the official magazine of the
3039M Junior League of Washington
3039 M STREET, NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20007 | 202.337.2001 | WWW.JLW.ORG
FALL 2019 WHATâ€™S INSIDE
Highlighting our Historians JLW Supports the Girls Readers to Leaders: Empowering Women through Literacy
g n i t a r b e l e C s r a e 20 Y y c a r e t i of L
Welcome to the 107th year of the Junior League of Washington! JLW is an organization built by and empowered by women—our members (YOU!) are what make our League such a special organization. This fall issue of our 3039M Magazine showcases many of our members, projects, community impacts, and history—proving there is much to be proud of as a Junior League of Washington member. The 2019-2020 JLW year will be one for the books (pun intended) as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary of focusing on improving literacy in the greater Washington, DC, community. This magazine includes a number of articles about our literacy work in the community past and present, including this year’s literacy anniversary initiative, Readers2Leaders. Fittingly, our fall magazine showcases some of our most cherished community partnerships, such as A Wider Circle and Washington School for Girls, Reading Allstars and our 2019 targeted grant winners. In addition to celebrating our work and impact in the community, our fall magazine provides a glimpse into some exciting and important projects underway to help preserve and sustain JLW and our ability to make a difference in the lives of our members and in the community. For example, you can read more about our fund development strategy project which is examining our current revenue streams and identifying opportunities to diversify and grow, while staying true to our mission, vision, and culture. You can also read about a multi-year project we’ve kicked off to digitize our archives—preserving our history and making it more accessible to our members. On behalf of the 2019-2020 Board of Directors, I thank you for your commitment and support of the Junior League of Washington. Now curl up with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy our fall 3039M issue—I hope it warms your heart as much as it does mine! CARLY MITCHELL JLW President 2019-2020
Our cover features JLW volunteers celebrating a successful event after the October Literacy Fair: Empowering Women through Literacy.
Twenty years ago, the Junior League of Washington’s membership examined its future direction, and approved a new focus for JLW - Literacy. Seen as a vital component of community health and well-being, literacy has become the League’s signature outreach implemented through a wide range of programs. Today, with two decades of focusing on literacy under our belt, we have a lot to be proud of. In the pages to come, you will hear more about the Resolution Read initiative, for which over 130,000 books were donated. You will also read about Reading All-Stars, an all-volunteer-run literacy program, where over the past school year JLW volunteers have read with students over 330 hours. You will hear more about our Fall Literacy Event, part of the Readers2Leaders campaign. If you didn’t attend the fall event – try to make one of the two literacy fairs we are hosting in the spring. In this issue of 3039M we highlight several of our community partners marking exciting milestones in service and growth. Community Family Life Services celebrates half of a century of serving those facing poverty and homelessness in Washington, DC. Hear how Oprah’s donation impacted our community partner-of-the-year’s capital campaign. Learn more about how the Archives Committee is digitizing our history. In our story, JLW Supports the Girls, we take a closer look at JLW’s partnership with I Support the Girls to provide essential feminine products to one of Washington, DC’s most under-resourced communities. You can find out more about how our mini placement year is changing to benefit both our new members and the committees they support. Additionally, you can learn more about our Targeted Grant winners – 826DC and DC SCORES - and the amazing projects they are able to take on because of the additional funding they received from JLW. We hope you find the work we are doing inspiring, and if the work a committee is doing interests you, we hope you join them. This issue celebrates the wonderful work our committees have been doing in our communities, but it is also filled with stories of how our community impacts us as members. Some find a placement so fulfilling that they continue to volunteer there for years. That is our ideal, finding lasting connections in our service to the community. Be sure to follow us on social media, and follow the hashtag #JLWLiteracy20 to stay up to date on our latest literacy efforts. Thank you to everyone who contributed their stories to this issue. We are so proud to highlight your achievements. However you are connected to the Junior League of Washington, I hope this issue of 3039M makes you proud of the work we are accomplishing together, and you are reminded of why we are a part of this wonderful group of women. Happy Reading! MARY GROVE Editor
IN THIS ISSUE
IN THIS ISSUE IN EVERY ISSUE
17 Meet JLW’s Newest Staff
BC Dates to Remember
18 Melissa Petersen Makes
Mary Grove Chair Mary Grace McCormick Rising Chair Danielle Muenzfeld Vice Chair for Editing Elizabeth Petrun Sayers Vice Chair for Photography and Graphics Sarah Valerio Vice Chair for Advertising Kristen Archer Melissa DeLiso Molly DiGiammarino Nicole Dortch Elizabeth Fleischer
History Fun (and puts the ‘do’ in Docent)
20 A Taste of the Woodrow Wilson
02 JLW Supports the Girls 03 Saturday School at the
House, 2019 Partner of JLW Kitchen Tour
Washington School for Girls
22 N Street Village Renovates
04 Community Family Life
Flagship Space to Enhance its Support for Women Experiencing Homelessness in DC
Services: Celebrating 50 Years
05 A Wider Circle Impacts New Communities
06 Targeted Grant Winners
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
24 How to: Use JLW to Grow Professionally
FEATURES 09 JLW Hosts Readers to Leaders
26 Highlighting our Historians:
Secondary Placements Heather Mandelkehr Mini Placements Ashley Neubaum Bailey Oedewaldt Jessica Gandy Katrina Umstead Neelie Kibler Ramona Johnson
The Archives Committee Brings JLW into the Digital Age
Free Adult Literacy Event
10 Reading All-Stars Program
28 Developing a Diverse Fund
12 A Look Back at 100,000 Books 14 Fall General Membership
30 A Lasting League Legacy and
Marks a Decade of Service
Meeting: A Book Drive In Honor of Literacy
Katelin Hatfield Renunda Lee Ashley Mancosh Hannah McCracken Holly Roberts Jessica Sanchez
32 Engaging Partners to Build a Better Future
16 Weekly Book Club Brings Joy to Langley Residents
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 Carly Mitchell
Treasurer Amy Shuart Gingrich
President-Elect Jessica Taylor White
Vice Treasurer Marta Hernandez
Secretary Kimberly Price
Communications & PR Tara Andersen
Youth & Family Community Placements Carolyn Lowry
Adult Community Placements Colleen (Colli) McKiernan
Cultural Community Placements Deena Smith
Community Affairs Alison Ottenbreit
Membership Development Chloe Taylor New Membership Katherine Rodriguez Nominating Carrie Meadows
Strategic Planning Bridget Shea Westfall Sustainers Sarah Carey Ways & Means Sara McGanity
JLW SUPPORTS THE GIRLS
very woman should have the ability to maintain her dignity, regardless of her circumstances. This principle starts with providing basic necessities for those who lack access or cannot afford them. To a woman experiencing homelessness, owning a single bra is considered a luxury; yet, wearing the same bra over time can lead to health complications. Living on the street can also mean having to decide between eating a hot meal or purchasing a box of tampons. Through an international network of affiliate programs, I Support the Girls collects and distributes essential feminine items, including bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene supplies. Access to these products allows women experiencing homelessness, impoverishment, or distress to stand tall with dignity. Over the course of a year, Lauren Celestin, Done-In-A-Day (DIAD) Committee member and I Support the Girls program co-lead, and Victoria Sheard, former DIAD Chair and current Innovation & Incubation Committee appointee, partnered with Dana Marlowe, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of I Support the Girls, to create a series of educational, interactive, and fun ways to engage Junior League of Washington (JLW) members, allowing women from across the League to participate in a partnership between the two organizations. Celestin explained she stepped up to lead this project because, “[i]t was an unsettling realization to me that any woman, independent of daily circumstances, did not have access to basic personal and hygiene necessities. Although this effort was small in comparison to the complexity of these women’s lives, it is undoubtedly a piece no woman should have to worry about. It was important for me, as a woman, to help solve this problem and raise awareness.”
