The Happenings: Spring 2022

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Inaugural Little Black Dress Initiative raises much needed funds and awareness subline

table of


11 Spotlight on our Community Partners

23 #JLGNHerstory

31 Inaugural Little Black Dress Initiative 3 | Meet the Happenings staff

Members of the Spring Provisional Class get together at De Legna x Nolo Story on p. 8

4 | Passing the gavel 5 | Q&A with the incoming President 6 | In Memoriam Remembering those we've lost 7 | AJLI Centennial Recap 9 | Community impact 13 | Coming into focus Learn about the League's focus areas 14 | Letter from the Community Director 15 | Future community leaders Meet this year's High School Voluntarism Award winners 16 | League Award Winners 19 | Meet the newest League Transfers 20 | Sustainer highlight 21 | Getting together: Socials 22 | Getting down to business: GMMs 30 | JLGNH Cookbook returns 33 | From the Archives

15 Meet the Spring Provisional Class How a group of new League members collected thousands of feminine products and diapers for those in need

34 | 2021-2026 Strategic Plan 35 | Who makes up the JLGNH? 37 | Members reflect on the past year THE HAPPENINGS




meet the writers for The Happenings Anna Arons, Reporter

Anna Arons transferred from the Junior League of Washington. She is from Mobile, Alabama and attended college at Furman University. She works in Corporate & Foundation Relations at Yale University and now lives in Branford, Connecticut. She loves reading, baking, and shopping for antiques.

Maeghan Beahm, Editor/Designer

Maeghan has been a member of the Junior League since 2015, transferring to the JLGNH from the Junior League of Charlotte in 2019. She is a Navy spouse and a stay-at-home mom to her energetic 2-year-old son, Rhodes.

Allison Gallaspy, Reporter

Allison is a Business Librarian at Yale University. She writes professionally, most recently in The Journal of Academic Librarianship and book reviews for Library Journal. She has enjoyed getting to write in a different style for JLNO's Lagniappe magazine and, of course, JLGNH's The Happenings.

Cate Kellett, Reporter

Cate Kellett is a librarian at Yale Law School. She lives in Hamden with her 4-year-old daughter, Harper, and her 11-year-old cairn terrier, Lady Wiggins.

Haley Sabitus, Reporter

Haley moved to New Haven with her fiancé in December 2019 for a fundraising job at Yale. The past decade, she was in State College, PA and earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees at Penn State. She loves reading, traveling, and watching Penn State football. THE HAPPENINGS



passing the gavel

JLGNH Presidents take part in a time-honored tradition at the closing of the League year called the passing the gavel, which typically occurs at the all-member Annual Dinner. During the ceremony, past Presidents line up in order of their presidential year, and pass along a gavel from one president to the next, beginning with the oldest serving president and ending with the President Elect. She then gives her looking forward speech and closes out the evening with a gavel drop. What makes this gavel ceremony extra special is the gavel is engraved with our 1923 founding date and has a Junior League scarf tied to it. I want to take this opportunity to share the significance of this, which former President Kathleen Krolak helped me capture.

Carolyn Breen Witt, President 2002-03, remained an active sustaining member who volunteered; donated to annual fundraising efforts; and consistently attended the Annual Dinner, where she offered insightful and supportive advice to the incoming President. The League honored Carrie for her generosity at the 2012 Wine Tasting event, but sadly Carrie passed away the following month. When Carrie was an Active member of the League, Junior League scarves were popular, so the JLGNH was gifted Carrie’s scarf. We proudly pass on the scarf & gavel while pausing to remember a past President, member, and friend. Preserving this tradition is vital - honoring past Presidents, members and friends as we continue to commit ourselves to our mission, our community, and each other. Through uncertain times, we continue to accomplish our work safely and effectively, and remain committed to support our members as trained Junior League volunteers. A gentle nod to the long legacy of impactful community volunteers whose dedication, desire and ability to make a positive and lasting impact in the community has remained strong. What I hope you take away from this issue is seeing our members’ smiles. Meeting with fellow JLGNH members is meaningful in so many ways – networking & training, volunteering, & feeding the soul with friendships. The focus is on you & your community, and together, we are catalysts for lasting community change. I am honored to be a part of history with JLGNH and it has been my pleasure to serve as its President in our 99th year.


2021-2022 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ashley Fitton President Ashley Ahearn President-Elect Gerri Lyons Bell Community Director Maeghan Beahm Communications and Membership Director Amy Chivetta Finance Director Keisha Harp Assistant Finance Director

2021-2022 HAPPENINGS STAFF Maeghan Beahm Editor/Designer

Cate Kellett Reporter

Anna Arons Reporter

Haley Sabitus Reporter

Allison Gallaspy Reporter

ABOUT THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF GREATER NEW HAVEN The Junior League of Greater New Haven Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, to developing the potential of women and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. 323 Temple Street New Haven, CT 06511

ASHLEY FITTON 2021-22 Junior League of Greater New Haven President

203.562.5076 | THE HAPPENINGS




Q&A with Ashley Ahearn

many different paths in their lives and an in person meeting/ event might not always be an option. By adding flexibility and variety to our meetings & events, we have opened up our League to women who otherwise might not have been able to join. Are there any practices implemented due to the pandemic that you would like to continue in the future? Simply put, I would like to remain flexible to meet our League members where they are at!

What are your goals for the 2022-23 League year? I am excited to keep the momentum going on the different projects we currently are working on. I am thrilled that this year we started The Little Black Dress initiative and feel as though it's going to be a wonderful annual project for our League. I am equally as excited to see how the cookbook pans out as a fundraising project; as an avid home-chef I love learning other's recipes and feel as though the theme ties in nicely with our initiative to educate on & offset food insecurity in the New Haven area. How do you plan to transition from all-virtual events and meetings to in-person (or potentially) hybrid meetings? I think location selection is going to be important so that we can still drive engagement from people dialing into the meetings. How do you think the pandemic has changed the League? I think it has encouraged us to meet people where they are! As our demographic poll showed, our league unifies women who are on




As we prepare for our centennial year, how do you see the JLGNH continuing to serve the community over the next 100 years? I am hopeful that we continue to create movement in a positive way with all of the community partnerships we have. I know the whole board put so much time into creating the strategic plan to give us momentum into the years to come!

Fast five:

Morning person


Night owl

New York Beach






Coffee or Tea Fundraising gala or Volunteer event Oh, tough one! I will say ...

in memoriam: honoring those we have lost By: Maeghan Beahm

The Junior League of Greater New Haven is fortunate to have many lifelong members whose commitment to the League and its mission is evident by their continued involvement as Sustainer Emeriti. The past few years have been hard, with many suffering personal losses, & our League family has not been spared. We have lost great champions for our League, and the hole they leave in our organization and our members' hearts is evident. We honor those members we've recently lost. If you have stories to share about them, email them to or send a note to our office, so their legacies can continue to live on.

