3039M Fall 2016 Edition

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the official magazine of the

3039M junior league of washington

3039 M STREET, NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20007 | 202.337.2001 | WWW.JLW.ORG




Anniversary Celebration Issue: Tossed & Found and Iona Senior Services at 25 Years; NRH at 20 Years How does JLW Select its Grant Recipients? Broadening the Sustainer-Active Partnership




n 1912, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) was founded to address social issues in the city of Washington, DC. Now – 104 years later – the League continues to move our community forward – 104ward. JLW is at its core an organization dedicated to its mission – improving our community and developing the women who serve it so faithfully. The role of the League in our community has historically been that of a convener – of financial resources, of trained volunteers, and of great ideas. By bringing nonprofits, like-minded civic leaders, and passionate women together, we are able to “connect the dots.” That’s what this year’s theme –“Connecting the Dots: Members and Mission”– is about. We’re connecting JLW to our community, our members to our mission, and our past to our present. You’ll see in this issue of 3039M just some of the ways we are connecting the dots: We gathered four remarkable women in one room at our second annual Women’s Leadership Luncheon to share their professional and personal advice. We are linking the past, present, and future for our committees celebrating notable anniversaries this year – Tossed & Found, National Rehabilitation Hospital, and Iona Senior Services. We are assessing the role JLW plays in breaking down barriers to access books in DC. And we are working across JLW councils and levels of membership to ensure each and every member has a fulfilling and educational League experience. I hope that you will take a moment to connect the dots with JLW this year – whether that’s learning how your financial contribution helps further our work in Washington, DC; sharing with your friends the good work we are doing in our community; or simply reflecting on how the JLW network has helped you grow as a volunteer and as a person. I look forward to connecting the dots with you this year! ELIZABETH MARSHALL KEYS President

Our cover features: 1. National Rehabilitation Hospital chair Tarina Charleston helps to decorate the nurse stations for Halloween. 2. Patricia Teck Seggermann visits Mr. John Kay in his home with her dog, Stella, after forming a special bond during her Iona Senior Services deliveries. 3. A JLW volunteer greets an Iona Senior Services client during a meal delivery in the early days of the community partnership. 4. Joi Ridley and Jill Landry prepare for a game of Bingo at National Rehabilitation Hospital to stimulate the minds of patients at the facility. 5. Shoppers move through a room stocked with donated children’s merchandise during Tossed & Found while a JLW volunteer is ready to assist, if needed. 6. Liz Craddock holds her son while holding down a shift at Tossed & Found, alongside fellow JLW volunteers.


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t is a wonderful time to be working on 3039M, as we celebrate the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) past and present and look ahead to an impactful future. This issue celebrates three of the JLW’s anniversaries in community partnership, reminding us of the women that have paved the way in service and mentorship in the DC area, well before our resources were pooled around our signature cause of literacy. Notably, members of the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital Committee have been leading games that stimulate both physical and cerebral functions for two decades; volunteers have been making weekend meal deliveries to Iona Senior Services clients for a quarter of a century; and over the past 25 years, Tossed & Found’s annual rummage sale has raised $2.1 million for our grants. In the pages ahead, you can learn more about new committees, upcoming events, and ways in which JLW is adapting to suit the needs of a continually growing organization and changing times, including an updated space in our Loughborough House for mothers to use for nursing and pumping. Most importantly, members of our Board want to hear from you! Feedback from your previous experiences and suggestions is encouraged for improving the JLW experience. I hope you enjoy this edition of 3039M and take some time during this holiday season to reflect on the memories and connections JLW has provided, both in the community and within the League, which inspires each of us to stay on the path of continued service. MEAGHAN LEISTER Editor

MAGAZINE COMMITTEE Meaghan Leister Magazine Committee Chair Phoenix Ricks Magazine Committee Rising Chair

Jacqueline Bauer

Nicole Moschella

Allison Blaisdell

Sara Nayeem

Mary Katherine Clarke

Rebecca Prybell

Suzanne Doud Galli

Stacy Tsakeris

Erika Harrell

Jacqueline Wasem

Maryam Hatcher Bonnie Louque Heather Mandelkehr

Shannan Robinson

Erin Williams





2 Letters

10 A Glimpse at JLW’s Grant Process

20 CFLS: Planting Seeds of Love

5 From the JLW Kitchen

11 Why is Literacy the Focus of JLW?

22 Anniversary Celebrations

25 JLW From Every Angle

12 Broadening Training for JLW



32 Dates to Remember 14

COMMUNITY IMPACT 4 Calvary: Changing with the Times 6 Catching Up with Meg Graham

Scholarship Winner Maya Bostick

7 A Young Voice with Powerful Words

8 Women’s Leadership Luncheon

Meet Mary Harriman, Founder of the First Junior League

15 Mark Your Calendars:

April is Kitchen Tour Month

16 JLW Moms

24 Follow Along with @3039M 26 How to: Network 27 The Health Benefits of Voluntarism 28 On Mission: The Washington School for Girls

18 Strategic Planning Update


19 JLW Then and Now

29 Connecting the Dots of Our History

9 “Book Deserts”


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.

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD President Elizabeth Marshall Keys

Vice Treasurer Frazier Schulman

President-Elect Aimee Picard Soller

Communications & Public Relations Marta Dehmlow Hernandez

Secretary Tracy Van Riper Treasurer Erinn Colaianni

Youth & Family Community Placements Sarah Berg

Cultural Community Placements Meghan Britt

Membership Development Courtney Mesmer

Adult Community Placements Kate Tyrrell

New Membership Meredith Regine Scialabba

Community Affairs Amy Shuart

Nominating Brooke Horiuchi

Strategic Planning Tycely Williams Sustainers Myra Arnold Ways & Means Diane Lebson







he Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Calvary Women’s Services Committee and the Life Skills, Education, and Arts Program (LEAP) at Calvary Women’s Services Center noticed attendance of JLW’s Calvary Book Club had declined as more Calvary women began to attend the organization’s own weekly LEAP book club. Calvary and JLW decided to change direction and together developed a new Computer Training Program, which will tangibly support Calvary’s goal of enabling “hope and change for tomorrow,” as well as promote literacy. JLW’s Computer Training Program will help the women at Calvary develop real-world computer skills that include: typing, navigating a computer, and proficiency with MS Office programs. JLW Calvary Committee chair Ashley Carter describes the new class as a way to “empower women to seek jobs and strengthen their skill set.” The Computer Training Program matches a JLW volunteer with a member of Calvary so each participant receives one-on-one training. Each exercise is customized for the Calvary member and is driven by a computer unit skills checklist. The checklists are composed of concepts, such as, “I can use a mouse,” “I can open Microsoft Word,” “I can print,” “I can use www.google.com to find information,” “I can copy and paste,” “I can send an email,” “I can find the bus schedule on the internet,” etc. These checklists help JLW volunteers determine the current computer skill level of each Calvary woman. Each participant has a folder with her checklist, so different JLW volunteers can pick up on her skill level at the next training. JLW also provides computer training books for the Calvary women, if they would like to learn further information on their own. Attendance at the computer trainings is expected to vary from week to week, with a goal of three to five Calvary women attending each training. Calvary incentivizes women to attend the sessions by giving away gift cards once three computer trainings have been completed. The Calvary computer lab has five desktop computers and one laptop for use during the trainings. The computer room is very spacious and clean, allowing each woman plenty of space. JLW would like to train the Calvary women in as many different computer environments as possible to improve in their skills in different settings. Once the Calvary women complete the day’s training, they are free to use the computers as they’d like. At the first training class, many “aha” moments could be heard from Calvary women learning new computer skills. One of the participants spoke of her experience working with JLW volunteer Pia Hill, “I was really nervous, but excited. Pia was really nice and Continued on page 5


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JLW Calvary Committee volunteer Pia Hill (left) and a Calvary Women’s Services Center Computer Training Program participant (right)


JLW Calvary Committee chair Ashley Carter (right) and Elaine Johnson (left), LEAP coordinator at Calvary Women’s Services Center The Calvary Rock Star Club is for volunteers who go above and beyond their commitment and dedication to Calvary’s mission: “A safe, caring place for tonight; support, hope and change for tomorrow.” JLW was presented with the Rock Star Club award for hosting book clubs, birthday parties, and movie and bingo nights. •