By Molly DiGiammarino
Done-in-a-Day Committee members put together hygiene packs in conjunction with local nonprofit, I support the Girls. The hygiene packs were distributed to various organizations around Washington, DC, supporting women. In fall 2018, Celestin and Sheard included I Support the Girls in JLW’s holiday donation drive and collected more than seven 18-gallon-sized containers of new and gently used bras and new hygiene products from JLW members. In April 2019, the DIAD Committee invited Marlowe to give a presentation at JLW Headquarters open to all members of the League. Marlowe shared how access to hygiene products can make such a difference in the lives of Washington, DC, women, especially for young girls in school. Some girls have to skip school during their menstrual cycle because they cannot afford hygiene products, which can affect their grades and reduce graduation rates. Some prisons also charge inmates for feminine hygiene supplies; others only give out one or two products per day. After the presentation, JLW members stayed to assemble hundreds of hygiene kits for distribution to our Community Partners, authoring short notes of encouragement for inclusion in the packs. DIAD delivered bras and hygiene products to more than 20 different organizations across the city, including Anacostia High School, N Street Village, Community Family Life
Services, YMCA, Soccer Without Borders, DC Safe, Whitman-Walker, Stepping Stones Shelter, and Tahirih Justice Center. In total, nearly 20,000 hygiene products and 3,000 bras were delivered to organizations in need. Around the globe, I Support the Girls helps girls and women experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, victims of sex trafficking, refugees, and evacuees affected by natural disasters. To learn more about the organization and how you can help, visit isupportthegirls.org. •
JLW volunteers assembled and distributed hygiene packs, including pads and tampons to local organizations supporting women experiencing homelessness.
SATURDAY SCHOOL AT THE WASHINGTON SCHOOL FOR GIRLS By Holly Roberts
Washington School for Girls Committee Members: From left to right: Lauren Yoroshko, Megan Quigley, Sydnie Reynolds, Jemma Parsons, Jennie Kronthal, Helen Anthony, and Alexa Green
or many in the Washington, DC, area, Saturdays are reserved for running errands, attending little league games, and engaging in well-deserved relaxation. However, for Junior League of Washington (JLW) women serving on the Washington School for Girls (WSG) Committee, Saturdays are spent making a difference in the lives of young girls through the Saturday School program. While the League has been involved with the Saturday School program for years, WSG recently launched a new focus to reach girls who need the most support. By using a tiered approach, WSG can now identify girls who are struggling academically and use Saturday mornings to provide math and reading support.
Beginning bright and early, JLW volunteers are ready to aid in that effort. Committee members serve breakfast to Saturday School attendees by 9:30 a.m. and then work with the girls in small groups until 12 p.m. Tasks can vary week to week based on the instructor, but JLW members are present to help each girl achieve academic success. “Saturday School gives WSG students the opportunity to get hands on help outside of the school day, from supportive adults other than their teachers. In facilitating an 8th grade book club, or helping girls enhance their math skills, JLW volunteers can see their work impacting students first hand,” says Helen Anthony, Vice Chair of Washington School for Girls. Alexis Olive, Chair of the WSG Committee, is particularly excited about the impact
this new approach will have on the younger girls who are new to the Washington School for Girls. “Saturday School will help provide them with more support to succeed throughout their career,” said Olive. Olive also explained that WSG already has a proven track record of impact with high rates of high school and college graduation among its alumnae. “As the School continues to grow, it needs to fill the learning gap in the community, and Saturday School is another tool and opportunity to reach the girls,” said Olive. Reaching these young women undoubtedly requires a commitment. By partnering with the Washington School for Girls, JLW volunteers can help close the education gap, and forever impact the trajectory of these girls’ lives. •
COMMUNITY FAMILY LIFE SERVICES:
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
n 2019, Community Family Life Services (CFLS) celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding, creating a long-term impact for people experiencing poverty and homelessness in Washington, DC. CFLS programs provide housing, meals, mentoring, and assistance to women after incarceration to help them achieve self-sufficiency. In 2014, CFLS was named nonprofit of the year by the DC Chamber of Commerce Junior League of Washington (JLW) made CFLS a Community Partner during the 2004–2005 year through the creation of a book club placement. CFLS engages about 25 JLW members on its committee each year, who serve biweekly at CFLS’s Connection Nights. For these events, League members plan healthy dinners and activities for children and their mothers. In the past, JLW members have created vision boards, facilitated discussions on budgeting and couponing, and led yoga and salsa dancing classes. Connection Nights that encourage mothers to participate with their children are especially popular, as they allow for special bonding time. In addition to Connection Nights, JLW supports CFLS programming through several fundraising initiatives. In September, members support a back-to-school drive; in November, JLW collects food donations to distribute in Thanksgiving baskets; in December, JLW members can adopt a family for the holidays; and in March, the League contributes Community Cash Cards for Tossed & Found. JLW also provides hundreds of books through Resolution Read to CFLS women and their children. To advance the League’s Readers2Leaders campaign, the committee received books for the new CFLS Kids Corner at the DC jail, the CFLS Women’s Book Club, and
By Melissa DeLiso
CFLS participant Evian Rodgers with her children Madison and Mason enjoying a Connection Night.
CFLS Committee Chair Tashi Brown, CFLS Participant Rahketa Steele, and JLW volunteer Elizabeth Boylan working together at a Connection Night. the Children’s Reading Circle at CFLS headquarters. Tashi Brown, CFLS Committee Chair, was drawn to volunteer with Community Family Life Services because she enjoyed “having the flexibility to choose between planning healthy meals for the families, designing life-changing activities for the women, or simply rounding up the children, putting on my funny face and reading their favorite book.” This is Brown’s fourth year on the CFLS Committee and first year as chair. Brown noted, “Truly, there’s something special about the CFLS women, children, and staff who keep me coming back to
CFLS Participant Nikaiya Jones and Kennedi, daughter of DiAnna Stewart (CFLS participant) enjoying dinner. CFLS. Little do they know, their hope and perseverance inspire me!” When asked about the most rewarding part of serving on the committee, Brown cited the ability to collaborate with a diverse group of JLW women, who are just as committed as she is to improving the lives of the CFLS families and the Washington, DC, community. Brown said, “When I get to see one of the CFLS ladies I mentor working joyously at my favorite lunch spots, or simply shopping with a CFLS mom to pick out decorative home items or the latest fashions at Tossed & Found, that’s my reward—their smiles bring me joy.” To mark their 50th anniversary, CFLS is creating a video highlighting their achievements and work in the community. CFLS invited JLW to participate in the film by having JLW President Carly Mitchell share commentary and highlights on the partnership. CFLS also marked their milestone on September 25, 2019, by hosting “Rise Together: Our 3rd Annual Visible Voices Event, Celebrating 50 Years in the DC Community,” with the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton serving as the keynote speaker. JLW and CFLS look forward to many more years of collaborative service to come. •
A WIDER CIRCLE IMPACTS NEW COMMUNITIES By Holly Roberts
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) is expanding its impact by serving a new local community through its partnership with A Wider Circle. The organization, based in Silver Spring MD, strives to end poverty from within low-income neighborhoods by utilizing a collaborative model focused on four areas: economic development, safety and security, quality of life, and community empowerment. In November 2018, A Wider Circle opened a second location in Washington, DC, serving the Shaw neighborhood. Their first Washington, DC, location opened in 2016 in Southeast Washington, DC. JLW has already hosted a training at the new location and is planning to provide others there into 2020. When convening trainings with A Wider Circle, JLW members first identify the needs of the community, then build curriculum and training to meet those needs. Previous trainings have included topics such as refining Excel skills and understanding imposter syndrome. As an additional benefit to parents, and in an effort to increase attendance rates for these programs, JLW members provide childcare to attendees at these trainings. “Because A Wider Circle works with clients over a duration of time, we often get to see and hear from clients at several workshops,” stated Kayla Kerrigan, A Wider Circle Committee Chair. “Building relationships with these clients, and in some cases their children through the childcare portion, is rewarding and unifying!” As Kerrigan said, “The expansion into DC allows us to extend our community impact and meet clients where support is needed!” •
TARGETED GRANT WINNERS OF 2019 By Renunda Lee
ake a bow and tip your hat to the Targeted Grant winners of 2019: 826DC and DC SCORES. The Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Targeted Grants and Volunteer Resources Committee (TGVR) awarded Targeted Grants to two impressive organizations that share JLW’s focus on promoting literacy in the Washington, DC, area. TGVR Committee members have the daunting task of reviewing, evaluating, and recommending recipients for the Targeted Grants, Community Partner Grants, Opportunity Grants, and Volunteer Resources each year. At the end of each JLW year, TGVR awards two Targeted Grants to organizations whose programs address at least one aspect of the JLW definition of literacy or where JLW places trained volunteers in the community. JLW defines literacy as an individual’s ability to read, write, and speak English, and to compute and problem-solve at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential. This expanded definition allows both traditional and less conventional literacy programs to apply for funding that aligns with the JLW Mission. As in years past, TGVR received many applications and the competition was intense. Ultimately, two extraordinary organizations were awarded Targeted Grants to promote their mission and commitment to literacy. One of the 2018–2019 Targeted Grant winners was 826DC, an organization
DC SCORES Poetry Slam! (Image taken by photographer, Aya Takeuchi).
