Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day In The Life – Done-in-a-Day Committee

By: Aida Latorre

The Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Done-in-a-Day (DIAD) Committee brings members opportunities to volunteer with different organizations throughout the DC metro area. DIAD members come from varying backgrounds, and the flexibility of the committee allows its members to balance their involvement with JLW and their personal and professional lives.

Volunteers work with groups like the Capital Area Food Bank, DC Design House, American Heart Association, and the Rosemont Center. During volunteer shifts, members provide tutoring assistance, support 5K walks, serve as tour guides for various event centers, and work hands-on with children and young adults with physical or developmental disabilities.

I came to the JLW as a transfer from the JL in Denver where I served on the DIAD committee as well. Last year, I began my membership in JLW on the Transfer Committee and loved the many avenues where JLW is involved in the community and the varying opportunities for members to get involved within the League. It was difficult to decide on a placement because I loved providing tutoring assistance and providing support to different events like 5K runs and fundraising events.
When the time came to decide on a committee for this year, I had just started a new job that requires extensive travel, and I knew that DIAD would give me the chance to get involved with various organizations within the DC area but also would have the flexibility I’d need to get my membership points completed with my new hectic schedule.

I have loved volunteering as a member of DIAD. I have volunteered on a few occasions with Washington School for Girls where I was paired up with a student (usually sixth or seventh grade) and assisted the student with their language arts and/or reading lessons. With the American Kidney Fund, I volunteered at the “Get Social” kiosk that promoted attendees get preventative kidney screening.

Recently I volunteered at the Rosemont Center’s Fall Fiesta where I provided logistical support for their event. During the event, I was able to meet some great leaders in the community and helped support a school that provides early childhood education and family support programs in a bilingual setting. I look forward to continuing my involvement with the DIAD Committee and continuing to make a difference within the DC community.

To request short-term volunteers from our Done-in-a-Day Committee, please click here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanks for Giving to the Junior League of Washington

This Thanksgiving, as you reflect on all of the blessings in your life, we want to thank you, our hard-working volunteers, for all you do to support the Junior League of Washington (JLW) and its community partners.

This year already, you have put in nearly 5,000 volunteer hours at our community partners, at flagship events like the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival, and at fundraisers like Holiday Shops – which support our grant programs that help us give back to literacy-focused programs and our 20+ community partners in the DC area.

In the spirit of the holiday, we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you today a few of the “thanks” we have received from our community partners and grant recipients this year – including the Washington School for Girls, the Literacy Lab, and the Library of Congress.
We want to show you that your work with the Junior League of Washington means something.

You are encouraging thousands of book fans to keep reading at the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. Our partnership with the Library of Congress spans 14 years, and there’s a good reason why Look no further than book-signing lines over 1,000 people long – which JLW volunteers help manage – to see how this annual festival connects people young and old with the power of books.

You are sparking a life-long love of learning in young girls at the Washington School for Girls. Our three-year Targeted Grant helps this all-scholarship, all-girls, independent Catholic school expand to including even more students from third through eighth grade, starting them through their curriculum at a younger age and helping them transition from elementary to middle school.

You are equipping low-income students with the literacy tools s/he needs to succeed and thrive. Our Community Partner Grant helps the Literacy Lab place well-trained tutors in early childhood centers, schools, and homeless shelters full-time to make sure students ages three to third grade don’t fall behind in the literacy skills they need to succeed in school and later in life.

And you are having a real, profound effect on countless lives across the Washington, DC, area.
Thank you for giving your time to be a part of this organization.
Read on to see what our donations of volunteer time and grant dollars mean to our community partners.

Thank you very much for the incredibly generous donation that arrived in yesterday's mail. We were thrilled to be honored as the JLW's Community Placement of the Year and realize that gifts from the JLW are particularly precious since you raise them directly from your members. We are fortunate to be able to partner with such a fantastic organization, and I would appreciate it if you could please relay my thanks to the League.
With gratitude,
The Literacy Lab

I love my school because they push you to do better: WSG makes you want to do better: At WSG, you have so much fun that the school year goes by really fast. WSG is a wonderful school.
Washington School for Girls

Finally, we’d be all the more thankful if you would consider making the Junior League of Washington a part of your year-end giving by contributing to the League this Giving Tuesday, on November 29, 2016. Click here to learn all the ways you can support the League – as an individual donor, through purchases on Amazon Smile, or through corporate or foundation giving.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Membership Outreach Committee: A Need-to-Know Guide to the Book Club Experience

Thanks to everyone who joined the Book Club Kickoff on October 25 at Bayou. We hope you enjoyed the opportunity to connect the dots with other League members, especially with those in your neighborhood who share a love of reading and discussing books. If you missed the chance to sign up for a book club at the Book Club Kickoff event, there’s no need to worry; contact the Membership Outreach Committee Chair Chloe Mullins to be connected with a club today.

We all look forward to that one night a month when we can catch up with friends old over a beverage of our choice to discuss this month's book, until the person who signed up to bring pita chips doesn't show. So Membership Outreach connected with past participants to learn the keys to a successful, long-lasting book club. 

