the official magazine of the
3039M junior league of washington
3039 M STREET, NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20007 | 202.337.2001 | WWW.JLW.ORG
SPRING 2017 WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S INSIDE
Get to Know Aimee Picard Soller Reading All-Stars Developing Your Brand
MOVING CONFIDENTLY INTO
A BLOSSOMING FUTURE
n January, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) was invited to apply for the 2017-2018 Catalogue for Philanthropy for Greater Washington. Distilling 104 years of history, tens of thousands of volunteers, millions of dollars given, and countless volunteer hours was a challenge, but a fun one. As we worked on the application, the theme that resonated with me is that the strength of JLW is our ability and willingness to connect the dots to both our past and our future in equal measure – embracing our work with longtime partners while also seeking new opportunities to impact the community, honoring our rich history while also moving confidently into our bright future. You’ll find that same theme, those same dots connected, in this issue of 3039M. You can read about Folger Shakespeare Library, our oldest community partnership, celebrating 43 years this year, and A Wider Circle, our newest partnership, in its first year. You can read about President-Elect Aimee Picard Soller and the history-making work two of our past presidents, with a team of other JLW volunteers, undertook 40 years ago. You can read about how two JLW members are putting their own modern, dynamic stamps on what are often viewed as more static vehicles – public office and beauty pageants. Whether you are a JLW member, a community partner, a friend of the League, a donor, or an honorary host committee member, I hope that in reading this issue you connect the dots to your own past and future with JLW. I am certainly grateful to all of you for the support you give to this organization.
s the Junior League of Washington (JLW) caps its 104th year this spring with a Day of Service, we are able to celebrate with effective action in the community by banding together as a large unit with one of the tenets of our organization: trained volunteers. In this issue of 3039M, you’ll find that the training provided by JLW to our volunteers working both in the League and in the community is given through many different channels. A profile of Langley Committee member Betsy Dietz explains how her JLW voluntarism blurs with the devotion she feels for helping others in her personal life. Another piece gives an update on the Leadership Institute and details the development opportunities for JLW members now and going forward. Not all training is community-based. An article taking an in-depth look into the Finance Council could help to serve our members who want to become financial leaders in their personal, professional, or League lives. Stories can be found in this issue about keeping up with handwritten correspondence in the digital age and how to write cover letters that stand out in a competitive job market. The combination of these trainings and the unique opportunities offered by JLW are ultimately what make our members so effective. MEAGHAN LEISTER Editor
ELIZABETH MARSHALL KEYS President
MAGAZINE COMMITTEE Meaghan Leister Magazine Committee Chair Phoenix Ricks Magazine Committee Rising Chair
Our cover feature: JLW member Marthea Davis and 826DC Reading All-Star Bethlehem Abraham continue to improve Abraham’s reading growth after her move here two years ago from Eritrea.
Mary Katherine Clarke
Suzanne Doud Galli
Maryam Hatcher Bonnie Louque Heather Mandelkehr
IN THIS ISSUE
IN THIS ISSUE IN EVERY ISSUE
29 Catching Up With
24 The Art of the Handwritten Note
5 From the JLW Kitchen
30 40 Years Later: Past is Still Present
27 JLW From Every Angle
32 Connecting the Dots at the Winter General Membership Meeting
40 Dates to Remember
34 An Introduction to JLW’s
36 JLW Cooks Up Another Successful Kids in the Kitchen Event
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
Aimee Picard Soller
20 A Brilliant Partnership with
38 Fireside with Friends:
10 826DC’s Reading All-Stars
17 Get to Know President-Elect 19 Connecting Passions with JLW
8 A Passport to Shop
Learning from Sustainers at New Chat Sessions
22 How to: Write an Effective
28 Pitching the League
in the Community
Builds Strong Ties with Capital Area Food Bank
14 JLW Then and Now
16 Miss DC Deepens Her Impact
35 Union Market Welcomes
6 Done-In-A-Day Committee
12 Alternative Giving
15 Advocate for Students
4 A Heart for the Arts at Folger
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
Junior League of Washington
Members are encouraged to tag the League’s accounts when posting photos from JLW events. As with all social media sharing, please use #JLWvol as the main hashtag.
2016-2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS JLW 2016-2017 Board Members
Treasurer Erinn Colaianni
President Elizabeth Marshall Keys
Vice Treasurer Frazier Schulman
President-Elect Aimee Picard Soller
Communications & Public Relations Marta Dehmlow Hernandez
Secretary Tracy Van Riper
Youth & Family Community Placements Sarah Berg Cultural Community Placements Meghan Britt Adult Community Placements Kate Tyrrell
Community Affairs Amy Shuart
Nominating Brooke Horiuchi
Membership Development Courtney Mesmer
Strategic Planning Tycely Williams
New Membership Meredith Regine Scialabba
Sustainers Myra Arnold Ways & Means Diane Lebson
A HEART FOR THE ARTS AT FOLGER By Nicole Moschella
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) has been a proud supporter of the Folger Shakespeare Library for more than 43 years. Throughout the years, women serving in JLW have volunteered in various capacities, including manning concessions, ushering at performances, and celebrating William Shakespeare’s birthday, one of the biggest annual events the Folger offers. The Folger, located on Capitol Hill, is a world-class research center and is home to the world’s largest and finest collection of Shakespeare’s manuscripts and materials, as well as rare Renaissance books and works of art. The committee is made up of arts-loving members and is among the most popular community placements that JLW has to offer. Several long-standing League women, including Folger Committee chair Kate Abbott, have even changed career paths based off their volunteer work at the Folger. Before taking on her current role as a Press Assistant for the Motion Picture Association of America, vice chair Kelle Long worked for the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill. Always having a passion for the arts, Long was immediately interested in volunteering with the Folger. “During my volunteer time at the Folger, I saw a lot of lifelong subscribers, but also elementary-age children who were just as fascinated with Shakespeare. The more I was around people who loved the arts, the more I wanted to make it full-time,” she said. After undergoing cancer treatment in 2015, Long decided she couldn’t wait any longer. “I should be in a field that I love every day,” she said of her realization that she wanted to make her pastime into her career. Long then turned to Abbott for guidance in making the switch. “She is so talented and truly found her calling. I wanted that same fulfillment,” Long shared, looking back at Abbott’s expertise and advice.
The Folger hosted its inaugural JLW Night in October 2016.
FROM THE JLW KITCHEN By Suzanne Kim Doud Galli, MD, PhD, FACS
JLW has recently - and excitingly - been added to the acknowledgements section of Folger’s program Many members on the Folger Committee do not have jobs in the arts, but keep their interest in theater alive through their volunteer work. Jessica Tollestrup, a Folger Committee member for the last four years, said that she was initially interested in the committee during her New Member year in 2012. She was a music major in college and was looking for a way to become involved in the arts again. Tollestrup explained that her experience on the committee has helped her gain a behind-the-scenes perspective of what goes on during a theatrical performance and has helped her learn to think on her feet in stressful situations. “Because the women on the committee volunteer several times during a season, all of us are able to troubleshoot and adapt to unusual situations, or even cover multiple roles when necessary,” she said. Tollestrup explained that as a volunteer, she sees some of the performances several times a season and has been able to have a firsthand account of how a play progresses from rehearsals to the final bow. She is also very familiar with the different exhibitions that come to the Folger. “Attending these events and touring the exhibits outside my regularly scheduled shifts has given me a way to engage with the arts in my neighborhood,” she added. This League year, the Folger Committee is sharing its love of the arts with the rest of the League. In October 2016, League women were invited to attend a performance of “Sense & Sensibility” for a special event, JLW Night at the Folger. League women received a discounted rate on tickets and enjoyed sips, bites, and conversation before the show and during intermission. Attendees were also able to view the Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and Cult of Celebrity exhibit. The event was a success and the Folger Committee looks forward to hosting JLW members for another night. An exhibition of some of Jane Austen’s work was also open for patrons to enjoy ahead of the curtain call. •
Our international city, Washington, DC, is known for its rich tradition of entertaining because of the influences of history and diplomacy. The White House, the embassies, and the multicultural inhabitants of the city have all contributed to the wonderful culture of food that we find in our nation’s capital. The Junior League of Washington (JLW) published Capital Classics in 1989, highlighting Washington’s style of good food and entertaining. A special recipe perfect for spring is shared here.
