Monday, December 16, 2013

Reindeer & Cookies & Presents…JLW My Sister’s Place Committee Gives the Gift of Holiday Cheer

With the holidays just around the corner, the JLW My Sister’s Place Committee hosted their annual holiday celebration Wednesday December 11th.  The highly anticipated event was well attended by the women and children who are currently in the My Sister’s Place emergency protection program.

Cookies, Cards, and Candy Canes
JLW committee members and 7 mini placement new members brought in all the stops to make this holiday celebration special.  Various stations were set up at the party, and kids were able to decorate cutout cookies, create personalized holiday cards, and transform candy canes into reindeer.
The friendly clients at Langley helped to provide decorations and cards to each of the families for the holidays!

Thanks for Your Adopt-A-Child Donations!
Through the committee’s successful Adopt-A-Child or Mother drive, the JLW provided holiday gifts and necessities for over 28 children and 13 mothers.  The gifts for each child provided pajamas, outfit/shoes for school, winter coat, gloves/hat, books and a toy for each child to unwrap during the holiday seasons.

At the holiday party, JLW members presented My Sister’s Place mothers with unwrapped gifts – that way, moms can wrap and give the gifts to their children at the end of the month.
“This holiday party was a great success, and a great way to pull JLW’s membership community together and Langley (another JLW community partner) to share joy in this holiday season with My Sister’s Place,” said Jackie Paranzino.

What Is My Sister’s Place?
My Sister’s Place is the largest and oldest non-profit agency exclusively serving battered women and their children in the D.C. area and the Junior League of Washington (JLW) has supported their work since the 1970’s.  Every year, thousands of victims of domestic violence find sanctuary from abuse in its residential programs and supportive services. 

Want to Learn More?
If you would like more information about the committee, please contact My Sister’s Place chair, Jackie Paranzino,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Join us at Holiday Shops!

As we move steadily toward the holiday season, many people start to scatter across the city and the country. The weekend before Thanksgiving – while juggling thoughts of basting turkeys and mashing potatoes and packing to go home – hundreds will gather at the historic Sphinx Club in downtown Washington. Why will they be there? A holiday tradition 55 years in the making—Holiday Shops Presented by The Junior League of Washington.

They will huddle outside the ornate building façade at the edge of Franklin Square on Thursday, November 21 as the doors open for an exclusive sneak peek at the goods gathered. Bright, sparkling lights and evergreen decorations will greet them as they sip cocktails and nibble hors d’oeuvres while they are mesmerized by the holiday fashion show. As a live DJ mixes festive music, others will have started buying up their coveted goods.

Removed from the hustle and bustle of K Street on a weekday morning, a special group will take advantage of a lesser known Holiday Shops tradition: the Early Bird Breakfast hosted jointly by Lindamood-Bell and JLW. While helping to support the JLW Meg Graham Scholarship Endowment, attendees will enjoy a continental breakfast buffet including a festive hot chocolate bar.

And as the breakfast plates are cleared, coffee cups washed and hot chocolate bar wheeled away, the Sphinx Club will awaken – General Shopping starts at 11 a.m. and continues through Sunday at 4 p.m.

During the feverish general shopping, set-up will commence for the signature event of the weekend: the Black, White & Read All Over Auction and Cocktail Party. This grand party will result in vital funding for critical JLW community committees, outreach and services and enable the Junior League to extend beyond our 101 years of service and dedication to the D.C. community. Delicious food, amazing drinks and fantastic music will make this a Junior League night to remember and a great start to the holiday party circuit.

And last – but certainly not least –during the holiday seasons – Santa and Mrs. Claus will detour for a D.C. visit as they take pictures with families and we’re all treated to the sounds of live bagpipes.

So why attend the Junior League’s Holiday Shops this year? It’s a great excuse to put off that Thanksgiving preparation, baking and cooking for a little while longer, and get some dancing and shopping in! Exciting news such as sneak peaks of fabulous auction items, merchant finds, and special event surprises are posted to the Holiday Shops Facebook page daily so ‘like’ the page to be ‘in the know’ on the 55th Holiday Shops! Tickets to special events are available on the JLW webpage and all events are open to the public.

By Amy Strope, Holiday Shops Communications Sub-Committee Volunteer

Beautiful shots from our photographer Natarsha N. Wright Photography at the 2012 Holiday Shops event.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 Steps to Adopt-A-Family Through CFLS and Lift Your Community’s Holiday Spirit

There are thousands of families in the Greater D.C. community that will go without necessities, much less the exchange of gifts, this winter. 

I know this is news to none of you. 

Here are five steps to help lift your community’s holiday spirit and Adopt-A-Family through Community Family Life Services (CFLS).

1. Learn About Community Family Life Services

Community Family Life Services (CFLS) is an 18-month transitional housing facility for men, women, and children who are formerly homeless, recovering from substance abuse issues, and most have regained custody of their children from the foster care system. 

Junior League of Washington (JLW) volunteers plan and facilitate life skills training for the CFLS parents, helping them as they transition to a new chapter of their lives.  An activity is planned for the children, and a dinner is provided for the group.

2. Adopt-A-Family

Each year, the women of JLW’s CFLS Committee adopt approximately 70 families to support through the holiday season.  These are families that the Committee members get to know and see on a consistent basis each month.

To adopt a family, please contact CFLS Committee Co-Chairs Lisa Buckley ( or Alexis DeBernardis ( who will send you information for a family that they know would appreciate your gifts.