Here are a few ways that we found will keep your JLW book club running smoothly: 

·  Share the Busy Work - It can take a lot of energy to be a great leader who puts effort into involving everyone. Share the joy of leading with others who might be interested and consider rotating the leader every few months to avoid burnout.  
·  Use Online Tools - Use Doodle or Google docs to determine the best date/time for your group to meet and set up an online calendar to note what book you'll be reading, when and where you'll be meeting, who is hosting, and who is responsible for what snacks. You can even start a Facebook group if it’s easier.
·  Flexible Meeting Times and Locations - Books clubs don't have to happen at night, and discussions can be just as great at brunch! Consider holding your meeting on a weekend rather than weeknight if that works better for members of your group. Alternating hosts (and meeting somewhere other than a member's home (like a restaurant, coffee shop, or library)) are other ways to lighten the load and ensure a successful book club. 
·  Finds Ways to Celebrate This could be as simple as occasionally planning "Friends of Book Club" social events like happy hours, concerts at Yards Park, etc. that include others or taking the time to recognize a big event in a member's life (wedding, baby, promotion, etc.).
·  Consider a Variety of Books - There are lots of great online resources (The New York Times Best Seller List, Oprah's Book Club, etc.) to help you choose a book to read but sometimes you need to think outside the book. Short stories and essays can be great for discussion as well! (The holidays weigh heavily on everyone's time so consider reading a shorter piece or having a social meeting in lieu of a traditional one during that time of year.) 

What else has made your book club successful in the past? Leave a comment below or contact Membership Outreach directly. The committee will share your thoughts with this year's and future JLW book clubs. 

Happy reading! from the Membership Outreach Committee.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Five Fresh Features to See at Holiday Shops 2016

The Junior League of Washington is excited to present a weekend of great shopping deals – and, of course, special events that will kick your holiday spirit into high gear.

Be sure to check out at this year’s Holiday Shops – you don’t want to miss a thing!

All events will be held at Dock5 at Union Market (1309 5th Street NE Washington, DC 20002).

1. Candy Cane Cocktails:  Holiday Shops Grand Opening

When: Friday, November 18, 2016 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The first event of the weekend, Candy Cane Cocktails offers a chance to bring out that new cocktail dress you’ve been dying to wear for an evening of glitz, shopping, libations, door prizes, and more!

Guests will have the first look at all 60+ of our Holiday Shops merchants and will enjoy exclusive access to their merchandise. Neiman Marcus will be in attendance to give the best beauty tips and tricks for achieving a gorgeous holiday look.

Bring friends and family for a fun-filled night of hors d’oeuvres, holiday-themed cocktails, and exceptional door prizes.

Tickets - $50 in advance/$55 at the door

2.  Santa Paws

When: Saturday, November 19, from 1-3 p.m.

Instead of leaving your furry friend at home for Holiday Shops, now you can bring them with you!

Don’t miss our first-ever Santa Paws event.

Pets will be able to take a photo with Santa for $25 per fur family.

3.  Family Fun Day

When: Sunday, November 20, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Bring the whole family out to Holiday Shops on Sunday for entertainment suited for young and old, big and small!

Mom and Dad can shop while the kiddos listen to stories and partake in entertainment and crafts.

Get your child’s picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Sunday!

Tickets - $30 per family

4.  Children’s Face Painting

New for this year, little ones can let their imagination run wild by getting their face painted.
Face painting is provided courtesy of Stylisted and will be available throughout the shopping weekend.

5. General Holiday Shops Shopping

Holiday Shops general shopping is open on Saturday, November 19, from 8 a.m.  – 8 p.m. and on Sunday, November 20, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Browse clothes, accessories, toys, home goods, art, and more from our 60+ merchants – including new-this-year offerings from Lisi Lerch, Soxfords, and Summit to Soul, to perennial favorites like Merrifield Garden Center and A Spice Above. You can shop the weekend away! After shopping, check out the local food, drink, and flair at Union Market and make it a holiday season to remember. 

Tickets - $5 per day

The Holiday Shops Committee and Junior League of Washington thank you for your support.

The Junior League of Washington strives in all endeavors to be sensitive to the special needs of its members and guests. If you have any special needs pertaining to our event, please let us know.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Day in the Life – Volunteering with Historic Alexandria Docents