DEB TOWNSHEND January 4, 1922 - August 24, 2020

Doris "Deb" Biesterfeld Townshend was a long-time member of the Junior League of Greater New Haven, serving as President from 1955 through 1957. She also won the Sustainer Award for her work during the 1993-94 League year. Her obituary reads, "When Deb was a child she was asked, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' Her answer: 'kind'. Her life of 98 years was nothing but kindness; a goal well met." The JLGNH is forever grateful for her kindness and her leadership in the League, both as an Active and Sustaining member.


PATRICIA CAVANAUGH June 28, 1934 - July 15, 2020

Patricia Ann Cavanagh served as President for the Junior League of Greater New Haven from 1971-73. She also won the Sustainer Award for her work during the 1990-91 League year. She was immersed in the New Haven community, spreading a legacy of kindness and charity. The JLGNH is appreciative of all she did for the League and her commitment to our community.

MARIAN PAGE January 1, 1929 - July 6, 2021

Marian Page was very active in the community and a longtime member of the Junior League of Greater New Haven. Always open to new challenges and experiences, Marian became a trained EMT at the age of 55! The Junior League of Greater New Haven is honored to have called Marian a lifelong member and value her contributions.





AJLI celebrates a major milestone By: Maeghan Beahm

Since its founding in 1901 by social activist Mary Harriman, The Junior League has evolved into one of the oldest, largest, and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world, encompassing more than 125,000 women in over 295 Leagues in four countries. During the first 20 years following its founding, a total of 30 Junior Leagues were developed around the country. In 1921 the Leagues joined forces as an association, originally known as The Association of Junior Leagues of America (AJLA), but is today known as The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI), in order to bolster their power and amplify their voices through shared knowledge and common causes. In 2021, AJLI celebrated its centennial anniversary, commemorating 100 years of providing professional support to individual Leagues and creating a collective voice for Leagues across the globe. Who is AJLI? The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. The purpose of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. is to add value to its member Leagues in their fulfillment of The Junior League Mission. What do they do? Today AJLI is a charitable nonprofit organization that provides continuity and support, guidance, and leadership development opportunities to its member Leagues. Through regional, national and international meetings, comprehensive resources, customized consultations, and League and member benefits, it THE HAPPENINGS



supports its member Leagues in the fulfillment of The Junior League’s Mission. AJLI is governed by a Board of Directors, which is accountable to the Leagues and comprised of women who are members of the Junior Leagues in their communities. The Association's New York City-based staff, under the leadership of the Executive Director, provides services to Leagues that support the established goals. How did we celebrate this major milestone? The JLGNH participated in the AJLI Centennial Summit that was held virtually due to the ongoing pandemic, sending seven members to participate. The kickoff event alone included five AJLI Past Presidents; television host, award-winning journalist, and philanthropist Tamron Hall; and the Honorable Susan Brooks. Throughout the summit presentations were offered and discussions were held to help connect Leagues of similar size and interest, focusing on topics to move the League forward. Some highlights included: A conversation with broadcast journalist and antidomestic violence advocate Tamron Hall Engaging issue area breakouts to help connect League Members working in similar areas Building resilient leadership through “Breaking the Stress-Success Cycle” with leading neurologist and mindfulness expert Dr. Romie Mushtaq Performing better in challenging situations with “Why We Choke Under Pressure” presented by Barnard College President Sian Beilock Facilitated networking opportunities to create connections with other League Members. The summit helped make connections happen, even in a virtual environment! We can't wait to see what the next 100 years has in store for AJLI and the JLGNH.

getting off on the right foot


By: Haley Sabitus

Part of the requirements of serving as a Provisional Member of the Junior League of Greater New Haven is working to find a need in the community that aligns with the focus areas of the League, and then organizing a Done In A Day project to help fill that need. Learn more about the projects from this year's Provisional Members. Fall 2021 Provisional Project The Fall Provisional class organized a toiletry drive and two Done In A Day events to make handmade blankets to donate to New Reach. New Reach is a nonprofit organization that helps people affected by homelessness and poverty achieve independence through a continuum of housing and support using the most innovative, progressive, equitable, and inclusive methods. One event, Pizza and Pies, was in-person at the home of one of the Provisionals and had about a dozen people in attendance. It was great for the Provisionals to meet some of the active members and enjoy chatting, eating, and making blankets. As part of the project, the class also collected toiletries to donate to New Reach.

Spring 2022 Provisional Project As a group, the Spring Provisional class was determined to find a project that filled a need within the New Haven area. After talking with The Diaper Bank of CT, the Provisional class discovered the Diaper Bank was in need of menstrual products and at that time, also running a campaign to raise awareness around period poverty. This seemed like a perfect fit. The provisional class wanted to offer League members the chance to participate in more than one way. Thus, they held an in-person Done In A Day drive and social event on April 30 at De Legna at Nolo. They also offered a virtual opportunity to donate, asked members to participate in a survey about period poverty, and offered a hands-on opportunity to work at the Diaper Bank on May 20. By the end of the first event, the class had collected more than 1,260 feminine items and diapers for the Diaper Bank of CT. The drive and social event was a great success -- not only were many needed items donated, but in a time where in-person events were still limited due to COVID-19, there was great attendance by both the Provisional class and Active members, all of whom enjoyed cocktails and delicious pizza! THE HAPPENINGS




an overview of what we've been up to

This year the Junior League of Greater New Haven saw continued challenges with the ongoing pandemic, and a shift in focus areas for the League's volunteer efforts. Both new and previous partners were supported by League volunteers in the following areas: Supporting longtime partner New Haven Reads by collecting more than 125 new and used books for children in need Working to help end Period Poverty in Connecticut by collecting more than 1,200 feminine products Hosting a virtual and in-person training to learn how to make tie blankets for New Reach, donating them to the organization upon completion and more! THE HAPPENINGS




Along with endeavors in the community, high-level training and in-house events were offered for our League members, including: Placing our members’ mental health at the forefront with a Mental Health First Aid Training Providing continuing education and training on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging with Rev. Dr. Terrlyn L. Curry Avery (Rev. Dr. TLC) Honoring those that came before us as we participated in the MLK virtual series in January, as well as the Women United Celebration in February





our members in the community By: Anna Arons

The JLGNH works with a variety of community organizations throughout the year–supplying the groups with volunteers, supplies, and donations. As the JLGNH grows, so does the list of community partners. Read on to find out about some “old favorites” and “new faces” from the 2021-22 League year. NEW HAVEN READS The JLGNH has partnered with New Haven Reads for the past few years collecting books for their Book Bank, a unique resource that is neither a library nor a bookstore. In September of 2021, the League hosted a children’s book drive to celebrate National Literacy Month. All told, more than 125 books for children of the New Haven community were collected and donated.