MARYLAND CRAB CAKES • • • • • • • •
1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped parsley Minced garlic to taste 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/3 cup mayonnaise 1 egg 1 pound backfin crabmeat 1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons butter
Mix together parsley, garlic, sugar, mayonnaise, and egg. Fold in breadcrumbs and crabmeat. Shape into 3/4-inch thick and three-inch round cakes. Sautee in butter until browned, then bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
DONE-IN-A-DAY COMMITTEE BUILDS STRONG TIES WITH
CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK By Sara Nayeem
he Done-In-A-Day Committee (DIAD) serves a vital function for the Junior League of Washington (JLW) by providing community organizations and JLW committees with volunteers for one-off events. DIAD works with more than 20 organizations at over 70 events each year, ranging from the American Heart Association’s annual gala, to the White House Easter Egg Roll, to JLW’s own Holiday Shops. One organization with which DIAD has built a lasting relationship is the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), which helps 540,000 people obtain access to healthy food each year. In partnering with CAFB to send volunteers consistently, DIAD can uniquely support JLW’s literacy focus while providing a fulfilling overall experience to DIAD Committee volunteers. CAFB was founded in 1980 with several mandates: to feed the hungry with dignity; to prevent waste; and to help partners serve those most in need. The organization, staggering in its scope, has certainly succeeded in accomplishing its goals. It partners with 444 organizations in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as delivers food directly into hard-to-reach areas, serving in total 12% of the region’s residents. In recent years, CAFB has also focused on another goal: To raise awareness of hunger and the challenges families face in accessing healthy food. CAFB sees reducing hunger as directly related to improving literacy. “A person can’t function well and live up to their potential unless they have their basic needs met,” said Amanda Melara, Hunger Awareness Manager for CAFB. “Children can’t learn at school and adults can’t excel at work if they can’t access good food in their community.” JLW has partnered with CAFB since 2010, with an increasing commitment to the organization. Originally the partnership just involved one-off events, then increased to one Saturday a month; now JLW has a Community Partner Agreement with CAFB and sends 10 volunteers each Saturday. The goal is for each DIAD committee volunteer to work four shifts a year with CAFB, sorting food and packing boxes, which community organizations then order for the people they serve. JLW is a small but important part of CAFB’s volunteer organization; each year about 26,000 volunteers work at CAFB, many being part of groups that come through once annually to volunteer. “It is very helpful for us to know that we have regular groups like Junior League coming through; they need less training and can be more productive,” Melara said. The partnership with CAFB also provides some stability and consistency for DIAD members. DIAD is well-known as being ideal for members who don’t have predictable schedules or need to focus their
The Done-In-A-Day Committee works a shift at the Capital Area Food Bank. volunteer work into a short timeframe each year. For members such as Tiffani Brownley-Meijer, who travels for work, DIAD’s flexibility is key. “DIAD is a wonderful committee for the breadth of exposure it provides, the ability to connect with other volunteers during shifts, and the flexibility it offers,” Brownley-Meijer said. Repeated involvement with CAFB in a few shifts per year, while not as rigid a requirement as most community placements, can represent a nice change from standalone events. “Our committee volunteers have enjoyed volunteering at CAFB so much,” said DIAD chair Leanna Wood. “It allows them to work with each other more consistently and is a nice bonding experience.” Ultimately, volunteers’ satisfaction with their work at CAFB relates back to the tangible benefit it provides to the community. “Volunteering at CAFB is really hands on, something physical,” said Melara. “You are getting food ready to go into someone’s refrigerator or pantry to be their breakfast or lunch.” •
November 17-19, 2017 Grand Opening General Shopping Santa More! Dock5 at Union Market
A PASSPORT TO SHOP By Erin Williams
ake a break after spring-cleaning and reward yourself by attending the Georgetown Shop Around, hosted by JLW Shops!, which is part of the Marketplace Committee. Not only are your favorite Georgetown stores giving Junior League of Washington (JLW) shoppers – and their friends and families – discounts, but JLW will receive a percentage of the sales back from each vendor. The more you shop, the more JLW receives! The Georgetown Shop Around takes place on Saturday, May 13. The Marketplace Committee has revamped the Shop Around in a
big way – think more stores, more discounts, and more fun to have with your JLW friends and family. It’s a shopping scavenger hunt of sorts! Picture this…You and your girlfriends meet at the kick-off stop – JLW Headquarters, of course. After checking in and receiving your “passport,” head to the back patio where you can nibble on refreshments and toast to a successful shopping adventure. Going solo? No worries, you will have an opportunity to meet new people and welcome newly admitted JLW members. Flip through your passport booklet to see what stores you’d like to visit to collect stamps – shops like Lilly Pulitzer, Jonathan Adler, Tory Burch, and Onward Reserve.
BY THE NUMBERS: A QUARTER-CENTURY OF TOSSED & FOUND By Jacqueline Bauer The Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Tossed & Found marked its silver anniversary this year. The past 25 years have brought incredible growth and achievement for this annual fundraiser, which helps the League give back to the community in a tangible way. Take a look at some milestone accomplishments over the past quarter-century: “It took 16 years to net over $1 million in T&F proceeds. It only took us another seven years to raise an additional $1 million. It would be a true accomplishment to see the time it takes to reach each $1 million shrink with every sale. I am hoping that League members will continue to donate, volunteer, and work toward making that happen.” Jenny Fitzpatrick, Tossed & Found 2017 co-chair
Tossed & Found is born. JLW hosts first Tossed & Found sale, netting over $17,000.
Tossed & Found almost triples its original net proceeds, bringing in $50,000.
Annual sales total crosses the $100,00 mark.
Tossed & Found moves to Crystal City, thanks to a partnership with property manager Vornado/ Charles E. Smith, a nine-time presenting sponsor.
Not in the mood to spend money? No problem! No purchase is necessary to participate. As long as you visit each store, you will be given a passport stamp. After you formulate your shopping strategy, it’s time to hit the streets. Enjoy a springtime stroll through Georgetown as you collect passport stamps. You may find your new favorite store or a store you never noticed before. If you visit every store and get your passport stamped to prove it, you will be entered into a drawing for prizes at the after party, where all shoppers can enjoy food and drink specials. •
THE MORE YOU SHOP, THE MORE JLW RECEIVES!
CFLS & READING WITH CHILDREN By Stacy Tsakeris
“The single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children,” stressed Becoming a Nation of Readers, a report by the Commission on Reading, a former division of the U.S. Department of Education. As part of their ongoing trainings, JLW’s Community Family Life Services Committee members teach parental strategies for their child’s literary success. Recently, the committee focused on creating a daily routine for mothers to become a reading role model.
The Community Cash Card project begins. To date, this project has put approximately $40,000 worth of merchandise into the hands of deserving community partners and individuals.
Tossed & Found implements “green” practices by re-using items such as shopping bags and hangers, “freecycling” unsold merchandise to local charities, and separating from trash all paper, glass, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans to recycle.
Tossed & Found volunteers log 4,300+ volunteer hours, almost half of which were completed by non-committee members – truly making the event a League-wide effort.
Suggested strategies for literacy success: • Point to each word on the page as you read it • Read the title and ask your child to make a prediction • Model fluency while reading, and bring your own energy and excitement • Take “picture walks” within books to find story clues
The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. awards JLW its top fundraising honor, the Junior League Award for Fund Development in recognition of Tossed & Found.
Tossed & Found celebrates a record-breaking year by raising over $158,000 and crosses the $2 million threshold, cumulatively.
Happy 25th anniversary, Tossed & Found!
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
826DC’S READING ALL-STARS By Allison Blaisdell
t’s loud in the gymnasium. The kids have had six weeks off from 826DC’s Reading All-Stars Program and the excitement of seeing their mentors and friends again has created a frenetic energy in the gym as they wait for the session to begin. Some of the kids are taking advantage of the free breakfast provided, while others are playing with a basketball or running up and down the steps to the stage behind us. Ann Robinson, the chair of the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Reading All-Stars Committee is attempting to wrangle her student, Anthony, from the steps. Robinson has been working with Anthony for the past three years. He’s making progress, but has a lot of energy to release. Anthony comes from a home where neither parent speaks fluent English, so when he gets home from school, there is no one to help him do his homework or practice reading. Saturdays are the only dedicated time during the week when Anthony has someone helping him; however, it can sometimes be hard to find a way to motivate Anthony during the sessions and Robinson has to come up with unique ways to pique his interest. “It’s up to the tutor to find a way to get the child learning,” she explains. Robinson shares an example of a boy she tutored once who would get tired of reading, but loved doing math. “I would make up simple word problems that he would have to read, and then he could solve the math, too.” That’s not uncommon, as I find out over the course of the morning; tutors find different ways to reach their students, whether through games, conversations, or creating word problems and math equations. When he Director of Reading All-Stars calls the session to order, she makes a few announcements and then dismisses the mentor and student pairs to head to the library and grab some books, or to go find a quiet place to read for the next two hours. At this point, I link up with Claire Campbell, a JLW volunteer, and her student Ana, who is nine years old. Ana likes to find a classroom to read in, so we head down the green and blue hallways of Harriett Tubman Elementary, peeking into classrooms and finally settling on Room 115. “You can have the big chair,” Ana says as she graciously sits in the miniature chair and offers me one of the comfortable green chairs behind the teacher’s desk. Campbell grabs the other adult-sized chair. At first, Ana is a bit shy. I ask what she’s been reading and she informs
JLW member Erin Ward and 826DC Reading All-Star Dayana find a spot on the floor to work their way through a book. me that she’s really enjoying Just Grace and the Super Sleepover by Cherise Harper. Ana loves to read and proudly claims that she never gets tired of reading. “Well, only when I stay up too late or have to get up at 4 a.m.” When Ana gets up that early, it’s to help her mom with the chores. “Sometimes I help Mom wash the dishes or help make food. Sometimes we wash clothes,” Ana explains. On days where she has a little more time in the mornings, after her bath, she packs herself some food and then sits down to read her books. She tells me it can take her three to five days to read one of her chapter books and then she glances down at the book she’s holding. It’s clear that Ana would like to get to her reading, so I excuse myself to go meet some more students and promise that I’ll be back to check in on them in a bit. Robinson has told me that a lot of students enjoy spending time in the library, so I head there to find Bethlehem and her tutor Marthea Davis. Bethlehem immigrated to America with her parents two years ago from Eritrea. When she moved to the United States, she spoke very little English. This is Bethlehem’s second year in Reading AllStars and she has seen a huge improvement in her reading. “Last year, I wasn’t really good at reading, but my favorite books now are Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew and Big Nate.”