FROM THE JLW KITCHEN By Suzanne Kim Doud Galli, MD, PhD, FACS


here is a long tradition of culinary writings from Junior Leagues across America. These range from classic, regional cookbooks to those featuring delicious recipes from top local restaurants and chefs. The first Junior League cookbook was published more than six decades ago. Since that time, Junior League chapters across the country have generated more than 200 individual volumes. These collections highlight home kitchen-tested recipes, preserving regional food traditions while improving the quality of life in each community through the funds generated by the book sales. Titles like I’ll Taste Manhattan (New York), Life of the Party (Tampa), Soupcan (Chicago), River Road Recipes (Baton Rouge), Peace Meals (Houston), Talk about Good (Lafayette), and JLW’s own Capital Classics and Capital Celebrations have intrigued chefs throughout the country. The pièce de résistance has been The Junior League Celebration Cookbook: A Treasury of the 400 Most Requested Recipes from Junior League Cookbooks, published by the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. Since its founding over 115 years ago, the face of the Junior League member has changed. Today, a member of the League is more likely to be a career woman. Nonetheless, the tradition of good food and recipes remain. Culinary delights are featured at various JLW events throughout the year, including and the New Member and Sustainer cookie exchanges. The featured selection is from Capital Celebrations. •

Continued from page 4 really patient. Time went by so fast that I didn’t even give her time for her mouth to get dry—I asked so many questions! We started right from the beginning and did a lot of repetition so that she knew I understood everything. It was relaxing because she took her time, and it makes me more excited to learn. I explained how ashamed I was when I went to the library and couldn’t log onto the computer, so Pia said that her homework [between now and the next session] was to go to the library and figure it out so that she can show me.” Sydnie Reynolds, also a member of the JLW Calvary Committee, said her first training with another Calvary woman was very successful and that they will be working on her resume during the next class. •

MUSHROOM TOAST • • • • • •

2 small onions, minced 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced 3-4 tablespoons butter 1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups mayonnaise 1 loaf party pumpernickel bread

Sauté onions and mushrooms in melted butter in a skillet until tender. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise and mix well. The recipe may be prepared to this point and refrigerated. Place slices of pumpernickel bread on an ungreased baking sheet, and top with mushroom mixture. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, then broil for 1 minute or until mixture is brown and bubbly. Yield: 24-36 servings.







By Rebecca Prybell

aya Bostick is a busy freshman at Spelman College. Last spring, she graduated from McKinley Technology High School in Northeast DC, with a 3.97 GPA and over 147 volunteer hours. Bostick is an accomplished dancer who has performed with the Davis Center, the First Corinthians 13th Liturgical Dance Ministry, and the McKinley Cheerleading Team. She has completed internships with Higher Achievement and the Architect of the Capitol. Bostick, in her cap and Bostick is also the recipient of the gown, at her high school Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) graduation. Meg Graham Scholarship for 2016. The Meg Graham Scholarship was started in 1982 to honor the late Reverend Margaret M. Graham by celebrating service and leadership in the community. “When I found out I received the scholarship, I felt extremely blessed and surprised,” Bostick said. “I was really excited to receive the scholarship; it makes a big difference.” On May 19, 2016, JLW awarded Bostick her scholarship during our annual reception. On the same night, JLW announced the winners of our annual poetry contest. The poetry contest is open to students in fourth through eighth grades, while the Meg Graham Scholarship is for high school seniors. Bostick said it was special to have the other students

2016 NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL On September 24, the Library of Congress’s 2016 National Book Festival (NBF) took place at the Washington Convention Center. As it has for the past 14 years, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) served an integral role as the festival’s primary source for volunteers, supplying more than 400 volunteers for the event. This translated into over 3,000 volunteer hours for a historical total of 37,000 volunteer hours, a contribution valued at over $1.15 million. For the first time ever, JLW volunteers had the JLW logo on


Fall 2016

at the same ceremony. “I felt very humbled to be looked up to by the younger students,” she said. “I hope they felt that they can be just like me when they go to college and maybe even receive the same award.” It was Bostick’s voluntarism during high school that set her apart. She volunteered primarily with two organizations: Kaizen Life Skills, where she prepared meals and provided support to Washington’s homeless population; and the WISE (Women Inspiring Strength and Empowerment) Club at McKinley Technology High School, where she worked to inspire other women ages 12 and older to become leaders. Bostick plans to continue giving back while at Spelman. She hopes to join an organization called SKIRTS (Sisters Keeping It Real Through Service). Right now, she is focusing on her studies as a Health Sciences major. “At home, I was very independent in my work,” she said. “The transition to Spelman was not a major shift, but the rigor was challenging at first.” JLW awards the Meg Graham Scholarship every year to a high school student who has demonstrated outstanding voluntarism. The recipient of the scholarship receives $10,000 for college education expenses for all four years of their undergraduate studies. Reverend Graham was the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown and a dedicated JLW member. She is remembered for her tireless commitment to social justice issues and her advocacy for many nonprofit organizations in the Washington community. She served as the President of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. from 1980 to 1982. If you know anyone who may be interested in applying for next year’s Meg Graham Scholarship, the application will be made available on the JLW website in January 2017. All submissions must be postmarked by March 1, 2017, for consideration. •

By Erika Harrell

their festival T-shirts helping JLW volunteers stand out in the crowd. A key function JLW volunteers serve is to manage the book-signing lines. Some of the notable authors included: Ken Burns, Stephen King, Lois Lowry, Joyce Carol Oates, Diane Rehm, Salman Rushdie, Bob Woodward, all of whom drew large numbers of Festival patrons. A volunteer is easily found by her prominently featured JLW shirt logo.




By Maryam Hatcher

ast spring, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) held its 17th annual “Find Your Words” youth poetry contest for fourth through eighth graders attending public and charter schools in Washington, DC. Ashley Escobar, then a fourth grader at Imagine Hope Community Charter School’s Tolson campus, was one of the youngest winners. Escobar’s poem, “Not,” was inspired by her belief that the true essence of a thing is not captured by what you observe, but by how Poetry Winner, Ashley you experience it. She aspires to be Escobar, at the 2016 a police officer when she grows up award ceremony and reports that she was “happy and excited” to find out that she was selected as one of the contest winners. Her victory was announced over the school’s intercom system, and she read her poem over the loudspeaker for all of her schoolmates to hear. To add to the excitement, Ashley and her teacher, Ms. Chelsea Herndon, arrived at the contest’s award ceremony in a limousine. Her poem is included in a book of poetry compiled from poems written by Ms. Herndon’s 2015-2016 fourth grade class, which is featured prominently in the school’s library. Not surprisingly, Escobar, now a fifth grader, says that her favorite subject in school is writing. She counts Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss among her favorite poets. The “Find Your Words” youth poetry contest was created to encourage and support literacy. The winning poems are selected based on content, originality, creativity, and clarity. Next spring will mark JLW’s 18th year hosting this contest. •


By Ashley Escobar, Imagine Hope Community Charter School Not a rose, but the scent of a rose Not the sky, but the light in the sky Not the firefly, but the gleam of the firefly Not the sea, but the sound of the sea Not myself, but what makes me truly me See, hear, and feel something that shines in the shadows







By Jacqueline Wasem

n Tuesday, September 20, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) hosted its annual Women’s Leadership Luncheon at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel as part of the League’s 58th annual Holiday Shops. The panel, moderated by The Washington Post reporter Emily Heil, consisted of a group of strong, driven women who followed a diverse array of career paths in fields largely populated by men – each of the women admirable and deserving of the title “leader.” The participants included Lieutenant Colonel Julia Oh Coxen, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Vice President of Corporate Government Relations for GE Nancy Dorn, and Nicole Hassoun, Head Distiller for Joseph A. Magnus & Co. Lt. Col. Coxen is the first woman commander of the Mission Support Element at Fort Belvoir, as well as an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. She received the Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan. Rep. McMorris Rodgers is the chair of the Republican House Conference, making her one of the most powerful women in Congress and the first woman to lead a House caucus. At the age of 33, then-president Bill Clinton appointed Dorn to Assistant Secretary of the Army, making her the first woman and youngest person to hold the position. DC’s “Gin Goddess”, Hassoun, holds the distinction of being the first and only woman distiller in the District, as well as one of the city’s most well-known bartenders. The topics discussed at the luncheon ranged from mentors to failure to five-year plans and much in between. Here are the panelists’ take on a few of the questions raised*: Heil: What tools do you have in your leadership toolbox? Hassoun: Benefiting from listening to the group and taking feedback. Coxen: Consistency. Transparency. Driving forward as one. And a heavy dose of gratitude. McMorris Rodgers: The very qualities people look for in their elected representatives, they find in women. They want their representatives to be good listeners and work across the aisle. Dorn: There are three things you have to be in this world. One is resilient. You have to continue to learn. You have to be a lifelong learner. The other is courage. Personal courage and you have to transfer that into professional courage. Heil: What daily affirmations do you use to find confidence? Hassoun: One of the little things is organization. I write down a list of accomplishable things each day.


