I am lucky enough to have been raised in a home with food, shelter, clean water, school supplies, clothes and lots of love. Having these basic needs met gave me the chance to enjoy school, friends, extra-curricular activities and more, including many community service opportunities through our family's church, my mom's board work with Rosie's Place (the first women's shelter in the USA) and Girl Scout Troop 3181.
I am lucky, still, to be able to provide these same basic needs for my children, which in turn allows them to flourish in their own time, and own ways. Some of their journey is supplemented by community service facilitated through my membership in the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills (JLOSH). This includes...
Kids for Kids is an annual event promoting volunteerism (join us Saturday March 7, 2020 - registration forthcoming!).
Just last week, our kids plus many Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and area elementary school children supported JLOSH's Thanksgiving Basket drive. Along with many partners, we put together complete Thanksgiving dinners - turkey and all the fixings - for more than 450 families in the town of Orange, where nearly 100% of free-lunch (e.g. a family of four is earning less than US $25,000 annually).
I love that much of what I learned at Jepson, SIPA, through WILL*, Alpha Phi Omega and more, I can put into practice via my membership in the Junior League, now that my #1 job is being a parent. A very SPARKLY one :)
A Woman's Place is in the House... the Senate...
the White House... the State Assembly...
Over the last century, individual Junior Leagues have played an active role in educating the public on the pressing issues of the day and advocating for change, legislative or otherwise, on behalf of those who don’t have a voice.
PACs (Public Affairs Committees), SPACs (State Public Affairs Committees) and LICs (Legislative Issues Committees) are individual, apolitical Junior Leagues or coalitions of Junior Leagues within a state that form to educate and take action on public policy issues relevant to The Junior League Mission.
In New Jersey, our eight Junior Leagues are part of the NJ SPAC which focuses on many issues, including human trafficking, childhood nutrition and fitness, foster care and violence against women and children. Recently I met with JLOSH sustainer and former president Kate Lee, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking - a volunteer-run nonprofit representing over 170 organizations statewide, who has been a member of SPAC for 13 years. She is also a member of the Governor's Advisory Council Against Sexual Violence, serving as its co-chair from 2013-2018. Kate was born and raised in London, where the Little Black Dress Initiative began in 2014.
Here we are at JLOSH's November general membership meeting, along with nonprofit consultant and powerhouse Vicki Clark.
You can learn more about Locker Slam 2020 for NJ middle and high schools, here.
Census 2020 - Coming to Mailbox Near You!
The Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills (JLOSH) is a women-led volunteer organization serving families living in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Orange, Short Hills, South Orange, Springfield and West Orange, NJ. A lot of our work in the community isn't just service, it's about connections too. A recent example is from November 2019 when we brought together several Essex County nonprofits, municipal leaders and the U.S. Census for Making Sure Essex County Counts in Census 2020:
A Briefing for Nonprofits Serving ‘Hard to Count’ Communities.
Each year, New Jersey receives nearly $23 billion in federal funds, based on formulas determined by the decennial Census count. It is important that everyone gets counted, including residents who live in ‘hard to count’ communities and may rely on federally-funded programs. This event focused on how local stakeholders, including municipalities, Boards of Education and nonprofits can ensure constituencies are completely counted.
The discussion was moderated by Vicki Clark of Building the Capacity of Organizations and an acclaimed nonprofit consultant. Lisa Moore, a representative from the U.S. Census Bureau was also in attendance. Panelists included: Dr. Gerald Fitzhugh, II, Superintendent of Schools, Orange Public School District • Barry R. Devone, Community Engagement Officer, Orange Public School District • Elliott Lee, Executive Director, HANDS, Inc. • Peter Chen, Policy Counsel, Advocates for Children of New Jersey • City of Orange Twp, Councilwoman Donna K. Williams.
JLOSH Little Black Dress 2019