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
When she started participating in Reading All-Stars, she was struggling with the big words and sorting out their meanings, but now she is working through chapter books and she loves spending time during the week reading on her own. Every week, she checks out three books from the library to take home with her. You can tell that Davis and Bethlehem have a wonderful relationship. Children are the most special part of Reading All-Stars, but parental involvement is also important. “One of the things that’s so impressive about Bethlehem is that besides being an exceptional young woman, she is always wanting to do more. So, if we have looked at two books, she will want to read three books next session and once we read three books then she is trying to read four books. She is always pushing herself, and I see a lot of that coming from the support of her mom and dad and family who are here every Saturday to bring her in; they ask about her progress and keep her reading on the weekends and during the week.” For a lot of these students, the program is instrumental in shaping their lives and they want to find ways to give back to it. Allison, the student librarian, is a former Reading All-Star. She joined the program when she was in third grade and is now 13. “I wanted to come back because I really like this school and I moved somewhere else,” Allison says, smiling. She says she has continued to be an avid reader since her days in Reading All-Stars. “My favorite books are the Warrior series,” says Allison. “[Reading All-Stars] actually helped me to enjoy reading. Before this, I didn’t like to read much. The length of the book would put me down. It was tiring.” After her time in the program, she is now reading two 300-page books per week. A little ways down the hall from the library, Erin Ward and Dayana, 11, are sitting on the floor working their way through Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Dayana has been in Reading All-Stars for a while, but this is her first year with Ward. When asked how she picks her books, Dayana says, “I choose the books that are interesting. Sometimes it’s graphic novels. But I also read other books.” According to Ward, Dayana really loves books about history and about the cultures
of other countries. Most recently, she finished a book on Japan. When asked what countries she might like to visit one day, Dayana bursts into a huge grin and exclaims, “JAPAN!” Back in Room 115 with Ana and Campbell, we’ve settled onto the rug in front of the teacher’s desk. Ana is excitedly teaching me about the game they play, “Guess the Word.” They write out an alphabet and blindly select a letter. The player whose turn it is gets 25 seconds to say as many words as she can think of that start with that letter, while the other player writes the words down. They’ve gotten very good at it and usually complete six words or more before the time is up. After we play a few rounds of “Guess the Word” and Ana soundly beats me, I ask her what she likes most about reading and her answer is rather poignant: “When you close your eyes, you can imagine being there and you can imagine how it feels.” It’s clear that the program is opening up more doors than just literacy for these kids. When they get to read books, they are exposed to new ideas, cultures, and interests. They discover things that they might not have encountered otherwise. Robinson’s student, Anthony, loves reading books about big cats—especially cheetahs. Allison, the librarian, has learned about journalism and is taking a journalism class in her middle school. Dayana is fascinated by other cultures, while Ana loves to imagine herself as the character of the book. The beauty of this program is that on a micro scale, it is about literacy and reading. On the macro scale, it is about exposing children to the passions and interests that could direct the course of their lives. As the Saturday morning program winds down, the mentors and students head back to the cafeteria and place their stickers on the reading board. Most kids are adding three or four stickers, meaning they have done an hour and a half or two hours of reading. The mentors seem pleased with their students’ progress and it’s easy to see why: For the small sacrifice of two hours on Saturday mornings, our JLW volunteers at Reading All-Stars are funding a lifetime of opportunity for their readers. I’d say it’s a pretty good deal. •
ANA, READING ALL-STAR, INTERVIEWS DAYANA, READING ALL-STAR, INTERVIEWS CLAIRE CAMPBELL, JLW VOLUNTEER: ERIN WARD, JLW VOLUNTEER: A: Do you love reading with me? C: Yes! Absolutely! Sometimes I get nervous that you aren’t coming if I’m early and you are late! A: How do you get prepared for reading? C: I get my glasses and a book. A: What are your dogs’ names? C: I have two, a boy and a girl. They are named Shasha and Pilgrim. A: What do you do on Saturday after reading? C: I go get my husband and then we go to a museum. Sometimes I take a nap or watch TV.
D: What is your favorite book that you like to read? E: I like a lot of books. Do I need to pick one now? D: You could pick a couple. E: My favorite book is actually one I read when I was in high school, called A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, about high schoolers around World War II. But I also like some more fun books too! D: I like serious and silly books too.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
ALTERNATIVE GIVING By Rebecca Prybell
One way to give back without breaking the bank is to shop with JLW Marketplace for gear that you are already going to purchase–like notebooks, tote bags, and travel cups.
he work each Junior League of Washington (JLW) member does within her placement is important and has a meaningful impact on our community or our organization every day. But some members go a step further and integrate the League into their daily lives in unique and fun ways. We spoke to members about how they get involved beyond requirements – and without breaking the bank.
TRY SOMETHING NEW Finding a new way to incorporate JLW into your daily routine can be daunting, as there are so many activities and events from which to choose. Corey Cooke, chair of the Horton’s Kids Committee, recommends looking for an opportunity that will expose you to a side of the
League that is different from your placement. “In general, if you are not in a community placement, a great way to give back is to donate to drives, adopt a family or child at the holidays and purchase their holiday wish items, or attend community events. For community placement members, it is really important to realize that JLW events like Tossed & Found and Holiday Shops raise funds for community partners, so just attending and maybe picking up one item actually ends up helping both your placement, as well as several others,” said Cooke. Sometimes existing committees will also occasionally put out a call for additional volunteers for a certain event or activity. This year, the Folger Theatre needed more volunteers for added performances of “Sense & Sensibility.” Horton’s Kids volunteer Nicola de Montille said, “It was really nice to volunteer with a different placement without having the
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
additional commitments of doing a secondary placement. I will continue to look for other opportunities at different community placements.”
LEARN ABOUT THE LEAGUE Spending time learning about the JLW’s mission, activities, and history is also a useful way to give back. “Events like the General Membership Meetings and Bubbly with the Board offer more information about what the League is doing in areas that are outside of your placement, which can help members figure out if there are other things that the League is working on that they might want to participate in,” said Horton’s Kids volunteer Julia Richardson. JLW also offers several great resources for staying up-to-date on new opportunities to learn more about it and how to get involved, including social media accounts, weekly League Lines emails, and the jlw.org website. “It is so helpful when committee chairs incorporate the website or emails from the JLW into their agenda at meetings and send reminders,” said Horton’s Kids volunteer Kaya Singleton.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO REALIZE THAT JLW EVENTS RAISE FUNDS FOR OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS, SO JUST ATTENDING ENDS UP HELPING BOTH YOUR PLACEMENT AS WELL AS OTHERS.
KEEP REMINDERS AROUND THE HOUSE A number of JLW committees offer drives at various points during the year to collect clothing, school supplies, toiletries, and other goods that can be donated to community partners. “It’s pretty difficult to do your homework if you do not have the school supplies to do so,” said Cooke. “You need to be in a good state to get productive work done. A child who may be hungry, cold, or tired is never in the best position to learn and if we can donate some items that may ease this, I think that helps.” Half the battle for JLW members can be remembering to save items for these drives and bringing them on the day of the event. Horton’s Kids volunteer Hayley Kropog recommends keeping a specific bag in your closet to store items for clothing drives. “Every month I try to remove a few items that I have not recently worn from my closet,” said Kropog. “Having the bag at my feet is a great reminder. At the end of the year, I have a great collection of items to donate.”
GIVING BACK WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK Many members look for ways to give back to the League without requiring a direct financial contribution. One way to do that is to shop for things you are already going to purchase at Marketplace events. “The Marketplace Committee is proud to offer League members fun ways to give back and promote the League,” said Emily Kiggins, chair of the Marketplace Committee. “Not only can you help the League raise funds through the give-back component of our JLW Shops! events, you can also show your JLW pride by wearing branded merchandise while volunteering and around town. It is a small way you can help increase our brand recognition in the greater DC area and also help recruit potential new members. You’ll be amazed how many people ask you about the League if you are wearing a JLW baseball hat or carrying a JLW Vineyard Vines tote bag.”
Another way to give back while doing your normal shopping is to sign up for AmazonSmile and bookmark the AmazonSmile page for any purchases you make on Amazon. The sign-up takes just a few minutes and Amazon gives a portion of your purchase back to the League – without an additional cost to you. After you sign up and make a purchase, Amazon tells you on your homepage how much of a donation you have made. Many JLW members are also federal employees or military members who can take advantage of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) as a way to give back to the Junior League. The CFC allows federal employees and military members to give back to their favorite charities directly through their paychecks each week. JLW was selected as a certified charity in 2015.
GET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY INVOLVED Another great way to support JLW is to spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues, and get them involved in giving back. Every member has a wide network of contacts that can be great resources for the League. “This year, I also plan to get my neighborhood involved,” said de Montille. “We have a listserv for the neighborhood and people often post about fundraising efforts and community events. It will be great to get the greater community involved in donating goods.” Kiggins encourages members to tell friends and family about JLW’s partner retailers. “If every member sent one email to their friends and family with the links to our online stationery partners and promoted purchasing holiday cards, birth announcements, or special event invitations via the JLW, the end result could be amazing,” she said. A portion of all sales is donated back to the League and goes towards helping the League’s community partners. •
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
JLW THEN AND NOW By Nicole Moschella and Phoenix Ricks
hen browsing through vintage photos from the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) archives, despite the obvious changes in style and dress, it is surprisingly easy to identify what connects today’s volunteers to decades ago. Through the years, members have worked tirelessly to promote literacy and raise funds for nonprofits that serve our community. •
Helping and educating children in the community has always been a passion of League members. Two League women teach good hygiene to a child in the 1940s (pictured top). In February 2017, at the YMCA Anthony Bowen, League members continue to educate children about health, nutrition, and exercise at Kids in the Kitchen (pictured bottom).
