Month: April 2014

Let’s Get Ready to Build!

by Shanna Lisberg

Dust off your hard hats and pick up your paint brushes.  Done-In-A-Day needs your participation in two upcoming events. No construction knowledge required, just your can-do attitude.

  • REBUILDING TOGETHER SEATTLE on April 26

On Saturday, April 26th, the Junior League of Seattle will once again be participating in Rebuilding Together Seattle (formally Christmas in April). Each year JLS works side by side with Rebuilding Together Seattle to renovate homes for low income homeowners, particularly those who are elderly or disabled and would not otherwise be able to afford the needed renovations to their home.

Our event is part of the National Rebuilding Together Day, where volunteers from around the nation come together to rehabilitate the homes of more than 2,000 low-income homeowners. Held on the last Saturday in April, National Rebuilding Together Day is the day when partners plan projects to celebrate the organization’s mission and to bring national attention to the plight of America’s low-income homeowners.This year, nearly 1000 volunteers will repair 25 homes around Seattle. As a volunteer on National Rebuilding Together Day, your efforts will have a national impact by providing a safer, healthier, and happier environment for these homeowners.

JLS will be working in the Shoreline area on a group home for four adults with disabilities. Morning and afternoon shifts are available on Digital Cheetah. If you cannot join us and would like to contribute to our efforts, gift cards to Home Depot are much appreciated.

For more information, please contact Erin Danner at erin_danner@hotmail.com.

  • HABITAT FOR HUMANITY on May 10

On Saturday, May 10th, the Junior League of Seattle will participate in the Women’s Only Build, sponsored by Habit for Humanity. At the January General Meeting, many ladies were interested in Habitat for Humanity.  We are fortunate in that they have granted us 14 spots on their Women’s Only Build.

The Women’s Only Build seeks to empower women to take action against poverty housing conditions. The program brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions of women and children worldwide.

Our project is in Rainier Vista, from 8:30-4:30 pm. A full 8 hours earns you two shift credits! This is a great opportunity to learn new skills and catch up on those service shifts. Sign-ups are available on Digital Cheetah. Please note: the shift is for the entire day and we are unable to break the shift into two separate shifts.

For more information, please contact Amy Bingell at abingell@aol.com

  • Don’t forget to keep an eye out on the calendar. This fall, JLS will have its own Habitat for Humanity Build!

We look forward to seeing all the JLS volunteers out in the community, showing off their carpentry skills and swinging their hammers! Remember, no experience is necessary!

Art For The Soul: Bringing Art To Those In Need

by Raminta Hanzelka

Earlier this month, the NW Art League and Community Outreach (LCO) committee had our 2nd annual collaboration with the Life Skills: Teen committee. We held an art docenting and art-making session at Treehouse, sharing the joy of discovering a piece of art for the first time with about a dozen girls in foster care– and giving them the chance to make their own as well. It was inspiring to watch them engage with the art and come out of their shells!

We brought two contrasting pieces of art: a whimsical paint splatter piece by Dale Chihuly, and a meticulously put together patterned piece by Mark Toby to set the stage for the girls to create their own concepts and turn them into works of art. Our Art Curriculum Director, Halinka Wodzinski, created a versatile curriculum to guide us through the process of teaching the girls how to do printmaking on journals.

Our inspiration for this project was to bring in the theme of Empowerment for the girls through the artistic process. During the art-docenting, we connected the girls to the history of Dale Chihuly, sharing the story of how he was in a serious car-accident at age 20, losing his sight in one eye, yet he continue his passion for art and was maybe even emboldened, despite the hardship.

The art-making process involved having the girls come up with their “mark,” “doodle,” or “signature,” and to translate that concept into an image, carving into a soft piece of rubber, then carefully transferring the image to paper using colorful paints. All of the girls got busy, really had fun being creative, and each took home their own unique pieces of art, as well as I think a new appreciation for what art is and can mean to each and every one of us.

Impact Day 2014: Northwest Harvest Service Shift Recap

by Shanna Lisberg

On Saturday, April 5, seven Junior League of Seattle volunteers gathered at Northwest Harvest’s main warehouse in Kent, Wash. to help sort and re-package bulk food for distribution to food banks throughout the state. Northwest Harvest is a nonprofit food bank distributor that has been fighting hunger since 1967. Northwest Harvest has a network of more than 360 food banks, meal programs, and high-need schools and provides more than 1.7 million meals every month.

Northwest-Harvest

Joining us on Saturday morning were a wide variety of volunteers including the Girl Scouts, families, other organizations and high school students. After hearing more about Northwest Harvest and general safety instructions, we learned that our task for the day was to sort and package rice into family-sized portions. Wearing our health-code required and oh-so-fashionable hairnets and plastic gloves, we got to work on this important task.

To make the work more efficient, Northwest Harvest has implemented quite the assembly line process. First, 50 pound bags of rice were brought in on pallets and the bags were emptied into a large bin. Volunteers then filled smaller bags with 1 large cup of rice each. These bags were then transferred to other volunteers who were tasked with taping the bags closed. The bags were then packed into boxes, which were sealed, labeled, and ready to be shipped to the food bank.

When we were finished, we had sorted and packaged 9,950 pounds of rice into 420 boxes. This amounted to 7,653 meals for hungry people.

Rice is not the only food distributed by Northwest Harvest. Volunteers might find themselves sorting fresh fruit, vegetables, beans or grains. Bulk items are repackaged into family sized portions to make distribution at the food banks quicker and easier. Each bag of rice that we packed on Saturday contained enough food to feed a family of four.