826DC ENDEAVORS TO MAKE ITS PROGRAMS CHALLENGING AND ENJOYABLE, AIMING TO STRENGTHEN STUDENTS’ ABILITY TO EXPRESS IDEAS EFFECTIVELY, CREATIVELY, CONFIDENTLY, AND USING THEIR INDIVIDUAL VOICES.
826DC team member reading with a student. Photo provided by Brian Tagalog that works directly with students and teachers to inspire and develop creative writing skills. They have “engineered” activities integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) content across several of its program areas, including its after-school writing lab, writing workshops, field trips, and in-school programming. 826DC itself is creative in its approach to fostering literacy: the organization has developed workshops for songwriting and digital music production, podcasting, ecology, storytelling through code, and graphic layout and design. 826DC endeavors to make its programs challenging and enjoyable, aiming to strengthen students’ ability to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and using their individual voices. Thus far, JLW’s Targeted Grant funding has allowed 826DC to release two STEAMbased publications—This Time They Hear You, a collection of science-inspired fairy tales written and illustrated by third-graders, and Whose Garden Is This?, an anthology by the students in the summer writing intensive program. Both projects taught the students the power of publishing, demonstrating how the written word can help highlight issues affecting the environment and reinforcing the importance of serving as a good steward for the Earth. The 826DC team excitedly pointed out these books provided important platforms for DC youth to share their stories.
DC SCORES students’ poetic minds at work.
JLW FUNDING HAS ALSO ALLOWED DC SCORES TO TARGET THE ECONOMIC ACHIEVEMENT GAPS THAT DC STUDENTS EXPERIENCE, BY IMPROVING SCHOOL WORK HABITS AND FOCUSING ON HIGHER TEST SCORES. DC SCORES’ Literacy in Action program received the second Targeted Grant of the 2018–2019 JLW year. Literacy in Action is a unique literacy program that pairs creative writing and soccer. DC SCORES focuses on the development of leadership skills through healthy competition offered by sports, engaging students in developing soccer skills. Literacy in Action includes two 12-week seasons of rigorous fiction and nonfiction writing and comprehension work. The students author original poetry and perform in the DC SCORES Poetry Slam. According to their website, the program offers experiences designed to build confidence and develop tools to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life. DC SCORES programming is an essential
building block for many DC neighborhoods that support and celebrate children and their accomplishments on and off the playing field. JLW’s grant has enabled DC SCORES to continue their work on improving literacy, increasing achievement, and fostering positive self-identity for more than 3,000 youth across Washington, DC. JLW funding has also allowed DC SCORES to target the economic achievement gaps that DC students experience, by improving school work habits and striving for higher test scores. DC SCORES provided recent evaluations showing their participants attend school more consistently, have more positive attitudes and behavior, and earn higher grades and test scores than nonSCORES peers. •
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF TURNING Readers2Leaders This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Junior League of Washington’s decision to build a better Washington, DC, by focusing our volunteer and financial resources on literacy. An individual’s ability to read, write, and communicate lays the groundwork for his or her future success in all areas. A more literate DC means a stronger, more vibrant DC. Since 1999, our more than 2,300 trained volunteers have dealt with this issue head on and hands on—and our results speak for themselves. Join us in celebrating the power of literacy and our two decades of voluntarism around this worthy cause.
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
JLW HOSTS READERS TO LEADERS FREE ADULT LITERACY EVENT By Elizabeth Fleischer
s part of the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) year-long celebration of literacy as our focus area, JLW hosted an adult literacy fair, Empowering Women Through Literacy. This free professional development event was designed to equip Washington, DC-area women with the tools needed to thrive at home, at work, and throughout their lives. This year, JLW is celebrating the 20th anniversary of focusing its volunteer efforts and financial resources on improving literacy in the Washington, DC, area. Branded as Readers2Leaders, this campaign will include a series of fairs throughout the year to commemorate this milestone. The three Readers2Leaders literacy fairs will bring members of the DC community together with a number of On October 19, JLW volunteers held the first Readers2Leaders literacy fair of the year at the nonprofit partners to recognize the value University of the District of Columbia, focused on “empowering women through literacy of literacy and share resources, tools, and trainings, improving the literacy skills of attendees. The first literacy fair, held on October 19, 2019 featured The event also featured several JLW partners, as well as other orgamotivational TED-style talks, group workshops, and exhibitions, all nizations in the community who focus on literacy. The fair featured focused on helping DC women achieve success through different organizations focused on bringing critical learning and resources to types of literacy, including workplace, financial, nutritional, and digunderserved communities, such as Edu-Futuro and the Latino Ecoital. Resume writing and interview skills were among the additional nomic Development Center. The event also showcased those using offerings. While the fair’s programming was targeted at women, all training and education—for which literacy is a critical skill—to help were welcome and admission was free. fight poverty, such as Together We Bake. The fair took place at the University of the District of ColumIf you were unable to attend the fair this fall, JLW will host two bia. There were some incredible speakers, including a breadth of additional Readers2Leaders events in 2020, including a signature subject-matter experts. Professionals from the Consumer Financial event, tentatively scheduled for February 1, and another focused Protection Bureau spoke about financial literacy. JLW Member and on children and families in April. The signature event will bring nutritionist, Kelly Morgan, discussed healthy eating habits. There was together hundreds of people from across the Washington, DC, area even a “breathing break” with SoulCycle instructor Kathleen Kulikowto celebrate the great work of community organizations focused on ski. More than 50 JLW women volunteered to support the event. improving literacy in our region. •
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
READING ALL-STARS PROGRAM MARKS A DECADE OF SERVICE By Sarah Valerio
n Saturday mornings, when many children are at home watching cartoons and taking the weekend off, their peers at Harriet Tubman Elementary School eagerly return to school, along with parents and volunteers, to spend time reading. The children gather at the school located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Washington, DC, on Saturdays as part of the Reading All-Stars (RAS) program. This year, RAS celebrates its milestone 10th anniversary. RAS hosts one-on-one reading sessions for approximately 75 elementary school-aged children with the goal of helping students read at grade level. RAS is part of the umbrella of literacy-promoting programs of 826DC. Although teachers can recommend that students attend RAS, joining the program is entirely voluntary. RAS pairs students from Tubman with volunteer tutors, many of whom come from the Junior League of Washington (JLW). Many participants in RAS tutoring sessions are English-language learners or speak English as a second language; all receive free or reduced lunch at school. JLW partners with 826DC on its Reading All-Stars program, providing volunteer resources. JLW RAS Chair Barbara Mickits says the “program serves a real need and its mission is so well aligned with our focus on literacy.” One JLW volunteer, Lauren Iannolo (RAS Vice Chair), cites RAS as “actually the main reason I joined JLW.” She adds, “I knew I wanted to volunteer in the Washington, DC, community in an ESL capacity after graduating, but wasn’t quite sure how to get involved.” As a student at Georgetown University, Iannolo had volunteered reading with students at Tubman through a different program. She discovered JLW while she was searching online for similar opportunities. “I chose RAS as my mini placement and the rest is history,” says Iannolo, now in her third year with RAS. Andrew Gilligan and Kalli Krumpos are co-leaders for RAS, organizing its programming, managing operations, and coordinating on-site activities, all of which they do on a voluntary basis. “We are so grateful for the partnership and support provided by the Junior League,” says Krumpos. “All of our volunteers are incredible people, but I think the JLW volunteers are especially impressive role
models and mentors for our students. It’s so powerful for our students to learn from and interact with impressive, professional women, which helps encourage them to set big goals for their own lives.” Of the students, Krumpos says they are “so impressive, funny, creative and smart. They show up to school, on a Saturday, after being in class all week and bring lots of energy and enthusiasm.”