In 2016, JLW celebrated its 58th annual Holiday Shops. In 1959 (pictured top), League members decorated a Christmas tree ahead of the Holiday Shops. The proceeds from that event benefited the Junior League’s Trust Fund and its project, Children’s Hospital Teenage Clinic. Now, League members still work hard to prep for the Holiday Shops (pictured bottom), held in 2016 at Dock5 at Union Market. Funds from the event still benefit local nonprofits in the Washington, DC, area.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
ADVOCATE FOR STUDENTS MEET YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD
By Maryam Hatcher
Every neighborhood deserves a great school” is the mantra by which Junior League of Washington (JLW) member Ashley Carter serves her community as the recently elected At-Large Member of the District of Columbia State Board of Education. Carter, a product of the public school system, was motivated to pursue her position on the Board of Education after her neighbor confessed that she was considering moving to Maryland or Virginia once her child was ready to attend school. After doing some research and learning about DC’s poor high school graduation rate – the lowest in the country – Carter decided that she needed to do something to help advocate for students and schools in DC. Carter has lived Washington, DC, for 11 years, but she grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2005, and earned her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. As the first person in her immediate family to attend college, Carter recognizes the value of personal advancement through education. In addition to serving on the Board of Education, Carter works as the coalitions director for the Independent Women’s Forum, a nonpartisan think tank. Just as her educational and professional experiences laid the foundation for her current role at the Board of Education, her membership in JLW has also helped prepare her for her At-Large Member position. Specifically, Carter has participated in League training on board service and public speaking, which helped further cultivate the skills necessary to be an effective political figure and leader. Her experiences in JLW, including in her current position as chair of the Calvary Women’s Services Committee, have also exposed her to many challenges that impact DC students, including literacy issues. She hopes to be a “front-facing advocate for the League” by taking her voluntarism one step forward, while serving her community and directly advocating for DC students.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser swears in JLW member Ashley Carter as At-Large Member of the DC Board of Education. During her four-year term as At-Large Member, Carter would like to accomplish three primary goals: improve high school graduation rates without lowering educational standards; prepare students to be “career ready” and not just “college ready” upon high school graduation; and add more individualized attention in schools through the use of trained volunteers and nonprofit resources. Through her hard work and commitment to students in DC, Carter is working to ensure that no resident has to leave the District to get a great public school education. •
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MISS DC DEEPENS HER IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY By Maryam Hatcher
2016 Miss USA Deshauna Barber crowns 2016 Miss District of Columbia and JLW member Jasmine Jones.
ast fall, Junior League of Washington (JLW) member Jasmine Jones was crowned Miss District of Columbia after her predecessor won the Miss USA Crown. Jones served as Miss DC for 103 days, which she filled with over 50 personal appearances and numerous community service projects. Jones’s pageant career started in 2014, which was the same year she joined JLW. She credits her membership in the League with allowing her to “connect with great women” and helping her recognize the impact she can have in the community. Her work in JLW helped inspire her pageant platform focus on literacy. As a native of Upper Marlboro, MD, and with two sets of grandparents who are native Washingtonians, Jones has a personal investment in the DC metropolitan area, and she has used her membership in the League and her role as Miss DC to serve the local
community. Her efforts have included serving as a literacy volunteer for adults with intellectual disabilities – through her work as a JLW Langley Residential Support Services volunteer – and mentoring local high school students with special needs. In addition, she provides athletic equipment and clothing to students in DC’s Ward 7 who are preparing for the Special Olympics. Fluent in French and a Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone, Jones also aims to make a broader impact on the global community. Specifically, she founded the Global Literacy Initiative, an organization that benefits childhood literacy and funds libraries throughout the world. Jones, who crowned her successor this past December, hopes to continue to promote literacy, travel the world, and pursue a Masters in Business Administration. Whatever she does, this volunteer is likely to continue making an impact. •
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GET TO KNOW PRESIDENT-ELECT AIMEE PICARD SOLLER By Sara Nayeem
erving as President of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) is an exciting responsibility, but daunting as well. JLW has an apprenticeship model whereby each President serves a year as President-Elect before taking on the Presidential mantle, in order to build knowledge and relationships that will serve her in her President year. We sat down with President-Elect Aimee Picard Soller to learn more about her perspectives on JLW’s trajectory and her goals for 2017-2018.
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR JLW DURING YOUR YEARS AS PRESIDENT-ELECT AND PRESIDENT? It is important to me not to use the word “mine” with respect to the League. It’s not really “my year” and “my thing” – instead, we are always building on the work that came before, as well as training the leaders that will follow us. Being President-Elect and then President are just my placements for these two years – they are important roles with a lot of responsibility, but there are 2,300 members to help me out! These roles are highly collaborative and so much of it is continuing to build on and expand our current momentum. My priorities continue to solidify; my personal priority is to continue to learn from my work with the League. The League priorities take shape as Board and leadership teams come together in the spring. The Board goals and priorities are built, and then these continue to evolve as the leadership team is slated. We will look at the annual membership survey, especially the narrative comments, and reflect that feedback in our goals.
WHEN DID YOU JOIN THE LEAGUE AND HOW HAS IT CHANGED OVER TIME?
Aimee Picard Soller, JLW President-Elect 2016-2017
I joined JLW in 2002, just one year out of college. All our new member shift sign-ups were on paper back then – so that’s one thing that has changed! One meaningful way in which the League has evolved is that we are placing more emphasis on building “trained volunteers.” As with any other organization, JLW is cyclical; it had its roots, back in 1912, in training members because there weren’t other opportunities for women to learn volunteering skills. We learned from the Membership Task Force and the annual survey
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
results that it is important to our members that volunteers get something out of their work with the League, that they improve their skills. This mission was behind the development of Leadership Institute and Get On Board training. We are still working to improve the Washington, DC, community, but we are balancing that with also serving members.
WHAT IS THE “RISING TO THE CHALLENGE” INITIATIVE AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT? President Elizabeth Keys started the Rising to the Challenge initiative last year for the 18 rising chairs throughout the League. This includes the President-Elect, the Vice Treasurer who goes on to become Treasurer, and rising chairs for the bigger fundraisers and other committees where continuity is considered critical. The group brainstorms how to support the chair in the role this year and in parallel thinks about plans for the following year. Being a rising chair offers a great opportunity to learn from one’s predecessor. It is an important part of JLW’s leadership culture to develop the women who will serve after us and is part of the renewed focus on training volunteers. I am so grateful to have spent the year with these women! They have been such a resource for me as I prepare for the role of President.
WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR MARKING JLW’S 105TH ANNIVERSARY? A special committee was established by Elizabeth Keys and myself to think about the 105th anniversary. We involved people from different parts of the League to look at trends in strategic planning and what came out of the Membership Task Force. The conclusion was that the 105th year warrants recognition, though it won’t be “blow the roof off,” as with the Centennial. We want to make sure that the activities don’t take time and resources away from the normal League year activities. For the Centennial, we focused on JLW’s rich history; for the 105th, it will be more about celebrating who we are now as members. We have settled on a couple of activities – a service component, a communication component around “105 Acts of Service,” and a social event. The social event won’t be a gala, but will be something fun that we don’t do every year.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PLACEMENT OVER THE YEARS? WHAT ROLES MOST PREPARED YOU TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT? My first placement was with Bright Beginnings, which is an organization near and dear to my heart for a lot of reasons. It’s a great source of pride to have been involved with something with such longevity and positive impact on the community, and such a long history with the League. I also worked on Holiday Shops for a long
time and eventually co-chaired that committee. It was a great experience because as a large fundraising event, it was a totally different experience in the League than a community placement. You get to know the other women in the placement differently when you are putting on such a large event. My co-chair and I had the goal of putting the “fun” back in “fund-raising!” In terms of preparing to be President, I think that the role requires a broader perspective on JLW and an interest in taking a strategic view of the organization. We are a large League with a diverse set of members; it’s not a one-size-fits-all organization. The President has to understand our external relationships with the community, as well as issues important to the membership. I served as Treasurer, which was a great opportunity to gain insights on every aspect of the League. Serving on the Board of JLW was also valuable in learning to look at the “big picture” across the League.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EMPHASIS THE BOARD HAS HAD IN RECENT YEARS ON “STRATEGY VS. TACTICS?” The move from tactical to strategic has been very intentional. Our Board is unique in that it wears two hats: governance and management. It is easy to be focused on the second – questions like, “how many members should be on this committee?” and “what color should napkins be?” It has been an evolution for the Board, which has taken deliberate steps to focus on more of the governance activities – strategic thinking around finance and sustainability. For the last year or so we have been asking questions like, “what impact do our grants make and are they meeting the goals we set out for grant-giving?” This process has also led us to focus more on training and leadership development.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR NEW MEMBERS JOINING JLW? I’d say to try different things. We are such a large League with so many ways to serve. Getting exposure to lots of areas of the League is a great way to find your niche, and to find other women who are interested in the same things. Also, I’d advise any New Member to take a minute to introduce herself to someone at every event. Make a connection, big or small. I am still friends with my New Member Advisor and another new member from the advisor group – over the years we’ve attended one another’s weddings, had children – and through it all have remained good friends. The other new member and I would sign-up for sessions together, to be intentional about making sure we each knew at least one person. I wish for everyone else the friends I’ve made in the League. It’s been, and continues to be, a great piece of my life. •
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CONNECTING PASSIONS WITH JLW By Stacy Tsakeris
on’t you love when your personal passion and volunteer opportunities complement each other? Betsy Dietz, a Langley Committee member, found such a match between her love of helping others and for the Junior League of Washington (JLW). The Langley Committee provides weekly book clubs and for Langley Residential Support Services, which serves adults with intellectual disabilities. The events help improve reading skills, self-confidence, and provide social interactions. The individuals served at Langley and JLW volunteers often become so close that the Langley Committee has many returning members every year. Dietz joined JLW in 2013 because she enjoys meeting women with an interest in voluntarism and helping others. Her mini-placement was with Langley, and she has been on the committee ever since. She finds the joy in the faces of the individuals with whom she works when they try something new very fulfilling. Taking a tour of the Capitol last year was a highlight for both the committee and the Langley consumers. For the fall event this year, Dietz organized a painting session at Langley. She and a friend provided all the painting materials, and 13 program participants painted a beautiful fall scene complete with trees and mountains. She also provides board games and books for weekly activities that she plans. Dietz is married, has a Jack Russell Terrier named Titus, and loves to ballroom dance and travel. She works for Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia and leads two Girl Scout troops. Originally, she had only planned to lead one but when they needed a leader for both kindergarten and third grade, she just had to say yes. This year, she and her husband are hosting an exchange student from Pakistan, Sumaiya. Sumaiya loves volunteer work just as much as Dietz, and has been to Langley to help out. In 1996, Dietz became the legal guardian for a blind woman with intellectual disabilities, Alberta, who had no family. Dietz and her husband consider Alberta part of their family, and she is always
Longtime Langley Committee member Betsy Dietz gets a game of Bingo going with Langley consumers. included in their vacation plans. She states that having Alberta in her life “has been a wonderful experience and we just love her so much.” Julia Rosenthal, a fellow Langley Committee volunteer, describes Dietz as always being there for the Langley program participants and always smiling. Dietz “hugs all the residents, knows every detail of their lives and treats them like old friends – you can tell she really cares about them,” Rosenthal said. It’s no surprise that Dietz’s interactions go beyond book club activities and that she talks to them like they are part of her family, as she continues to blur the lines in her life between passion and community. •
Dominion Jewelers is composed of two generations of family jewelers.