Mission: Founded to share the joy and power of reading, New Haven Reads partners with the community to provide free 1-on-1 tutoring, educational family support, and a book bank to empower aspiring readers to master the literacy skills needed to thrive in school and life.

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES OF CONNECTICUT AND WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS The local Ronald McDonald House has been a longtime partner of the League. In January of this year, members purchased items off the Amazon wishlist, collecting basic items like phone chargers, breakfast foods, and batteries, as a safe way to support the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.




Mission: RMHC of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts gives families the gift of togetherness. Our Houses serve as safe havens for families with children in need of medical care, keeping families together as they seek essential healthcare services and life-changing medical treatment.


DIAPER BANK OF CONNECTICUT This year, the JLGNH scaled up its partnership with the Diaper Bank of Connecticut. The League hosted two collection drives for diapers, menstrual products, and other necessities for families in need. Members also participated in a Done In A Day at their warehouse, where donated products were sorted and organized. Check out the Spring Provisional Project article on page 8 for more information on this effort! Mission: The Diaper Bank of Connecticut’s mission is threefold in scope: To ensure that families living in poverty have an adequate supply of diapers, period supplies, and incontinence products; To raise community awareness that “basic human needs” include diapers, period supplies, and incontinence products and that these needs are not being met for individuals and families living in poverty; To advocate for policy reform so that diapers, period supplies, incontinence products are included in the definition of and provision for the “basic human needs” of families.

NEW REACH New Reach is a new partner for the JLGNH! The fall provisional class organized a very successful toiletries drive and blanket-making effort for individuals in need. This picture doesn’t even show all that was collected! The League is very excited to have New Reach as a new community partner and to continue to grow this relationship. Mission: New Reach inspires independence for all people affected by homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing and support using the most innovative, progressive, equitable and inclusive methods.

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coming into focus By: Maeghan Beahm

During the 2021-2022 League year, the members of the JLGNH voted on three new focus areas to guide the League’s decision-making with regard to the financial and volunteer resources. Members voted to focus on providing support to women and children specifically around literacy, health, nutrition, & food insecurity. Learn more about these focus areas and some DIAD projects in which members participated to address these issues.

Education and literacy

Women's Health

In the United States, two thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. We are working to build a better community by ensuring that every child has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential through the life-changing power of literacy by: Hosting a book drive for New Haven Reads, collecting more than 125 books for children in need Participating in the United Way Read Across America Day

Working to enhance women’s health – particularly women in at-risk populations – is part of the DNA of The Junior League, going back to our founding by Mary Harriman over 100 years ago. Some examples of how the JLGNH worked toward this addressing this issue include: Participating in the Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk and American Cancer Society Squat Challenge Hosting a feminine product drive to help End Period Poverty in CT, collecting more than 1,200 items

Health, Nutrition & Food Insecurity In 2014, 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 15.3 million children. In New Haven, 22% of residents are considered food insecure. We are working to build a stronger community by addressing the pillars of food access and use, and ensuring basic needs are met by: Providing grab and go bags with the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen Supplying Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts with basic necessities for families staying at their facilities THE HAPPENINGS




reflecting on the year with the Community Council Director By: Gerri Lyons Bell

In addition to the work done with our DIAD programming, the League awarded two deserving women with the annual High School Voluntarism




Throughout the year we’ve continued to make Diversity, Equity & Inclusion a critical part of how we lead. Dr. TLC shared insights on racism and reminded us that we all share in the responsibility to be the change today that we want to see tomorrow. And we continued to honor those that came before us by participating in the MLK virtual series in January, as well as the Women United Celebration in February.





We addressed women's health issues when we walked to bring awareness and raise funds for cancer and heart disease research, the two leading causes of death for women in the United States (1). In addition, we have acknowledged that the mental health crisis has heightened during the past few years and observed Mental Health Awareness Month in May and offering Mental Health First Aid training to our members to address what mental distress looks like and how to help someone in need.

(1) CDC - NU HE

We accomplished what we set out to do! Our League members donated diapers and we both collected and read books to children in need. We continued to show that we care about children's well-being when we participated in Cardz for Kids, and we showed compassion with our Hearts of Hope.

Lastly, we connected our focus areas to the inaugural Little Black Dress Initiative. This campaign raised awareness about poverty and food insecurity in our community via social media and more than $5,000 for League programming through peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. All in all, we had a successful year providing our League members with a mixture of DIADs that aligned with our focus areas and mission, supporting the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.


While the 2021-2022 League year continued to pose challenges in creating deep and engaging connections with the community, our members never faltered on their focus of providing support to women and children, specifically around literacy, health and food insecurity.

Award. All four finalists were exceptional candidates, and we were pleased to recognize two deserving students. Learn more about the winners on page 13.


Dear Reader,



Gerri Lyons Bell has been a member of the Junior League since 2013, and currently serves as the Community Council Director, a role she will reprise next League year. She is also the CEO of her own Health and Wellness company and resides in New Haven, CT. THE HAPPENINGS




and the winners are... High School Voluntarism Awards By: Katrina Ong & Cate Kellett

The Junior League of Greater New Haven offers an annual High School Voluntarism Scholarship Award (HSVA), which was created to promote voluntarism and to recognize female high school seniors in the Greater New Haven area who exemplify a demonstrated commitment to the community and who plan to attend an accredited college, university or vocational school. Each application must include a cover letter, resume, and letters of reference. During the 2021-22 League year, two young women leaders were awarded the annual HSVA for their outstanding leadership in the community. Meet the winners Jayne Whitman and Vivian Rodriguez.


Jayne Whitman has dedicated over 1,000 hours to Hurricane Jayne's Ice cream, an organization that has gifted over 250 bikes to children anonymously. Jayne is described by her community as determined, persistent, humble, and altruistic. Jayne's service mindset extends to her leadership style and ability to see situations from multiple perspectives.


Vivian is dedicated to earning the trust of the students she mentors and strives to be a role model. She plans to continue her passion for caring for her community through a career in the medical field.

Photo provided by Jayne Whitman

Vivian Rodriguez well exceeded her school's required community engagement hours through her sustained involvement with the Mariachi Academy of Connecticut, Holy Trinity Church, and the Spanish Community of Wallingford. THE HAPPENINGS



Katrina has been a member of the Junior League since 2013 across the cities of Durham, Raleigh, London, and most recently, New Haven. Her League involvement includes service on community and finance committees, and currently as the High School Voluntarism Award Chair.