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Emily Heil (far right), a Washington Post reporter, moderates a panel featuring VP of Corporate Government Relations for GE Nancy Dorn, Lt. Col. Julia Oh Coxen, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) and Nicole Hassoun, Head Distiller for Joseph A. Magnus & Co. (left to right). Coxen: Being prepared makes me confident to go out there and speak my mind. McMorris Rodgers: My husband is a rock, and it’s been a huge help to lean on him. Also, knowing who you are and having confidence in that. Dorn: Do not be afraid to take yourself too seriously. You should use the tools you have. Being a woman is not a bad thing. There are a lot of things about being a woman in business or in the military that make you the one out of five, the one out of fifty, or the one out of one hundred. Heil: How do you deal with failure? Hassoun: I’ve had to learn how to say no sometimes. I try to make sure I can do everything for everyone, and it takes its toll on my life and my partner. Coxen: I have had way more failures than successes, and I’ve learned from all of them. A great technique we’ve started using is the pre-mortem. Before a mission, you sit down with your team and imagine that if you failed, how did it happen. Dorn: Women are not single dimensional. If you have a career and a family or some other corner of your life you indulge occasionally, you tend to balance things, and there have been many times where I didn’t get the balance right. You have to learn to live with some ambiguity. McMorris Rodgers: You get through each day, and then you get a new start on the next day. Some days it goes better than others. It’s not being too hard on yourself, and taking care of yourself first and foremost. • * Answers edited for clarity.



“BOOK DESERTS” By Sara Nayeem


he Literacy Events Planning Committee (LEP), which works with the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival and organizes the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Resolution Read initiative, has a new mandate this year: to evolve JLW’s partnership with the DC Public Library (DCPL) system. In keeping with JLW’s focus on literacy, this new partnership will address the pressing need of “book deserts”– the startling scarcity of children’s books in low-income neighborhoods in cities, including Washington, DC. Early access to print resources, is strongly linked to children’s development of vocabulary, comprehension skills, and general knowledge. But equal access to books continues to be a challenge. A 2001 study by Susan B. Neuman of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development demonstrated a sharp contrast between the availability of books for purchase between low and middle-income neighborhoods: The middle-income neighborhood had 13 titles for every one child, while there was only one title for every 300 children in the low-income neighborhood. This is significant as three out of four children’s books are purchased in brick and mortar stores. A new study by Neuman, published in the journal Urban Education, looked at the difference between high-poverty (poverty rate of 40 percent or more) and borderline communities (poverty rate of 18-40 percent) in three urban areas in the US, including Washington, DC. The disparities in access to children’s books were stark – borderline neighborhoods averaged 16 times as many books per child as the high-poverty communities in the same cities. The communities studied in Washington, DC, showed even wider disparities: In Anacostia, a high-poverty area, 830 children would have to share one age-appropriate book, versus one book for every two children in the borderline neighborhood of Capitol Hill. The restricted availability of reading materials to purchase in low-income areas exacerbates the limitations faced by low-income families: even if parents have the resources and desire to purchase children’s books, they may not be available. These findings reinforce the need to find other ways to get reading materials into these homes. DCPL is eager to make headway on this issue, and JLW is well-positioned to help. Our relationship with DCPL has historically been housed with our Resolution Read program, which previously planned read-aloud events at DC libraries and also distributes books to JLW’s community partners and directly to families. While the book distribution components of Resolution Read will continue, the read-alouds are being phased out; this will allow committee members to focus more on access for children not already looped into the li-

A JLW member reads to a boy during a Literacy Lab shift. brary system. An obvious place to start is with DCPL’s popular Books from Birth program, which mails a free book each month from birth to five years old to every child in DC who is enrolled. The program has already reached one-third of eligible children in the city. Partnering with JLW represents many opportunities to reach the other two-thirds of these children. “The partnership on Books from Birth makes a lot of sense for JLW because we have so many connections to groups that work with families,” said Carolyn Wilson, rising chair of the LEP Committee. “Our goal is to facilitate 1,000 children signing up for the program, and when they sign up, they will also get a free book.” LEP has brainstormed a number of ideas for reaching its goal for Books from Birth, including manning a table at the Bright Beginnings 5K Race. But committee members also plan to work directly with community partners; even those that are oriented toward school-age children could provide opportunities to reach younger siblings. “We are continuing to plan for ways to expand our reach for the Books from Birth program and we welcome ideas,” said LEP vice chair Erica Flint. LEP asks that JLW members send any suggestions to chair Sarah Amick. Research also shows that increasing resources alone is not likely to improve academic achievement; rather, the work being done by JLW volunteers with many of our community partners to engage, mentor, and challenge young children goes hand-in-hand with improved access to reading materials and, therefore, academic achievement. Together, starting with LEP’s work with DCPL to provide low-income children with Books from Birth and continuing through the broader programs our community placements offer, JLW is leading the way in addressing the urgent need created by “book deserts.” •







By Heather Mandelkehr

ne of the most important ways that the Junior League of Washington (JLW) provides support to the community is through grants to deserving organizations. How does JLW’s Targeted Grants & Volunteer Resources (TGVR) Committee pick grant recipients from a pool of commendable applicants? The first step is getting the word out: Committee members promote the availability of grants by distributing a press release to community partners and media organizations and using JLW’s social networks to share information and deadlines. The effect of this outreach has been substantial this year – a considerable number of applicants applied for the first time thanks to recommendations from committee members. According to TGVR chair Christina Prevalsky, the recommendations from in-the-know members were key. “We’re always looking for organizations to reach out to,” she said. “If we can get this Leaguewide, that would be perfect.” Targeted Grants are larger grants (historically between $20,000 and $30,000) awarded to 501(c)(3) community organizations with literacy-focused programs and projects. Opportunity Grants of $1,000 or less are awarded to community nonprofits that demonstrate an unexpected short-term financial need related to their respective missions and/or operations. For Targeted Grants, applicants are first required to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), typically in late August or early September, which the committee reviews, then invites a number of qualified organizations to apply. After applications are submitted, the committee reviews them to select finalists. JLW prioritizes organizations that are fiscally responsible and have existing partnerships with the League or other community partners, as well as organizations that can provide volunteer opportunities for JLW members. Regarding the criteria that the committee uses in evaluating applications, Prevalsky said that the committee has been “looking for organizations that we think will have a significant impact on the community.” Preference, as explained to applicants, will be given to programs and projects that address one or more of the following children’s literacy concerns: lack of reading materials in the home; lack of reading materials and resources in school classrooms and libraries; and lack of exposure to reading aloud. Prevalsky also clarified that while there is a preference for children’s programs, it is not necessary for a community organization to serve children to qualify for a grant. However, Prevalsky explained that in its evaluation, the committee looks to whether an organization has a program in mind


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Allison Heiser, a JLW volunteer on the Horton's Kids Committee, paints the face of a child at a Halloween community event. Horton's Kids received a JLW Targeted Grant in 2013 and 2015. where the funding would be applied: “We’re looking for measurable outcomes – how many people were impacted? Did a child’s grade level of reading increase?” Finalists selected following the evaluation of written applications will then host a site visit for TGVR committee members, and participate in in-person interviews. These site visits and interviews give the committee a sense of how the organization works and helps them learn about the organization’s leadership – both of which give the committee the opportunity to assess whether the organization will be able to successfully implement a program and make effective use of the grant funds. Once the TGVR Committee has conducted all of its evaluations, it makes a recommendation to JLW’s Board of Directors for a particular organization or organizations to receive the Targeted Grant. The board, following the committee’s presentation, reviews the recommendation and votes on whether to approve it. If the board approves the recommendation, the matter is placed on the spring ballot in April for the League’s membership to vote on it. According to Prevalsky, TGVR works to enhance the grant award process to continue developing relationships with community organizations, especially for multi-year grants and partnership with organizations that provide volunteer opportunities for JLW members. “There are a lot of great organizations in the DC area – we’re reading their applications, and we want to give money to all of them!” •