A BRILLIANT PARTNERSHIP WITH DOMINION JEWELERS By Jacqueline Bauer
hen Dominion Jewelers co-owner Rachelle Barimany first attended the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Holiday Shops as a guest, she knew it was a project she wanted her company to be part of in the future. “It is such a great event, so much fun and well attended,” she notes. This was the beginning of a strong community partnership between Dominion Jewelers and JLW. Our seven-year relationship has yielded in-kind donations, such as diamond studs, for Holiday Shops. Dominion Jewelers’ dazzling pieces were a perfect match for the event, as the holiday season has jewelry on everyone’s mind. Dominion Jewelers has donated the main raffle prize for Holiday Shops, in addition to silent auction items. The drawing prize has raised between $14,000 and $20,000 per year, supporting our work with our community partner organizations. This is something near and dear to the heart of the family-owned business. “Junior League’s presence and impact on the area is very significant,” says Barimany. “We felt the message and goal of literacy matched up with the ideas my father and uncle felt strongly about.” The Barimany and Rojas families opened Dominion Jewelers in 1985. Barimany’s father was the “gem guy” and her uncle was the designer and manufacturer. They began by providing custom pieces and gems to local jewelry stores but soon word-of-mouth
publicity expanded their base to individual customers and their retail segment was born. Dominion Jewelers is based in Falls Church, VA. It is now run by the second generation of the family, including Barimany, her cousin Sergio Rojas and other family members. The company has a talented team of loyal goldsmiths, some of whom have been with Dominion Jewelers for more than 30 years. They can be found hard at work sketching and generating computerized 3D models to create the custom-made pieces for which their company is so well known. Barimany says the most memorable designs tend to have sentimental value. “The special ones are when people inherit jewelry and redesign them to be more wearable. It is wonderful to hear the history behind the pieces and re-make them into jewelry the client enjoys wearing.” Dominion Jewelers has a softspot for their customers from the local area, but they’ve also had some high-profile clients. For one White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a celebrity guest came into town with her outfit and asked for the company’s help with styling some jewels. Barimany picked out a variety of items she had in stock and drove into DC to lay out sparkling options. The client selected her favorites and looked beautiful for the event. The Dominion Jewelers family is looking forward to many more years in the area— keeping the strong tradition they have established and strengthening commitments to community partners, such as the JLW. •
WRITE AN EFFECTIVE COVER LETTER By Rebecca Prybell
pplying for a new job is a daunting task. Preparing an application is stressful. Writing the perfect cover letter can take hours. Everyone wants to put their best foot forward and make a great impression with a potential employer. Whether you are looking for your first job after undergraduate or graduate school, considering a career switch, or are interested in making the next jump in your career, having the tools to impress with your application can make all the difference. Business Insider recently said that while cover letters are not necessarily essential or required in every industry anymore, applicants are wise to have a vetted and concise cover letter ready to go. Junior League of Washington (JLW) member and Iona Seniors Services Committee volunteer Lisa Kyle is a talent manager at Georgetown University and she agrees. “I’ve worked with hiring managers who completely ignore cover letters and then hiring managers who won’t review an application that does not include a cover letter,” Lisa says. She advises applicants to use their best judgement based on the field and specific job to which they are applying when determining whether to include a cover letter. Many of the career fields that dominate the Washington, DC, community still require cover letters, including communications, politics, education, and law. We talked to JLW members who have experience with applications and cover letters. They helped break down how to use a cover letter to your advantage and warned of pitfalls to avoid.
EDIT A well-written cover letter that has been edited with lots of attention to detail can show an employer that you will be a great addition to their team. On the other hand, a cover letter with grammatical or spelling mistakes can eliminate you from the interview pile immediately. Having a standard cover letter that is written and ready whenever the right opportunity comes around is a good way to stay prepared. However, it is just as important to remember to edit the cover letter each and every time you send it out.
Emily Roy, a JLW volunteer on the Leadership Institute Committee and Talent and Global Mobility Analyst at AES, says one of the most common mistakes she sees in cover letters is applicants forgetting to change the organization’s information from the last time they used the cover letter. “If you’re using a boiler plate or copying and pasting from an existing cover letter, check the details. Then check again that you changed the organization’s information. Also, check the date. These mistakes will definitely not get past a review,” Roy says.
RESEARCH Most applicants know that it is important to research a company before you go in for an interview. But it is also important to do your research for the cover letter. Kyle says that applicants often submit a generic cover letter just to check the box. “A strong cover letter shows you did your research and put effort into applying for the job. Stand out from other candidates by customizing each letter for the specific job and organization,” Kyle recommends. Applicants can use the cover letter to tell the hiring official what excites them about the company and how they think they can contribute to the goals of the company.
EXPLAIN Applicants should not be afraid to use the cover letter to tell the hiring official why they are a great fit for the company. “A candidate stands out when they have a strong opening demonstrating why they want the job and why they are the right fit for the position,” Kyle advises. She also says that the strong opening should be followed by a succinct and concise letter that the hiring official can quickly digest. Roy says it is important to express why you want to work for that company over any others. “You’re probably applying to positions you are qualified for and up against other candidates with similar education, experiences, and skills. Include why you want to work for the organization, in that particular role. It will let us get to know how interested you are, not just that you’re looking for employment anywhere, but with us,” Roy explains.
THE JUNIOR LEAGUE WOMEN ARE TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
JLW members catch up during a Development & Training networking event.
The cover letter is the best time to distinguish yourself and bring your resume to life. Emphasize your personal value. Kyle recommends showing the company what you bring to the table that other candidates might not. “Personality and passion really shine through in a cover letter. You can have the perfect qualifications on paper, but that does not mean you would be the best fit for the organization. When you show who you are in your cover letter, your resume and LinkedIn page come alive,” she says. “Use the cover letter as a place to include one piece of information that is not already included in your application materials,” says Roy. It could be a project, an experience, or a trait that you are able to articulate. JLW’s Development & Training (D&T) Committee has recently held several helpful workshops in this vein, such as establishing personal and professional brands. “Don’t just reiterate your resume, otherwise your cover letter was a waste of time. “I’m looking to see that you can concisely write about yourself professionally, but that you are also able to provide me with concrete information that would make me want to bring you in for an interview,” Roy continues.
As with any application skill, such as interviewing or resume writing, practice makes perfect. Applicants should use every opportunity to work on the fundamental skills needed for writing a cover letter. Kyle explains that any time you are meeting a new person, whether or not you are at a professional development event, use the same skills you would use in an interview or cover letter. Related D&T seminars, like a recent event on stepping up your networking game, are great places to test this out. “You never know who can help you find your next job; take the chance and make a new friend in JLW,” Kyle recommends. The League also offers a slew of opportunities to practice the soft skills you need for preparing applications and going to interviews. These events, sponsored by the D&T Committee, help JLW members build skills that will help the next time they are looking for a job, such as leveraging social networks and developing personal brands. “These sessions provide you the opportunity to curate your experience with the resources already at your fingertips to better speak and write to them when the time comes,” says Roy. •
JLW members try their hand at calligraphy to spruce up their correspondence at an Esprit Committee event.
Handwritten Note THE ART OF THE
By Bonnie Louque
hile the emphasis on penmanship and sending handwritten notes may be dwindling in other corners of society, these values remain alive and well among Junior League of Washington (JLW) members. This spring, the Esprit Committee has hosted several events centered on these very skills – a custom letterpress workshop at Typecase Industries in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC, a calligraphy workshop with Laura Hooper at her studio in Old Town Alexandria, and a children’s etiquette seminar, hosted at the JLW Headquarters. The response from attendees at each of these events showed how strong our JLW support is for preserving these traditions. Few would dispute the happiness associated with receiving a handwritten note in the mail – the cherished personal card among a sea of nondescript mailers. Certainly, sending – and receiving – a handwritten note on a notecard with your own letterpress design creates lasting memories for all involved. Katelin Hatfield, a JLW New Member, attended the letterpress workshop and shared that she “always loved stationery and writing notes, since [she] was a little girl” and “put great thought into picking out just the right card, or writing just the right note, for the recipient.” Creating her own letterpress cards at Typecase Industries added the perfect touch to her correspondence, and she dreams of being able to recreate larger art and poster pieces with future letterpress workshop opportunities.
