Monday, March 16, 2015

Horton's Kids by Karen Garnick

JLW volunteers in the Horton’s Kids Committee have many opportunities for direct interaction with students enrolled in the Horton’s Kids program, including helping with after school tutoring on Mondays and Tuesdays, attending monthly field trips, and throwing Holiday parties. Every spring, JLW organizes an Easter Party for around 100 of the younger students in the program, which is approaching on Sunday, March 29th. The committee holds a meeting beforehand to map out a plan, organize supplies, and sign up for activity stations.

The day of the party, committee members arrive hours before the kids to transform the Cannon Caucus Room. They decorate the space with balloons, crepe paper, festive wall decorations, and colorful tablecloths. When the bus arrives, the kids are bouncing up and down with excitement for what lies ahead. During the party, activities are run by JLW volunteers, which include decorating cookies, face painting, making Easter bunnies from cotton balls, and guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar (the winner gets to take it home!) They are also offered a healthy lunch to balance out all the candy and sweets. One of the long-time Horton’s Kids volunteers dresses up at the Easter Bunny, which the kids absolutely LOVE. Throughout the party, the kids are taken in groups outside to hunt for Easter eggs, which is always a highlight. Horton’s Kids families live in subsidized housing in Ward 8, where it isn’t always safe for the kids to play outside, and there isn’t space for an Easter egg hunt. This event allows for a fun and safe environment for the kids to run around and play with each other, and celebrate the season.

After a few hours of sugar, games, and laughter, the kids are ready to crash. They hop on the bus and head back to their community center with bags full of candy, treats, and lots of good memories.

Horton’s Kids’ mission is to empower at-risk children and prepare them for successful and healthy lives through educational opportunities and comprehensive programs tailored to their needs. Volunteers are still the driving force behind Horton’s Kids, serving as positive role models for the children and helping the children succeed. For more information, please visit their website:

Friday, March 13, 2015

2015 National Book Festival

On Monday, March 9th, the Library of Congress announced the date and location for the 2015 National Book Festival – Saturday, September 5, 2015, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The Junior League of Washington (JLW) is proud once again to serve as the Library of Congress’s primary partner for volunteer support, a role the League has played since 2003.

The theme of this year’s Book Festival is “I Cannot Live Without Books,” and we hope this message serves as both an inspiration and a reminder to every JLW member. Each year, as the Junior League of Washington focuses our resources and time on the complex issues of literacy in our nation’s capital, we experience firsthand just how true that statement is – literacy not only enriches lives, but it is integral to leading successful lives. Our involvement in the National Book Festival, which supports the joy of lifetime reading, truly underscores our commitment to promoting literacy in and around Washington, DC.

The JLW has a long history with the National Book Festival – spanning 13 years, with nearly 5,000 volunteers providing more than 23,000 volunteer hours. Last year, as the festival moved to the Washington Convention Center, we continued to be the chief provider of volunteer support for the festival – and we want to thank everyone who helped make the event so successful in its new home. Moving forward, the JLW sees numerous opportunities to grow our involvement, improve on last year, and continue to be a vibrant presence at the National Book Festival.

This is a big year for the National Book Festival, which is celebrating its 15th year since its founding, as well as the 200th year since the Library of Congress acquired Thomas Jefferson’s personal library – which helped the Library become the largest library in the world.

We hope you join the Junior League of Washington and the Library of Congress to commemorate these anniversaries and to celebrate the joy of reading at the National Book Festival in 2015. We look forward to working with you to make the book festival a success.