Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Literacy Lab Winter Fun

Gingerbread men, snowman bookmarks, and holiday cards! The Literacy Lab Committee had a great time working on these crafts with the kids at the DC General homeless shelter during our winter holiday celebration.  The event was held in mid-December and focused on reading as well as holiday fun.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Literacy Lab Committee, we partner with the non-profit organization, The Literacy Lab, to assist with an early childhood literacy program for young children in two DC area homeless shelters.  The program is called Ready to Read and focuses on helping young children develop and practice early literacy skills.  During a typical session, JLW volunteers spend time reading, writing, and playing educational games with the children. When the committee began in 2012, we worked with kids in the DC General homeless shelter on Saturday mornings.  The program has since expanded and now the committee provides volunteers for Wednesday evening sessions at DC General as well as Saturday morning sessions at the New Beginnings shelter in Columbia Heights.

Our December holiday party gave the committee members and the children an opportunity to celebrate the season and participate in activities that we don't do during our regular weekly sessions. The most active part of the evening involved three craft projects.  With the help of JLW volunteers, each child had the opportunity to make and decorate a snowman bookmark, frost a gingerbread man cookie and make a holiday card for their family.  When the crafts were done, we read a holiday story and sang a few rounds of Christmas carols. Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells were particular favorites.  At the end of the party, each child had an opportunity to pick out books of their very own to take home with them.
The entire evening was gratifying and fun, and it was great to watch the kids carefully pick out their books and make their crafts. We're all looking forward to the next holiday event in February!

Friday, January 16, 2015

How the JLW Got ‘Kids in the Kitchen’

On Saturday, January 10 the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Community Events Planning
Committee held the first of two Kids in the Kitchen events for 2015. Over 100 DC-area children
– more than double last year’s attendance – visited the Children’s National Medical Center’s
Washington National Diabetes Care Complex for a day of energetic exercise, wholesome
cooking lessons, fun activities, and crafts.
 Highlights of the day included Zumba, which got kids on their feet for some moving and 
shaking. Cooking lessons with local chefs let kids put on their chef’s hats for the day: Black Restaurant Group showed them how to prepare delicious but healthful quesadillas, and
Lindamood-Bell helped kids make tasty fruit and yogurt snacks.

One of the biggest hits of the day was the Build-a-Bug activity: FRESHFARM Markets brought
fresh fruits and veggies for guests to decorate like caterpillars, puppy dogs, and scary monsters –
a souvenir to remind kids that healthy foods can be fun.

Kids also had the opportunity to get creative and hands on, making pasta necklaces with
children’s author Joy Papini, getting their faces painted by talented JLW volunteers, and sampling banana bread from the chefs at the Mayflower Hotel. Other activities taught kids how to “dress up” water to get your 8 glasses a day, and how to make smart decisions about food –
“eat this, not that.”

Thanks to all of our wonderful guests, generous sponsors, and welcoming host, the Children’s
National Medical Center, for helping make Kids in the Kitchen the success that it was. And a big
thank you to our nearly 70 JLW volunteers who braved the cold weather to provide more than
240 volunteer hours in service of this great event.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bright Beginnings 5K, Register now!

Put your feet in motion at the Bright Beginnings 5K on March 7, 2015, for homeless children and families in DC.

Run, walk, join stroller brigade, or be a virtual runner!

All proceeds from the 5K directly support Bright Beginnings’ programming that prepares young children for kindergarten and helps their families get back on their feet.

Get registered now (here)! Prices go up on January 15!

Can’t make it on race day? You can still help by making a donation (here) to Bright Beginnings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

First Year in the Junior League

The summer of 2006 was my first real introduction to Washington, DC.  When I was younger
my family and I had made a few visits to see the sites, but it was not until my junior year of
college that I decided I wanted to work and live in the city.  That summer, my friends and I spent
many hot summer days in Georgetown, popping into shops and running around Georgetown
University and M Street. It was on those trips walking around the city, that I decided I wanted to
make a greater impact. I did not just want to live in D.C.; I wanted to be an active member of the

I reached out to a friend who was in the Junior League of Washington (JLW) and went to the
first social meeting. I remember feeling a sense of community from the beginning.  Everyone
was so welcoming and genuinely friendly. My first year in JLW was one of the best; I enjoyed
the variety of activities in which we participated. From working at the Martin Luther King Jr.
Memorial Library to setting up a dozen Christmas trees for the Holiday Shops, there was always
a flurry of excitement and connection. During my first year, I moved to a new area of the city.
The JLW neighborhood group embraced me and introduced me to my new surroundings.  We
met at many local eateries and coffee shops, and I have fond memories of sharing laughs and
experiences with my new neighbors and JLW members.