Using your own handwriting sparks creativity by exercising different visual, motor, and cognitive brain functions than the same thoughts processed through technology. It also allows us to slow down and connect our thoughts with each stylized word on the page. JLW members Marta Hernandez and Jackie Frederick-Maturo both participated in the calligraphy workshop with Laura Hooper because they love handwriting – particularly cursive – and wanted to develop this skill as a fun and useful hobby that they could use in the future. Hernandez, as with other participants, plans to continue practicing and improving upon the techniques and skills that she gained in the beginner workshop. Her hope is to “start using calligraphy (or handwriting inspired by the calligraphy) on [her] handwritten correspondence, like thank-you letters and Christmas cards.” Frederick-Maturo has a similar ideal for her calligraphy skills: to use this as a new hobby – “something fun and relaxing to do after work” – and to “become good enough to address holiday cards.” Since 2002, Laura Hooper has graced the DC-Maryland-Virginia community with her stunning pointed-pen calligraphy. Her highly sought-after scripts, services, and products have been recognized in numerous magazines (The Knot, Inside Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Town and Country Weddings, and more), and in blogs across the Internet (Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, and 100 Layer Cake, to name a few). She teaches a full range of in-person workshops
USING YOUR OWN HANDWRITING SPARKS CREATIVITY BY EXERCISING DIFFERENT VISUAL, MOTOR, AND COGNITIVE BRAIN FUNCTIONS THAN THE SAME THOUGHTS PROCESSED THROUGH TECHNOLOGY. at her studio in Old Town Alexandria, as well as around the United States and Canada with her sister, Alyssa. Frederick-Maturo found Laura to be a “fabulous instructor” who was “really patient and made calligraphy easy to learn.” Hernandez felt that the workshop gave participants a “great basis for continuing to learn the art of calligraphy” and both women raved about Hooper’s fabulous studio. Her workshops sell out quickly – especially the private events organized for JLW members – so keep your eye out for opportunities in the future. Writing by hand is important in all stages of life, and children see particular benefits from spending time collecting their thoughts and expressing them through their own words committed to paper. In the children’s etiquette seminar, presented by JLW member Allison Rau, an etiquette specialist trained by the Emily Post Institute, participants learned the basic foundation for instilling in children of all ages the values, ethics, and respect for others that contribute to good manners. In the Emily Post book, The Gift of Good Manners: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Respectful, Kind, Considerate Children, which participants received as part of the training, there is a significant emphasis placed on the value of oral and written communications and why it is important to learn how to convey thoughts, feelings, and appreciation through writing. The benefits of exercising your handwriting and communicating with others through this medium extend well beyond your mailbox. Children and adults alike gain tremendous value from taking the time to connect pen and paper, think about the person to whom they are writing, and create lasting memories for themselves and the recipients. This year the members of JLW’s board of directors have challenged each other to write at least eight handwritten thank-you notes to League members. Invest in these memories and relationships, inspire greater creativity, and give yourself opportunities to experience the unexpected benefits that come from writing by hand. •
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
JLW FROM EVERY ANGLE:
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE JUNIOR LEAGUE? By: Shannan Robinson
“I heard of JLW through some co-workers, who are also friends. They mentioned the great work that JLW does to promote literacy and support nonprofits in the DC region. They also talked about opportunities that the League offers to network and meet like-minded professional women who want to make a difference in the community. It’s been a great experience.” -Mimi Yeh, Sustainer
“I learned of JLW from two close friends, Erin McCoy Williams, a friend and classmate from law school, and LaTonya Clark, a friend and colleague. Both ladies spoke highly of the League and often when I asked their evening or weekend plans, they informed me of the voluntarism, fundraising, and social events they were participating in with JLW. This sparked my curiosity and in January 2016, I researched to see if it was something that might fit my interests. A League of women who serve and socialize together... all for the greater good of MY community... I was hooked! I submitted my interest form within the next week and hoped that I would be so lucky as to join the next incoming class of women who wanted to offer their time and resources to make our community better.” -Chelsey Rodgers, New Member
“I first heard of JLW from a co-worker at my part-time J. Crew job when I was still interning in DC. We became good friends, and she introduced me to the League, encouraging me to join. She’s one of the greatest people I know, so I decided I must join JLW if someone like her was advocating it.”
“I was first introduced to the Junior League when I worked with a nonprofit in Florida. When I moved to DC, I had the opportunity to work with League members who served on the board of my nonprofit.” -Terry Algire, Manager of Donor Development and External Relations, JLW
-Crystal Zhao, Active
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
PITCHING THE LEAGUE
A WIDER CIRCLE EXPANDS By Claire Gould and Alex Sarp
Disturbed by the depth of poverty he witnessed in the Washington, DC, area, Dr. Mark Bergel founded A Wider Circle (AWC) in 2001 to help families overcome poverty and find stable employment. In 2016, AWC completed the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) volunteer request process and was approved by the board of directors as a new placement, starting in the 2016-2017 year. The 12-member committee, chaired by Heather Brown, is tasked with supporting AWC’s job-training programs that help AWC clients prepare for interviews, write strong resumes, and advance their careers. All services provided by A Wider Circle are free of charge. Through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, families transitioning out of shelters are able to receive furniture and basic household items that have been donated to AWC. JLW volunteers assist by sorting items, donating, or driving a truck to pick up donations. Opportunities to contribute more broadly to the organization also exist for League members who are not on the committee. For those interested in fashion, clothing sorters and personal shoppers are needed to help clients develop their professional wardrobe. Clothing and accessory donations are also accepted and may be dropped off at the AWC Center for Community Service at 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Through this partnership, JLW members are able to help clients grow professionally, overcome poverty, and succeed in society, truly creating a wider circle in the DC metro area.
By Shannan Robinson
n elevator pitch is a short, memorable description about who you are, what you do, and why you do it. What is your elevator pitch for the Junior League of Washington (JLW)? A great start is a summary of our organization. Communications & Public Relations Council Director Marta Hernandez leads with, “The League is a charitable organization of civic-minded women– more than 2,300 strong– who are committed to developing qualified women leaders and volunteers who can address the DC community’s issues in a meaningful and effective manner.” Then, tell your story. Share something personal that explains why you joined JLW and continue to stay involved. One possible idea to mention is that the League has recently donated more than 115,000 books to DC schools, libraries, and students through its Resolution Read program. Or share that JLW has provided you with unique opportunities to develop leadership skills– like our Get On Board training or our Development & Training curriculum. End with a question that engages your audience. Is this a potential new member? Someone who may want to donate or is just
interested in learning more? Find out and direct your listener to more information that suits their specific interest level, whether it is the website or making an introduction to another member. Joi Ridley, a first-year Active, tailors her pitch based on the person with whom she is speaking. If the person is familiar with the work JLW does, she doesn’t give as much general background, but spends more time on her personal story. If speaking to someone who isn’t as familiar with JLW, she gives a bit of information on some notable League members, such as Sandra Day O’Connor, Katharine Hepburn, Betty Ford, or Nancy Reagan before touting JLW’s mission and literacy focus. New Training 10 programs, brief talks incorporated into monthly meetings that can educate and train members about facets of the League and their volunteer work, are one area in which many committees are opting to work on elevator speech exercises. The Development & Training Committee has also taken the speeches one step further and has included some training on how to adapt to your professional brand, allowing members to use the same skills to promote the League and themselves, a win all around. •
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CATCHING UP WITH LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE By Erika Harrell
he 2016-2017 year has been an exciting time for the Leadership Institute Committee (LI). The committee, new this year, is dedicated to the development of leaders within the Junior League of Washington (JLW). LI is focused on three goals to help women on the road to leadership: developing leadership resources; providing opportunities for leadership development; and tracking metrics and data to assess the effectiveness of these efforts. The first goal involves working with JLW leaders to better support the leadership needs of our members and developing resources to encourage development and shared knowledge from year-to-year and council-to-council. A key component of that is ensuring knowledge is shared across years and relevant councils. Steps taken include developing the Leadership Coaching program, standardizing processes and templates for chairs, and defining core competencies for various leadership roles in order to better align development activities to the competencies needed to be successful. The overall effort to standardize leadership resources and tools has resulted in a better understanding by our leaders of League activities and a better sense of how each leader’s efforts fit into the big picture of the League. The second goal is to provide JLW members with opportunities for leadership skills development. To this end, LI has hosted four sessions of Get On Board (GOB), a four-part class designed to provide JLW members with the knowledge and skills needed to serve on nonprofit boards, whether with JLW or in the community. This spring’s GOB class includes great representation of our membership with eight new members, 26 active members, and four sustaining members. In total, 101 women have completed the training; 17 of these women now serve on community nonprofits boards. LI also serves as a resource for community organizations looking to fill a board vacancy with a knowledgeable, experienced candidate; so far, four organizations have approached LI for assistance in finding new
THIS NEW COMMITTEE IS DEDICATED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF LEADERS WITHIN JLW. board members. Another key offering has been a communications seminar. Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback from last year’s communications seminar session, LI will offer the training again this spring with an eye to making it part of the standard curriculum. The final goal is to track and analyze metrics and data, and use those findings to drive the direction and decisions for LI. This includes defining key performance indicators , and centralizing and consolidating data in a way that can be used in future years. Working towards this goal, LI has moved all of its League surveys to Survey Monkey for better analytics, piloted Cheetah Track to check women in for events and trainings, and consolidated data collection under Smartsheet. All of this information is being used to design next year’s curriculum. LI’s momentum doesn’t slow down! For the remainder of the year, the committee will focus on designing new chair and transition checklists and utilizing 360 feedback to provide leaders with objective feedback. They also plan to create short, how-to online videos for leaders and develop new leader and communications trainings. LI is in the midst of planning for the kickoff to the League’s new year with plans underway for the annual summer leadership retreat. •
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40 YEARS LATER:
PAST IS STILL PRESENT By Jacqueline Wasem
Once dubbed by The Washington Post as one of the “50 most ‘influential’ Washington history books,” JLW’s The City of Washington: An Illustrated History celebrates 40 years this year.