It was very inspiring to see all the other individuals who had chosen to spend their Saturday morning volunteering at Northwest Harvest. It was especially inspiring to see the families and younger children. It was clear that the kids were having a lot of fun while becoming aware of meaningful social issues. This service shift was a fantastic way to give back to the community and make a difference, all the while promoting the Junior League mission on Impact Day.

To find out more about Northwest Harvest visit http://www.northwestharvest.org/

League & Community Outreach: Northwest Art’s Spring Kids’ Art Studio

by Liz Nixon

It was another rainy Saturday in Seattle, however 15 kids and their parents were having a blast at the Junior League office in Madison Park at the Kids’ Spring Art Studio on March 29, 2014.  The Northwest Art League & Community Outreach committee hosted the event.

The kids, ranging in ages from 3 to 10-years-old, were introduced to several fun pieces from the League’s extensive art collection, including a painting by Dale Chihuly and a lithograph by Mark Tobey. Trained League members acted as docents and discussed the art with the children using an inquiry-based approach. Next, the older children headed downstairs to experiment with print-making using linoleum tiles.  Younger children walked through several activities upstairs, including printing using etched Styrofoam, and monoprints with everyday objects.  Kids left with mounted art in hand, although a few left their pieces in the office for our future kids’ art “gallery!”

KidsStudio_Mar29_10am_Alexis_Grace_Lauren

The bi-yearly Kids’ Art Studio is just one way that the Northwest Art committee reaches League members and our surrounding community. More than 20,000 kids in King County are exposed to the original Northwest art in the League’s collection via curriculum workshops in Seattle Public Schools and docent training for the Bellevue School District.  Northwest Art partnerships allow the committee to host exciting events at the Bellevue Art Museum, Seattle Affordable Art Fair, Mirabella, and the Henry Art Gallery.

 

KidsStudio_Mar29_10am_Alexis_Neu

Whether targeted toward kids or adults, the Northwest Art League & Outreach committee encourages members to check out our next event!

 

 

 

 

Learn more @ http://www.jrleagueseattle.org/?nd=community_nwa

 

From Place to Place

by Shanna Lisberg

The Advocacy Committee hosted a screening of the documentary “From Place to Place” followed by a panel discussion on March 18th. Every year, 30,000 youths age out of foster care, having spent an average of 5 years in the system. “From Place to Place” follows 3 of these teens – Micah, Mandy, and Raif – who have recently aged out of foster care and who are forced to face life with little support. Eventually, Mandy and Raif set out to change the system that raised them and travel to Washington D.C. to tell their stories on Capitol Hill and try to better the system for the generations to come.

“From Place to Place” was an incredibly moving film that highlights the struggles faced by foster youth in general, as well as when they age out of the system. Kids who age out of the foster system are at an extreme disadvantage to the rest of society. By age 21, of those who age out of foster care, 1 in 7 will experience homelessness, 50% will be unemployed, 71% of women become pregnant, and 77% of men will have been arrested.

Mandy wants to go to college but first she has to obtain her GED. Foster children have significantly higher rates of absenteeism at school than their peers, and a foster child loses four to six months of academic progress with each school change. It is estimated that only 3% of foster children who have aged out of the system will obtain a college degree.

Raif lives on the street where he beatboxes for money. He frequently travels the rails when he feels the need for adventure. Many foster children do not have access to important socialization opportunities such as sports and clubs, and access to money for basic needs such as clothing, shoes, and school supplies is limited.  

Micah is focused on trying to stay out of jail so he can help his girlfriend, who is pregnant. 20% of males who age out of the system will become career criminals as opposed to 5% of the general population. Research shows that many children in foster care struggle with mental health challenges arising from the trauma they’ve suffered, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Currently, the United States spends 8 billion dollars a year on foster care and there are 420,000 kids in America’s foster care system. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own and for different factors such as neglect, poverty, and abuse. Foster care is designed to be a temporary living situation however, as we saw in the film, many kids do not leave the system until they are required to, at age 18.

After the film, Fredrick Kingston and Mandy Urwiler from The Mockingbird Society led a panel discussion regarding foster care and how we can help. Some of the topics discussed included an emphasis on kin-care and the Extended Foster Care program.

Kinship care is an alternative to foster care, whereby children who have been removed from homes are placed with relatives. The number of children living with a grandparent or other relation has increased considerably in the past years. Kinship care can benefit foster children as it provides increased stability and safety, as well as the ability to maintain family connections and cultural traditions.

The Extended Foster Care program provides an opportunity for teens in foster care to continue to receive support after they turn 18. In order to receive the services, teens must complete a secondary academic or vocational program, or participate in a program or activity designed to promote employment. Studies show that youth that are enrolled in an extended foster care program have higher college attendance, fewer arrests, and are less reliant on public assistance.

Children in foster care has been a long time advocacy focus for the Junior League of Seattle. Here’s how you can help make a difference:

  • Become a foster parent. There are currently over 10,000 children in Washington in need of foster homes
  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate and be a voice for young children in court
  • Become a mentor to any young person, including children in foster care
  • Donate time or services for kids in foster care
  • Donate clothing or other essentials to foster organizations
  • Volunteer at a foster organization
  • Write letters to or call your elected officials

You can find out more about “From Place to Place” at  http://fromplacetoplacemovie.com/

For more information about The Mockingbird Society, visit www.mockingbirdsociety.org