League awards Every year the Junior League of Greater New Haven awards three deserving women in the following categories: In-League, Community, and Sustainer. The In-League Award is awarded to the woman who through her in‐league placement has excelled in furthering the goals and objectives of the Junior League of Greater New Haven. The Community Award is awarded to the woman who has made a significant contribution to her community this year. The Sustainer Award is awarded to the woman who has demonstrated the effectiveness of the trained volunteer through her continuing involvement in the community. Meet the 2021-22 award recipients below and learn more about their contributions to the League and the community.

Jen Phillips Bagwell

In-League award

Jen (who currently lives in Oregon and serves as a non-resident active), did an amazing job as the Nominating & Placement Chair. She has shown up for the League with dedication, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to serve. Over the years, Jen has had involvement in all committees, and although some of the fundraisers and programming have evolved over the years, Jen has a clear view of how JLGNH operates which positions her in the best way for her role.

Amanda Lorenz

Community award

Amanda jumped into the League with both feet, bringing enthusiasm to make her community better. As a Fall Provisional she was active in the decision-making process for the DIAD activity. As an Active this spring she stepped up to serve as a liaison with the spring Provisionals, providing her personal insight, guidance, and leadership to the group. Her efforts this year united the League and ensured a constant and meaningful connection to the community.

Morgan Regan

Sustainer award

Morgan went from serving as the JLGNH President last year to serving on the Lyme Public Library’s Board of Directors, as Co-President of the Lyme Elementary School PTO, and Director of Lyme Cub Scouts Pack 32. She is very active in her community, supporting the Florence Griswold Museum and St. John’s Church in Essex. Morgan has taken her volunteer and leadership experience in the League and continued that involvement in her community as a JLGNH sustainer. THE HAPPENINGS




the newest members of the League By: Haley Sabitus

Tracey is a Speech Pathologist. She is married and is a dog mom to Sarge. They moved to Ansonia in June 2021 from Louisiana. Tracey is a self-declared hippie dippie gypsy soul, she has followed the universe and it has led her here. What inspired you to join the Junior League? I tried JL back in 2013/14ish in Dallas. The chapter was too large, I was a working person and didn’t relate to a major chunk of that 200+person chapter. I was still interested in Junior League and like the smaller chapter, so I’m trying to see what it’s all about.

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What advice would you give someone thinking about joining the Junior League? Don’t stress. Just communicate and it’s okay as a newbie to think things aren’t moving as fast as you think they would at first. Things in the league take time to organize. I felt I was missing something for a while because things were scheduled out far from the planning discussion. The first year may feel slow, but goes by fast. Don’t give up or get bored.

Katherine recently moved back to Connecticut after living in New York City for the past seven years. She grew up in West Hartford and now lives in New Haven. Katherine works in the non-profit & events space. She loves yoga, strong coffee, live music, and quality time with her family and friends. What inspired you to join the Junior League? I was looking for a way to engage with my new community, understand the non-profit landscape and needs of the area, and connect with like-minded bad-ass women! What advice would you give someone thinking about Junior League? It has been a very welcoming environment so far, and with a smaller league there seems to be plenty of opportunity to try and learn new skills and join different committees, etc. Give it a shot!

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Ishtar is a New Haven native who is proud to return home and serve her community. She transferred to the Junior League of Greater New Haven during her Provisional year with the Junior League of Houston. She considers New Haven her hometown, but she did bounce around the United States quite a bit as a child. Ishtar is a huge animal lover and hopes to organize a drive to support a local rescue. What inspired you to join the Junior League? I wanted to engage with like-minded service-oriented women.

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What are you looking forward to most about being a Junior League member? I look forward to building life-long friendship with fellow league members.


Jessica lives in New Haven. She teaches partner coached childbirth classes and is learning tarot. She has a five year old son named Jakob. She loves anything vintage, coffee, and crystals! What inspired you to join the Junior League? To become part of a community of women who also want to change the world. What are you looking forward to most about being a Junior League member? Everything! Getting to know the members and the community and growing as a group and an individual.

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Amy lives in Wallingford, she is a wife and a mom. She works full time as a Behavior Specialist where she supports adults with disabilities for a non-profit agency. She is also a local blogger and a self-proclaimed nacho connoisseur. She loves exploring the local area, thrift shopping, and cuddling up with a good book! What advice would you give someone thinking about joining the Junior League? Do it! It is scary to step outside of your comfort zone and get involved with something you may not be familiar with, but it is oh so rewarding!


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What is something you want your fellow Junior League members to know about you? I am a grandmillenial at heart… I enjoy vintage shopping and can be found needlepointing during my downtime.

Nikia lives in Vernon and works as a Project Manager. She is a caterer and home design extraordinaire. Honesty and compassion are her centers of peace. Nikia loves quality time (and karaoke) with her family and friends. What inspired you to join the Junior League? Wanted to involve myself in a space of service tied to some fun ‘girl time’ What are you looking forward to most about being a Junior League member? Understanding how and the ways women can continue to improve this world Ho m et

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meet the transfers By: Cate Kellett


Elizabeth (Libby) Protzman was born in New Haven and grew up in Guilford. She currently works as a public relations, fund development, and marketing consultant. Her recent collaborations include New England Fashion Week, where she designed the official flier and walked as a runway model in the closing show, a celebrity brand and corporation in Los Angeles, and her town’s nonprofit Food Bank. Libby is a survivor of domestic violence and recounted her story as a part of the viral “Women Talk” Virtual Conference 2021. This experience has shaped some of her philanthropic endeavors. She has worked for several domestic violence organizations in Connecticut and raised money for Interval House in Hartford. She is an advocate for trauma survivors in Connecticut, currently volunteering for the local anti-trafficking organization Love146 to help prevent other girls from the same fate.


Libby first joined the JLGNH in 2013 and is now transferring back from the Hartford Junior League. Welcome home, Libby!

Allison Gallaspy transferred to the Junior League of Greater New Haven early in 2022 from the Junior League of New Orleans. She was born and raised in Louisiana and is trying valiantly to adjust to New England weather. Most days, she succeeds. Allison is a Librarian for Business and Management at Yale University, working primarily with researchers from Yale's School of Management. In her spare time, she enjoys solving puzzles, doing karaoke (poorly), and playing pub trivia (pretty well most of the time). She lives in New Haven with her husband, Michael, and their cat, Bubbles, whom many of you met when she crashed Allison's first General Membership Meeting on Zoom.




