What the Junior League of Seattle Means to Me

By Shanna Lisberg

 Shanna shift photoWhen I lived in Washington DC, sometimes I would walk into Georgetown and I would always see this beautiful 3-story brick building. There was a plaque on the building that read “Junior League of Washington” and it always intrigued me. I didn’t know what the Junior League was but, after some research, I discovered it was a women’s organization devoted to training and volunteering. I always wanted to join but unfortunately never had the opportunity.  

 When I moved to Seattle in 2011, I had pretty much forgotten about the Junior League; I was busy trying to find a job, trying to meet people, and trying to settle in to my new city. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that a friend mentioned the Junior League and I thought it would be a great time to join. I enjoy volunteering and I thought it would be a wonderful way to get out in the community and meet people.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined the League. I knew there would be volunteering, I knew there would be meetings, and I knew there would be fundraising.

But the Junior League is so much more.

It’s more than just a group of women in a room talking about their causes. It’s more than just a monthly meeting where service awards are handed out. It’s about advocating and going out into the community to support and help the population. It’s about book clubs and socials, and learning how to become effective leaders. It’s about friendships and knowing that the person sitting next to you cares about the same things that you do.

 The Junior League has afforded me so many opportunities to contribute to my community. I’ve spent my Saturday morning packing bulk food at a food bank, tagged and sorted clothes at the Treehouse Wearhouse store, gotten dirty while gardening, helped set up Christmas parties at Mary’s Place and the annual Harborview Children’s Holiday Party. I’ve mingled with lawmakers and learned about causes important to the Junior League while touring the capitol during Capitol Days. I’ve watched documentaries, engaged in thought-provoking conversations, and listened to panels regarding our foster care system. I’ve gone to trainings to learn about starting a business. And that’s just in the past few years.

 Additionally, I’ve met so many amazing ladies in the League. The Junior League is a wonderful assortment of countless, diverse women who all choose to make a difference. There are women from all walks of life, in all areas of professions, all giving their time to volunteer and fundraise for the same cause.

 Not only am I able to build lasting friendships, but by volunteering in the community, the League allows me to connect so much more to the place where I live. I enjoy giving back to a community who has embraced me so fully and knowing that I’m able to give back to those less fortunate makes my time spent with the League that much more gratifying.

 I’m proud to be a member of the Junior League of Seattle.

Being a Provisional

Guest Blogger & 2015-2016 Provisional: Sarah Ledbetter

Eastside Baby Service Shift 2

Women join Junior League for many reasons – networking, training, and leadership, to name just a few.  For me, one of the main drivers was the opportunity to give back to the community.  As part of the Junior League of Seattle (JLS), where part of the mission is to promote voluntarism, I knew that I’d have a chance to incorporate service back into my life.  And so far, it’s been great – shifts organized by our Done in a Day committee allow our members to participate in a variety of activities, and through our work, the League is able to make a huge impact!

Provisional members of the JLS have a requirement of four service shifts during their first year, and I’ve had the opportunity to participate in three.  The first was through Treehouse Seattle, which provides support to foster children in the area.  A group of ten of us spent an evening after work sorting, tagging, and stocking clothing items that would become available to the foster children who shop in their store, which usually sees 2,000 visitors annually.  I’m sure that you could imagine how proud we were when the Treehouse representative working with us said that Junior League groups were her favorite to work with!  It was such a fun evening getting to know other JLS members while supporting youth in foster care.

My second service shift was quite different:  it was arts and crafts at Harborview’s annual Holiday Party, whose attendees were underprivileged youth who had once been patients there.  It was Harborview’s 30th year organizing the event, and it showed:  the festivities were incredibly well-run and enjoyed by nearly 600 children.  Many of those kids wouldn’t have another holiday party throughout the season, but this was a great one to attend – the kids got to meet their favorite characters, such as Batman, Winnie the Pooh, and Snow White!  The Sea Gals were also in attendance with the Mariners mascot, Moose.  Kids got to play games, do arts and crafts with us, and even received gifts at the end of the day.  What a fulfilling day and incredible feeling to take part in such a special event. 