“[THAT] THE PROGRAM HAS MANAGED TO RUN FOR 10 CONTINUOUS YEARS DEMONSTRATES THE POWER OF THE MODEL AND IS A TRIBUTE TO OUR VOLUNTEERS AND PARTNERSHIPS.” Along with Krumpos, Gilligan has been with RAS since 2012. He has had the opportunity to watch kids grow up through the program. “We had our first official Reading All-Stars of the year, and there were multiple kids there who had gone through the program and now are in middle school and high school, excitedly signing up their younger siblings for RAS.” He adds that it has been “great to see specific pairs—a volunteer and student—read together for years and develop a really close relationship where the volunteer becomes like family to the kid and their family.” Krumpos says “[t]hat the program has managed to run for 10 continuous years demonstrates the power of the model and is a tribute to our volunteers and partnerships.”
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
RAS began when a group of volunteers who had been campaigning for Barack Obama during the 2008 election found themselves with extra time on their hands following the election. They had been bitten by the civic engagement bug, and now sought a new cause into which to pour their time, talents, and efforts. RAS’s founders lived in Columbia Heights and visited local principals asking if and how they could offer support. Leaders from Harriet Tubman Elementary School took them up on their offer. The principal said that the students could use reading support, and RAS was born. In the 10 years since, the program has flourished. “We are now consistently serving more students,” says Gilligan. “We have also learned never to underestimate students and how capable they are. We have also built our partnership with JLW to the point [that] they are by far the biggest contributor of volunteers and a key reason the program continues to thrive.” Those involved with RAS all seem to have touching personal stories to share about moments in volunteering that were particularly memorable and impactful. Krumpos elaborated on the story of Allison, a high school junior, who had come up through RAS to become one of its many success stories. “Allison has attended RAS every Saturday for the last eight years. She joined as a first grader. The school had recommended she participate to gain some extra reading practice. She was paired with an amazing volunteer, Becky; they worked together for years, until Allison graduated from Tubman Elementary. During their time together, Allison and Becky built a strong relationship, and Allison’s reading skills improved. By the time she graduated, she was reading above grade level. Even after she graduated, Allison kept coming back to RAS. She now helps to run the library for us on Saturdays, assisting students in selecting engaging books and in checking out materials for them to read at home. Allison’s story is what RAS is all about: through the support of a caring mentor, students can learn to love reading, building on their reading skills, and develop a mentoring relationship with a community member.” Ann Robinson is a JLW Sustainer and former RAS Chair (from the 2016–2017 JLW year). She began volunteering with RAS in the fall of 2014, the first year it was offered as a placement with the League. Because she enjoyed the program so much, she continues to volunteer as a community member. When Robinson began, she partnered with a new kindergarten student with whom she is still paired today, five years later. She fondly recalls getting a “big running hug” from her student partner when she arrived, and him excitedly pulling her over to the table where he was seated to show her a stack of four books he had arrived early to pick out from the library for the two of them to read together. “It demonstrated that he understood the incredible power that comes from being able to read and access the world of information and imagination that resides in books, and he wanted more.” Robinson adds that over the years, she has seen her student partner’s reading level advance and that “[h]e has an incredible
memory and the inquisitive mind of a scientist. He loves nonfiction books about animals, storms, wars, and natural and supernatural phenomena. He loves maps and thinking about why the world is organized as it is. He understands that if he wants the answer to a question, the best way to get that answer is to find a book on the topic and start to read. He has grown immensely, and I am immensely proud of him.”
“WE ARE SO GRATEFUL FOR THE PARTNERSHIP AND SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE JUNIOR LEAGUE” Iannolo shared, “It’s just so awesome to see a student have a breakthrough and really enjoy a book, especially when they may have been less enthusiastic about reading in the past. This happened with my buddy, who was in fifth grade and hadn’t necessarily loved reading the most when we started together. However, one week we started reading about a young girl growing up in ancient Egypt. In the book, the girl’s sister is 12 and her parents are discussing how she will get married soon. My buddy, being 11, thought this was absolutely outrageous—as it totally is in the modern day—and she could not stop talking about it and telling everyone reading near us how this used to be common practice. It was entertaining to see how the book got her so fired up about the injustice of it, but also on another level, gratifying for me to watch her connect the book, even over a somewhat minor detail, and see how she connected it back to her own life experiences and felt compassion for the character. To me, the most important thing reading teaches us is compassion for others who live lives we will never live, so to see her getting this out of the book was very meaningful.” Iannolo hopes that those considering volunteering with RAS will not let a lack of formal training stand in their way. “The single most important thing a volunteer can do for their child is to show up. The kids in the program are voluntarily spending their Saturdays reading with you, and simply by showing up and having a good attitude, you are already fostering a love for reading by example.” Iannolo adds, “I have found the program incredibly rewarding and have probably learned just as much from my students about compassion, patience and resilience as they have about reading from me. Not only are you helping someone, but you are expanding your own world view. To me, programs like RAS help to make everyone involved better citizens than they were before.” •
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
A LOOK BACK AT 100,000 BOOKS By Elizabeth Petrun Sayers
s the Junior League of Washington (JLW) approached its centennial in 2012, members on the Centennial Celebrations Committee knew this was the time to dream big. What could JLW accomplish in a year? What might represent who we are and what we feel passionate about? It was in this moment someone floated a novel idea: distribute 100,000 books to celebrate 100 years of service. JLW volunteers would ensure 100,000 books would make their way into the hands of children in the greater Washington, DC, community. Casually referred to as the “100,000 Books Project,” the initiative quickly took on steam. To drive the project forward, Amber Huffman joined the Centennial Celebrations Committee as its Special Projects chair. Amy Shuart Gingrich represented the Resolution Read program and spearheaded the drive to work with Community Partners. Together, Huffman and Gingrich worked to accomplish the largest distribution of books JLW had facilitated to date. The 100,000 Books Project embraced Resolution Read’s three tenets: supporting reading aloud, placing age-appropriate books in the homes of children, and providing more books to schools and libraries. These principles directed the Project’s approach of distributing books directly to students at schools, awarding book grants to a variety of organizations, and working with existing community partners. In addition to selecting, ordering, and distributing books, the Project included a variety of opportunities for volunteers to engage directly with the community. For example, the Project organized three different distributions to Washington, DC, schools in Wards 1, 5, 7, and 8. Partnering with Reading is Fundamental (RIF), a local nonprofit focused on improving literacy in children, JLW volunteers delivered 32,540 books directly to students. School distributions allowed children to personally select books of interest, sparking excitement in starting or adding to their very own collection of books. In addition to providing books to take home, JLW volunteers created literacy-themed activities for children to discuss with their parents and organized on-site activities, such as presentations from children’s authors. JLW received 400 to 500 thank-you cards from local schools following the book deliveries. One principal shared the impact of the books on students:
Co-Chairs Amber Huffman and Amy Shuart Gingrich stand beside JLW Headquarters’ decorated window.