By Erika Harrell

he focus of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) is to address the complex issues of literacy in the greater metropolitan area of the District of Columbia. This is evident throughout JLW, from our annual participation in the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival to our community partnerships with organizations like 826DC’s Reading All Stars and the Literacy Lab. You can’t be a JLW member without knowing that we value literacy. But have you ever stopped to wonder why we concentrate our efforts on it? We all love to support it and know it is very important, but why is this our cause over so many other equally important causes? According to Stephanie Platz-Vieno, JLW President for 2000-2001, in the late 1990s JLW had placements in a wide variety of areas that helped the community. However, there were concerns that the range of placements diminished the impact of JLW’s work. The notion of marshalling our resources around one cause was thought to lead to a greater impact on the community. In addition, the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) found that focusing efforts was very effective in making an impact. On October 14, 1998, a series of area town hall meetings were held to discuss the JLW focusing process. On January 9, 1999, the Board of Directors held its mid-year retreat with one significant agenda item: to recommend an area of concentration for JLW. Based on surveys, discussions, and town hall meetings from the previous two years, board members began their day assuming the focus would fall under the topic of education. The board wanted a focus that maintained diversity of placements, but provided an opportunity for the maximum impact on the community. After a day of discussion, the board unanimously recommended that literacy would be the focus of resources and efforts of JLW. On January 27, 1999, the Strategic Planning Committee and the board held a League-wide meeting to discuss the issue of a JLW focus topic. With the 1999 spring ballot, the JLW membership voted to focus its efforts on literacy, beginning in the 1999-2000 fiscal year. Betsy Duff, who had served as President for the 1998-1999 year, chaired the Literacy Task Force that was created to decide how to enact JLW’s decision to focus on literacy. This included creating a special signature project to best serve the literacy needs of the community. To launch the League’s new focus on literacy, Reading Central was introduced-a group which included Betsy Duff and Christine Benero, another former JLW President. Reading Central officially

JLW President for 2013-2014 Shiela Corley and JLW President-Elect for 2016-2017 Aimee Picard Soller distribute books with the Literacy Lab at Orr Elementary School. began on August 10, 2000, by hosting JLW’s “Harry Potter Party” at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library. The event, done in partnership with the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) and the DCPL Foundation, was aimed at children between the ages of eight and 12 and celebrated the joy of reading through the magic of the best-selling Harry Potter series. This new focus energized the JLW membership. It also established new relationships with organizations that had not previously been served by JLW, such as the Library of Congress and DCPL. Also, during this time, our Community Advisory Board, now known as Community Roundtables, began including more stakeholders actively working in the area of literacy, providing the League with valuable advice and feedback on efforts to serve the community’s literacy needs. Since 2000, JLW has accomplished much with its focus on literacy. From community-partnered involvement in groups such as Horton’s Kids to providing literacy-based grants in the area, the League’s efforts in promoting the cause are widespread. While literacy is our current focus, the League’s focus could change in the future. For now, JLW hopes to achieve much more in the name of literacy. • *Special thanks to former JLW President Betsy Duff and Stephanie Platz-Vieno for their significant contributions to this article. For more information on JLW’s relationship with DCPL, please see the article on page 9.






JLW President Elizabeth Keys addresses the 2016-2017 leadership team at a Leadership Institute training.


he Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Membership Development Council (MDC) has made great strides in recent years in broadening its mandate to train, develop, and retain League volunteers. New changes in 2016 mean more opportunities for members to learn new skills, grow personally and professionally, and have fun along the way – and the MDC wants to hear your ideas! MDC now includes five committees as the Leadership Institute, created last year within the Development & Training (D&T) Committee, has become a standalone committee. Each of the five committees aim to address a particular group or need within JLW: Membership Outreach (creating a strong member network), D&T (implementing workshops to cultivate all JLW members’ leadership and volunteer skills), Leadership Institute (training JLW leaders), Member Resources (assisting members with their placements), and Esprit (encouraging social and personal development). With its mandate to bring members throughout JLW together, the Membership Outreach Committee (MOC) organizes all-League events such as the General Membership Meetings, Bubbly with the Board,


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book clubs, fireside chats with Sustainers, and Sustainer Ambassador Dinners. In recent years, this committee has increased opportunities for Sustainers to interact with and mentor active members. A commonality of this committee’s events is that members have the opportunity to learn from one another and share perspectives on JLW. MOC also conducts exit surveys and focus groups to understand member concerns, glean ideas, and generate solutions. Responsibility for the General Membership Meetings has been moved into MOC this year. The MDC committee that members are probably most familiar with is the D&T Committee. The D&T Committee’s core purpose is to design and implement workshops that will help make members effective leaders and volunteers within the League. D&T has four teams: Leadership, which plans trainings to develop the pipeline of JLW leaders; League Essentials, which offers sessions to build members’ knowledge about JLW; Unique Focus, which covers workshops that don’t fit neatly into the other two buckets (e.g., leveraging your emotional intelligence); and Logistics and Data, which tracks D&T attendance and workshop data. “Logistics and Data is a relatively new function which aims to measure the impact of workshops throughout the year,” said former D&T chair Kara Frost.


“Having this data will allow us to improve communication and coordination between the content tracks.” Some types of events previously offered by D&T (for instance, a home-buying seminar) are now under the purview of Esprit, which is tasked with events aimed at personal edification. This sharpened focus will allow the committee to offer more workshops this fiscal year – at least 27, up from 24 in 2015-2016. Leadership Institute, focused on developing current and future leaders within JLW, is an exciting initiative that incubated on the council two years before launching this year as a standalone committee. Its efforts span an executive coaching program for current committee chairs, with established past leaders acting as mentors; the Get On Board training that prepares women to serve on nonprofit boards, whether with JLW or in the community; and a new communications training for leaders. Member Resources (MR; previously called Membership Placement Resources) aims both to ensure each JLW committee has the right mix of volunteers and to support members in finding the right placement. This committee organizes Placement Information Events, publishes the annual Volunteer Opportunities Brochure (currently undergoing a major revision), and hosts the Placement Fair. If a member has challenges with her placement, needs to take a Leave of Absence, or wants to better understand the requirements of a particular committee, Member Resources will assist. The Placement Advisor program makes this process easier by linking MR members with specific committees and councils in JLW. Finally, the Esprit Committee organizes social, educational, and cultural events for JLW volunteers (and often their guests and families). Key goals of this committee are to provide a sense of community, offer opportunities to build friendships, and enhance recruiting efforts, as members frequently bring friends to events. There are five clubs under Esprit which each plan events: cultural (e.g., art shows,

museum exhibits, movies); entertaining (e.g., wine tastings, etiquette classes, recipe exchanges); mom’s club (e.g., playdates, coffee gatherings, moms-only activities); social (e.g., monthly happy hours); and sporting (e.g., golf and tennis clinics). The committee is focused this year on offering more events that don’t have an associated fee to help broaden participation as much as possible. The changes in the committees under MDC in the past year represent an increasing strategic focus from the Board, according to Membership Development Council Director Courtney Mesmer. “The board looks at what League members want and tries to determine what can be shifted to help meet those needs,” she said. “One of my goals is to help members be more aware of everything JLW has to offer. Members have the opportunity for community service; training and leadership; and networking and social. You don’t have to do all three in a given year, but over the course of your League career, you can benefit from all these opportunities.” •

MDC WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU! The Membership Development Council (MDC) is interested in member feedback. Please share suggestions for any of their five committees on training, mentorship or social activities, including comments and the events you have attended. MDC would also like to hear from you with suggestions or ideas for bridging the gap between sustainers and active members. Email mdc@jlw.org and make it a goal to check out more of the MDC committees’ offerings this year.

JLW MARKETPLACE OFFERS MEMBER BENEFITS WITH LILLY PULITZER It’s no secret that many Junior League of Washington (JLW) ladies love Lilly! Thanks to the work of JLW Marketplace’s new Ongoing Partnerships subcommittee, JLW members can shop until we drop at Lilly Georgetown with perks. Whenever a League member makes a purchase, she will receive a special gift. Also, members who spend $150+ will get a larger gift (think: plush beach towel or something comparable). Marketplace has created a special membership card for members to display at checkout. Access a printable or downloadable version from your member home page on the JLW website. Happy shopping!

NEW ITEMS HIT SHELVES Tired of looking at your overly loved and well used JLW items from years past? Be sure to check out Marketplace’s newest offerings – including wine tumblers, JLW baby onesies, Maybooks, and much more. Right: JLW members shop at Marketplace’s Lilly Pulitzer Georgetown September event.





