Category: Service Shifts

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.

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!

 

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

By Katharine Dunn Evans

In a few days, the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving. For some, it’s a day that is all about football, holiday shopping deals, food, food, food and … family, too. It is easy to get caught up in the many details of hosting Thanksgiving. You stress about when to defrost the turkey, the best pie crust recipes, who is sitting where at the table, and what your floral arrangements are going to be. In the midst of all that stress and/or excitement many of us forget why we do all of it.

Thanksgiving. The word itself should remind us what it means. Let’s give thanks. Let’s take a look at all the many blessings that we have even when things are hard. When you sit down to eat your Thanksgiving dinner this year, whether it is with family or friends, take a minute to think about what you have at that very moment, and be thankful for your family, support, stability and yes, food.

It is shocking how many families in our area simply do not have enough food to eat. Interestingly enough, 40% of good food goes to waste while 1 in 5 children in Washington state live in households that struggle to put food on the table. What’s worse is that a startling 1 in 6 people in our state seek the assistance of Food Stamps (a program that has suffered recent budget cuts).

Food Lifeline is an organization that creates creative ways to fight the hunger problem by “redirecting good food from manufacturers, farmers, grocery stores and restaurants that might otherwise go to waste.” They provide 82,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs.

The Junior League of Seattle is passionate about helping children in our area live happy, healthy lives, so it makes perfect sense that we work with Food Lifeline. It is fun and easy to help out in the cause to end hunger in Washington, and the ladies of the Junior League love to do it as part of the 9,000 people a year that give their time. One of Food Lifeline’s biggest needs is help with sorting the food before it gets distributed. If you are interested in helping visit https://foodlifeline.org/how-to-help or if you are a Junior League of Seattle member, check out the calendar for Food Lifeline service shift opportunities.

foodlifeline

So enjoy every morsel of delicious food and every moment you get to spend with the ones you love this Thanksgiving. Be present and aware of how lucky you are to have comfort, stability and love. Give thanks for what you have. Gobble, gobble!

Food Lifeline Video: http://youtu.be/4-G10aqGjck

Creating Impact through Affordable Housing

By: Jobie Colton-Gores

JLS Build GroupOn September 20, 2014, the Junior League of Seattle partnered with Habitat for Humanity to work on the Habitat for Humanity La Fortuna site in the Renton Benson Heights neighborhood. The property of the build site was once vacant land within an area of residential homes built from approximately 1960 to 1970. Once complete, it will provide 41 low-income families with both an affordable home and an affordable mortgage in a new housing development in Renton.

JLS Habitat 3

Environmental stewardship and long-term affordability will be ensured by constructing townhomes to achieve or surpass Energy Star and Master Builders “Built Green” 4-Star sustainable building standards. Currently 12 families have already moved into their new homes at La Fortuna.

To help with this build, Junior League provided 49 volunteers consisting of Provisionals, Actives, and Sustainers for a total of 294 hours of service. Two of the leaders for the day were workers from Americorps, an organization which provides Habitat for Humanity new workers every year. Alongside the JLS volunteers were other volunteers who come on a weekly basis, and even some of the future homeowners themselves who were eager to see the progress on their new homes.

JLS Build 1The projects for the day included completing finishing touches on one of the homes, cutting and placing flooring on a stairway, moving rocks to line the drainage system for an unbuilt home, and maintenance of a wetland area to help with the efforts of the Green Build. JLS was blessed to have beautiful weather for this hard and physically exhausting day. Fortunately, the weather and reminder of the important work being accomplished brought a smile to everyone’s face as they worked.

Lunch arrived as some League members were ending their shift and others were just getting started with renewed energy. This was truly an amazing opportunity to sit down and talk with some of the future home owners, Americorps workers, and Habitat for Humanity employees and volunteers.

JLS Build 2Overall, it was a very successful day! JLS is excited to continue to partner with Habitat for Humanity in the future.  Together, Junior League of Seattle and Habitat for Humanity can create powerful change in our community.

 

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

 

Impact Day Is Almost Here!

by Shanna Lisberg

Join the Junior League of Seattle on Saturday, April 5, 2014 by making an impact on the community and promoting volunteerism! Approximately 100 trained volunteers will be providing direct service at over 10 volunteer events across the greater Seattle area, offering much-needed volunteer resources to improve the health, education and welfare of women and children. Volunteers will be participating in a wide variety of projects to serve the following community organizations: YWCA, Boys & Girls Club, Solid Ground, Mary’s Place, Youthcare, Lifewire, Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline.

Formed in 1923, the Junior League of Seattle (JLS) was founded on the idea that the greatest way to make a positive impact on the community is to empower and train female leaders while promoting voluntarism. Over the decades, JLS has made an unprecedented contribution to the welfare of women and children in the Puget Sound area by developing projects that are still making a difference today.

JLS Volunteers at Seattle Tilth's Demonstration Garden.
JLS Volunteers at Seattle Tilth’s Demonstration Garden.

90 Shifts for 90 Years

This year, the Junior League of Seattle celebrates its 90th anniversary as the premier women’s organization in the Puget Sound area. In honor of our anniversary, JLS is committed to completing 90 service shifts to make an enormous impact in the community. 90 Shifts for 90 Years is a memorable way to commemorate our dedication and enthusiasm for community service. Throughout the year, JLS members have been volunteering their time and skills in a wide variety of service shifts. We are close to our goal of 90 shifts and need everyone’s help and support for our Big Day of Service!

League members are invited to save the date and sign up for a volunteer shift. This is a great occasion for committees and provisional groups to join a shift together to celebrate the year’s work. Additionally, this is one of the last opportunities to obtain service shift credit for member obligations.

Shifts are visible on the JLS website and will be located in multiple locations throughout the greater Seattle area. You are welcome to bring friends and family to volunteer, and again, our goal is to have as many volunteers out in the community at the same time. Help JLS reach our goal of 90 service shifts for 90 years, with at least 100 volunteers, and give back to our community.

We need your help to make April 5 the best Impact Day yet!