3. Review Your Family’s Wish List

Once you’ve adopted a family, review the Family’s Wish List that is sent to you.  While some lists may contain recreational items, please be sure the highlight the essentials, such as books, food, coats and other clothing, as well as healthcare items.  These are the priorities on your list.

4. Go Shopping!

It is a $125 commitment to adopt a family and well worth the money.  Use the Family’s Wish List to help you procure the items.  And be sure that you do your shopping before the holiday rush!

5. Give The Gifts

JLW’s CFLS Committee volunteers plan and host a holiday party each December where the Adopt-A-Family gifts are given to CFLS families.  See some photos on our Facebook gallery from last year’s event.  All donations must be received at JLW Headquarters by Friday, December 6th, 2013 and clearly marked. 

- Sara Swabb, JLW Public Relations Committee

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Don't miss a thing from the Junior League of Washington!

Keep up with the Junior League of Washington by liking, following, and interacting online. Follow the links below and never miss an update from JLW.
 JLWDC on Facebook
@JLWDC on Twitter
JLWDC on Pinterest

 JLW on LinkedIn

Don't forget to use hashtag #JLWvol on Twitter!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It’s (Almost) the Holiday Season: Adopt-A-Child through My Sister’s Place

by Sara Swabb

What do you do to prepare for the Holiday season?  Purchase gifts for loved ones and finalize your travel plans?  Find the best ingredients for that pumpkin pie you cook each year?

While many folks in the District are able to think along the same lines as you, there are thousands of families in the Greater D.C. community that will go without necessities, much less the exchange of gifts, this winter. 

I know this is news to none of you.  But there is a way you can help!

How Can I Help?
My Sister’s Place is soliciting volunteers to adopt a child or parent for the holiday season fulfill Holiday Wish Lists for these children.  Volunteers will be provided shopping list to provide a winter coat, hat, gloves, one outfit, shoes, socks, underwear/diapers, pajamas, a toy from the child’s wish list and a book.

What Is My Sister’s Place?
My Sister’s Place is the largest and oldest non-profit agency exclusively serving battered women and their children in the D.C. area and the Junior League of Washington (JLW) has supported their work since the 1970’s.  Every year, thousands of victims of domestic violence find sanctuary from abuse in its residential programs and supportive services.

Who Gets the Gifts I Buy?
The JLW volunteers host a Holiday Party for the domestic violence survivors and their children, who will receive the gifts.  The gifts that the JLW brings each year truly brighten the holiday season for these women and children.

How Much Will This Cost Me?
Volunteers who shop smart can fulfill the wish list for $100-$125. My Sister’s Place is also collecting $50 Visa and retail store gift cards to provide to the women in My Sister’s Place’s emergency domestic violence shelter.

Whom Do I Contact to Help?
If you are interested in lending a hand and adopting a child, please email the My Sister’s Place chair, Jackie Paranzino,, by Friday, November 29, 2013.  Late responses will be accepted if possible.  

When and Where Do I Take My Gifts?
All donations must be received at JLW Headquarters by Friday, December 6th, 2013.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Dream Come True at the National Book Festival

With the 2013 National Book Festival just days away, there are still volunteer shifts available for Sustaining, Active and New Members of the Junior League of Washington.

The two-day festival is such an important event for JLW because it requires the help of more than 600 JLW volunteers, it unofficially kicks off the major events for our 2013 year and it perfectly encapsulates the JLW’s focus on literacy in the greater DC area. Not to mention, the weekend is a ridiculous amount of fun!

Carly Rockstroh, the Rising Chair for Holiday Shops, shares one of her many National Book Festival memories to give everyone an idea of what you can expect if you sign up for a volunteer shift.

Though chairing the NBF in 2011 was a dream come true, one of my favorite NBF memories was from my first book festival in 2007 as a New Member. I was assigned to the book signing line for Patricia MacLachlan, author of Sarah Plain and Tall, and found myself managing a line filled with anxious elementary school girls. I noticed a bunch of the girls had American Girl dolls with them, and they told me the author has written a few books for AG -- one of my childhood favorite series. We started talking about our favorite books from AG and other books on any elementary school girl's must-read list. Sharing my enthusiasm for reading with these girls and their parents was so much fun and showed the power books and literacy can have on people of all ages. Since this was my *first* JLW volunteer experience, you could say I was hooked from day 1, and set the goal then and there to chair the crazy NBF event one day, as it is really such a special event for our League and avid readers from all over.  

Sign up today for your volunteer shift at the National Book Festival. The Junior League of Washington needs you to make the event a success and to make dreams come true.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A First Taste of JLW Membership!

The New Member Potluck on August 3 was a rousing success. Over one hundred women attended the kick-off event for the new member year. Advisors and new members shared their favorite dishes, drinks, and desserts while getting to know each other.


This event highlights the enthusiasm that both our new members and our advisors have for making the upcoming JLW year the best ever.  The fun (but none of the drinks) spilled over into each of the rooms of the house, with women chatting, making new friends and catching up with old ones. 

The outstanding turn-out at this first event is very encouraging for the upcoming year and the great attendance we are sure to have at Saturday Session on September 7 and beyond. Look out ladies this new member class is energized and they are ready to be excellent stewards of JLW and the community!

If you are interested in joining the JLW for the 2014-2015 year, follow this link to learn more about how to become a member of our organization.