sustainer highlight: Christine Janis


By: Allison Gallaspy

Sustaining members of the Junior League of Greater New Haven are members who have completed the requirements of Active membership and who continue to impact our community in diverse ways. When one joins the League as a Provisional member, she learns about what it means to be a member and trains to be an asset to the League; as an Active member, she serves the League and her community; and eventually she transitions to Sustainer, where requirements are less involved, but passion remains high. Whether choosing to remain active with the League in her Sustaining years, or providing support for newer members, the JLGNH Sustainers are an integral part of the League. Christine is one of Junior League of Greater New Haven’s sustainers, remaining an active member of The League even after fulfilling at least seven years of service. Christine joined the Junior League in New York City (NYJL) in the late 1970s to get volunteer training and make friends. She spent most of her active years there and calls them "happy and productive." Ms. Janis credits her Junior League involvement with bringing some balance to her life when she joined, since she was working on Wall Street at the time. She eventually transitioned from a career in finance to one centered in Faith-based outreach, recounting that, NYJL work "enriched my graduate studies as well as program design and consulting work.” Christine credits The Junior League with helping her by providing first rate volunteer training and moving from a focus on individual achievement to true team work. She’s also well-versed in the history of the Junior League and how it has evolved over the last 120 years from its beginnings as a philanthropic

organization for privileged women to one that creates lasting change in their communities. Her favorite project with NYJL was the Bayview Women’s Prison Project, which was selected as a signature project for the New York Junior League’s Centennial Celebration. Christine reminds the JLGNH to honor those women that came before us, saying, “be honest about all of the past, and then we can move forward with more confidence.” Learn more about becoming a member of the Junior League of Greater New Haven and add your story to ours at See which of our current Active members are transitioning to Sustainer at the end of this League year on page 29. THE HAPPENINGS




a little bit of fun By: Anna Arons

JLGNH members have gathered virtually and face-to-face this spring. They got together every Third Thursday via Zoom, met up for Happy Hours and Done In A Day projects, and even had some special themed Zoom calls to celebrate springtime events like March Madness!




a little bit of business By: Maeghan Beahm

As the pandemic continued throughout the holiday season and the future of the COVID-19 virus remained largely unknown, the decision was made to keep General Membership Meetings virtual for member safety. January: Social The League semester kicked off with a Social GMM. After welcoming the newest Provisional turned Active members and the Spring Provisional class, members participated in a Trivia Night-style social with categories ranging from pop culture to facts about Connecticut, and culminating with Junior League trivia. Members were separated into small groups/teams, and at the conclusion of the game, members were presented with the GMM Done In A Day Partner - the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Learn more about this project on page 11. February: Business While arguably not as exciting but just as, if not more important, the February GMM focused on League business. Members were asked about their preference of inperson versus virtual meetings, and for the first time, members were split 50/50, a hopeful sign of

returning to in-person meetings and events. The strategic plan was presented to members, followed by a Virtual Placement Fair, where Nominating and Placement Chair Jen Phillips Bagwell spoke to members about the Nominating and Placement process, as well as the timeline for important events and the available slated positions. Each Board Member gave an elevator pitch for her position, followed by a moderated panel discussion. In addition, members learned about the inaugural Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI), and HSVA Chair Katrina Ong presented on the High School Voluntarism Awards for the 202122 League Year. April: Service Learning Training The third GMM of the semester included critical League business and training. The Slate for the 2022-23 League Year was presented to membership, where Active voting members confirmed the nominees in a unanimous vote. In addition, a project proposal to add new community partner Love146, an organization that journeys alongside children impacted by trafficking today and prevents the trafficking of children tomorrow, was approved in its amended version. Members then received training from Finance Council members Damaris Clark-Spear and Keisha


Harp to prepare them for the inaugural LBDI campaign, which aims to underscore the effects of poverty on our most vulnerable populations (learn more about LBDI on page 31). But the highlight of the meeting was the panel discussion about poverty in our local community. Panelists included Maria Arnold, Chief Development Officer for the United Way of Greater New Haven; Lizandra Mejias-Salinas, Assistant Executive Director for Spanish Community of Wallingford; and Yvonne E Jones, CEO and Founder of D.E.S.T.I.N.E.D. to Succeed, Inc. These incredible women spoke about the effects of poverty on families in the New Haven area and educated members on how their organizations are working to address the disparities experienced by far too many women and children. This information was critical to underscoring the importance of the Little Black Dress Initiative and why our focus area of “Health, Nutrition, and Food Insecurity” is so important. Learn more about our other focus areas on page 13. May: Annual Meeting The final GMM of the year served as the Annual Meeting, where members reminisced on the previous year and looked forward to the next. Hear from both the outgoing and incoming Presidents on pages 4 and 5 respectively. THE HAPPENINGS




#JLGNHerstory: through the eyes of our members By: Allison Gallaspy

Since its founding in 1923, the Junior League of Greater New Haven has sought to effect positive change in the Greater New Haven community by promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and supporting the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. As the League prepares for its Centennial Anniversary, we celebrate our members and share their incredible stories, recognizing how each individual story makes up that of the League as a whole.

Ashley Ahearn

Amber Anthony

We’ll let Ashley Ahearn introduce herself. She says, “I’m a kombuchadrinking, mountain peak explorer, needlepoint loving, crazy cat & dog person who loves to travel the world.” Ashley is active, working movement into the beginning, middle, and end of her typical day. She also moves often around the country, helping franchise owners develop their sales staff in her career.

Amber Anthony enjoys trying new things. She comes from a long line of Texas ranchers located in the Hill Country, but when she moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts she decided to try the Junior League of Boston. When she transferred to the Junior League of Greater New Haven, she brought with her a myriad of experience in a fascinating range of areas. Amber describes herself as a marathoner, triathlete, small business owner, water polo athlete in the World Games, competitive swimmer, and most importantly, a wife and mother. Her long list of achievements certainly illustrates her motivation to be a lifelong learner and to experience all life has to offer.

She’s inspired by the people she works with at her job, motivated by her family and her goals, and also by contributing to the League’s success. She, “want[s] more than anything for our League to succeed in every venture we do and that keeps me motivated to stay on track.” Ashley joined the Junior League of Greater New Haven in 2018 because she, “wanted to to align [her]self with an organization that truly makes a difference to the population we serve.” She also values the League’s leadership learning and community impact. But there was one more thing that attracted Ashley to become a League member, “let’s be honest! I wanted to make some life-long friendships!” THE HAPPENINGS



Amber found her calling in the Junior League working with the Junior League of Boston’s Kids in the Kitchen community project. She is this year’s Junior League of Greater New Haven League Development Chair and says that meeting the incredible women of JLGNH brings her joy. She keeps her Junior League responsibilities balanced with her job as a Development Manager at the Aurora Women and Girls Foundation by “leav[ing] a lot of sticky notes on my desk reminding me to check my League email!”


Ms. Anthony values the League for the many opportunities it provides for her to grow and give back to the community. She also appreciates the training it provides members as a professional in a nonprofit. Says Amber, “the League offers opportunities to see how nonprofits work in the communities we live…[and to] engage in leadership board training… [that can make] more woman nonprofit board members.” Amber hopes her League Legacy will be, “that I showed up and gave my all.” We JLGNHers don’t see how anyone could possibly think otherwise of Ms. Anthony.