Holiday Service Shift

Most recently, I spent a morning over in Issaquah at Eastside Baby Corner with 13 members helping to sort and stock donated items, such as diapers, clothing, and toys.  EBC provides these items to 500 families in need – per week! – through local social service agencies.  I absolutely loved spending my time in this way while getting to know other Junior Leaguers, one of whom had even brought her husband to participate with us.  It was clear that the work we were doing made a big difference. 

There’s a lot of power in numbers, and I think that’s one of the strengths of the Junior League.  Together, we can accomplish a great amount, and I can already tell that our community partners – who are changing lives across the community – are so appreciative.  For me, the difference we’re making together is the most rewarding part of being in this organization.

Annual Campaign

A gift to the Annual Campaign is a financial affirmation of the JLS mission of promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and impacting the community. A gift demonstrates a belief in the ability of the League to use the money as necessary to meet our goals as specified by the current strategic plan.

The Annual Campaign is a vital component of the financial health of the JLS. Unlike other funds, a donation to the Annual Campaign (unless directed otherwise) is used, as the organization deems necessary towards the overall stability of the League. Some years, funding may be put towards starting a new committee; other years, money may be used to cover general operating costs or facility rental to secure locations large enough to accommodate our growing membership.

JLS is first and foremost a leadership training organization. This year, we are going back to our mission and focusing on training our members to be not only be capable volunteers, but also how to be a Leader in the League, in their professional life and in the community.

One of the training programs JLS offers is the Pathway to Boards.

The Pathway to Boards Certificate gives our members the tools, skills and resources needed to become effective board members in our community. Members who have completed the certificate will discover not only the basics, such as Robert’s Rules of Order and how to interpret financial statements, but also the differences between nonprofit and public boards, roles and responsibilities of board members (including fundraising), the structure and evolution of nonprofits, and how to find a good fit.

Corey Orvold is following this training path. Corey said, “When I heard about the Pathway to the Board Certificate, I knew it was a great opportunity to take my volunteering to the next level. So far the training sessions offered and the opportunity to sit in on various board meetings has really helped me understand how to efficiently participate in board meetings. I look forward to obtaining the certificate and being able to join a non-profit board in the near future.”

Dani Carson is half way through her requirements for this certification. Dani told us she chose this training for “the opportunity to learn more about different types of boards, and what is involved in being a board member of a nonprofit: the roles and responsibilities, fundraising expectations, participation, etc. and knowing which questions to ask, if you are interviewed for a position. It can be discouraging trying to get onto a board if you don’t have a specific skill needed, like an attorney or accountant. I wanted to know what other types of members boards look for, and how I can match my personality and personal mission to find the right fit for me.”

By donating to the Annual Campaign, you allow us to offer our members powerful training opportunities that not only help them grow as a person, but help the community as well!

Another Great Year of Rebuilding Together

Another Great Year of Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together 3The Junior League of Seattle has a long-standing partnership with Rebuilding Together Seattle, an organization that provides free home repairs for low income homeowners (specifically elderly, disabled, families with children, and veterans in need). This spring, the ladies of the League came together with their friends and family to help one Seattle citizen get her home in tip-top shape. It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather for home renovations and lots of smiles and laughter.

In a little over 8 hours, a group of 20+ volunteers peeled paint, repainted, did yard work, installed a drainage system in the yard, repainted the living room, installed several new windows, retiled the bathroom, and so much more. We were able to support a long-time community partner and make an impact thanks to our members, the Done-in-a-Day committee, Rebuilding Together leaders, and volunteer contractors.

Rebuilding Together 1

It was exciting to see just how much could be accomplished in one day!

 

Sign Up Now for the JLS Bocce Ball Tournament!

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Looking for a good excuse to get out and be with friends, meet new people, and most importantly, have a dose of healthy competition? Join us at the Junior League of Seattle’s Bocce Ball tournament and social on May 17. There is room for 24 teams of four to participate. You’ll be guaranteed three games in round robin play from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Single elimination tournament for the top teams will be from 1-2:30 p.m.. Open play from 10 to 11 a.m. and 1-2:30. Come, join in on the fun!