Monday, June 17, 2013

JLW Gives 2013 Community Partner Grant to Teen Life Clubs

The Junior League of Washington (JLW) is proud to award a $12,500 grant to a longstanding community partner, Children's National Medical Center, in support of its Teen Life Clubs (TLC) program. JLW’s grant will provide just under half of the fiscal year’s needed funding for the TLC program, with a grant from the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education providing the other funding.
Children's Hospital of the District of Columbia was founded by a group of citizens in 1870 to care for children orphaned during the Civil War. The hospital has grown from a 12-bed row house to Children’s National Medical Center - a 303-bed, medical facility that is ranked among the top pediatric hospitals in America by U.S. News and World Report. In the more than 140 years since its founding, Children's National has become a vital community resource and a significant national force for the advancement of pediatric health care. The mission of Children's National is to excel in Care, Advocacy, Research and Education and is accomplished through: Providing a quality health care experience for our patients and families; Improving health outcomes for children regionally, nationally, and internationally; and Leading the creation of innovative solutions to pediatric health challenges. It is the only integrated health care system in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area dedicated exclusively to the care of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Beginning in the 1920s, the JLW showed strong support of the children’s hospital by funding a convalescent ward and then a Social Services department. The JLW continued its commitment by funding a director of volunteer services and a Child Guidance Center, and in the 1960s, provided a grant to assist in the opening of an Intensive Care Unit. Today, the JLW provides trained volunteers to the TLC program at Children’s National.

TLC is one of the programs offered through Children’s National’s Adolescent Prevention Education Programs. TLC provides young people with the knowledge, activities and mentorship they need to help them avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. It is a 26-week program that includes weekly club meetings, monthly enrichment activities and group mentorship. Club members can earn a stipend based on attendance, punctuality and participation. At TLC meetings, members address topics such as safe sexual activity, goal setting, responding to violence, maintaining healthy relationships, securing jobs and exploring careers. Volunteers from the Junior League of Washington are an essential part of the TLC events. They provide materials and supplies for events and speakers for particular workshop presentations. With the support and energy of these volunteers, TLC club members are exposed to significant cultural and enrichment activities, as well as positive role models for leadership and good citizenship.

In the last full year of the program, TLC served just over 70 youth through six community sites, which is a major expansion of the program from previous years. This year TLC seeks to serve 100 youth at six to eight sites in the D.C. area. The goal is to continue to expand the program, by gaining access to new youth service locations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, D.C. Parks and Recreation Centers and more schools within the area.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Katie Thomas-Canfield, 2013 Meg Graham Scholarship Recipient

The Junior League of Washington is pleased to announce Katherine Thomas-Canfield as the recipient of the 2013 Meg Graham Scholarship...Celebrating Service and Leadership.

Katie Thomas- Canfield is pictured here at the JLW 2013 Awards ceremony with JLW's 2013- 2013 President Wendy Cumberland.

Katie is a senior at School Without Walls and will be matriculating in the fall to the University of California-Berkeley. She plans to major in international development, and one day hopes to work in the Peace Corps, at the State Department, or with USAID. She currently serves the Class President and is a member of the National Honor Society. She serves as the student representative to the Local School Advisory Team, working with principals, teachers, and parents to better the School Without Walls environment; with the Team, she is currently working to facilitate a merger of a middle school with School Without Walls and help plan the 2013-2014 School Without Walls budget.

Katie has over 540 documented hours of volunteer service. The past two summers, Katie has volunteered with AMIGOS de Las Americas, first in Nicaragua and last year in the Dominican Republic. She has interned with Save the Children International and the Library of Congress. She is passionate about art, having taken classes at the Corcoran College of Art and having had work displayed at George Washington University and American University; she won first place in the 2012 citywide DCPS Arts Exhibition. Katie said her first volunteer experience was when she was two-years-old and went to N Street Village, one of the JLW’s current community partners, with her church.

Bill Graham, husband of the late Meg Graham, says about Katie: “If one looked at Meg's achievements at a comparable point in her youth, the parallels would be striking.”

The JLW is thrilled to support Katie in her higher education pursuits over the next four years and looks forward to her accomplishments.

For more information about the JLW's 2014 application for the Meg Graham Scholarship, including the availability of and deadline for submission, please email or visit our website at

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 Community Partner Grant Recipient- Horton's Kids

For 23 years, Horton’s Kids has served hundreds of children in Ward 8 with continuously expanding, wrap-around services. Karin Walser, a former Capitol Hill staffer, founded Horton’s Kids in 1989.  Since then, the organization has grown from weekend field trips for the children to the current model that provides intensive academic programs with wraparound support services.  Its goal is to connect children with the resources needed to succeed.  The organization’s long-standing presence in the community makes our positive impact on the children possible, and the Community Resource Center has strengthened our relationship with families even further in the last two years.  In the past few years, Horton’s Kids has also expanded its older youth programs.  Today, more than 500 volunteers, staff, community partners, and neighborhood families work together to achieve Horton’s Kids’ mission: To educate and empower the children of Washington, DC’s Ward 8 by providing comprehensive, direct services which improve the quality of their daily lives and nurture each child’s desire and ability to succeed.
Horton’s Kids’ one-on-one tutoring is the cornerstone program of its wrap-around services.  Its education staff has been fine-tuning the tutoring program for more than ten years, and this year, Horton’s Kids introduced an intervention model that provides specific activities and games to target critical foundation skills.  This model is based on learning sequences instead of grade levels and provides additional structure and stability to the children.