orty years ago, a group of dedicated women from the Junior League of Washington (JLW) undertook a five-year long project designed to capture the essence and history of the unique city in which we live and serve. In the early 1970s, Douglas Sprunt, JLW President, 1958-1960, along with Judith Frank, JLW President, 1966-1968, and Mary Beth Larrabee, spearheaded the huge undertaking to draw upon the private collections and vivid memories of JLW members, their families, and their friends. Thus was born The City of Washington: An Illustrated History by the JLW. The idea was inspired by the Junior League of San Francisco’s Here Today, and the project came together under a fortunate confluence
of women and men willing to volunteer their time and resources: Frank was the daughter of the editor of The Washington Star – the city’s paper of record for over 100 years; Austin Kiplinger, a journalist and financial publisher, opened doors to the Kiplinger Washington collection to JLW – giving the authors access to a vast array of paintings, drawings, and photographs; and Clement Conger, a prominent museum curator, allowed JLW volunteers to explore documents and memorabilia at the White House and the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the Department of State. In delving into the book’s history, I spoke with one of the book’s many researchers, Jeanette Markell Harper. It’s clear this was a labor of love for her and the 100 women who participated in the years-
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long project. From Harper’s account, the book was borne out of a powerhouse group of people who had belongings, artifacts, and memories never before shared. Many of those who offered to provide their familes stories, photographs, and discoveries had simply never been asked. The women of JLW and their network unearthed the unheard-of and untold Washington lore that fascinated the city’s historians. As the book’s introduction says, “Every picture in this book recalls somebody’s helpful suggestion, a stranger’s kindness, a friend’s generosity with a family heirloom.” For three years, those working on the book toiled each week researching the materials that gave the book life, driven forward by purpose and enthusiasm for our city’s 350 years of history. They met at libraries and museums to analyze diaries and firsthand accounts and pored over pictures and research. On the surface, many thought the book was unlikely to achieve a broader success outside the League. But following publication in 1977, the book was held in high regard by local historians and received a review by The Washington Post. The article’s author described the book as an “organized, balanced, and fascinating whole” and
“well designed to stimulate rather than slake an interest in Washington’s rich and varied local history.” By 1992, the book was successful enough to deserve a reprint. I recently purchased a used copy of the book from Amazon and have uncovered many pictures of my favorite haunts and local buildings. On one page sits a 1911 photo of one of my old office buildings, the Willard, and the Treasury Department. On another, there are detailed maps and plans for the city. One page recalls a quote from David Ballie Warden in 1816 where he stated, “The state of female society at Washington does great honour to the sex… They are certainly superior women, highly gifted in mental, as they are adorned with personal endowments.” The book flows with memories of people and places whose legacy of which we are now a part. Fittingly, the book opens with the quote, “With a look into the past, the names on the land, the rivers, the roads, and the familiar sights and neighborhoods take on new meanings.” For those interested in our past, you can find a copy of the book sitting on the coffee table at JLW Headquarters. Be sure to take a look next time you visit. •
F REE V I T A MI N B 1 2 I NJ EC T I O N
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CONNECTING THE DOTS AT THE WINTER GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING By Erika Harrell
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) had its own “State of the Union,” converging on the University Club in January for the Winter General Membership Meeting (GMM). The topic was “Connecting the Dots to JLW’s Present,” which is an element of JLW President Elizabeth Keys’s theme for this League year – “Connecting the Dots: Members and Mission.” While the October GMM connected members with JLW’s past, this GMM connected to the present, covering aspects of the League as leaders in fundraising, membership, and the community spoke about the great work JLW is doing in the DC metropolitan area. The meeting was divided into several parts, giving focus to the current state of JLW’s membership, training, fundraising, and community investment. After these updates, a panel discussion was held, moderated by JLW President Elizabeth Keys, to address the state of the League’s community impact. To discuss the state of membership in JLW, Meredith Regine Scialabba, New Membership Council Director, and Mandy Asgeirsson, chair of the Member Recruitment Committee, highlighted several initiatives that have been implemented to improve the new member experience, including a new social event in June designed to engage incoming provisional members right off of the bat. Also new this year is allowing applicants who were on the wait list the previous year and who have completed all of the recruitment requirements a second time to bypass the new member lottery. Simona Campbell, assistant director of the Membership Development Council, discussed the state of training by highlighting the Development & Training and Leadership Institute Committees. She described how the council is using post-event data and other avenues to refine and enhance our training curriculum.
JLW President Elizabeth Keys offers remarks at the Winter General Membership Meeting. The community impact panel included (left to right) Lori Vitelozzi, assistant director of the Cultural Community Placements Council; Jennifer Lackey, assistant director of the Adult Community Placements Council; Amy Shuart, Community Affairs Council Director; and Sarah Berg, Youth and Family Community Placements Council Director. Laura Zehr, assistant director of the Ways & Means Council, reported that “the state of fundraising is strong” and that JLW has been invited to apply for the Catalogue for Philanthropy, which can open doors to new donors and more volunteer opportunities. Audrey Henson, chair of the Financial Planning Committee, detailed the structure and purpose of the Finance Council, reminding attendees that they are always invited to Finance Council meetings, which are
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open to the entire League. She also asked members to think about their networks and ways they might be able to work with JLW’s Manager of Donor Development & External Affairs and the Corporate Partnership & Development and In Kind Donation Committees to build relationships with new supporters. The community impact panelists discussed the state of the League’s community involvement. Participants included Sarah Berg, director of the Youth & Family Community Placements Council, Jennifer Lackey, assistant director of the Adult Community Placements Council, Amy Shuart, director of the Community Affairs Council, and Lori Vitelozzi, assistant director of the Cultural Community Placements Council. The panel started with a great video highlighting the three types of community placements: youth and family, adult, and cultural (which you can see on JLW’s YouTube). When asked about stories of community partners showing appreciation for the work of JLW members, panelists had a heartwarming testimonials to share. Vitelozzi mentioned that the chair of the Done-In-A-Day Committee recently worked a shift for the Leuke-
mia & Lymphoma Society and someone told her that without JLW’s support they would not be alive today. Berg mentioned the thanks her council has received when volunteers go to schools to read to children. The panelists also gave advice regarding what members should think about when deciding on a community placement. Lackey suggested checking the Volunteer Opportunities Brochure (VOB) for requirements of the placement and asking the chairs and vice chairs of the community placements for insights. In closing, Keys announced a special new event, the JLW Day of Service on Saturday, May 6 , when JLW members and friends and family will fan out across the District in community service projects. She also reemphasized the importance of the work JLW members do in the DC metro area, stating, “JLW’s work in creating positive community impact really never ends.” To wit: GMM attendees were asked to bring travel-size toiletries to donate to N Street Village and Calvary Women’s Services – a call to which they responded enthusiastically – ensuring that even the GMM itself had a direct positive impact on the community. •
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AN INTRODUCTION TO JLW’S FINANCE COUNCIL By Heather Mandelkehr
hen thinking about the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Finance Council, it’s easy to guess that the Finance Council is responsible for JLW’s budget. But how does the Finance Council go about ensuring all 46 JLW committees have the funding they need to further the League’s mission? As defined in JLW’s Standing Rules and Procedures, the Finance Council is composed of the Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, Treasurer of the Sustainer Committee, Secretary, and President-Elect. In practice, current voting members also include the New Membership Council assistant council director (ACD), Ways & Means Council ACD, and a Community Affairs Council ACD. Along with these voting members, chairs and/or treasurers of the major fundraisers are highly encouraged to attend Finance Council meetings. However, the council stresses that any JLW member is welcome to attend Finance Council meetings (and participate in discussions, if she wishes). At these meetings, the Finance Council approves initial annual budgets and any budget changes proposed by a committee. This involves taking a calculated look at programming throughout the League and having discussions about where to focus resources within JLW and in the community. Annual tasks include approving community grant amounts, approving dues increases (if any) based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and reviewing JLW investments. Budget discussions can run the spectrum from changes in programming to soliciting proposals and selecting a vendor to host JLW’s cloud services. Treasurer Erinn Colaianni, in addition to serving as chair of the Finance Council, is specifically responsible for reviewing all member reimbursements and check requests, as well as signing checks and contracts. Contracts and large checks also require the signature of both the Treasurer and the President of the League. Along with determining and administering JLW’s budget, the Finance Council takes a large role in educating JLW members about the League’s finances – knowledge that members can take with them into the community. These efforts include trying to help members understand JLW financial policies (such as check reimbursement and how to enter into a contract) and communicating the financial strength of the League. Skills learned here, ranging from strategic thinking on