  • Where: Sandbox Sports Seattle, 5955 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA 98108
    (206) 624-2899
  • When: Sunday May 17
    • Registration at 10 a.m. Play starts at 11 a.m.
  • Cost: (Partially tax deductible)
    • Players: $45 per person (Register as a team or individual)
    • Spectators: $25 for ages 13 and up, $10 for ages 12 and under, babes in arms are free. (Spectators can participate in open play non-tournament games, play other games, participate in raffle and eat the food.)
  • Who: ANYBODY!!!!
  • Extras:
    • Over seven raffle baskets with prizes including a GoPro Camera, Mariners tickets, wine tastings and more! Prizes for the top two teams! (Handed out at 2:30)
    • Food and drink provided and other beverages can be purchased at the bar.

Give BIG on May 5, 2015

By Shanna Lisberg

On May 5, The Seattle Foundation holds its fifth annual charitable giving event, GiveBIG. GiveBIG is a day of online giving to inspire people to donate generously to nonprofit organizations who make our region a healthier and more vital place to live.

For a 24-hour period, from midnight to midnight, you can go to The Seattle Foundation’s website to make a donation. More than 1,600 nonprofit organizations – including The Junior League – are profiled on The Seattle Foundation’s website and are participating in GiveBIG.

Donations made to nonprofits through The Seattle Foundation’s website will be stretched further thanks to The Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors, who will match a share of every contribution. Many of the nonprofit organizations that The Junior League of Seattle works with are also available to receive donations.

Last year, over $12.8 million was generated in online contributions for nonprofits, exceeding the 2013 total of $11.1 million by 15 percent. This year, help us surpass the 2014 amount by making an online donation. Your gift will help to support the champions behind these organizations that work to improve the lives of everyone in Seattle.

If you have been thinking about giving, this is a great time to make a gift, large or small. Visit The Seattle Foundation website to learn more about GiveBIG and to see a complete list of nonprofits.

Junior League Screening of “The Mask You Live In” – Tuesday, May 12

By Kate Killpack

“Act like a man!” “Don’t be a sissy!” “Grow some balls!” “Man up!” Millions of boys hear these commands every single day. These common phrases says a lot about how we, as a society, train men to view themselves and interact with others. In her newest film, The Mask You Live In, Jennifer Siebel Newsom (the maker of the film Miss Representation) confronts the narrow definition of masculinity within our culture and illustrates how our society can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men. Additionally, the film features experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media who weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it.

Join the Advocacy Committee of the Junior League of Seattle for a special screening of this important film:

“Man Up” for The Mask You Live In: For this special Film Screen & Chat, we are encouraging each member to “man up,” by inviting a man in your life to join us for a screening of The Mask You Live In. Stay after and begin the conversation.

Tuesday, May 12th, 6-9pm
SIFF Cinema Uptown Theatre 511
Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

We hope you can join this important conversation, which will also include the opportunity to connect with community partners who are addressing these important issues. If you are a nonprofit organization working with young boys in the community, contact Grace Schouten (grace.schouten@gmail.com) for ticket availability.

This event is open to all Junior League members and we encourage you to bring a guest. Members will receive a training credit. Reserve your spot now on the JLS website. See you then!

JLS Provisional Project: Volunteering at Ryther

During her first year in the Junior League of Seattle, a Provisional member is assigned a project that gets her involved in the community in a variety of ways. One of the Provisional project opportunities is working with the League’s Done-in-a-Day (DIAD) committee. DIAD focuses on hands-on, short-term projects that are planned and implemented on a monthly basis to benefit organizations in the greater Seattle area in need of assistance. Ryther, a Seattle-area facility that provides behavioral health services for children and their families, is one of the organizations with which DIAD works. Two JLS Provisional members shared their experiences working with Ryther on this committee. See their thoughts below:

“I’ve known about Ryther for many years. Having received my master’s in psychology, I had the privilege of knowing someone who worked at Ryther’s clinic during their graduate internship. Ryther’s reputation is strong for providing care to children and families in need. I’m so grateful for organizations like this that exist. Even more so, I’m excited to be a part of an organization like the Junior League of Seattle that partners with facilities like Ryther. It was a fantastic merge of two phenomenal organizations and I really enjoyed my time volunteering.