Horton’s Kids has successfully developed the “mobile tutoring approach” in which buses take the children, grades K-6, from their neighborhood in Ward 8 to Capitol Hill, where they meet their volunteer tutors.  Before boarding the buses, all participants receive a healthy meal in the recently renovated Community Resource Center in the children’s neighborhood, and they take a snack home at the end of the session.  A minimum of thirty minutes of each tutoring session is devoted to improving literacy skills.

This year, Horton’s Kids will serve 125 children through their cornerstone tutoring program.  An additional 360 children and older youth will receive periodic services (e.g., educational advocacy, health and basic needs, summer programs, etc.) and 300 adults, including the children’s parents and young adults in the neighborhood, engage with Horton’s Kids at the Community Resource Center.  Services include health and basic needs support such as the food pantry and the diaper bank, referrals to medical providers, job training and career services, and education around early childhood development.

The $12,500 grant from the Junior League of Washington will help fund Horton’s Kids’ cornerstone academic program as well as strengthen their relationship with the JLW and continue the strength and viability of their programs.

For more information about the JLW's 2013-2014 grant cycle, including the availability of and deadline for submission, please email or visit our website at

Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 Grant Recipient - Washington Jesuit Academy

The Washington Jesuit Academy is a tuition-free, extended-day / extended-year, academically demanding private middle school for Washington, DC’s most vulnerable children – under-served, adolescent males. WJA empowers these youth to break the cycle of failure and poverty through their own education.  With their 12-hour school day, 11-month school year and aggressive academic curriculum, WJA is preparing students for the opportunities and challenges of college-prep high schools and set them on an early path toward college.

WJA was established in 2002 by community leaders who wanted to improve the odds and outcomes of Washington, DC’s under-served children of all religions with the launch of a sixth grade class.  WJA expanded to sixth – eighth grades by 2004, and expanded again to a fifth grade in June 2012. WJA purchased and relocated to its permanent home on Varnum Street in Northeast Washington in 2004, established a revolutionary healthy meals partnership in 2008 and achieved accreditation in 2010. WJA serves 86 students, as well as 129 alumni across eight cohorts who are still engaged with its Graduate Support Program.  100 percent are enrolled in or have graduated from high school, and the first four cohorts maintain a 79 percent college enrollment rate.

WJA serves a demographic of children who may be the least likely to read – adolescent boys from low-income neighborhoods and disadvantaged backgrounds. These boys enter WJA in fifth or sixth grade having been deprived of basic reading skills from their woefully inadequate neighborhood schools, sometimes as many as five grade levels behind. Further, they grow up in a culture where reading is considered worthless or “uncool,” where few parents demonstrate reading at home and where teens are susceptible to peer pressure not to achieve or try in school.

To address these challenges, WJA uses teaching methods that have been proven to be effective among reluctant, disinterested and underperforming readers. Its curriculum focuses on getting boys to enjoy reading as they gain the comprehension and vocabulary required to read at higher levels. Youth who enjoy reading will want to read more, and will become better readers as they grow into adults.  “Reading the WJA Way” is effective, with the faculty consistently raising student reading levels by an average of 4.5 grades throughout middle school. Classroom strategies include:
  • Full periods of both Reading and Language Arts
  • “Read Alouds” – teachers read stories out loud to show that reading can be fun and to give students opportunities to enjoy stories beyond their individual reading levels; and
  • “DEAR” – Drop Everything And Read – daily opportunities where students read books, magazines or newspapers of their choice to promote personal reading, and reading notebooks, in which students record vocabulary and responses to reading.
WJA serves 86 boys from low-income neighborhoods in the Washington, DC metro region, specifically from Wards 5, 6, 7 and 8 and from Prince George’s County, MD. While WJA admits students without regard to race, ethnicity or religion, all students must demonstrate significant financial need. Of WJA’s current students: 91% are African-American and 9% are Latino; 85% are non-Catholic; 71% are raised by single parent/guardian; the average household income is $32,800, and 80% qualify for Federal Free/Reduced Lunch programs.

The grant from the JLW will serve as an investment in WJA’s literacy education to their under-served youth, especially for the new fifth graders. WJA will allocate the $25,000 grant for the fifth grade literacy instructors, offset costs for classroom technology and replenish classroom and library books, all as a part of the “Reading the WJA Way” program. 

For more information about the JLW's 2013-2014 grant cycle, including the availability of and deadline for submission, please email or visit our website.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 Grant Recipient - The SEED Public Charter School of Washington, D.C.

The SEED School of Washington, D.C. (SEED DC) is a public, college-preparatory boarding school whose primary mission is to provide an outstanding, intensive educational program that prepares children, both academically and socially, for success in college and life beyond. SEED Schools are more than simply schools — SEED is an integrated program that brings, under one roof, the critical 24-hour support necessary for underserved children to realize their potential. More than 330 students in grades six through twelve attend SEED DC. All students live on campus Sunday through Friday, enabling them to benefit from an innovative curriculum that incorporates academic, extracurricular, and life skills learning.

The SEED Foundation was established in 1997 by Eric Adler and Rajiv Vinnakota on the belief that children in an urban environment could benefit from a public, boarding educational program. In 1998, The SEED Foundation established SEED DC as the nation's first urban public boarding school. SEED DC opened its doors with 40 seventh grade students in July 1998, at The Capital Children's Museum and added students to the seventh grade each subsequent year. In 2001, the school moved to its permanent campus located in Marshall Heights, a neighborhood in Ward 7 of the District.  In 2004, SEED DC reached full capacity and graduated its first class of seniors, all of whom were accepted to college. In 2009, SEED DC introduced sixth grade to its program.

