultaneously at the same location. In Mission Training events, and at national Junior meetings, ALA members can learn how to maximize their efforts to fulfill the Auxiliary’s mission.
Breeding builds on that training with insights for Jayleen on poise and how to carry oneself in public because, as Breeding says, “No matter where you go and wherever you are, you are always representing The American Legion [Family], your family, and God.”
Breeding and Reid also worked together recently at an ALA membership recruitment table. Reid said she felt being at the recruitment activity with Breeding sent a good message.
“It showed that all ages, people from different backgrounds – everyone – can unite and work together on a common goal: our ALA mission,” Reid explained.
The pair shares a reciprocal respect and admiration.
While expressing gratitude for Breeding’s mentorship and friendship, Reid pledged to become a mentor. “Ms. Mary has been so helpful to me. I want to be that person for someone else.”
Not only does ALA Junior Reid say she intends to remain an Auxiliary member after she turns 18, she hopes to earn leadership positions within the organization as an adult member.
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