1. Mary Harriman had a close relationship with her father. He was a railroad tycoon with humble beginnings, and his journey through life inspired a philanthropic spirit that he passed to his daughter. 2. While at Barnard College, Harriman and a friend brainstormed an idea to bring women of varying religious backgrounds together for a common social cause. This manifested in a group of young women who brought aided those living in New York settlement houses. The group of women became known as “The Junior League for the Promotion of Settlement Movements” and later evolved into what we know as the Junior League. 3. Within 10 years of the group’s inception, other Leagues were born in Brooklyn, Boston, and Portland, Oregon. Within 20 years, the chapters reached over 40 in number, though the mission has remained steadfast: women committed to promoting voluntarism, and improving communities through effective action, with exclusively educational and charitable purpose. 4. Harriman was focused on charitable works beyond the League. She founded a sanitarium for people with tuberculosis, was elected to the Board of Trustees of Barnard College, held a seat on the Council for National Defense during World War I, joined the board of the Maternity Center Association, and invested in many other community works in the New York area. 5. Harriman was close friends with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. This led to her involvement in politics and her desire to bring voters to the polls. She was creative in her endeavor, hosting a “barn dance” for her daughter’s debutante ball, which allowed her to bring to light the struggles of the farming community; she also used the event as an opportunity to teach younger guests how to vote by bringing in mock voting machines. 6. After her husband passed away, Harriman moved to Georgetown in Washington, DC, where she rented an apartment with her friend Frances Perkins, who had been appointed as the Secretary of Labor. 7. Franklin Roosevelt appointed Harriman as the chair of the Consumer Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration. The job required her to keep the price of goods proportional to wages, prevent price inflation on goods, and champion farmer’s cooperatives from price discrimination.


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8. In her first year of DC life, Harriman founded Today magazine. After her death, the magazine evolved into what we now know as Newsweek. 9. One of Harriman’s best-known achievements was the co-authoring of the Social Security Act with her friend Frances Perkins. These two women worked to secure financial futures for millions of Americans during their retirement. 10. On November 17, 1934, Harriman was injured in an equestrian accident and the wounds eventually led to her death. Her close friend Eleanor Roosevelt, remarked at her memorial service a year later, “She helped all those she came in contact with who needed her assistance.” •



By Erin Williams


he Kitchen Tour Committee, formerly known as the Special Events Committee, partners with local food and beverage organizations and vendors to host events at which Junior League of Washington (JLW) members receive a discount and JLW receives a portion of the evening’s sale proceeds. The most popular of these events, of course, is the Kitchen Tour, an opportunity to tour beautiful kitchens in private homes and experience tastings, treats, and toddies from area bars, restaurants, and specialty shops. The Kitchen Tour has become so popular among League members and their families and friends that the JLW affectionately refers to April as “Kitchen Tour Month.” The popularity of the Kitchen Tour reflects the shift in how people spend money – millennials in particular prefer to spend money on experiences rather than goods. What better way to give to JLW’s community outreach initiatives than to experience a day of top-notch entertaining, with savory food and delectable beverages, while learning how to create them at home? Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect this coming April during “Kitchen Tour Month:”

THE KITCHEN TOUR – The main event will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Experience the elements of entertaining at its finest: food, beverage, and interior design. To give you a taste of what you can expect: Upon entering a house on the tour, you will be offered nibbles from a local restaurant, chef, or vendor. Proceed to the kitchen for a cooking demonstration from a local restaurant (with a taste test, of course!). Meet local interior designers, and get free advice on how to incorporate design elements from your favorite houses in your own space.

TASTE OF THE TOUR – A one-time event on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, will kick-off the annual Kitchen Tour with bites and sips from local chefs and mixologists, as well as an auction. Excitingly, the event will be held at the industrially chic Long View Gallery in DC’s Shaw neighborhood. The gallery opened in 2006 and in addition to a variety of events, showcases both local and international artists. The committee turned up the taste factor by securing one of DC’s best-known caterers, Ridgewells. Ridgewells, which serves the White House and various diplomats, prides itself on serving farm-to-table cuisine and using sustainable, green practices to create a memorable dining experience. Like JLW, Ridgewells gives back to nonprofit organizations to support a variety of health, education, women’s and children’s issues.

The committee is finalizing the details on the locations for the tour, but is working hard to raise the bar and create an unforgettable experience for attendees. The official hashtag for all Kitchen Tour events is #JLWKitchenTour, so be sure to use it when you attend. The Kitchen Tour will also be utilizing an app again this year. From logistics and sponsors, to receiving notifications, the app is a great tool to help participants navigate the tour. The app is available on Apple and Android devices, searchable by “Junior League Kitchen Tour.” It will be available the week before Taste of the Tour, subject to change. •

Navigate Kitchen Tour via the exclusive app.




JLW MOMS By Bonnie Loque


s members of a League focused on literacy among the women and children of the DC area, we spend countless volunteer hours among families– young children, older children, and parents in all stages of life who are juggling real-world responsibilities while raising children. But, as an organization, how are we supporting our members who are also juggling life, raising children, and fulfilling family commitments? When I returned to the Junior League of Washington (JLW) after several years away, I wondered how I could possibly make it all work this time – raising my three-year-old son with love and attention, while bringing the same quality of work to my career, and fulfilling my commitment to JLW and the community. In the 1960s, my grandmother was active in her Junior League in Los Angeles, and she had five children. Surely, I could manage it with only one. I pored over the descriptions of each committee during the Placement Fair last April, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a community versus in-League placement. Ultimately, I landed on the Magazine Committee (hooray!), and at our first committee meeting, I heard over and over again – from members with children and without – that they had similarly chosen this group for its flexibility, which would allow them to manage a JLW placement while juggling various other life factors. I was thrilled to be among so many others who shared my perspective, and I wondered more broadly: How many more of us across the League worry about the balance between our JLW commitments and family life? And, more importantly, are these things mutually exclusive, or could we draw lessons from the experience of other members that might make it easier to blend the two? In September 2016, select members were asked to share their thoughts related to the experience of JLW moms in a brief and informal survey. The responses highlighted some key points: • Choose Your Placement Wisely. Member perspectives varied considerably when it came to assessing which committees might be easiest or hardest to manage with children at home. There was no clear tendency towards an in-League versus community placement, although the results showed a strong preference for committees that had consistent and predictable hours, or the ability to schedule independently so that volunteers could best meet these obligations by planning their childcare needs far in


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advance. Examples of these placements include the Historic Alexandria Docents (HAD) Committee, which allows members to schedule their shifts directly with the HAD properties; the Iona Senior Services Committee, which allows children to be brought on meal deliveries; and kid-friendly committees such as Kids in the Kitchen, Bright Beginnings, and N Street Village. Kids in the Kitchen, Bright Beginnings, and N Street Village were all highlighted for having events in which children or family members can participate, such as the Bright Beginnings 5K run or the N Street Village holiday and spring parties. Others noted the benefits of committees where a significant portion of the work is done remotely– Magazine, for example. Overall, when difficulties arose in meeting obligations, members encouraged others to reach out to committee leaders to discuss their situation and help find a solution that worked best. • Are Kids Allowed? Given that our JLW Loughborough House is a beautifully preserved historic property, there is an understandable anxiety among members about bringing their children to meetings. Development & Training Committee member Krystal Putman-Garcia said that she loved her time in the San Francisco League because it was a “very accepting group” and “women brought their kids to meetings all the time.” Yet, here in Washington, DC, many of our survey respondents said that they had “no idea children were allowed in the house” and that they would be “terrified of their child breaking something.” (I, for one, share that concern). Still, some reported that they had brought their babies and young children to meetings, on occasion, and that their committee leaders and fellow members were very supportive. In previous years, there have even been playgroups that met at the Loughborough House. • Nursing, Pumping, and Diapering. Among the survey respondents with children, the vast majority raised concerns related to nursing, pumping, and space to change their babies at their volunteer sites. Some of these members noted that they had brought their young babies to meetings at JLW Headquarters and were able to nurse while attending their committee event. One member said that she felt comfortable just finding an open room to use for pumping when she attended an all-day event at the Loughborough House. However, others


shared that because they did not know of any spaces at JLW HQ where it would be appropriate to nurse and change a diaper, they felt they had no choice but go out to their car to feed and change them. For events longer in duration and not at our Headquarters, this is a particularly difficult issue. For a long JLW event off-site, one survey respondent said that her husband shuttled their infant son multiple times to be fed throughout her volunteer shift because there was nowhere to pump and store breastmilk on location. • Let’s Play! It is no surprise that in a social organization, moms were enthusiastic in their interest for playgroups for children of various ages, not just babies; playgroups on weekends, rather than weekdays; playgroups by location; mom meetups/socials; family-friendly Esprit events; a listserv or other forum for JLW moms to communicate; and more. Survey respondents described seeing the occasional Moms Club or other child-focused events advertised in the past, but none had information about ongoing events of this nature or where to find them in the future. So what is JLW doing to address these issues? One notable development already in effect is a space in JLW Headquarters for mothers to use for nursing and pumping. The Noyes Room, on the ground floor of the Loughborough House, was designated as a space for this purpose beginning 2016 - 2017. The refrigerator at the house is also available for