The vast majority of students entering SEED DC in the sixth grade — 75 percent — read at a third grade reading level. This significant skill deficit cannot be overcome in one year, nor can it be resolved by forcing students to read and write papers on books they cannot understand. Literacy skill deficits must be addressed as early as possible and the students must build literacy skills by working from their current skill level. Founded on the belief that the more students read, the more they will read on their own, the better readers they will become, SEED DC implemented a daily 40-minute reading requirement for every student beyond what he or she must read for class. As the campus is "home" to all of students for 120 hours per week, Sunday through Friday, students need to have access to books that meet a broad range of reading levels, in every classroom, the library and the dorms, which will ultimately, help to foster a culture of literacy. Students who lack access to reading materials in their home can borrow books from the SEED DC library all year round (including summer). Through its literacy program, SEED DC also makes sure that students are familiar with the public library system and own library cards.

85 percent of SEED DC’s students come from Wards 5, 7 and 8.  99 percent of the student body is African American and one percent Latino. 73 percent of SEED DC’s students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Approximately 85 percent of SEED DC graduates will be the first in their families to attend and graduate from college.

The JLW’s $25,000 grant will expand and build capacity of SEED DC’s Tools for Literacy Program – to help every student that enters SEED DC’s doors attain grade-level reading skills by the time they enter high school and ultimately ensure that every SEED DC graduate gain acceptance into college and graduate.  The Tools for Literacy Program is the center of the School's efforts to improve literacy skills among all students.  SEED DC is unique for being one of a small group of schools in the District of Columbia to integrate the Reading and Writing Workshop into middle school English and Language Arts Curriculum due to the JLW’s past support.  Specifically, this year’s grant will be used to provide professional development to instructors which is required to remain current and continuously analyze and improve programming, to purchase a large number of books to have leveled libraries in the dormitories and every classroom, and to support the literacy coordinator who will oversee the development and implementation of the program.

For more information about the JLW's 2013-2014 grant cycle, including the availability of and deadline for submission, please email or visit our website at

Friday, May 31, 2013

JLW Chair Extraordinaire- Laura Bonavita

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

- John Quincy Adams

We are proud to honor Laura Bonavita, chair of Membership Outreach, as JLW Chair Extraordinaire. A fourth-year Active, Laura jumped into leadership this year and didn't look back. With her team, she worked to improve the popular small groups program, expanding the scope and capturing data from participants. Participation more than doubled from fall to spring when the book clubs were launched, with members clamoring for a spot. Connecting with members is important in any organization, but especially so in a league of our size. Congratulations, Laura and keep up the good work!

Did you know there are more than 125 leadership positions in the JLW? Each year, an amazing group of women answer the call to serve and their talent and skills form the support structure upon which our organization runs. Just as we value and appreciate your membership, we appreciate their service.  The JLW Chair Extraordinaire was a new award for our Centennial year. Each month, council directors nominated a leader for consideration and one chair was recognized by the president.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

First Annual All Community Placement Council Scavenger Hunt

We held the first annual CPC (Community Placement Council) Scavenger Hunt on Wednesday, April 3. The CPC Scavenger Hunt was a great chance for the ladies within our community placement committees to come together and meet people in other community committees that they might not have met before.

Scaveger Hunt 1

About 30 ladies from all community placement committees came out to embark on the Scavenger Hunt around Georgetown. They broke into teams of 4 or 5 ladies and tried to get the most points by accomplishing tasks on the scavenger hunt list. The ladies did everything from posing in store windows to racing strangers down the street and even serving a meal at a local fast food restaurant! We hope to continue this event in years to come!

Scavenger Hunt 2

Nancy Margaret Adler, Allison McCoy and April Rosenberger, Community Placement Council Directors

Monday, May 13, 2013

JLW Chair Extraordinaire- Bailey Hopple

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." 

- John Quincy Adams


We are proud to honor Bailey Hopple, chair of Literacy Lab, as JLW Chair Extraordinaire. A second-year Active, Bailey has taken the reigns and run with one of the JLW's newest partners and placements. With quick skill and thoughtful planning, she ensured a new program, the Colgate Bright Smiles dental-screening van, was a success with the children and families at the DC General shelter.  She and her team have pushed up their sleeves all year with great enthusiasm. Congratulations, Bailey and keep up the good work!  

Did you know there are more than 125 leadership positions in the JLW? Each year, an amazing group of women answer the call to serve and their talent and skills form the support structure upon which our organization runs. Just as we value and appreciate your membership, we appreciate their service. The JLW Chair Extraordinaire is a new award for our Centennial year. Each month, council directors may nominate a leader for consideration and one chair will be recognized by the president.

Friday, May 10, 2013

What the JLW is Reading: Board of Directors

Not surprising for an organization that focuses on literacy, the ladies on the JLW Board of Directors enjoy reading. They read monthly Board Reports, meeting minutes, agenda, motions, budgets and email correspondence, but they also have some surprising favorites!


Wendy Cumberland’s favorite children’s book is Peter Pan (though Good Night Gorilla is fast becoming a new favorite) while Carly Rockstroh has fond memories of Eloise. Elizabeth Keys shares two current favorites that she is sure will become classics – Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and A Sick Day for Amos McGee. As a new mom, Nancy Margaret Ray Adler’s favorite is the classic Goodnight Moon. Kelly Wilson Pisciotta gave an older favorite with The Phantom Tollbooth.