Anna Arons Anna Arons believes that, “the world can be improved by one tiny step at a time,” and she learned that way of thinking from her grandmother. Anna says of her grandmother, “she doesn’t fret over the seemingly-insurmountable problems facing our society, choosing instead to focus on her community and how she can improve [it]...she makes me want to work in small and large ways to affect change in my own community.” In the spirit of that motivation, Anna joined the Junior League of Washington while she was living in D.C. in 2019. Anna remains involved in the Junior League because it gives her the chance to meet and make friends with like-minded women. She adds, “it’s a great way to get involved in my community. I like that the League organizes service opportunities and chooses fantastic nonprofits to support.” Professionally, Anna works in Foundation Relations at Yale University. As a southerner originally, Anna likes to bake, read, travel, cheer on Auburn football, and host events. Part of the reason she likes Junior League

is, “the way it combines voluntarism with socialization. Before you even know her, you can count on a Junior League woman to have a certain sense of responsibility to serve her community…and I know a Junior League event will be fun–whether it’s a party or a volunteer opportunity, or a routine meeting.”

Maeghan Beahm Maeghan Beahm has a passion for the Junior League that is immediately apparent when she talks about her experience. A member of the Junior League since 2015, she has held leadership positions in the Junior League of Charlotte and is currently pulling double duty as the Director of Junior League of Greater New Haven’s Membership Council and Communications Council. She is well on her way to achieving her goal of, “working to always make us a stronger organization of women working toward fulfilling our mission.” Maeghan transferred to the JLGNH where she was recognized for her contributions to the provisional training program with the 2020-2021’s In-League Award. Ms. Beahm was attracted to membership in the Junior League as an opportunity to develop personal leadership skills while also giving back to her local community. As a stay at home mom who relocates often as a military spouse, Maeghan continues to value the Junior League for the opportunity to keep her career skills in education and nonprofit management sharp serving the League and a reliable instant community in new locales. “Moving to a new area, one thing I knew for certain was that I could transfer my membership with the Junior League and I would have 1) a built-in group of women with whom I could become friends and 2) an immediate opportunity to learn about my new home/community.” THE HAPPENINGS




Ms. Beahm points to the JLC Wearhouse in Charlotte as a highlight of her League experience and one where she could directly worked in the community. All her other League placements have been in-league, working to strengthen the League itself. She says, “I also enjoy contradicting the stereotypes many people have about the League. The Junior League as a whole has done so many wonderful things for our communities across the globe, and I am proud to be part of such an important group of women…I hope that all my time and efforts helps us to grow and develop as women leaders in the League and in our community.”

Amy C. Amy C. joined the Junior League of Greater New Haven in 2018 and took the leap to leadership this year. Amy is an institutional investor by trade who also enjoys playing tennis, traveling, and quality time with her husband and two dogs. She loves working with numbers, so she was happy to become the League’s Finance Director for the 2021-22 League Year. She has learned a lot as Finance Director, including what it takes to run a nonprofit like the League, how the League is managed, and gained insight into other executive board positions within the League. Amy says, “what has truly been incredible is the team of other board members who have been so willing to help me out along the way!” Amy values her experience with JLGNH for connecting her to a community of women who share a common mission, sense of community, and spirit of voluntarism. “We all have different backgrounds,” she says, “but we’re motivated to give back to others.” Her favorite community project shows that sense of community in action -- with New Haven Reads, where after learning about the literacy project, the League collected over 120 books during a drive benefiting the organization. “It was wonderful to be part of the team that put that effort together from start to finish.”




Damaris Clark-Spear Damaris Clark-Spear works in PR when she’s not pursuing her passions of yoga, Pilates, hiking, and being outdoors– preferably at the beach. She joined the Junior League of Greater New Haven in 2018 to meet like-minded women and give back to her community in a more consistent way. She credits her involvement with JLGNH for giving her more opportunities to navigate challenging situations and disagreements to grow personally. Damaris has previously served in JLGNH leadership positions as the Career Development co-chair and Communications Council Director. She says that these roles have given her more perspective on how to be more creative and flexible, while she hopes her continued involvement will allow her to learn more roles outside her comfort zone. One of her favorite projects to work on was the Prom Dress Shop because it made her feel happy to be a member of the League. “It was amazing to see what a difference it made to the kids to have that experience and the pressure that it took off the parents to not have to spend that huge amount of money on prom.” She appreciates the challenges the JLGNH Board has faced since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and say they have been very creative when rising to meet them. But Damaris is probably not surprised by that creative problem solving. To her, being a member of the Junior League means, “open-mindedness and being willing to help others.”


Ashley Fitton Ashley Fitton found her way to the Junior League of Greater New Haven naturally. Though she was familiar with the Junior League because her sister-in-law was a member of the New York Junior League, friends she happened to make at New Haven’s YMCA baby swim class as a new mom convinced her to join about five years ago. Ashley has served in several leadership positions since then, including as the 2021-22 JLGNH President, 20202021 President Elect, as the Chair of the League’s Winetasting fundraiser, and honorary Co-Chair of the Done in a Day Committee. She describes her progression within JLGNH’s leadership as beginning with baby steps. “I wanted to feel comfortable taking on a leadership role,” she recalls. But along the way, something clicked for Ashley that changed how she viewed the opportunities available to her. “Once I realized that taking on a leadership role was half of the learning opportunity, I decided to take the plunge.” She credits the JLGNH with helping her hone her organization skills, especially when handing responsibilities over to new Board members at the end of the League year. She also attributes her ability to balance her League responsibilities with other priorities to, “multitasking, multitasking, multitasking.” Ashley’s highlights of her time in the League include the memories and friend she made as Winetasting chair, saying, “tough projects really do cement strong relationships!” She also appreciates the ways her League participation has expanded horizons for she and her daughter. One highlight was when she was able to bring her daughter to a League service opportunity, saying, “the opportunity to bring my

daughter to the mobile food pantry was enlightening for her.” Personally, Ashley feels that JLGNH, “is very rewarding. Time spent working on League initiatives… stretches your brain in a different capacity than in my home and work lives. I’m appreciative of the opportunities to learn new things and meet new people.”

Caitlin Gallagher Caitlin Gallagher is currently a publicist at Yale University Press, but if you ask her, she’ll tell you she’s a “professional book flack.” She enjoys visiting writers’ homes, bookshops, and historical towns throughout New England. Caitlin joined the Junior League of New Haven in August of 2021, “in hopes of giving back to my new community while in the company of like-minded women.” Caitlin says the highlight of her time in JLNGH is, “without doubt…making meaningful friendships with my fellow Junior Leaguers in what feels like a surprisingly short amount of time.” She also enjoyed working with other Provisionals and Active members giving back during the holiday season by making blankets for New Reach. We’ll let Caitlin tell you one more thing about her time in JLGNH. “At a time when following Foster’s famous imperative to ‘only connect’ seems especially daunting, I’ve been so grateful to the Junior League’s members for their warmth and generosity of spirit, which make connecting with others not only possible, but fulfilling.”