My Provisional project group led a hat painting activity for the children who were currently staying at the group home. The kids came one by one, sometimes in small groups of two or three. It was a cold and rainy day and as they walked timidly into the room, I hoped that our excited greetings wouldn’t scare them away. As the children sat and painted their hats, I began to think about the work we were doing that day and as a larger organization. As a group, JLS is involved in supporting many organizations across the Seattle area. In my provisional year alone, I came in contact with six organizations that were new to me: Mary’s Place, the YWCA, Ryther, Westside Baby, Seattle Urban Academy, and Washington DECA. I have learned so much about the organizations and services that are available to the Seattle community through these volunteer activities. This was one of the reasons why I joined JLS last year. I’ve been an active volunteer both through my church and my community since I was a pre-teen. I’ve loved being involved in promoting social justice, giving humanitarian aid to those in need and participating in philanthropic work. I’ve been a part of some amazing things. However, I’ve also witnessed how short-term volunteer opportunities can get a bad reputation. Critics will often say that short-term volunteer opportunities are not able to address the deep, longstanding issues that plague so many communities. In some ways, I agree.

As I sat and watched the young children come in one by one, I realized how organizations like JLS fit into the larger puzzle of social services. The Junior League of Seattle comes alongside many wonderful organizations and provides much needed assistance. When an urban school needs to feed its students, JLS sends women to cover those shifts, cook the food, and serve the meals. When the holidays are near and homeless women are without the means to provide for their families, JLS stands along the organizations that supply these families with gifts and food. And when an in-patient program could use an afternoon activity for their kids to participate in, JLS is available to fill the gap and provide the fun.Ryther 2

As the children painted their hats that afternoon, I wondered what they would be doing if our group wasn’t providing this extra activity for them. I didn’t know the stories of these children but I do know that in some ways, their childhoods have been difficult ones to bear. If painting a hat gave them some sense of normalcy, a moment of creativity, or a chance to take a short detour from their normal Sunday afternoon plans, then I was proud to be there for those few short minutes.  

Places like Ryther, the YWCA, and Mary’s Place are able to continue providing long-term services because of short-term volunteers like the women in JLS. We partner with those organizations to help them continue to do the deeper work in our community. As I left Ryther that afternoon, I felt a renewed sense of excitement for the work we were doing as an organization. By helping places like Ryther, we are participating in the deeper work. Even if it’s for a few hours on a rainy Sunday, we are adding to the overall work that is being done in that child’s life by sitting with them and painting a hat or showing them a moment of kindness.

 Be proud of what you do, women of Junior League.  We are doing great things.”

 -Catherine Golden (JLS Provisional 2014-15)

Ryther 1

Ryther was established in 1885 based on the principal “The essential thing is to love children and understand them.” Ryther provides programs and solutions for families with children who have challenges stemming from trauma, mental illness, substance abuse, Autism Spectrum Disorders, or adjustment issues with school, peers or parents. Ryther is dedicated to providing comprehensive services and innovative treatments. It guides, coaches and teaches so that every child and family it works with may experience new ways of thinking, develop positive relationships and realize a better life.

“Having the opportunity to volunteer here and witness the children interact and participate in projects was so rewarding! You can really see and feel that the children only want to be around people that love them and care about them. There were a few children that didn’t seem to necessarily love the idea of the project we had planned for them (tie-dying t-shirts). But, they loved participating and really got into creating something of their own to keep and enjoyed being around their peers, staff and volunteers! Everyone seemed to have a genuinely great time. The children were so excited and helped each other a lot. The children also provided a lot of encouraging words to their fellow peers, which was really rewarding to witness. Seeing what a positive impact Ryther has had on all of the children we interacted with was amazing to see first-hand. This was by far one of the best places I have ever volunteered!”

 -Amber Cuffel JLS Provisional 2014-15

Ryther 3

7 Reasons to Join the Junior League of Seattle

By Shanna Lisberg

The Junior League of Seattle is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

If you’re thinking about joining the JLS, here are 7 compelling reasons to do so:

To meet new people. Are you new to the area or looking to make some new friends? The Junior League of Seattle has over 1,200 members. With those numbers, you’re bound to meet someone who lives in your neighborhood or works in your office.