We also asked the incoming Board of Directors about what they are reading. We discovered that you can always borrow a magazine from Shiela Corley or Amanda Walke. They counterbalance their magazine habit with Shiela’s daily bible devotions and Amanda’s chemical patents. Interestingly, Erin Cromer finds her devotions online. Jennifer Hemingway and Susan Marshall share an interest in biographies while Brooke Horiuchi and Kimberly Linson read lots of adventure fantasy books. Maria Estefania loves all historical fiction. Alicia Lee saves money by downloading free paranormal/vampire ebooks on her Kindle. Marie Hahn, Erinn Gray and Stacey Hinton Tuneski could have shared Gone Girl. Kim Toumey enjoyed the Devil in the White City while Lorrie Dreibelbis recently picked up Devil in the Junior League. Kristen Soltis’ favorite is Sophie’s World while Amber Huffman enjoyed Beautiful Disaster.


You can see the diversity of interests reflected in their choices. Anytime you see one of the Board, you should ask about what they are reading! Please share what is your favorite children’s book or what book you are currently enjoying.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

JLW at Jubilee Jumpstart!

The Junior League of Washington (JLW) has been the cause of much delight at Jubilee JumpStart!


We began the year with the reward of an opportunity grant and a delivery of 165 books to freshen our classroom libraries. This was followed by a delivery of over 2,000 books in April! The books have rejuvenated our center library, and have a number of exciting uses. They will be used in each individual classroom to complement the lessons being taught; a backpack program has been implemented for each child to bring home a book to read with their parents; and since we have 52 little readers, some of the books will be given to the children so they can build their own home libraries with beautiful new books. The JLW also provided six wonderful volunteers to come read with our children during our “Pajama Day”. What better time to read a book then when you’re curled up in your pj’s? The kids were so excited when the ladies jumped right into the mix and read lots of new stories to them.

Jubilee JumpStart strives to lessen the achievement gap between poor and non-poor children before they reach kindergarten by placing a heavy focus on dual-language literacy within a low-income population.

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Jubilee JumpStart provides comprehensive dual-language early education services for fifty-two children from six weeks to five years of age; Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Our mission is to ensure that children are fully prepared for success in school and beyond by providing them with early education enriched by an intense focus on social and emotional well-being and practical support to their families. Jubilee JumpStart empowers families to move up and out of poverty by helping children and parents to realize their educational and career opportunities.

Each day, and within each independent classroom, there are 3+ hours of pre-literacy activities. Emphasizing the importance of reading aloud in the classroom and at home, the teachers help children to learn and develop language, while simultaneously encouraging them to understand and value literacy. There are three to four daily read aloud sessions in each classroom, which take place in both English and Spanish. Accompanying read aloud sessions, the teachers incorporate activities that help the children to integrate and understand the books that they are reading. In the Pre-K Classroom, children are encouraged to act out the story using materials and costumes from drama. In the Toddler and Pre-K classrooms, each child may bring a book to nap time. Through these daily routines the children are able to develop a positive association with reading and learning.

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We are in the right place to foster a love of reading at the very youngest ages and the Junior League of Washington has proven to be a wonderful partner in our mission!

- Jubilee Jumpstart

Monday, May 6, 2013

Leadership Training for JLW’s Future Leaders


The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) hosts Organizational Development Institute (ODI) training twice a year. AJLI’s website promotes ODIs as “a series of educational training meetings . . . [that] have demonstrated their effectiveness as informative, inspiring and innovative three-day weekend training programs.” This year’s Fall ODI was held in Cleveland, Ohio at the fabulous Renaissance Cleveland Hotel from Friday, October 19 through Sunday, October 21, 2012. In celebration of the Junior League of Cleveland’s 100 years of service, the city of Cleveland played host to the Fall ODI welcoming all with a warm reception and gifts including a nice take-home bag and red leather-like bookmark.

The Fall ODI opened with the AJLI Executive Director Susan Danish’s Change and You presentation. Susan led the ladies through several exercises to determine each one’s appetite for change. On Saturday, Susan Danish joined Vikki Clark in a moving plenary entitles “Taking Action: Moving Toward Diversity and Inclusion.” Each participant received a copy of AJLI’s Building Blocks for Diversity and Inclusion. Saturday’s keynote address celebrated voluntarism with a resounding address from Hermione Malone, the president of Cleveland’s League. Finally, Sunday’s program started with a session Accessing AJLI — All About AJLI and concluded with Communication is Key. During the weekend, AJLI posted an Idea Bank aimed at capturing various suggestions and thoughts of participants. In addition to the plenary events, ODI participants attended training tracks.

This year, the Nominating Committee of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) solicited feedback from its members on who would benefit from attending ODI and participating in its additional training opportunities. The Nominating Committee selected three delegates to be sent to the fall ODI – R. Denise Everson, Stacey Hinton Tuneski, and Courtney Cherry. The delegates participated in specialized training tracks in which they contributed to the discussion by sharing lessons learned from JLW and gained further insights into how the Leagues operate, achieving greater community impact or fund development.