Allison Gallaspy Allison Gallaspy is a Business Librarian who enjoys singing karaoke and solving puzzles. She joined the Junior League in New Orleans five years ago, but recently transferred to JLGNH when she moved to New Haven in 2022. Allison joined the Junior League to give back to her community and meet other women who value voluntarism. In New Orleans, she saw that voluntarism respond quickly to natural disasters near and far every year. After Hurricane Laura, JLNO organized to bring diapers, formula, period products, and other supplies to displaced residents within 24 hours. Allison says, “it made me happy to be part of a caring organization and taught me that Junior Leaguers are all about action.” She values her League experience for allowing her to assume leadership roles in two fundraisers and learn a new style of communication as the assistant editor of JLNO’s League magazine as well as teaching her more about the organizations doing the daily work of supporting women and girls. One last thing she likes about being a JLGNH member? “The League is a source of near constant positivity and belief that things can change for the better. That is a rare and special resource.”

Keisha Harp Keisha joined the Junior League of Greater New Haven during the 2016-2017 League year. Among her many accomplishments, she lists first being a mom and a wife, followed by her extensive educational credentials, including a Master’s in Latin American Studies from Cambridge and a law degree from the THE HAPPENINGS



University of London. Keisha is a New Haven local, having lived here since her family moved here from Jamaica when she was in the seventh grade. Even still, her decision to join JLGNH was influenced by wanting to perform community service and expand her social network. She’s an active woman, working 3 days a week in New York, so she admits that balancing JLGNH responsibilities with work and other roles involves making a lot of lists and having a lot of family support. Keisha is a League leader, serving as this year’s JLGNH Assistant Finance Director. The highlight of her time in JLGNH was her involvement with the McConaughy Terrace Reading Program, which included gardening projects, yoga classes, and a Christmas Pop Up Shop. The volunteer experiences were incredibly fulfilling and “the students were so excited about working with us and open to learning new things.” Of the JLGNH, Keisha says, “I think that the women of the Junior League of [Greater] New Haven are the friendliest and most open of all the women’s organizations that I have joined. There are so many opportunities to learn and develop personally and professionally. You just have to be open to exploring the opportunities that are presented to you.”

Cate Kellett Cate Kellett was introduced to the Junior League of Greater New Haven when she attended their holiday party with a friend. She remembers how the group made her feel at that gathering saying, “the group seemed very friendly and laid back, so I decided to try it out.” Cate works as the Cataloging and Government Documents Librarian at Yale Law School and has become a mother since joining the JLGNH to daughter


Harper, which keeps her booked and busy during the week, so she appreciates that JLGNH has adapted to offer virtual meetings and volunteer opportunities. The flexible virtual options, “helped me

negotiating salary in my career; I learned about financial literacy, which I've used in planning my retirement investments; and I also learned calligraphy which I put to use addressing my wedding invitations.”

participate more than I could have once I had Harper.

Rev. Dr. Bonnie Scott

The highlight of Cate’s membership in the Junior League was the Say Yes to the Prom Dress project, which she describes as, “the most fun and fulfilling project we’ve done during my time with JLGNH.” Ms. Kellett is also looking to future projects where she might put her professional skills to use on behalf of the League, including potentially organizing and describing the contents of JLGNH’s archive.

Katy Meier Katy Meier joined the Junior League of Oklahoma City in 2015 to make friends outside of work after college. She works, remotely, for a company in Austin, TX as a structural engineer who specializes in bridge design. After moving to Connecticut, she re-joined the Junior League of Greater New Haven with the Fall provisional class in 2021. “We [the Provisionals] clicked pretty much from the first time we met.” Katy has been a member of three Leagues total, including also the Junior League of St. Louis, and she has accepted leadership positions that gave her practice organizing groups, running a meeting, and communication that transfers to life outside of The League. “Over the 3 Leagues I've been a part of, I have attended trainings on negotiation which I've used in

Katy also says that the JLGNH has helped her, “become a member of the community and also given me insight into how I can better serve it.”

Rev. Dr. Bonnie Scott joined the Junior League in Chicago eight years ago. A true trailblazer, Bonnie is proud of having graduated from Yale Divinity School in the 1960s and becoming ordained. She describes herself as, “one of few women,” to have achieved this accomplishment. In addition to her United Church of Christ ministry, Bonnie is also a practicing psychotherapist. The highlight of Bonnie’s time in the Junior League is meeting interesting women and contributing to service projects. She was attracted to join the Junior League by the “emphasis on justice and building strong women in leadership.”

Kelly Wakeland Kelly Wakeland joined the Junior League of San Diego in 2019 to connect with other women and to have a social outlet that focused on benefitting her community. She now lives in New Haven and works with adolescents who have eating disorders.





As a military spouse, Kelly appreciates the overall network of AJLI and that her membership in the Junior League of Greater New Haven is transferable. She was happy to be a member of The League when her family moved to New Haven, because she knew she would have a group to join in her new city. Kelly says her membership in JLGNH is valuable because it helps her, “practice skills that I don’t get to perfect in my job.” She describes her League participation as an exchange. “I give my time and ideas…I get a sense of belonging and purpose, and an opportunity to connect with others.”

Sherese Ward Sherese Ward came to the Junior League of Greater New Haven as a native of the namesake city who currently lives and works in Austin, TX. She has a professional background in finance, but has transitioned to a role as Portfolio Director K12 Education Programs with the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation in education philanthropy, for which she draws upon her passion for social justice. Sherese joined the Junior League of Greater New Haven in 2008 and although she calls herself an overcommitter who struggles with work-life balance, she says that JLGNH work felt different from her other passion projects because of the deep friendships she has developed through her Junior League membership with other service-oriented women. Per Sherese, “fitting in my JL responsibilities has never been an THE HAPPENINGS



issue. My League was comprised of the most wonderful humans, who served as a source of constant energy. My JL work was always energizing.” Ms. Ward served on the committee to plan JLGNH’s signature fundraiser, the annual Winetasting and Auction, and counts that opportunity as one of her happiest memories. While Sherese has transferred from the JLGNH, she is an integral part of the history of our League and we are proud to count a woman as resilient and curious as Sherese, who believes deeply in the collective power of women, among our lifelong members.

member updates The following members have served in the Junior League as Active members for at least seven years and are transitioning to Sustainer status for the upcoming League year: Cate Kellett & Katrina Ong. Cate joined the Junior League in the fall of 2014 and has served in various placements within the League, including the High School Voluntarism Award, Done In A Day, and League Development Committees. Most recently, she has served on the Communications Council as a reporter for The Happenings, focusing much of her effort on JLGNH archives; and supporting the League's social media campaigns. Katrina joined the Junior League in 2013, serving with Leagues across various cities, including Durham, Raleigh, London, and most recently New Haven. During her tenure with the Junior League of Greater New Haven, she has served on the Finance and Community Councils, currently serving as the High School Voluntarism Awards Chair. In this role she has been responsible for promoting the award, receiving submissions, spearheading a review committee, and ultimately presenting the HSVA recipients with their awards.


what's cooking?

