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Luminaries of the town agree the JLG is a major contributor to making a difference in the lives of so many who live in this unique and very special community.
“The Junior League of Greenwich is one of our strongest community partners and they continue to be an indispensable contributor to the laudable quality of life we enjoy in Greenwich,” said Captain James Heavey, Chief of Police, Greenwich Police Department.
JLG a goodwill epicenter
Certainly, it is astounding to see how much this non-profit organization, which was founded by Mary Harriman, a 19 year-old New York City debutante in 1901 and chartered here in Greenwich in 1959, has affected the lives of so many people in town for so many decades (more than six), as it has been responsible for helping to conceive, initiate and implement a multitude of major projects, many of which have gone on to evolve into their own entities.
“The Junior League of Greenwich has played a major role in designing and establishing a wealth of services for its community [and] much of our work is done in partnership with other community organizations that share a common goal and mission with the JLG,” said McLaughlin. “The JLG’s impact on the network of services in Greenwich is widespread, not only because of the diligence and commitment of the JLG members, but also because of the quality of work the JLG performs in tandem with our partners in town.”
The JLG’s list of projects, of which they typically administer for two to 10 years and then turn over to an existing agency or organization afterward, is astonishing.
These projects have addressed a whole multitude of issues and subjects, including youth development and education (particularly for young women, with its history rooted in the focus of girls and women), parenting, childcare, safety, health, youth employment, aging and senior life, among a library of other things.
At the same time, the JLG has been involved with implementing groups dedicated to other serious life subjects that have included providing assistance, counseling and education for issues relating to alcoholism and domestic abuse, aging and situations where children might be going through a life crisis.
Meanwhile, the JLG has also been involved with promoting education about Greenwich history and its grand estates, the Audubon, the environment and marine life and has been involved with helping to improve and build skate parks and numerous playgrounds all around town.
“[The JLG] wants to make a difference with meaningful work,” said McLaughlin. “We value service and believe in every member’s potential to make a difference in our community through voluntarism, community leadership and advocacy.”
Sara Davis, Jacklyn Ward, Chrystele Zawislack, Shannon Zakka
Michelle Horgan, Betsy Reiss, Sue Moretti Rogers, Elizabeth Cook Peyton
Some projects and organizations the JLG has been involved with over the years include the Greenwich United Way, the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Kids in Crisis, Senior Outlook, Great Estates, Greenwich Coalition on Diversity, Domestic Abuse Services through the YWCA of Greenwich, the Child Care and Parenting Council, the Greenwich Education Foundation, the Caregivers Circle, Group Living for the Independent Elderly, the Parents Exchange, Greenwich Tutoring Services, among others.
“Members of the JLG best like the fact that they can impact the community through their volunteer work,” said McLaughlin. “[They also] learn a new skill while volunteering at the JLG and make new friends in this wonderful organization.”
No doubt, the work and efforts of the JLG and its highly committed group of volunteers is very much appreciated by those all around the community, including its leading political figures.
“The Junior League of Greenwich is a well-established community partner that has contributed greatly to the improvement in the quality of life for the Greenwich community,” said Peter Tesei, First Selectman of the Town of Greenwich. “Greenwich is blessed to have a vibrant and active Junior League membership that supports programs and services from birth to golden years.”
McLaughlin, meanwhile, cites how all the support and help the JLG has received from the organizations and partnerships with which they have worked over the years is a large reason for the Junior League’s effects upon the community.
On the flip side, representatives of organizations with which the JLG has been involved also seem to feel the same. “The JLG revitalized the [Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich’s] teen room and our art workroom, making an even better experience for the 350 children in our after-school program,” said Bobby Walker Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. “With help from the JLG, we are building great futures for the kids who need us most.”
Volunteers represent the heart of the JLG
Ultimately, the volunteers represent the heart and soul, as well as the energy center of the JLG, with their primary mission being to contribute as much of their time, experience and energy as possible to help build and raise the standard and strength of the entire community.
For members of the JLG, the idea of working together to impact the community is reason as to why they do what they do.
Collectively, these dynamic and friendly women, who come from all different sorts of backgrounds and are of all ages, comprise a real powerhouse community, which is the very reason as to why the JLG has become such a veritable force here in town.
This seems to be only logical, especially in looking at some of the characteristics they seem to share, including the desire to seek training for community service through a variety of volunteer opportunities and leadership development, have an interest in learning about fundraising skills and event planning and enjoy the idea of working with community partners.
Perhaps more than anything, it appears this dedicated contingent thrives on the notion of interacting with other women who are interested in being part of community service. “[The volunteers] love to work with women who share passion,” said McLaughlin.
The other JLG members also seem to share the same sentiments. “Joining the JLG was one of the best things I could have done as it [has] lead to lifelong friendships, personal growth and a wonderful connection to the community all in the name of doing good,” said Kacee Cherashore, Co-Chair of the JLG’s New Member Committee, who said she had not known much about the organization before attending one of its open houses several years back. (This year’s open house will be held at the JLG on Tuesday, October 3rd at 7pm. For more information, see below.)
Meanwhile, there are also a large number of legacy members in the JLG who seem proud to carry on the family tradition of giving back to the community. “I joined the JLG out of tradition, [as] my mother and grandmother had been involved with Junior Leagues as well,” said Dana Charette, Co-Chair of the JLG’s New Member Committee. “But I learned that the JLG was so much more than just the traditions you think about, this league has a real impact on our community [and] the women I have met in the JLG have been real role models for me to see how women can come together to better the community for everyone.”
Without a doubt, good stuff seems to constantly emanate from the JLG, as this organization also hosts a series of popular holiday and family events that always draw major crowds.
The JLG’s much celebrated The Enchanted Forest holiday weekend extravaganza, which features a gingerbread village, a forest of decorated trees and a holiday boutique and other fun things, is definitely a major event in town, as is the popular ‘Touch A Truck’ experience, where children get to explore and learn about emergency vehicles and heavy machinery (in an open area) on an up-close and personal basis.
According to its members, the JLG’s contributions to the community, whether at a festive, educational or life-situational level, are all to be credited to the power of the group as a whole.
“Amazing things happen when women of all ages come together, driven by the same purpose- to affect change and improve our community,” said Joan Stewart Pratt, a JLG Positively Me! Committee Member. “I have lived in Greenwich for 50 years, though it has been the past seven that have been the most inspirational and rewarding as an active member of the JLG. Surrounded by role models and dynamic leaders has enabled me to create and/or lead different projects that directly affect so many in our community.”
Well said, indeed, as the JLG represents much of what the heart and soul of Greenwich is truly all about.
For more information, please contact the JLG at:
Junior League of Greenwich Headquarters
231 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830
The Open House for the Fall 2017 JLG Class will be held on:
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017
231 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830