use by members to store breastmilk during meetings and events. There is also a changing table in the ground floor rest room closest to the Noyes Room. For moms with strollers, there is an elevator to the second floor. JLW has been working at all levels to address these and other issues raised by members in the survey data, as well as recommendations made by the 2015-2016 Membership Task Force. According to Courtney Mesmer, Director of the Membership Development Council, the goal of the Membership Task Force and its recommendations were to continue improving the experience of members and finding ways to better connect with each other overall. To that end, the group issued a set of recommendations in the winter of 2016, which JLW members can find under the Resources tab on the member home page. •






he Junior League of Washington (JLW) would not be the strong organization it is today without careful planning, critical thinking, and an eye toward the future. For these reasons, the board adopts a Strategic Plan every five years, which provides direction and drives an overall strategy for voluntarism and leadership provided by the League. This five-year Strategic Plan then informs an Annual Plan that identifies goals for the year, and what steps will be taken to achieve these goals. For 2016-2017, the final year of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan, the board has identified the following areas of focus: BUILDING COMMUNITY IMPACT by increasing League-wide community opportunities; reassessing the role of grants (both dollars and books); and striving for metrics that measure outcomes in addition to outputs BUILDING THE JLW BRAND by positioning JLW as an innovative generator of resources; creating a bank of stories to be shared internally and externally; encouraging members to develop elevator speeches for sharing externally; and empowering members to be ambassadors of the JLW brand BUILDING AN INTERNAL SENSE OF COMMUNITY by providing coaching and mentoring opportunities; seeking consistent and clear communication with members; offering events that foster connections across the League; and focusing on recognizing, acknowledging, and celebrating members Each council then determines what steps they will take to meet the objectives. The Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) works with the board, council directors, and committees to collect and track data to capture progress toward the achievement of the annual goals and objectives. Building upon this progress method, SPC is currently creating an instrument that will help the board strengthen its focus on governance and the councils’ emphasis on management. In addition to helping the board execute the current Annual Plan, SPC


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will solicit input this year, through the annual survey as well as focus groups and other avenues, to inform the creation and socialization of a new five-year strategic plan. It will be the start of, and in many ways the continuation of, another exciting chapter for JLW. •




he Junior League of Washington (JLW) has seen many changes over the last 104 years. From bulky computers to sleek laptops, from permed hair to top knots, these changes have been a big part of the League’s history. Passion for voluntarism and community is the constant that knits together decades of JLW women. Kids in the Kitchen mirrors a community event from the early 1940s that promoted children’s vision education. The festive Holiday Shops is still a favorite among members, as it was in the 1950s. And preserving the arts has been important to women of the past and present. Take a look back at some moments in the League’s history where things may appear different at first glance, but our purpose remains the same. •

By Nicole Moschella

In the 1980s, (pictured left) League women had to work with computers that were not mobile and were incredibly heavy. Today, laptops (pictured right) make life easier when helping to spread our mission.

Above, League volunteers with fellow members of the community on Serve-A-Thon Day in 1997. Below, some of today’s members are all smiles after a shift at the Capital Area Food Bank.

Education and preservation of the arts have always been important to JLW. Above, a member educates a group about an art exhibit on the wall during the 1948 Art Tour. Now, League women still appreciate art as shown in the photo below at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, where JLW members staff the information desk and serve as docents.





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Ms. Ernestine enjoys the company of young CFLS residents.





ow does unconditional love make you feel? Ernestine Spriggs, or “Ms. Ernestine,” a resident manager at Community Family Life Services (CFLS) has provided unconditional love to residents and their children for five years. Ms. Ernestine believes that “if you show love to a person, they will be able to see the ability to change and to become a better person.” CFLS is a turning point for many women who have come from very dark periods in their lives. The organization supports the women returning home from prison or jail through programs that help them re-enter society, guard against homelessness, and prevent relapse into criminal behavior. CFLS runs 15 apartments, provides food and clothing, and offers employment development and placement, personal support services, mentoring, and parenting workshops. The typical stay for a CFLS resident is from one year to 18 months. Ms. Ernestine provides guidance to the residents and childcare during parenting classes, events organized by the Junior League of Washington (JLW), and CFLS programs. Ms. Ernestine’s role at CFLS is a volunteer role that includes room and board. Ms. Ernestine, originally from Washington, DC, has nine siblings and was raised by a strong single mother, who taught her how to take care of children with kindness

and love. Ms. Ernestine’s mother taught her about persistence by going back to school and becoming a DC public school teacher at the age of 50.

MS. ERNESTINE SEES SERVICE TO OTHERS AS HER PURPOSE IN LIFE. Ms. Ernestine is able to relate to the CFLS residents because she spent thirty years on the streets prior to her own rehabilitation. In 1999, she made the decision to get off the streets and was taken into a program in New York called the Addiction Prevention Recovery Administration (ADPRA). She grew in the loving environment of ADPRA and learned how to help others put their lives back together and move on.

JLW is very dear to Ms. Ernestine because of a relationship she developed with a League member, Kathleen McMantus, many years ago. She met McMantus at the Community of Hope in Northwest DC and they developed a close friendship. When Ms. Ernestine decided to get married, McMantus asked Ms. Ernestine if she needed anything and was able to provide her with a washer and dryer. Ms. Ernestine has never forgotten McMantus and encourages the residents at CFLS to participate in JLW events, so they can experience the same support and friendship that McMantus offered. Ms. Ernestine feels that God has blessed her by allowing her to care for the residents of CFLS. She aims to “plant seeds of love” at CFLS to foster openness and a willingness to allow change into their lives. The seeds of love have been planted in Ms. Ernestine, she says, so that she doesn’t dwell on the dark times in her life; rather, she believes that she survived so many years on the streets to better provide unconditional love to CFLS residents. She is able to relate to the struggles of the children at CFLS, and finds that by doing so, the children have a lot to share with her in return. Ms. Ernestine sees service to others as her purpose in life. She is content in what she has been provided and is thankful for the simple things—like the children at CFLS who make her so happy. •




Meghan Britt sorts through merchandise at Tossed & Found with a community partner.


A JLW volunteer poses during a weekend meal delivery dropoff to an Iona client.


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A JLW volunteer plays a round of Bingo with NRH patients.



he Junior League of Washington (JLW) has even more to celebrate than usual this year: two silver anniversaries of 25 years and one platinum of 20. Members of the Medstar National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) Committee have been calling out “Bingo!” with patients for 20 years. The partnership between JLW and the hospital was developed to provide the patients at NRH with a stimulating activity, Bingo, to improve their motor and cognitive skills. After a long day of physical therapy, the games serve as a beneficial way for patients to relax. There are approximately 15 members on this committee and in addition to Bingo, they help with the hospital’s Super H 5K race in September and the annual holiday party for patients and staff each December. Several volunteers have served on the committee for multiple consecutive years. NRH committee members have a variety of backgrounds. But everyone shares a common trait: a vast knowledge of and passion for the Bingo game! Committee members also possess kind hearts and a desire to help others who are going through difficult times. NRH Committee chair Tarina Charleston says, “This partnership is so rewarding because you can see the impact that you are making with each game of Bingo. The smiles and the laughter bring us so much joy.” Committee members also gain an understanding of the complexity of rehabilitation medicine and recognition that disabilities are not always physical. They hope over the next 20 years, the partnership with NRH and the NRH patients will continue to grow stronger. *** JLW and Iona Senior Services are celebrating 25 years of smiles, warm hearts, and nutritious meal deliveries every Saturday morning—come rain or shine— and even on holidays. Iona was founded in 1975 to offer social services to residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Tenleytown in Northwest

DC. Today Iona supports older adults and caregivers, providing them with community-based support, as they experience the challenges of aging. The longstanding partnership began with JLW members volunteering at Iona’s special events. Soon after, JLW volunteers became an instru-