budget issues to reviews of investment policy, are things that members can use to enrich their lives outside of the JLW as financial leaders. In fact, Vice Treasurer Frazier Schulman said that the financial education she receives from her time on the Finance Council is the reason that she returned to active status after being a Sustainer. “As I am finding myself serving on more boards, the financial training is invaluable and transferable to the other organizations I serve,” she said. “The Vice Treasurer/Treasurer position gives me the training to be a more productive board member in my community.” As a result of a Board of Directors decision a few years ago to focus more on governance and less on management, the Finance Council has many more management-level discussions in its meetings, triggered by topics like requested budgets and fund movement requests. For example, this year the Finance Council instituted some changes in how the budget is created. In the past, JLW has determined its community grant amounts based on the surplus in program dollars from the previous year. However, since community grants are such an important part of JLW’s work in the community, the Finance Council has incorporated planned grants into the 2017-2018 budget. Also, to further JLW’s mission of improving communities and developing the potential of women, the Council has begun taking small withdrawals from JLW’s Impact Fund, formerly known as the endowment fund, to fund a portion of the grants, which have become part of the annual budget. The Finance Council is also considering other changes to the budget process: Currently, per the League’s Bylaws, the budget must be approved by the membership in the spring ballot. A change has been proposed to place the responsibility of budget approval on the Board of Directors. This change would allow the budget process to move from the fall (very early in the League year) to the spring. This could have several benefits: Giving committees more time to assess their current and future budget needs; giving incoming chairs and council directors a say in the budget they will own; and entrusting the League’s fiscal decisions to the member-elected board of directors. Finance Council leadership emphasized that the proposed change would be particularly beneficial for the League’s large fundraisers: “We believe a budget is a plan. Shifting the timing to the spring allows for more time to plan and for the right members to be involved in the planning process – in turn creating better budgets and, thus, better plan. •
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UNION MARKET WELCOMES HOLIDAY SHOPS By Allison Blaisdell
he 58th annual Holiday Shops brought a new location, new visitors, and new vendors to the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) three-day event. Upon moving into Union Market’s Dock5, League volunteers worked for 12 hours to convert the empty warehouse into a fun, festive venue full of holiday merchandise and cheer. Elyse Braner, one of the co-chairs of Holiday Shops, felt optimistic as the weekend began, saying, “We have a lot of new visitors to Holiday Shops this year thanks to increased social media presence and the traffic of people who visit this area every weekend.” Shopping kicked off on Friday night with Candy Cane Cocktails — an event that allowed League members to attend an exclusive opening of the shops — with more tickets sold than in years past. A fabulous buffet spread provided delicious snacks and desserts for the patrons, and Bad Wolf Brewing Company poured beers from a booth next to the DJ. Meanwhile, a silent auction enticed members to bid big, while $20 bought you an offering from the wine pull—a surprise bottle valued at $20 or more. A new event for the Holiday Shops weekend was Santa Paws where pet owners could bring their canine companions to take a professional picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus. League volunteers roamed the area with pockets full of dog treats and held the leashes of pets so owners could have the opportunity to browse the vendors inside the market after their pet portraits. The new location was also a win for the vendors. Lindsey Perry and Melody Jones, sisters and co-owners of Luna Blu Mar, noted that the League had “done an amazing job with this event. It’s been wonderful to share our brand and our story behind our brand.” Summit to Soul, another local vendor founded by Kimberly Wattrick and based in the Eastern Market/Capitol Hill area, said she particularly enjoyed being surrounded by women who believe in a spirit of voluntarism. “It’s been wonderful,” Wattrick said,
Author and JLW Magazine Committee member Ali Blaisdell plays nice with Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with her husband Andrew and their pups Maggie and Tullah at the Santa Paws event at Holiday Shops. “Many of the brands I carry have an element of give-back – and my store is community based – so participating in this and knowing that a portion of the proceeds are going to charities is important. Also, I’m a new business and the exposure I am getting as a vendor here is wonderful.” Overall, the move to Union Market was positive. Kelly Jones, a rising chair of Holiday Shops, said that there were double the number of vendors from previous years. The Shops were also open for longer hours, and that combined with the natural foot traffic in the area resulted in increased attendance. Local marketing, taking over the popular Instagram handle @wethepeopledc for the day, and tailored advertising in the NOMA and Capitol Hill neighborhoods increased ticket sales and interest, as well. If you loved the new Union Market location this year, you’ll be excited to know that Holiday Shops will be returning to Dock5 for the 2017 sale. Stay tuned for more information. •
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JLW COOKS UP ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL
KIDS IN THE KITCHEN EVENT By Bonnie Louque
ids in the Kitchen is an annual nutrition event created by the Association of Junior Leagues International and hosted by Junior League chapters around the world to promote healthy food and lifestyle choices for families and raise awareness about childhood obesity. On Saturday, February 25, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) hosted its annual Kids in the Kitchen event at the YMCA Anthony Bowen, marking another successful year. Childhood obesity is a serious issue affecting the Washington, DC, area, with statistics showing that one in three District children is considered overweight or obese. “This gives DC the unfortunate distinction of having the third highest rate of child obesity in the nation,” said Allegra Formento, chair of the Kids in the Kitchen Committee. “Through Kids in the Kitchen, JLW is doing its part to help reverse that statistic.” The annual nutrition event – which JLW has held for 11 straight years – is aimed at children ages 3-13 and is free and open to the public. This year’s event was well attended by children and families of all ages, who brought great energy and enthusiasm to all three floors of events and activities at the YMCA. Parked in front of the building was the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures van, which provided information and advice on dental health. Families then entered the building lobby and were greeted with welcome bags, a selection of free books focused on food and nutrition (courtesy of JLW’s Resolution Read program), the opportunity to sign up for this spring’s Bright Beginnings 5K race, information from the from the Washington Area Bicyclist about biking around the city, and a “dress up your water” station with a variety of fruit- and vegetable-infused refreshments. Families could then explore the downstairs for coloring pages, a plant your own veggies activity, face painting, and to make their own trail mix. Or they could venture upstairs to decorate a chef ’s hat, take advantage of the quinoa station, or play bingo. Throughout the YMCA were vendor booths – KIND Bars, Cabot cheeses, and DC Happy Momma snacks – as well as various exercise and yoga classes, including the U.S. Tennis Association, which led sports safety demonstrations. Children hopped, skipped, and squealed with joy from one activity to the next for several hours to participate in all of the activities.
Children put their new nutrition knowledge into practice at the Kids in the Kitchen event at the Anthony Bowen YMCA. Committee members began preparing for this year’s event back in September when they met with the Executive Director of the YMCA to gather feedback on what worked well in previous years and establish goals for the coming health fair. Members secured donations from vendors and organizations and invited community partners and special guests to participate in the event. Each year, the committee goes to great lengths to come up with new and creative ideas to keep things fresh, while preserving those activities that are a hit year after year. According to Formento, this year included some great returning partners, such as the Colgate van, KIND Bars, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and the U.S. Tennis Association. Although JLW has hosted a Kids in the Kitchen event since 2006, this was the first year that it had its own committee, allowing for more event offerings throughout the spring. Notably, the committee partnered across the League to offer mini Kids in the Kitchen events, hosted a spring cooking demonstration for the Washington School for Girls, and registered a walking team for the Bright Beginnings 5k race on April 29. •
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FIRESIDE WITH FRIENDS: LEARNING FROM SUSTAINERS AT NEW CHAT SESSIONS By Heather Mandelkehr
his year has featured a number of new and exciting opportunities for Junior League of Washington (JLW) members to learn from and mingle with each other. Among these is the new Fireside Chats series, which brings together Sustainers, Actives, and New Members for combined social and educational events at JLW Headquarters. The Membership Development Council (MDC) and Sustainers came up with the concept for the Fireside Chats as a way to host more events to bring sustaining and active members together, in line with JLW President Elizabeth Keys’s goal of “Connecting the Dots: Members and Mission.” Representatives from the two teams work together in selecting topics and dates for the Fireside Chats. The name, Fireside Chat, comes from these events being hosted in the Loughborough House parlors, around the fireplace. Structuring the sessions this way allows a small group to converse freely and openly. Membership Outreach chair Chloe Mullins said that Fireside Chats allow Actives to connect with Sustainers on a shared topic. “We have seen this as a way for them to connect not only on the topic, but then talking further on their broader League experiences,” she said. Sustainer Committee chair Myra Arnold, who presented at the first Fireside Chat with Sustainer Committee vice chair Fay Arrington, has substantial background in etiquette and protocol, having spent considerable time teaching etiquette to grade school students and attending protocol courses herself. Arnold described the kick-off Fireside Chat as a “raging success.” Attendees (who included Sustainers Arnold and Arrington, Actives, and one New Member) conducted a wine and cheese tasting, practiced setting tables for entertaining, and discussed Emily Post etiquette. According to Arnold, Fireside Chats shouldn’t be just educational – they should be fun for those attending. The relatively small size of the first gathering allowed the attendees to get to know each other while playing games and talking informally about etiquette. Regarding the value of etiquette and protocol in today’s world, Arnold said that etiquette isn’t just about table settings – it can assist women in feeling more comfortable in both business and social settings.
Actives come together to smile for a photo taken by Sustainer Committee chair Myra Arnold. In fact, future Chats may be specifically about business etiquette – one of the preliminary ideas discussed between the Sustainer Committee and MDC was a session about how to talk to corporate executive officers and how to ask for a raise. While future chats could feature guest speakers with in depth knowledge on the topic at hand, the early Fireside Chats will have Sustainers as presenters, Arnold said. Mullins agreed. “Our Sustainers are an invaluable resource and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with a wide variety of topics,” she said. “Moreover, they are more than happy to share these experiences and their expertise.” For instance, Sustainers involved in the two active gardening clubs were sought out to share secrets of flower arranging and floral decorations in preparation for spring. “I think we can benefit from each other’s company,” Arnold said. After the first Fireside Chat, “everyone left as friends,” she said. “That’s one of the things that the League is all about – making new friends.” •
3039 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20007
DATES TO REMEMBER MAY 1-26 2017-2018 Online Placement Fair
MAY 13 JLW Shops! Georgetown Shop Around
MAY 6 JLW Day of Service
MAY 31 Final Day of 2016-2017 JLW Year
MAY 11 Annual Reception
JUNE 17 Leadership Institute Summer Session
SEPTEMBER 2 National Book Festival SEPTEMBER 9 New Member Saturday Session NOVEMBER 17-19 Holiday Shops