To be a leader. The Junior League of Seattle trains its members to become valuable leaders in the community. The JLS provides the tools and training to prepare women to be effective collaborators, poised negotiators, and committed volunteers, so that they may go out and serve their communities and change the lives of those who live in their neighborhoods for the better.

To make a difference and become directly involved in the community. The Junior League of Seattle works with a variety of organizations to help women and children. Not only do we volunteer at Mary’s Place, Northwest Harvest, Treehouse, and Westside Baby, to name a few, but our committees such as Northwest Art, Kids in the Kitchen, and Life Skills: Women help make a positive impact in the community. You, too, can help children discover and appreciate the beauty of art or help a teen learn how to shop for and cook a healthy meal.

To learn new things. Have you ever wanted to learn how to start your own business? Are you looking to learn more about diet and nutrition or financial stability? The JLS offers its members a training curriculum that covers a wide variety of topics, including leadership and fundraising skills, advocacy efforts related to human trafficking, work/life transition, and more.

To put the fun in fundraisers. It’s not just volunteering and learning. You could bid on a fabulous vacation package at the JLS’ Premier Event gala or dance and play boardwalk-style games at its Boardwalk Empire Game Night. Help cheer on the Mariners at Mariners Night or dance the night away at the JLS Halloween party. The Junior League of Seattle has many opportunities to mingle with fellow members and have fun.

To get healthy. Did you know that volunteering can improve your health?  Volunteering has been associated with lower depression and increased happiness. Plus, studies have shown that having a large network of friends may help you live longer.

To join a great organization of women. There are 293 chapters of Junior Leagues spread over four  countries. For over 100 years, Junior Leagues have been at the forefront of social reform, confronting critical issues, to help improve society. From funding a tuberculosis clinic and treatment center during the Depression, to promoting live weekly television shows featuring panel discussions with teenagers, to advocating for the enactment of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, the Junior League is one of the largest and most dedicated volunteer organizations in the world. And you can be a part of it!

If you’d like to join the Junior League of Seattle, email the Provisional Chair at newmemberinfo@jrleagueseattle.org and visit our website to sign up for one of our Meet and Greets where you can learn more information about our organization. You will meet and mingle with current JLS members and leadership as well as watch a few short presentations. Meet and Greets run through the month of April.

Extraordinary Junior League Members

By Shanna Lisberg

March is National Women’s History Month, a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Over the years, the Association of Junior Leagues International has had many remarkable members – from First Ladies to authors, actresses, politicians and more. In honor of National Women’s History Month, here are six extraordinary women who have volunteered with the Junior League.

Shirley Temple Black
Known for her curls and dimples, Shirley Temple Black made her first appearance on the silver screen at the age of 4. In 1959 she joined the Junior League of Palo Alto. She would go on to head the Multiple Sclerosis Society, become a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and serve as the U.S Ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Nancy Reagan
Not only was Nancy Reagan a First Lady of the United States, a dazzling movie star in the 1950s, and the spokesperson for the “Just Say No” campaign, she was also a member of the Junior League of Los Angeles. She currently supports the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and advocates for embryonic stem cell research.

Julia Child
Before authoring Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child was a member of The Junior League of Pasadena, where she contributed to the League’s magazine. After joining the League in 1935, Julia Child would go on to become a member of the Office of Strategic Service, author numerous cookbooks and star in various television series.

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn may have won four Academy Awards for Best Actress, but she was also a member of the Junior League of Hartford. She sought to challenge stereotypes about women and campaigned for women’s issues during her time with the League. An advocate for reproductive rights, she also spoke out against anti-Communism in Hollywood in the 1940s

Eleanor Roosevelt
The longest-serving First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt was a member of the Junior League of the City of New York. After being introduced to the league by her friend, Junior League founder Mary Harriman, Eleanor Roosevelt worked with Junior League volunteers to improve living conditions for immigrants on the Lower East Side. Eleanor Roosevelt was a delegate to the United Nations and served on the UN Commission on Human Rights, where she oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Margaret Hamilton
You may know her best as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, but Margaret Hamilton was also a member of the Junior League of Cleveland. Trained as a teacher, Margaret Hamilton worked with children’s theatre programs and was an advocate of causes to benefit children and animals.

Visit the Junior League of Seattle’s website or The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. to learn more about these and many other amazing Junior League women.