Junior Leagues across the country are known for their cookbooks, a compilation of recipes from Junior League members used as a fundraiser for the local League. The Junior League of Greater New Haven's Cooks Book, which was still available for purchase in 1980 for $4.95 + $0.85 postage per copy, was one such cookbook. While the Cooks Book has not been printed for some time, Junior League members voted during the 2020-21 League year to bring back the cookbook as a fundraiser for the League. We look forward to bringing back this tradition and discovering the recipes provided by our members, but in the meantime, enjoy the following recipe that was originally printed in Cooks Book as well as in The Eastern Junior League Cookbook, edited by Ann Seranne.

Herb Basted Rack of Lamb SERVINGS: 4



Ingredients 1 8-rib rack of lamb

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP salt

1 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP freshly ground

1/2 stick butter

pepper, or more to taste 2 TBSP each minced chives,

1/2 cup breadcrumbs 2 TBSP chopped parsley

shallot, and marjoram

Directions Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Trim fat away from ends of chops, about 1 1/2 inches down. Score fat with sharp knife. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Make a paste with the herbs, half the garlic, and olive oil; run scored side with the paste. Roast 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven. While roasting, melt butter and combine it with breadcrumbs. remaining garlic, and parsley. Remove roast and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Return to oven for 5 minutes for rare; 10 minutes for medium; 15 minutes for well-done.





five days, one dress Little Black Dress Initiative By: Naomie Baptiste and Caitlin Gallagher

On a single night, more than half a million Americans go homeless, which represents 0.2% of the US population.(1) According to the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project (, the same number of Connecticut residents alone rely on SNAP assistance. The Junior League of Greater New Haven sought to address this problem with the implementation of the Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) during the week of April 18-22, 2022. Founded in 2014 by the Junior League of London, the Little Black Dress Initiative is a week-long awareness and fundraising campaign that harnesses the power of social media to illustrate the restrictions poverty places on choices, opportunities, and access to resources. Advocates wear one black dress (or outfit) for five consecutive days, in an effort to spark conversations and awareness about poverty and related issues, including food insecurity.

1 in 4 people in New Haven live at or below the poverty line.

Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to affordable, nutritious food, and impacts 13.9% of Connecticut residents; but in New Haven, the rate is 22%--twice the national average. Compassionate Greater New Haven members took action by wearing their little black dresses; posting on social media platforms; and contacting their networks to raise funds using data, imagery, and even signs reading "all children deserve access to 3 healthy meals everyday." The initiative gained attention of the local community and compelled the hearts of supporters, resulting in success for its inaugural year in New Haven. During the first Junior League of Greater New Haven Little Black Dress Initiative, the chapter raised an impressive $3,500 during the week of LBDI, reaching the set goal of $5,000 by the end of month. The Little Black Dress Initiative was spearheaded by the Finance Committee.

(1) The State of Homelessness in America (





Caitlin Gallagher is a publicist at Yale University and newly minted active member of the Junior League of Greater New Haven who looks forward to participating in future League initiatives and making a positive impact on the New Haven community. She served as the LBDI Co-Chair this year.

Naomie Baptiste is a Program Manager for Lockheed Martin Corporation and serves as the President for a local section of the Society of Women Engineers, SWE. Throughout her voluntarism with the League she served as the Provisional League Project Chair, Recruitment Chair and now a Co-Chair of LBDI. THE HAPPENINGS




looking at the past By: Cate Kellett

Remember the old New Haven Coliseum? For 35 years it served as a sports and entertainment arena downtown. The Junior League of New Haven hosted a fundraiser there in 1995. 16,000 people attended four shows of Barney, the purple dinosaur. $85,000 was raised for the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital and $3,200 was raised for the Elm City Kids project.

The Coliseum was demolished in 2007. Plans are now in place to redevelop the site for mixed use. If you have photos or memories of past JLGNH events, send them to or mail to the JLGNH office for inclusion in future issues of The Happenings.




looking ahead to the next 5 years


The 2021-22 Junior League of Greater New Haven Board of Directors worked to define not only focus areas, but also the direction of the League for the next five years. This plan will serve as a guiding light for the League in the following areas: community impact, league growth and sustainability, lifelong membership, and League brand and identity. The JLGNH knows that our organization is a group of diverse women with varying interests, backgrounds, and goals. As a result, the strategic plan provides a roadmap that works to meet our members where they are and support them through their lifelong League membership. Regardless of what this journey looks like for individuals members, the strategic plan works to ensure the League is able to continue developing women as lifelong community and civic leaders who serve as catalysts of lasting community change. Learn more about the strategic goals below.









of those members have children under the age of 18

of our Active and Provisional members have children




of Active and Provisional members are women of color

of our members consider themselves political or social trendsetters




of our Active and Provisional members work outside the home.





22 12 39 8





JLGNH by the numbers







of Active and Provisional members volunteer with other organizations

of Active and Provisional members have donated to another charity in the past year

Our members live in four different counties throughout Connecticut - New Haven County, Middlesex County, New London County, and Hartford County. 80% of members live in New Haven County.

64% of our members have a postgraduate degree.

More than 70% of our Provisional & Active members have been with the JLGNH 5 years or less.

7-10 years 17% 5-7 years 7%

10+ years 4%

0-3 years 48%

3-5 years 24% THE HAPPENINGS





I loved meeting my fellow transfers at the virtual transfer social! -Allison G




Having further opportunities to do community work with ladies who are concerned about supporting one another and the communities they live in. -Nikia P


Trivia night! But also gathering together to celebrate and commemorate our fundraising efforts through Little Black Dress. -Ashley A


"I'M GLAD TO HAVE JOINED JLGNH THIS YEAR AND MAKE INSTANT FRIENDS "Getting to meet WITH MY FALL lifelong friends!! S/o PROVISIONALS!" to the fall '21 -Katy M provisional class" -Haley S

Working with Ashley!!! I could not have had this amazing year without you! -Amy C

"Seeing the leaders and members support one another with so much energy!" -Eileen D


Getting to meet my fellow Spring Provisionals IRL! -Amy N


You might be the one we are looking for! We are looking for women to join us at at the forefront of social reform, tackling the toughest and most critical issues of the day. We are committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

Join us. Learn more at