A variety of books on display for children to choose from on a distribution day. “The Junior League and the Reading is Fundamental group have no way of knowing the value of the books and their time; it is far beyond a price tag that could be put upon those entities. My students often have no one in their homes who will take the time or who have the skills to read a book with them… I hope that Junior League realizes what a special gift they are giving my students.” Aside from working with schools, JLW awarded book grants and created new partnerships with community organizations. Through the distribution of books, JLW connected with the Washington School for Girls, an independent Catholic day school serving girls
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
enrolled in third through eighth grade in Anacostia. JLW members continue to volunteer with Washington School for Girls today, supporting Saturday school, book club, and other book celebration programs. In total, JLW awarded 22 book grants to groups across the greater Washington, DC, area. Existing Community Partners—such as Bright Beginnings, Literacy Lab, and Horton’s Kids—also Book recipients thank JLW volunteers. received book donations on behalf of the Project. This meant that the 100,000 Books Project required an unprecedented amount of coordination, internally and outside of the League. “We scheduled many ‘stuffer’ parties where women would meet at JLW Headquarters every night for a week to prepare for book distributions,” remembers Huffman. Huffman and Gingrich noted the importance of distributing the books in totes; once volunteers finished stuffing, they inserted a JLW sticker with a space for the new owner to write his or her name. This process personalized books for children and meant each book was handled by a JLW volunteer with love. The immediate impact of the 100,000 Books Project was visible to JLW volunteers attending one of the book distributions. One memory that stood out to Huffman involved a boy who enthusiastically picked out a book on his own about snakes. After receiving the book, “[h]e went to the middle of the gymnasium we were in and sat down in the middle of the room and started reading the book right then and there.” “The light you see in kids’ eyes, that’s why we remained motivated to make this project successful,” shared Gingrich. Reflecting on the project five years later, Gingrich believes the 100,000 Books Project encouraged JLW to “think bigger.” She shared that, initially, the Project was conceptualized as needing several years to come to fruition, but this did not end up not being the case. As she said, “[w]e did it all in one year, and it was awesome.” Not only did the 100,000 Books Project accomplish its goal in one year, Project members surpassed the book distribution goal. The final count totaled 103,415 books placed in the hands of young readers in the greater Washington, DC, community. To this day, JLW continues to distribute books through Resolution Read. JLW volunteers remain involved with Community Partners generated as a result of the 100,000 Books Project. Completing the 100,000 Books Project “changed the way the community looked at JLW in the literacy world,” noted Huffman. Originally conceived as a small dream during a planning meeting, the 100,000 Books Project ultimately encouraged younger readers to pursue their passion for reading in a big way. •
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
FALL GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING:
A BOOK DRIVE IN HONOR OF LITERACY By Molly DiGiammarino
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) 2019-2020 league year celebrates 20 years of focusing our volunteer and financial resources on improving literacy in our community. JLW is celebrating and commemorating this important milestone in ways deeply tied to our mission: service, developing the potential of women, and community impact. To celebrate the milestone, the Fall General Membership Meeting featured a literacy-themed program and an opportunity for members to give back. As part of the focus on literacy, the Membership Outreach and Literacy Anniversary Project Committee partnered for a book drive and collected new and gently-used books at the meeting. The book drive was part of the anniversary initiative, Readers2Leaders, which focuses on working with children and adults to use reading and literacy skills to empower them in their personal and professional lives. The featured speaker, Martha “Martie” Kettmer, is a JLW pastpresident and an integral part of JLW’s founding of the nonprofit organization Bright Beginnings, Inc. The organization operates early childhood and
Former JLW president Martha “Martie” Kettmer.
More than 100 children’s books were collected in support of Bright Beginnings at the Fall General Membership Meeting.
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
family learning centers for children and families experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC. Kettmer spoke to members about the impact JLW has made through the founding and continued support of Bright Beginnings. The Children’s Book Drive raised 70 books for Bright Beginnings. Readers2Leaders activities celebrating 20 years of literacy will continue throughout the year. •
President-elect, Jessica Taylor White, former JLW president Martha “Martie” Kettmer, and current JLW President, Carly Mitchell at the fall general membership meeting.
Former JLW president Martha “Martie” Kettmer and current President Carly Mitchell talk about Bright Beginnings and the 20th anniversary of literacy-focused volunteer programs at the Fall General Membership Meeting.
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LITERACY
WEEKLY BOOK CLUB BRINGS JOY TO LANGLEY RESIDENTS By Elizabeth Petrun Sayers
n Tuesday evenings, Junior League of Washington (JLW) volunteers host a weekly book club with Langley Residential Support Services (Langley) residents. Langley is a nonprofit organization that serves adults with developmental disabilities, their families, and local communities by providing quality housing and support services. JLW and Langley have a long-standing relationship, established in 1988, when the League helped fund a new group home. Throughout the life of this partnership, JLW volunteers have initiated new activities with Langley residents, including formation of a book club. “The Langley adults are the best part of this committee,” stated JLW Langley Chair Emily Jordan. Meeting weekly, JLW volunteers establish friendships with Langley residents. Vice Chair, Kara Massey, enjoys watching the Langley adults develop their reading and social abilities throughout the League year. As she puts it, “we share what’s going on in our lives each week. So you learn about them, and eventually, you find a lot of connections. For example, one of the adults was a military kid; I was, too.” Each week, JLW volunteers focus on improving reading, technical skills, promoting self-confidence, and providing opportunities for social interaction. This year, the book club is kicking off with Judy Blume’s Freckle Juice, which follows a
Committee members Christina Harrison, Jina Choi, Emily Jordan, Kara Massey, Kristyn King, Lollie Corrigan, Hallye Smith, Christine Becer, Emily Almand, and Sarah Juckett kick off book club in fall 2019. young boy who desperately wants freckles. Jordan shared other favorite books, which have included biographies of famous figures, such as President Abraham Lincoln. Jordan typically selects the books for the club based on experience and Langley adults’ preferences. She looks for books that will be accessible to several different reading levels and, most importantly, will be enjoyable for attendees. JLW volunteers are responsible for planning each book club’s agenda. For example, committee members create discussion questions and activities to ensure the meetings are efficient and productive. The meetings must accommodate a variety of literacy levels, ranging from those who need assistance while reading to others who read at third-grade level. JLW volunteers are able to cater to different proficiencies by convening small-group discussions. Gathered around tables, Langley adults participate in
dialogue about what they enjoyed the most about each book, what they think will happen next, and how the story may or may not relate to their everyday experiences. Over time, these book club sessions have made a big impact on Langley residents. For example, Langley attendees look forward to the weekly gatherings to catch up with other residents who live in different group homes. After the summer break, several Langley adults were eager to update the group about changes in their lives while the book club was on a hiatus. The Langley book club fosters a love for stories and reading, while also evolving to provide a platform for sharing so much more. The number of JLW volunteers at Langley may be small, but their impact is not. Simply looking around the meeting room at the smiles, laughter, and conversation during the Langley book club hint at the importance of their work. •
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR STAFF
MEET JLW’S NEWEST STAFF MEMBER
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) relies on its professional staff in a myriad of ways throughout the League year. As JLW members come together to influence lives and promote change, staff are engaged behind the scenes to ensure our League operates smoothly.