  • "ODI was a game changer for me. For the first time, I saw just how different JLW is compared to other leagues. I am so grateful for the opportunity and am now more invigorated to work in JLW."R. Denise Everson, 2012-2014 Archives Chair
  • "ODI was a great experience for me in my JLW career. I came back with lots of great new ideas and a new energy to bring to the JLW. It also emphasized how the JLW has a great community outreach program through our literacy focus." - Stacey Hinton Tuneski, 2013-2014 Adult CPC Director
  • "ODI made me realize the tremendous progress that JLW has made toward tying our activities to our mission, and also appreciate how much more we could accomplish by thinking creatively about fundraising. Additionally, ODI emphasized the importance of ongoing training to building the capacity of our League. I was privileged to take part in this experience and hope that many other JLW members have the same opportunity to learn and grow from future training sessions." Courtney Cherry Ellis, 2012-2013 Special Events Chair

Delegates enjoyed the fellowship with other leagues and informative plenary sessions lead by powerful women. In true JLW style, Courtney Cherry, a former JLW Esprit Chair, organized an impromptu happy hour for ODI participants at the Renaissance Hotel’s in-house restaurant and bar, the Lobby Court. Ladies from several leagues across the country dropped in to have a moment of fellowship with the JLW ladies. In addition, JLW delegates capitalized on the weekend to get to know one another and enjoy the sites and tastes of Cleveland.

We urge anyone interested in JLW leadership to submit an ODI form in the fall - seasoned JLW volunteers to eager first year Actives – it was an amazing training experience!


Courtney Cherry Ellis, R. Denise Everson, and Stacey Hinton Tuneski

JLW’s Fall ODI Attendees

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

D.C. Youth Poets “Find Their Words”

As a child who grew up reading Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Junior League of Washington’s Targeted Grants and Volunteer Resources Committee’s Mini-Placement organizing the 14th Annual “Find Your Words” Youth Poetry Contest.

The annual poetry contest is open to students in Washington, D.C. public and charter schools, grades 4-8. This year, the committee received over 100 poems written in a variety of techniques and styles. These impressive and talented young poets wrote on a range of topics, discussing everything from school, homework, pets and vacations to family, friendship, love, pain and self-esteem.

When our committee read and reviewed each poem, we were all impressed with the depth and emotion that came through in each piece. Some were powerful and thought- provoking, others heartfelt and sweet. Analyzing and discussing the poems with other new members was a fun and worthwhile experience. It was interesting to hear what each member liked or disliked about a certain poem, proving just how personal and emotional poetry can be.

In the end, we chose 15 outstanding poems - one winner and two honorable mentions from each grade level. Each winning student will receive a booklet of the winning entries and a Barnes & Noble gift card. Please join us as we honor these amazing winners and hear them recite their poems at the 2013 Community Partner Reception on Thursday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. at JLW Headquarters.

Alissa Momberg
New Member 2012-2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

JLW is Excited to Announce Spring Opportunity Grant Recipient - 826DC

The Junior League of Washington is pleased to welcome 826DC as our newest Opportunity Grant Recipient. With the Opportunity Grants, the League makes grants of $1,000 or less to community non-profit organizations demonstrating an unexpected short-term financial need.

826DC, formerly known as Capitol Letters Writing Center, is a nonprofit that was founded in fall 2008, and in late-2009, became affiliated with 826 National, the network of nonprofits co-founded by award-winning author Dave Eggers. The organization is dedicated to working with students ages 6 through 18 in developing their creative and expository writing skills and to working with teachers to inspire their students to write. 826DC believes that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. The organization provide after-school tutoring, in-school programming, evening and weekend writing workshops, help for English language learners, field trips, and student publishing opportunities all free of charge. 

On the first day of after-school tutoring in September, a record 41 students attended. Since then, 100 students have registered, and the organization is at capacity almost every day with 35-40 students. During the 2011-2012 school year, the organization served 2,000 students, an increase of 900 from the previous year, and is projected to serve over 3,000 students this year. This significant and rapid growth means 826DC is quickly outgrowing its space and is in need of more tables and storage space to accommodate the demand for their programs.

During the after-school tutoring program, students are required to read for at least 20 minutes after they finish their homework. Students can choose from the hundreds of books in the library, which are organized according to the Fountas and Pinnell reading level system.

The $1,000 grant from the Junior League of Washington will be used to purchase three additional tables for the center and two additional bookshelves for extra storage. Having more tables will increase the number of small tables available for students and volunteer tutors coming to the after-school tutoring program, allow work in smaller groups, and will also allow 826DC to serve more students overall across its various programs. Additionally, 826DC recently received 250 books through Resolution Read.

The 2012-2013 grant cycle is currently closed. If you would like further information about the 2013-2014 grant cycle, please visit our website or contact Alicia Lee, chair of the Targeted Grants and Volunteer Resources Committee at

Alicia Lee
Chair, Targeted Grants and Volunteer Resources Committee

Friday, April 12, 2013

Get Ready for Spring at C. Wonder on Saturday, April 13!

C. Wonder has graciously agreed to host a JLW Shops! event this Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Sweet treats and a twenty percent discount will be provided! Ten percent of the proceeds from your purchases will go to support JLW’s literacy efforts in the greater Washington, D.C. community. C. Wonder is located on the second level of Tyson’s Corner Center near Macy’s department store. From adorable dresses and gorgeous jewelry to stunning dishware and throw pillows, C. Wonder offers clothing, accessories and home décor products that are bright and exciting to wear or stock your home with. The C. Wonder lifestyle brand provides women with luxury style products that are also affordable. Any fashionista needs to visit this amazing store!

Bring your friends, your pocketbook and your fashion sense this Saturday to see what C. Wonder is all about! It is shopping for a great cause!

