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 fa├žade 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

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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.