From cheering on the Nationals at baseball games, to volunteering at the National Book Festival,
I had a wonderful time and more importantly, I felt part of the city. I learned so much as a result
of joining the Junior League, from how to navigate public transportation to what members of our
community needed in support. It was a great introduction to the city that I now feel is my second

I met one of my best friends Susan Schreiber through the JLW (pictured below). We had so much fun working  together on the Centennial Committee and we bonded over so many experiences in and outside of league work. Susan moved to Oregon last year to pursue her Ph.D. in Psychology and has
joined the Junior League of Portland but we still talk about league events and are connected
cross-country through our league work.  Looking back, I am so grateful that I made the decision
to join the JLW. I have meet new people that are now some of my closest friends and I feel
connected to the city in a way I would never have imagined possible.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

“Getting to Know the JLW” Open Houses

The Junior League of Washington kicked off our recruitment season over the last few weeks by hosting two “Getting to Know the JLW” Open Houses, with women from across the greater DC community meeting Active and Sustaining members of the League.

Women interested in joining the Junior League of Washington gathered with League members for great conversation and light refreshments at the Loughborough House on September 21st and October 4th. Not only did women interested in joining get to meet other members, but they had the opportunity to ask a wide range of questions regarding our League work while also connecting with Sponsors who will assist them during the application process.

Member Recruitment will host three more “Getting to Know the JLW” Open Houses in the coming weeks.  Women interested in being apart of the 2015-2016 New Member Class should consider signing up to attend a Member Recruitment event!

Photo 1: President Jennifer Hemingway and President-Elect Cameron Gilreath (Shown with Member Recruitment Chairs Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller) showed their support of the JLW recruitment efforts and the October 4th “Getting to Know the JLW” Open House

Photo 2: Member Recruitment committee members, Mandy Asgeirsson and Katherine Rodriguez, prep the Loughborough Room for the October 4th “Getting to Know the JLW” Open House

Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Club Kick-Off Event to Feature Author Judy Bachrach

Author Judy Bachrach—an investigative journalist, noted author and Vanity Fair magazine contributing editor—will join the Membership Outreach Committee as one of the featured authors at this year’s JLW Book Club Kick-Off event on September 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Bachrach’s latest book Glimpsing Heaven, The Stories and Science of Life After Death, (National Geographic Books) hit shelves earlier this month and already is on No. 1 on three lists. Bachrach collected real-life accounts of people’s glimpses with death only to come back to life, and spends hours interviewing doctors, nurses and scientists to garner professional opinions. It promises to be an interesting read, redefining the meaning of both life and death
If spirituality isn’t your genre, Bachrach’s writing is diverse to say the least. Her last book, Tina and Harry Come to America, is a biography of Tina Brown (former editor of Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Talk) and her husband, Harry, a former president of Random House. She also has written articles featuring celebrities including Carrie Underwood, Jessica Alba, Goldie Hawn and fashion designer Giorgio Armani. Bachrach currently works as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and is a regular book critic for The Weekly Standard.

Bachrach will answer questions about her works, as well as her philanthropic ventures in our community, including her “Ask Judy” online forum, which offers advices to relatives of the terminally ill; knowledge she has gained over years as a hospice volunteer.

Bachrach is one of four female, Washington, D.C.-based authors who will attend the Book Club Kick-Off, which will be hosted at JLW Headquarters in the Loughborough Room. Other authors include Monica Barnett, Amie Parnes, and Sarah Pekkannen. The event will also include food, beverages, book sales benefitting the League and plenty of time to mingle with other women participating in this year’s book clubs. If you’re interested in attending the Book Club Kick-off event, please RSVP here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Author Sarah Pekkanen One of Many to Speak at JLW Book Club

Summer may be winding down, but that book you can’t put down doesn’t have to be packed away with your shorts and sandals. International bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen writes those books. Pekkanen’s women’s fiction—or “chick lit”—genre of books are guaranteed to be a good read year round.

Her latest book, Catching Air, is the fifth of her published works. Hoda Kotb of the Today Show said she was “flying through the pages” and People magazine remarked, “Pekkanen's wry voice and engaging characters keeps things fresh.” Other works by Pekkanen include These Girls, Skipping a Beat, The Opposite of Me and The Best of Us. Her next novel is due out in spring 2015.
As a mom of three boys she says she has penned at least half of one of her books inside of Chuck E. Cheese, literally, and got her start at the ripe age of 10. She also has worked as an on-air correspondent for e! Entertainment Network and for multiple metro area newspapers covering the Capitol Hill beat and as a freelance writer.

Pekkanen will answer questions from JLW members as one of the four female, Washington, D.C.-based authors at the Book Club Kick-Off, which will be hosted at JLW Headquarters in the Loughborough Room on September 23 at 6:30 p.m. Other authors include Judy Bachrach, Monica Barnett and Amie Parnes. The event will also include food, beverages, book sales benefitting the League and plenty of time to mingle with other women participating in this year’s book clubs. If you’re interested in attending the Book Club Kick-off event, please RSVP here.