THE JUNIOR LEAGUE WOMEN ARE TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE. mental component of Iona’s weekend meal delivery program. Every Saturday morning, JLW volunteer teams arrive at Iona to pick up food to deliver to homebound clients. One volunteer drives and another “jumps” (out of the car to deliver the meals). Sometimes JLW volunteers even organize the entire packing process: unloading, stacking, bagging,

counting, sorting, distributing, and carrying over 200 meals. JLW members also help coordinate a holiday toiletry and gift card drive, which directly benefits a large number of older adults on fixed incomes. Iona Volunteer Program Coordinator Tania Sechriest says, “Simply stated, Weekend Meals could not efficiently operate this program without the steadfast involvement of the Junior League volunteers. From ensuring the behind-the-scenes organization of the Saturday program to providing another set of ‘eyes and ears’ for Iona’s homebound clients, the Junior League women are truly making a difference in the lives of seniors in Northwest DC.” Half of the committee volunteers have been with Iona for over three years. JLW member Nicole Richardson is currently the longest-serving volunteer with seven years of service on the committee. She notes the meal deliveries lead to some amazing moments saying, “I was scheduled to deliver one Saturday when my parents were in town from Texas. We did the delivery together, and it was a pure joy to see my parents get to interact with some of my favorite senior citizens. Some of the ladies were even flirting with my dad, which was hilarious. There is also a sweet woman who gives me a treat whenever I deliv-




er; sometimes it’s a coloring book, sometimes it’s a biscotti or a Christmas ornament. “ Over the course of a year, more than 10,000 hot and cold meals are delivered to approximately 105 Iona clients. JLW volunteers may provide the only social interaction a client receives during the day. League volunteers look forward to another 25 years of going the extra mile on a trip around town which is much more than just a meal delivery. *** The first Tossed & Found rummage sale featured fashion finds from the 1990s. This popular annual event started 25 years ago, and committee members are coordinating a line-up of shiny silver anniversary celebrations to commemorate a quarter century of sales. Tossed & Found co-chairs Ashley Andren and Jennifer Fitzpatrick are proud to be celebrating the anniversary of such a successful event. “The 25th anniversary of Tossed & Found marks an important achievement for JLW and for the community benefited by the sale. Since its inception, the sale has raised over $2.1 million for JLW grants and provided countless hours of community-facing volunteer work. In addition to another successful Tossed & Found sale, our plans for this year include celebrating the many accomplishments of this event and everyone who has supported it for a quarter of a century.” Tossed & Found’s 25th anniversary season will kick off with the always popular Diamonds and Desserts. This will take place during the second week of February, likely in Crystal City, to celebrate the Crystal City Business Improvement District’s strong partnership with Tossed & Found. Attendees can expect delicious desserts from DC-area vendors, the opportunity to purchase jewelry and accessories from great local and national jewelers and retailers, and a raffle for a piece of diamond jewelry—which is always appropriate when it comes to anniversary celebrations! Committee members will host the popular Children’s Trunk Show on a yet to be determined date, leading up to the Hoops & High Heels Preview Night on March 24, before the sale weekend on March 25-26. •


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WHAT IS JLW READING? By Shannan Robinson

“ ‘Drums of Autumn,’ the fourth book in the Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon. My sister recommended the series to me, and I have enjoyed how the author pulls readers in and makes them feel like they are there with the characters. The author makes me feel every emotion that the characters feel. I go from crying to fearful to laughing aloud with the books. It is great. The Outlander series are very big books, so they get heavy, yet they are worth it.”

“‘Sula’ by Toni Morrison. I prefer to listen to audiobooks during my commute. The public libraries in the DC metro area make it simple and free for readers to download a great variety of books to their preferred mobile devices. I haven’t read any Morrison since “The Bluest Eye” when I was in high school. She is one of those prolific American writers, and although challenging and disturbing at times, I enjoy reading the topics she explores. Even though I’m only about a quarter of the way in so far, I enjoy how richly she fills in details about the characters lives and histories. As readers, we have to decipher their motivations. It’s really engaging.”

-Chelsea Smith, JLW staff

-Deena Smith, Active

“My current read is ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,’ by Susan Cain. It explores the power of introverts in a Dale Carnegie world. As a self-professed introvert, it really inspired me to harness my unique social skills to build strong, meaningful relationships.”

’ “I’m currently reading ‘Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town,’ by Jon Krakauer. As an administrator on a college campus, I’ve been interested in exploring how colleges and universities deal with gender violence. This book is a real eye-opener and hopefully will help be a catalyst for change.” -Heather Foss, Sustainer

-Tess Terrible, New Member





NETWORK By Rebecca Prybell


etworking is an essential part of the professional lifestyle– and in Washington, DC, it seems ubiquitous. Everyone from corporate businesswomen to entrepreneurs to politicos benefit from having a wide range of contacts who can provide mentoring, advice, referrals, and connections. These days, the benefits of networking extend far beyond job-seekers. For those looking to build their book of business to those interested in expanding their social circles and finding others equally passionate about the same hobbies, networking among friends, colleagues, and even strangers is an important way to help reach goals in both your professional and personal lives. Yet, for many, this can be a daunting task. Even for those who have received training in how to network, perhaps as a part of continued education, effectively and efficiently networking takes time and effort-- two limited resources in professional lives. Several Junior League of Washington (JLW) committees, such as the Development & Training Committee and the Esprit Committee, have provided training to members on how to develop this leader-

ship skill. We asked a few JLW networking pros to let us in on their secrets to becoming a great networker.

SET GOALS “Networking needs to have a focus,” said Kara Frost, former chair of the Development&Training Committee. She recommends looking for opportunities that speak to specific interests, such as people who work on the Hill or people who are dog lovers. Jacqueline Frederick-Maturo, vice chair of the Esprit Committee, said she sets a goal for herself to meet at least two new people at every networking event she attends. “It’s ambitious enough of a goal to keep me present at the event, but also not so ambitious that I am not enjoying myself,” Frederick-Maturo said. She also encourages networkers to avoid bringing too many people they already know to an event. “The point of networking is to meet new people,” Frederick-Maturo explains. “If you spend the entire event in a corner chatting with one of your friends, you haven’t really networked.”


NETWORK: /net w rk/ noun noun: network; plural noun: networks a group or system of interconnected people or things. “a trade network” 1. a group of people who exchange information, contacts, and experience for professional or social purposes; “a support network” verb verb: network; 3rd person present: networks; past tense: networked; past participle: networked; gerund or present participle: networking 1. connect as or operate with a network; interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.


Fall 2016

Making a good impression in the first few minutes is important. “Have a firm handshake, make eye contact,” said Vanessa Kermick, vice chair of the Development & Training Committee. Sara McAlpin, chair of the Esprit Committee agrees. “When holding a beverage, always keep it in your left hand. You don’t want to awkwardly shift drinks when you introduce yourself to someone or have a damp hand from holding a cold drink,” she suggests.

ASK FRIENDLY AND OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS Frost notes that it is key to keep questions friendly and open-ended. “Networkers can often fall into the habit of asking the usual questions such as, ‘Where are you from?’ [or] ‘How long have you lived in the DC area? Instead, I like to ask, ‘What was your day like?’ or ‘What did you get up to yesterday?’ These questions open themselves to a more engaging, organic conversation as they allow the person on the other side of the conversation the chance to choose what to mention, and most likely, what is mentioned will reveal what matters most to him or her.” Frederick-Maturo also recommends making a quick note in your phone when you exchange contact information with someone new. “That way, the next time you see the person, you can say: ‘Hey Jackie! It’s great to see you again. It’s been a while since I met you at


the Hill reception a few weeks ago. How is (insert whatever note you learned about the person here…)?’”

EMBRACE SMALL TALK Lee Hudson, vice chair of the Esprit Committee, encourages professionals to embrace small talk. “Treat the people you meet at networking events like human beings instead of career advice vending machines. Once someone realizes you want to genuinely get to know them and establish a personal connection, they may be more willing to help you in the future.” Frost also recommends giving an event some time before jumping to any conclusions. She follows advice from Marissa Mayer, the Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo!, who attends events and stays for at least a certain amount of time. “If she’s not enjoying herself after that amount of time has passed, she gives herself permission to leave,” Frost explained. “I now give myself 30 minutes for every event. It’s good to have an out, but since starting this practice, I’ve never needed to use it.”

FOLLOW-UP “Remember to follow-up with everyone you meet,” Kermick advises. Hudson agrees. “The follow up is the best resource post-event,” she said. In order to establish a genuine relationship, always, always follow up.” Hudson also recommends making the follow-up personal. She suggests sending your new contact an article about a subject you discussed at the event or setting up a coffee meeting. McAlpin also recommends using a quick coffee meeting as another way to network, rather than always going to happy hour. “People can be more open and chatty in a coffee shop environment.”