By: Melissa Petersen

HAD Committee members at Lee-Fendall House during the New Docent Tour: Ginny Robbins, Sheena Pulealii, Kara Hughes, Tania Michelle Taylor, Melissa Petersen, Laura Lieberman.
When someone asks about a typical day as a Historic Alexandria Docents (HAD) volunteer, the short answer is that there is no typical day or volunteer shift. One reason is that we support four community partners in five different locations in Alexandria – Carlyle House, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Lee-Fendall House, and Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary, and Mount Vernon. We help the properties and their staffs share their history and their programming with visitors.
Jinny Shen in the Lee-Fendall family parlor during Old Town Candlelight Tours
Although I’ve always enjoyed history, my years on the committee and volunteering at Mount Vernon have deepened that: seeing a child’s eyes light up upon sharing an interesting story or fact learned about the Washington family or U.S. history reminds me why museums and historic homes are so important.
Melissa Petersen and Melanie Loba-Shere with nosegays at Mount Vernon’s American Girl event.
Come visit us – you’ll see us leading tours, assisting with visitors and helping with special events (sometimes in costume) like Candlelight Tours (Sign up for Saturday, December 10!), Girl Scout Overnights, Mad Science, Pumpkin and Easter Egg Hunts, Scottish Heritage Outlander Day, and Fall Harvest Family Days. I may be biased, but I think you’ll have fun – and learn new things at the same time.
Maegan Keane, Melissa Petersen and Melissa Buchanan in front of the 16-sided barn on Mount Vernon's Pioneer Farm for Fall Family Days.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Gifts that Keep Giving

One of the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) major fundraisers, Holiday Shops, is set to kick off again from November 18 through November 20 at Dock5 at Union Market!

Holiday Shops is one of the most anticipated events of the League year thanks to the outstanding energy of dedicated JLW volunteers and the support of our amazing local merchants. Each year, thousands of shoppers from the DMV area gather to shop for loved ones – not only because of the wide range of fun and festive gifts or because of the wonderful special events – but because they know that every dollar spent at Holiday Shops helps support women who are building a better Washington, DC, community.

Proceeds from Holiday Shops help the League continue our 104-year history of giving back – adding to our $5.8 million in direct grants to community organizations and more than five million volunteer hours working with our community partners like 826DC, N Street Village, and the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

So when you shop at Holiday Shops, you’re buying much more than a gift for your mom or a new necklace for yourself. You’re giving back to the community – putting new books in the hands of homeless and low-income children at Literacy Lab and Horton’s Kids, providing employment training to adults through A Wider Circle, and helping homeless families find permanent, stable housing.

For more information on shopping hours, merchants, and special events during the Holiday Shops weekend, check out our website: We look forward to seeing you in November at the 58th annual Holiday Shops!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The JLW Journey Through National Book Festival

On September 24, 2016, the Library of Congress welcomed thousands of people to the Washington Convention Center to celebrate its 16th National Book Festival, and on hand were almost 425 Junior League of Washington (JLW) volunteers to welcome festivalgoers and help make the event a success. 
Literary Events Planning Committee members get ready to kick of National Book Festival!
The theme of this year’s book festival was showing that books can be a journey to discovery, but for JLW, the National Book Festival itself has been a journey in discovery and rewarding experiences.

This year marked the 14th consecutive year JLW provided necessary volunteer support to the National Book Festival, and in recognition of this history, the JLW logo was featured on the official National Book Festival poster for the second year in a row. 
This year’s official National Book Festival poster was designed by illustrator Yuko Shimizu and featured the JLW logo for the second year in a row.
Additionally, this year nearly 425 JLW volunteers helped support the festival, meaning that over the past 14 years, 5,700 JLW volunteers have given 37,000 hours of their time to the National Book Festival.

Those are some pretty big numbers, but this year there were also a couple of firsts – both for JLW and the Library of Congress. The JLW logo was added to JLW volunteer T-shirts for the first time, and this was the first festival to feature newly sworn-in Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. Dr. Hayden – the first woman to hold the role – even took the time to swing by the JLW check-in table, greet volunteers, and learn about the JLW’s contribution to the festival.
JLW volunteers meet Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
JLW’s journey with National Book Festival has led JLW to take charge of providing support in three key areas of the festival: the Pavilion of the States, book sales, and the book-signing lines.

At the Pavilion of the States, JLW volunteers were paired with librarians from across the country and helped promote books from the librarians’ states. Festivalgoers visiting Oklahoma’s table even got a fun surprise when featured Oklahoma author Alton Carter showed up to sign copies of his book, The Boy Who Carried Bricks! 
A JLW volunteer dons a Statue of Liberty crown while promoting books from the Empire State at the Pavilion of States!
Over at the book-signing lines, JLW volunteers once again showed their crowd-control prowess and helped authors such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kristin Hannah, Salman Rushdie, Bob Woodward, Lois Lowry, and Jacqueline Woodson interact with fans and sign books in an orderly fashion. A special moment came at the end of the night when Rep. John Lewis, after helping celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture earlier in the day, signed copies of his graphic memoir trilogy “March” for over two hours, making sure he met every person in line.
JLW volunteers smile with author Salmon Rushdie following a successful book signing session!
JLW volunteers welcome Rep. John Lewis to the book signing line area.
Meanwhile, JLW volunteers in the book sales area helped festivalgoers find books by their favorite authors to get signed, helped hand out the official festival poster, and helped distribute the ever popular C-SPAN National Book Festival bags! 
JLW volunteers help distribute book festival posters and C-SPAN event bags in the book signing line area!
Now, JLW volunteers can gear up for more special moments and memories - next year’s festival is scheduled for September 2, 2017, and JLW volunteers will be back to continue the journey. 
 LEP committee members celebrate the end of a successful National Book Festival!