Leona Lands

West Island Campaign Chair, 2004-2005

1. How did you get involved with Federation CJA – and why?

My involvement with Federation CJA began as a donor. The first time I gave a donation, Cheryl Brownstein came to my house with donuts and we talked.
I went from being a donor, to sitting on a committee a few years later. I was asked to Co-chair the West Island women’s campaign with Shelley Rosenberg in 2004. We worked closely with an incredible professional, Debbie Dankoff, and all of us became good friends through our Federation involvement, and we are still close today.

2. What is your fondest memory to date of your time working with Federation CJA?

I had so much fun helping create outreach programs that got so many new people involved. They were high quality, interesting programs that reached out to lots of new participants and volunteers.

3. Can you recall a particular moment or event that impacted you profoundly?

One particular Mission to Montreal really impacted me – we went to the JEM Workshop [an adapted workplace for people with mental and physical challenges] and I got to see first-hand how important the JEM Workshop is to so many people. It gives people a purpose, a sense of accomplishment, and makes them feel good about themselves. I was really touched and happy to know that Federation CJA supports this important institution. That was many years ago, and I still talk about it today – That visit really left its mark on me.

4. What advice would you give to the young women following in your philanthropic footsteps?

I would tell young women to get out and get involved. It feels so good and is so important to be involved in something bigger than yourself. If you do, you will see very quickly that you always get more out of it than you can possibly put in. I would also tell these women to HAVE FUN! These meaningful actions also create bonds and friendships, and there is nothing more satisfying than doing good work with people you care about. Embrace your involvement, be proud, and know you are making a difference.

5. What is your legacy?

I believe my legacy is a vibrant West Island community. I was involved in the initiative that led to the acquisition of the current West Island facility, and much of the success of today comes from the foundation that we laid over a decade ago. We were pioneers of programming, campaign and engagement. There is a lot to be proud of and I pass on this legacy of community to my children and grandchildren. I hope they continue to build on what we started.

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