family of Russian descent. She is the first generation in her family to be born in the United States. When she was 16 years old, she moved to Washington, DC, to work on Capitol Hill and later attended Howard University. When describing what drew her to work for the League, Lefbvre stated, “As
“AS SOON AS I HEARD LITERACY WAS THE MAIN ASPECT OF THE JUNIOR LEAGUE, I WAS LIKE, YES, AUTOMATICALLY, AS BOOKS HAVE BEEN A LARGE PART OF MY LIFE.” For the 2019–2020 League year, JLW added a new face to its professional team. Olga Lefbvre, JLW’s new Operations Coordinator, will be responsible for a breadth of clerical duties, such as distribution of mail and facilities management responsibilities, which includes maintaining Headquarters’ tidiness. Lefbvre’s background is a story of perseverance and hard work. Lefbvre was born and raised in California to a
soon as I heard literacy was the main aspect of the Junior League, I was like, yes, automatically, as books have been a large part of my life.” Lefbvre is excited to embrace the JLW Mission and bring new ideas to the League. As she grows in the Operations Coordinator position, Lefbvre looks forward to rolling up her sleeves and getting involved in League activities. She says, “I absolutely love coming to work,
Olga Lefbvre, JLW’s new Operations Coordinator and I love being a part of something that’s larger than me.” Lefbvre is also looking forward to working on the many new changes happening around the League. Next time you are at headquarters, stop by and welcome Lefbvre to JLW! She has a famous chocolate cake recipe, loves to read, and is fluent in Russian. •
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
MELISSA PETERSEN MAKES HISTORY FUN (AND PUTS THE ‘DO’ IN DOCENT)
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) focuses its financial and volunteer resources on literacy within the Washington, DC, area; a subset of this focus is cultural literacy. JLW members on the Historic Alexandria Docents (HAD) Committee aim to improve cultural literacy through a variety of volunteer opportunities at five historic properties in Alexandria, VA. Committee members serve as tour guides and assist with special events at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Carlyle House, and Lee-Fendall House Museum. In addition to an affinity for history, HAD requires members to serve for two years due to the extensive training program for its volunteers. While this may seem daunting to some, one member of JLW, Melissa Petersen, has served for nine years and provided service beyond expectations. “Essentially, Melissa is HAD. She was an amazing committee chair, and even now that she’s doing her primary placement with other committees, she continues to be a great resource for everyone on the committee,” said Laura Lieberman, current HAD Chair. “She doesn’t like to draw attention to herself, but she ought to be acknowledged for all the work she’s done.” Melissa Petersen joined the Junior League of Knoxville, TN, in the spring of 2009 while attending law school. She did so at the encouragement of her mother, who had been a member for a few years. Moving back to the Washington, DC, area after graduating, Petersen transferred her membership to complete her new member year as a member of JLW.
By Katie Hatfield
Petersen spent most of her formative years in Clemson, SC. She attributes her love of history to a childhood surrounded by historic homes in the south and to the year her family spent in Regensburg, Germany, living in an apartment building from the 1300s. As an adult, however, Petersen’s day job did not allow her to engage in any historical activities. A tour of one HAD property, Carlyle House, first piqued Petersen’s interest. “Since I live in Arlington, I was already interested in HAD as a committee but enjoyed seeing a museum/historic home I had not discovered while previously living in DC,” said Petersen. Commuting to Baltimore for work throughout her new member year and into the fall of her first active year, Petersen found the flexibility she was looking for in her placement at Mount Vernon upon joining HAD.
HAD committee members, Laura Lieberman, Jessica Avery, and Jackie Sandler, pose with a costumed Petersen at an event at JLW Headquarters.
Volunteering for HAD has its perks. Here Petersen (Left) and fellow volunteers are pictured with, local celebrity, General George Washington.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
Petersen (Right) and fellow committee member, Pam Hughet, repping Mount Vernon at the Washington, DC Cherry Blossom Expo event.
Petersen (Right) and HAD committee member, Melanie Shere are all smiles on site at Mount Vernon. A lot of Petersen’s work involves petticoats. “I spend a lot of my volunteer time in colonial attire, supporting the special events like Colonial Fair, Fall Harvest, Old Town Candlelight, Washington’s Birthday Weekend, etc,” Petersen explained. After two years of volunteering for the committee, a leadership opportunity arose for Petersen. As HAD went through a leadership change, she took a position as Vice Chair of the committee for two years, then later served as HAD Chair for three years. In both of these positions, Petersen enjoyed many HAD initiatives. She remarked, “As Vice Chair and later Chair, I have volunteered at most of the other HAD properties—giving tours one weekend at Carlyle House, helping with special events like the Apothecary’s Mad Science, Lee-Fendall’s Easter Egg Hunts, and some of the Carlyle
House Open Houses. I also enjoy attending special events like Old Town Candlelight— and end up trying to catch the committee members in pictures as they volunteer.” In 2017, after providing five years of service to HAD, Petersen served as the Assistant Council Director (ACD) for JLW’s Cultural Community Placements Council. This Council oversees not just the HAD Committee, but also the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), Folger Shakespeare Library, Community Training, and (at the time of her tenure) the DoneIn-A-Day Committees. “It was nice to work with all the committees I had gotten to know from the council meetings and look for ways to partner across the Council, as well as with the other ACDs across all the councils,” said Petersen of her experience. After serving as ACD, Petersen was then asked to serve as Recording Secretary the following year, but found this role only reinforced her interests in community volunteering and connecting with members across the League. Thus, last year, Petersen began a secondary placement with HAD as a volunteer and maintains the placement today, even after accepting a new appointment on the Research & Evaluation Committee for the 2019–2020 JLW year. But what is it about HAD keeping Petersen coming back year after year? “I am probably biased, but I think the HAD Committee ladies are some of my
favorites in the JLW. I enjoy the socials and meetings with the group, and enjoy volunteering with them at the properties,” said Petersen. During her years of leadership, one of the more impactful things Petersen accomplished was hosting events promoting cross-committee relationships. “I tried to pair social opportunities with JLW events like meeting for coffee before Holiday Shops general shopping or Tossed & Found rummage drop off, as well as find fun events where committee members could attend together like gelato and the Old Town farmers’ market, or meeting before JLW Night at the Folger,” explained Petersen. While she acknowledges each leader brings her own perspective to the committee, Petersen was excited to see new chairs continue to plan events that extend the reach of HAD beyond the historical properties at which committee members volunteer. “I was also excited to see a partnership with one of the previous HAD chairs and Folger/NMWA for touring the National Gallery and going to brunch. Every year, it is fun to see the committee leadership and member suggestions for fun monthly (or more frequent) social options, since it is a way to get to know each other outside of the volunteer shifts and do some fun things in the area,” she added. But, what does she envision for the committee’s future? Well, in Petersen’s eyes, the future of HAD is bright. But, ever so modestly, she leaves the path open to current and future chairs to chart HAD’s path. “I don’t have a specific vision for the future of the committee and would want the current and future leaders to be able to make the adjustments and evolve the committee to meet the needs of the committee members and the HAD properties. I am happy to see the committee as a whole continues to support and make an impact with the 1,000+ hours a year in Alexandria. I hear so often from the staff at the smaller properties they could not hold the special programs and events without so many volunteer shifts filled by committee members and JLW volunteers.” •
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR PARTNERS
2019 PARTNER OF JLW KITCHEN TOUR:
A TASTE OF THE WOODROW WILSON HOUSE By Hannah McCracken
he stately Woodrow Wilson House (WWH) sits tucked away on a quiet street off of Embassy Row. This home served as the primary residence for President Woodrow Wilson and his second wife, Edith, after serving two terms in office as the 28th President of the United States. Outfitted with the latest in 1920s finishings, the WWH provided a beautiful backdrop for hosting foreign dignitaries and other visitors. Many Junior League of Washington (JLW) members may recognize this beautiful brick home as a familiar location. Earlier this spring, the WWH hosted a brunch to kick off festivities for the eighth-annual JLW Kitchen Tour, a self-guided experience taking participants through the elegant kitchens located in the Kalorama and Adams Morgan neighborhoods of Washington, DC. Along the way, attendees enjoyed culinary demonstrations and tastings. The brunch at the WWH was the first of many stops on that morning in May, and it also happened to be one of Elizabeth Karcher’s first events as WWH’s Executive Director. “Not every day is like that!” Karcher remarked when asked about a typical day as leader of the nonprofit. When not hosting Kitchen Tour festivities, Karcher and her team of three full-time staff work to maintain the home, curate exhibitions, and develop events and programming. They are supplemented by a team of 24 guides who show visitors through the home, sharing insights and stories on the pieces and former residents.