KEEP AN OPEN MIND Keeping an open mind is critically important while networking. “A solution or a job that may not have worked for one person, may work for you,” said Kermick. “If you are set and determined on a job or a goal, keep after it until you find the right person to connect you or open the door for you. At events, don’t stop asking about that particular job/career/goal because one person told you it is not possible.” She also recommends trying out new sources for networking. “LinkedIn is an amazing resource for networking.” Kermick also suggests checking out college alumni clubs or state societies that each state hosts in Washington, DC. •



or over 100 years, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) has provided a platform for women to volunteer and make an impact on different communities in Washington, DC. The Library of Congress’s National Book Festival, Holiday Shops, and Tossed & Found are just a few events that require an army of JLW volunteers to run smoothly. Why is it that every year hundreds of women apply to get into the next JLW new member class? What drives these women to join our League? Perhaps the answer lies in the many health benefits associated with voluntarism. The secret is out: There is extensive documentation about the positive benefits of volunteering. Health benefits can be socioemotional, mental, and physical. Socialization, engagement in meaningful activities, improving life quality and self-worth, and promoting personal growth are achieved through voluntarism. And it is these factors that underlie the health benefits of voluntarism. Few negative effects from the volunteer experience are ever reported. And most volunteers consider their work to be a benefit to the community, making a positive difference in people’s lives. Ask any JLW volunteer about her New Member mini-placements and the vast majority will talk about how their work benefitted someone or something. It has been suggested that the biological basis for the health benefits of voluntarism lies in the release of a neuropeptide. This neuropeptide is released in response to a volunteer’s contact with others and the feeling of satisfaction by doing good. Release of the neuropeptide is associated with bolstering the immune system and also a sense of well-being. Studies have also shown that volunteers have greater longevity, less heart disease, and less depression. Volunteers have better physical and mental health with greater satisfaction with life and greater quality of life. Volunteers also have greater social networks, and this aids in buffering us from stress. Here’s to another successful—and healthful— JLW year. •







ince the Washington School for Girls (WSG) was named the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) first three year grant recipient in 2015, Jennie Kronthal has served as JLW’s relationship manager for the school. Last year, WSG asked her to be the lower school’s librarian for third, fourth, and fifth grades. Brianne Wetzel, WSG’s principal said, “We are so grateful for everything the League has done for WSG. The three-year grant enabled us to launch our new Family Engagement Program that supports literacy at home. Jennie and JLW volunteers have made a significant difference in the lives of our students and families through facilitating Saturday School. And as librarian, Jennie ensures books go home with our students.” Having discovered the program as a volunteer on the Targeted Grants & Volunteer Resources Committee, the school’s mission of educating girls in third through eighth grades– the same ages as her own children– resonated with her. The independent, private school is donor-funded and embodies JLW’s aim to build a better DC community through education. JLW recognizes Ward 8, where the school is located, as having one of this city’s lowest literacy rates and, subsequently, low high school graduation rates. WSG high school graduation rates soar at 98.9 percent of students and 78 percent of students pursue higher education. “It’s really amazing, when you consider that this school is only from third through eighth grades, that 78 percent of their graduates pursue education beyond high school,” said Kronthal. Though this is only the second year of the grant and Kronthal’s JLW work with the school, they’ve already asked her to help as the lower school’s librarian. Every Friday afternoon, she assists young students in selecting and checking out books. For Kronthal, the greatest thing about her volunteer position as librarian is seeing the students smile, get excited about books, and develop a love for reading. Although WSG is not currently a full community placement, any JLW member can volunteer. Once or twice a month, JLW joins the school for their Saturday sessions aimed at providing students


Fall 2016

Jennie Kronthal arrives and is ready to serve at the Washington School for Girls. extra, hands-on help to improve their reading abilities. Kronthal says, “This is a real chance to make an individual contribution.” On Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon, JLW members join students Jennie Kronthal and a WSG student spend for breakfast. Then, the some time in the school library. students are broken into groups by grade levels, with volunteers joining each group. Groups engage in fun activities designed for an interactive opportunity to improve each student’s reading potential. There are also additional opportunities to provide one-on-one math tutoring throughout the week. •



Sustainers and Actives pose for a photo following the second successful Sustainer Ambassador Dinner.


t last year’s new Sustainers and new Sustainer/Transfers party, current Sustainer Committee Chair Myra Arnold and Membership Development Council Director Courtney Mesmer met – and recognized that their visions for partnership among all levels of Junior League of Wash-

ington (JLW) membership were in perfect alignment. With JLW President Elizabeth Keys’s theme of “Connecting the Dots” in mind, Arnold and Mesmer shared their thoughts for encouraging partnership and fellowship among Sustainers, Actives, Transfers, and New Members this year.






Sustainer Committee Chair

Membership Development



We are able to make one another’s lives much easier—even if it is just a smile of understanding. However, it is much, much more than that. Honestly, there is a common ground between all the ages and professions because in the end, we are all women navigating our world together—some of us better than others– and that is where we share and learn from one another. If bad things happen to our JLW sisters, we need to be there.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE MEMBERSHIP LEVELS CAN LEARN FROM EACH OTHER? It is endless. Respect and kindness should be at the top of the list. Never give up, regardless of how tough your journey becomes. Women are still struggling for their salary levels to be equal and for respect from their male colleagues, which I believe would be a sensational membership dinner topic over a fine meal and wine. All ages would have their version and lessons to learn from one another.

HOW HAVE THE SUSTAINERS BEGUN FOSTERING THIS PARTNERSHIP? The Sustainers are embracing the change within the Sustainer membership of the JLW. One by one, the Interest Groups and Sustainer Signature Events are inviting all levels of membership to participate or join us. The Sustainer Ambassador Dinners are very well received because their only mission is to become acquainted in an absolutely beautiful setting. As Sustainer Ambassadors, we will tackle other membership topics such as entrepreneurship and diversity.

BEYOND THIS MEMBER YEAR, WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THIS PARTNERSHIP? This has to be just the beginning. It was my good fortune to join a League that knew no boundaries. Something needed to be accomplished in the community providing dignity and grace for women, children, or families in general – we developed the concept and fostered its ability to survive and endow itself before tackling our next mission for the community. This can only be accomplished when you are working as one cohesive group with a common cause or, as some would say, magnificent obsession.


Fall 2016

The benefits are tremendous. There is so much knowledge Sustainers have, whether a member has been a Sustainer for one year or 50. It’s really impactful to hear how wide our reach has been, both in-League and out of the League.

HAS THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG MEMBERSHIP LEVELS EVOLVED OVER TIME? I definitely think that it has evolved over time. I’ve always seen Sustainer involvement over a number of the events – I think there is an even larger presence now. I think Sustainers really enjoy hearing about what the League is doing, because they have a lot of passion for the League. My goal is to strengthen the relationship between Sustainers and Actives, and set up events or different opportunities for them to interact, and for us all to learn from each other.

WHAT MENTORING ACTIVITIES HAVE ALREADY BEEN PUT IN PLACE, AND WHAT DO YOU FORESEE BEING PLANNED? The Sustainer Ambassador Dinners were a huge success last year. It was amazing that the volunteer hosts welcomed women into their homes, and it was an opportunity for women to meet others they may have never met otherwise in the League. We’re in talks to create some League-wide events where everyone can mix and mingle together.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE FUTURE FOR THIS PARTNERSHIP? I would love to see it – especially participation in the activities – grow even more. I’m not 100 percent sure of what that would look like, but definitely not having to call it a partnership – just a natural way of the League to work together.

HOW WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE BOTH ACTIVES AND SUSTAINERS TO GET INVOLVED? Participating – hosting dinner at your house, going to these dinners, raising your hand to be a mentor or coach, and reaching out women on the other councils and committees. •

3039 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20007

DATES TO REMEMBER JANUARY 19 Bubbly with the Board

FEBRUARY 25: Kids in the Kitchen

APRIL 29: Bright Beginnings 5K

JANUARY 24: General Membership Meeting: Connecting the Dots to JLW’s Present (Snow Date January 31)

MARCH 24-26: 25th Annual Tossed & Found

MAY 1-26: 2017-2018 Placement Fair

APRIL 1 AND 5: Placement Information Events

MAY 11: Annual Reception

APRIL 18: General Membership Meeting: Connecting the Dots to JLW’s Future

MAY 13: JLW Shops! Georgetown Shop Around

JANUARY 28: New Member Mid-Year Event FEBRUARY 1: Deadline for 2017-2018 Assistant Council Director, Chair, and Rising Chair Nominations

APRIL 22: Kitchen Tour

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