Lauren A. Johnston
Special Events Committee Member

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2nd Annual Kitchen Tour: It’s All About Entertaining!

We hope you join us for the Junior League of Washington’s second annual Kitchen Tour that kicks-off on Saturday, April 20 at 12:00 p.m. Until 4:00 p.m., ticket holders will explore six amazing kitchens in the Columbia Heights neighborhood and take part in different presentations at each home, with everything from wine pairings to flower arranging. Everything you need to know about entertaining in style in D.C.!  You will see well-laid out apartment kitchens and luxurious home kitchens. 

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the event. Tickets are available through the JLW website! Last year, over 300 tickets were sold. All proceeds from the tour will help support the JLW’s literacy efforts in the greater Washington, D.C. community.

To learn more about some of the fabulous aspects of this event we spoke with Kitchen Tour Co-Chair, Heidi Krieger.

JLW: What is your favorite aspect of planning the Junior League of Washington’s Kitchen Tour?
Heidi: I love reaching out to potential sponsors.  It’s so fun to work with our awesome community sponsors!

JLW: This is the second Junior League of Washington Kitchen Tour.  Why was this event created?
Heidi: There are so many wonderful kitchens around DC and we thought it would fun to peek inside and see what makes them work so well.

JLW: What do you think the attendees will enjoy most about this event?
Heidi: The tastings, demos, and goodie bags!!!

JLW: Can attendees win any prizes during the Kitchen Tour?
Heidi: Yes, right now included in your ticket are the following: 
  • Tastings, demos, and goodies at each of the homes;
  • An awesome goodie bag, with samples and coupons from some of DC's best venues (hint: wine discounts, coupons for free food around the city, $20 discount from Uber, free exercise classes around the city, and even some food samples! – the value for this goodie bag is well over $100); and
  • A chance to win a door prize, such as a month-long gym membership, Vineyard Vines gentleman's gift, a $300 wine tasting package, or an entertaining basket.

JLW: Ideas for entertaining are a focus of the Kitchen Tour, so what have you learned while working with the sponsors and planning the event?
Heidi: I think our tour goers will be so happy to learn organizational techniques from the Neat Method, a service committed to helping people maximize their living space!

JLW: What do you think is biggest challenge for designing a kitchen in a city like Washington, D.C.?
Heidi: I think it’s a challenge to work functional space in such small spaces.  This year, some of the focus is on small spaces, big ideas, which may help our attendees in realistically planning their kitchens!

We hope to see you on the Kitchen Tour on Saturday, April 20! Don’t forget to grab your ticket in advance.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

JLW Chair Extraordinaire- Erin Buechel Wieczorek

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
- John Quincy Adams

We are proud to honor Erin Buechel Wieczorek, chair of Building Beautification, as JLW Chair Extraordinaire. A six-year Active, Erin's enthusiasm is infectious. Her leadership this year has ensured our Loughborough House not only looks beautiful but functions well. From selecting a new podium to updating and upgrading the audio and visual equipment in the Loughborough Room, all of our members will benefit from the enhancements Erin has implemented. The love and TLC Erin and her team provide our headquarters show that 3039 M Street, NW is more than an address! Congratulations, Erin and keep up the great work!

Did you know there are more than 125 leadership positions in the JLW? Each year, an amazing group of women answer the call to serve and their talent and skills form the support structure upon which our organization runs. Just as we value and appreciate your membership, we appreciate their service.  The JLW Chair Extraordinaire is a new award for our Centennial year. Each month, council directors may nominate a leader for consideration and one chair will be recognized by the president.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Tossed and Found Experience

When I was a new member (in 2003-2004), I volunteered for my new member shift at Tossed & Found move in day at the previous site, Tuesday Morning in Rockville. It was cold, dirty, wet and my first assignment was to sweep the floor and clean it up as best I could. Within an hour, I was covered head to toe in dirt and dust, with water spots from the leaking ceiling. An hour later I found myself working the book section with 3 other new members- Angie Quinn (my best friend from college), Kim O’Connor Tuomey, and Elisabeth Somerville. Angie and I met Kim and Elisabeth the first time that day in books…at one point I said to the other three, “Who would ever want to be on this committee?” They of course agreed….

A few years later, I received a call from nominating to be the Chair for Tossed & Found’s 2010 sale. For some reason I said yes…even with doubts and memories of my first Tossed & Found experience at Tuesday Morning on my mind. Turns out the great site that Vornado has donated in Crystal City for the past 7 years is nothing like Tuesday Morning and it gets better with each year. This year, Tossed & Found has a new site at 251 18th Street South, 5th Floor, Arlington, VA 22202- with windows!

It turns out that thanks to that dreadful morning at the Tuesday Morning site, Kim, Angie, Elisabeth and I are extremely great friends today. I returned for a second stint as Chief of Staff. Kim is a co-chair for the 2013 sale and Angie for the 2014 sale. We all love T&F for the camaraderie, the satisfaction of seeing a warehouse full of piles of clothes, kitchen items and furniture all transform into a neatly organized store and lots of low dollar purchases can all add up to over $120,000 for JLW’s literacy initiatives.

I hope to see you at T&F this weekend or if you are unable to make the sale, please consider purchasing a Community Cash Card! Your donation provides a JLW Community Partner, a Neighbor In Need, or Community Organization of your choice the opportunity to purchase $40 worth of items at our 2013 sale.

Amber Huffman
Tossed and Found, Chief of Staff