JLW members and guests enjoy brunch at the Woodrow Wilson House in spring 2019. #JLWKitchenTour
Currently, the museum is focused on sharing three main stories with its visitors: tales of African Americans who worked in the house and lived in surrounding neighborhood; spotlights on the women in President Wilson’s life; and the former President’s international legacy. The first exhibition is focused on sharing stories of African Americans who worked in the WWH and lived in the surrounding neighborhood while the former president and his wife were residents. The lives of staff and family who worked in the home are highlighted through curated items and documented stories. Additionally, the museum focuses on telling the stories from the women in President Wilson’s life. President Wilson was married twice, and he had three daughters with his first wife. His daughters fascinated reporters of the era, with one 1913 newspaper article describing them as “being most independent young women, abundantly able to look out for themselves on all occasions and quite willing to do so,” according to the Monroe Journal. His second wife, Edith, has been called the “first female president” as she became a steward of the presidency while Wilson was recovering from a stroke. Finally, the WWH presents the international legacy of the former president. During his tenure as president, President Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to ending World War I and leading the establishment of the League of Nations. Karcher is six months into her role at the WWH, and she “feels so lucky to work in such a beautiful home.” Prior to her position as Executive Director, she worked for Discovery, Inc. in nearby Silver Spring, MD, for eight years, following nearly six years with Lockheed Martin. She considers each of these roles to be pivotal points in her career, and she notes she was assisted in the application process for both positions by friends she met through the Junior Woman’s Club of Chevy Chase (JWCCC). Originally joining the JWCCC as a way to make social connections with women in her community, Karcher ultimately became a leader in the organization and thoroughly enjoyed being able to contribute her time and abilities. When Karcher joined the WWH earlier this year, she saw an opportunity to highlight the hard work a group of women contributed to a cause nearly 100 years ago. Currently, she and her team are in the midst of planning events for 2020, including the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR PARTNERS
Horton’s Kids 30th Anniversary Family Picnic
Elizabeth Karcher, Executive Director of the Woodrow Wilson House, (far left) and JLW volunteers welcome guests to the eighth annual Kitchen Tour. #JLWKitchenTour women the right to vote in the United States. The programming will take place throughout the year and include a range of events sure to engage the minds and passions of attendees. Guests next year can look forward to a series of talks focusing on a variety of topics, such as a discussion on African American women getting the right to vote, a conversation on the women’s movement now and then, and a look at present-day U.S. women in politics. Events will also include movie screenings, book discussions, and a musical. Anchoring their programming for the centennial will be an exhibit centered around the suffrage movement and a special tour focusing on the era. Although many of the events celebrate the success of women’s suffrage, Karcher acknowledges the movement itself was not flawless. Consequently, WWH’s programming will examine the importance of race, gender, and class in the suffrage movement. During the events, Karcher hopes attendees will engage in thoughtful discussion about the movement and its present-day implications in American society. “In today’s day and age, we cannot afford to shy away from difficult conversations. If we’re not talking to our friends about our opinions and our views, and having these intense conversations— these difficult conversations—then we have no hope as a nation of coming together,” Karcher observed. Karcher has worked on several teams in her professional life, many including people with different backgrounds and experiences. She believes “innovation on a team comes from hearing different voices;” thus, creating an inclusive environment is critical to success. She is optimistic this goal will attract members of the DC community to the WWH. The next time you are near the WWH, stop by for a visit. You may not see a group of friendly JLW Kitchen Tour volunteers ready to greet you, but Karcher along with the dedicated staff and guides of the WWH will surely serve you something special. •
The Junior League of Washington is proud to partner with a range of extraordinary community organizations that make a real difference in the lives of women and children in the DC area. One of those partners is Horton’s Kids. Thirty years after its founding, Horton’s Kids continues to empower children growing up in one of Washington, DC’s most under-resourced communities, increasing their chances of graduating from high school, and paving the way for success in their careers and their lives. An active and positive force in the Wellington Park community of Washington, DC, Horton’s Kids shapes the lives of many parents and children living in Ward 8. On October 6, members of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) attended the Horton’s Kids anniversary family picnic. Featuring face painting, animal balloons, family games, and perfect weather, this was the largest picnic turnout of parents, children, and volunteers for Horton’s Kids. This successful event generated many smiling faces, proud parents, and loving and compassionate emotions towards all.
JLW Members Supporting Horton’s Kids at the Family Picnic event in October.
T-shirts from the 2019 Horton’s Kids Family Picnic.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
N STREET VILLAGE RENOVATES FLAGSHIP SPACE TO ENHANCE ITS SUPPORT FOR WOMEN EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS IN DC
Street Village, a Junior League of Washington (JLW) community partner, was founded in 1972 to supply what its founders perceived as a gap in coverage for women experiencing homelessness in the Washington, DC, area. More than four decades later, N Street Village remains committed to providing housing, food, wellness, and other support for unaccompanied women experiencing homelessness. While each of N Street Village’s five locations focuses on a discrete element of support, the flagship N Street Village location (at 1333 N Street NW) offers numerous resources to support basic needs. Amenities at this site include supportive housing, meals, clothing, showers, and laundry, as well as resources for health care, social support, and wellness. N Street Village’s commitment to the homeless does not stop, with a day center available 365 days per year. JLW has partnered with N Street Village for nearly 30 years. Twice a month, JLW volunteers prepare breakfast or lunch and serve meals as a group to N Street Village residents. JLW volunteers also chat with residents during the meal and lead them in an activity after meal service has concluded. Recent popular activities have included get-to-knowyou games and “paint-by-sticker” art projects. During the 2018–2019 year, N Street Village was selected as JLW Placement of the Year for updates to its programming and the impact provided by League volunteers. The flagship location, where JLW members volunteer, recently underwent substantial renovations, which renovated supportive housing units, expanded the day
By Heather Mandelkehr
N Street Village’s renovated dining area provides a clean, bright, and inviting space for residents to enjoy meals and participate in activities coordinated by JLW volunteers. (Photo provided by N Street Village)
AMENITIES AT THIS SITE INCLUDE SUPPORTIVE HOUSING, MEALS, CLOTHING, SHOWERS, AND LAUNDRY, AS WELL AS RESOURCES FOR HEALTH CARE, SOCIAL SUPPORT, AND WELLNESS.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
N STREET VILLAGE LAUNCHED ITS KEEPING OUR PROMISE CAPITAL CAMPAIGN IN 2013, WITH A GOAL OF RAISING $9 MILLION. THREE YEARS LATER, N STREET VILLAGE MADE HEADLINES WHEN OPRAH WINFREY VISITED N STREET VILLAGE’S ANNUAL LUNCHEON AND ANNOUNCED A SURPRISE $1 MILLION DONATION TO THE CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
N Street Village’s renovations sought to further fulfill the Village’s pillars of providing “traumainformed care” and a welcome with dignity and respect (photo provided by N Street Village).
center, created additional spaces for health and wellness services, and ensured building systems could be updated to continue to support future growth. According to N Street Village’s leadership and staff, in planning for and executing renovations, they sought to further two pillars of the organization’s mission: “trauma-informed care” and a welcome with dignity and respect. To N Street Village, these two principles mean meeting each woman where she is, without passing judgment. N Street staff were excited to work with designers and engineers to ensure these pillars guided renovation decisions, from emphasizing natural light to adding a new front desk and creating quiet spaces throughout the building. To fund its renovations and provide an emergency fund for future maintenance, N Street Village launched its Keeping Our Promise capital campaign in 2013, with a goal of raising $9 million. Three years later, N Street Village made headlines when Oprah Winfrey visited N Street Village’s annual luncheon and announced a surprise $1 million donation to the capital campaign. Winfrey’s donation was added to the many other donations given by an overwhelmingly positive community, including additional ‘above-and-beyond gifts,’ as well as hundreds of smaller donations. As a result of this generosity, N Street Village was not only able to complete fundraising and renovations without a lag in program support, but also to expand its offerings and services. A vocational center and workforce development classes help prepare more N Street Village women for the workforce. Reconstruction to N Street Village’s kitchen and dining area resulted in wellequipped, clean, bright, and inviting spaces where volunteers and residents work together to set up and clean up the meals. This, in turn, has enhanced JLW volunteers’ experience and support of the organization. N Street Village Vice Chair, Kelsey Sullivan, said the renovated space “allows us to spend more time with the residents and less time prepping or cleaning up—we really get to focus on what we are there for and not get bogged down with more of the ‘administrative’ aspects of serving a meal, which is great.” •
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
USE JLW TO GROW PROFESSIONALLY By Hannah McCracken
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) is one of the largest chapters in the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). At times, its size may feel intimidating; but, as JLW member Mary Grace McCormick points out, “[w]ith our great size comes resources and member talents that are just as extensive.” Whether you are new to JLW or a longtime member seeking to develop yourself professionally, you can always look to resources and opportunities within the League. Here are three tips on how to maximize your JLW experience and grow your professional skills.
1. ATTEND DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING (D&T) SESSIONS D&Ts are offered throughout the League year and span a wide range of topics. The focus and style of the trainings vary, but the overall mission is to provide JLW members the opportunity to learn about a particular topic or build skills relevant to League placements. Previous sessions have covered topics ranging from public speaking and developing your personal brand to financial investment. To register for an upcoming D&T, sign up on the JLW website.
2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF COMMITTEE PLACEMENTS Committee placements are a great way to explore new interests and hone your strengths. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone! Unlike school assignments or work projects, there is no formal evaluation of your performance within a JLW placement, so it is a great place to learn and grow without any formal pressure. You can boost your resume by highlighting relevant JLW activities, leadership roles, and skills you have developed through your JLW career.
3. DEVELOP STRONG RELATIONSHIPS As you meet people while volunteering, attending member events, or completing a placement, make sure to ask for contact information or connect with them on LinkedIn. JLW members represent a wide variety of backgrounds and professional fields, so you are likely to find someone who has experience in an area of interest, or who may be able to connect you with someone who does. Once you have connected with them, make sure to follow up! Grabbing a coffee or making plans to attend an upcoming JLW event together are easy ways to keep each other updated on your JLW and professional journeys.
Taste the joy.
RIDGEWELLS IS A PROUD SUPPORTER OF THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF WASHINGTON
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
HIGHLIGHTING OUR HISTORIANS:
THE ARCHIVES COMMITTEE BRINGS JLW INTO THE DIGITAL AGE
hinking about archives conjures up images of dusty folders, forgotten boxes of photos, and stacks of aging documents. For the Junior League of Washington (JLW) Archives Committee, whose focus is to capture JLW history, managing documentation of our League’s history is anything but boring and neglected. Archives Committee members are the information gatherers of JLW and help maintain historic records of our activities and events, developing presentations, displays, and articles to portray JLW history, including preparation of an annual scrapbook. Last year was a time to rebuild for the JLW Archives Committee, submitting a proposal to Finance Council to increase the Committee’s budget for a project to digitize our archives. The committee was thrilled to receive $15,000 for the multiyear effort, beginning with a pilot program to digitize JLW’s most fragile items. The oldest physical archives, which date back to 1912, have been stored primarily in brittle, delicate scrapbooks. The first phase of this work will prioritize digitizing the oldest archived materials, from the 1910s through the 1960s. Archives members kicked off their digitization effort by performing an in-depth search of the physical archives around JLW Headquarters. Objects within the archives are located in several places throughout the Loughborough House, but are primarily organized in the two parlors. JLW archives also include framed materials, such as photographs of the JLW presidents.
By Jessica Sanchez
JLW Archives also include framed materials like the JLW Presidents’ photographs, which are presented along the walls on the first floor of JLW Headquarters. The Archives Committee has already made several exciting finds, including scrapbook pictures from the 1940’s when the JLW helped produce a television show that interviewed local dignitaries about their leisure time activities. The committee also unearthed a March 1925 letter from the first
JLW President, Elizabeth Hempstone. She discusses her idea for a “President’s Book,” which would have each outgoing president write a brief summary of her administration to include the main events, problems, and accomplishments to serve as a reference to other future leaders. By 1925, Hempstone
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
was serving as a sustainer, and she mentions the submission of a check for 14 dollars – at that time, the amount of two years of dues. That is commitment to paying dues! Building on last year’s work, the Archives Committee is embarking on two new projects: cataloging and then digitizing the JLW archives. The committee has sent out a request for proposals and will work to select a digitization vendor this year to begin the next step of the project. Our League has a rich history documented via the incredible information contained within our physical archives. This will be the first time JLW has undertaken a professional digitization of archives, and it is an important investment in our history. According to the Archives Committee Chair Carly Robinson, “The investment empowers our organization to better communicate our League’s legacy. Documenting how our dedicated voluntarism has positively impacted our community over the last 107 years.” With successful digitization, the Archives Committee will be able to showcase the incredible contributions JLW volunteers have made throughout the Washington, DC, community since the League’s inception. Digitization will also connect JLW volunteers and committees with helpful information from the past in order to improve our understanding of the League’s history and how it has evolved over time. •
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DEVELOPING A DIVERSE FUND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY By Danielle Kidd Muenzfeld
n recent years, many Junior Leagues, as well as our parent organization, the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI), have placed increased focus on their revenue models and considered how to improve and diversify fundraising activities. A sustainable, strategic fund development plan will enable Leagues, including Junior League of Washington (JLW), to grow their financial positions in pursuit of furthering our shared mission. JLW began examination of its revenue model in 2014 with a Fund Development Advisory Task Force. Initial actions resulting from the Task Force led to changes to JLW’s structure, including formation of new committees and hiring of additional professional staff. The project, spearheaded by Carly Mitchell and the 2018–2019 Board of Directors, kicked off in March 2019 when the budget funds were allocated for use in the 2019-2020 JLW year. The fund allocation included dedicating additional resources to build a diverse fund development strategy for the JLW. This League year, the Board of Directors has moved this work forward by supplementing JLW’s diligence with the identification of external best practices. To understand what those practices are and how they may benefit the League, JLW engaged Kelly Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in establishing fundraising strategies for nonprofits, to examine the League’s current income streams and fundraisers. Kelly Strategies kicked off in July of this year, and are
JLW HAS ENGAGED NINE SISTER LEAGUES, AS WELL AS AJLI, ON THE TOPIC OF DIVERSE FUND DEVELOPMENT IN ORDER TO DEVELOP RECOMMENDATIONS. expected to present their findings during the November board meeting. Kelly Strategies’ recommendations will be focused on improving and diversifying the League’s current financial model. The plan and recommendations take into account the internal review of the League’s structure, discussions with the Board and JLW professional staff, contributions from the 2019 Fund Development Advisory Task Force, and JLW member feedback. JLW has engaged nine sister Leagues, as well as AJLI, on the topic of diverse fund development in order to develop recommendations. Sara McGanity, JLW’s Ways & Means Council Director, explained that these Leagues were selected strategically to obtain feedback based on several criteria. Each sister League had recently sunset a key fundraiser; represented a large, urban League; was recognized for their fund development efforts; and/or had worked with consultants to improve their own fundraising model. McGanity sees this collaboration as a way to understand how other Leagues
are approaching the issue to collect best practices for JLW’s effort. Leadership developing the diverse fund development strategy also acknowledges the strategies need to be appropriate for JLW, which starts with our members. In an email to JLW members in July 2019, JLW President Carly Mitchell explained that feedback from League members is critical in developing this strategy. McGanity believes the member input sessions have been critical to creating a new fund development strategy because the plan needs to “reflect the League’s culture, volunteer structure, and personnel structure making it implementable.” League members had the opportunity to provide formal feedback in this process through two channels: (1) membership on a Fund Development Advisory Task Force, which is comprised of eight active members and sustainers and (2) attendance at member input sessions. The Task Force gave Kelly Strategies insight into JLW’s culture, history, mission, and values. The member input sessions
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provided significant feedback to the consultants and the Task Force for the development of recommendations. More than 200 JLW members attended the September 2019 sessions or filled out a Member Input survey. At the sessions, members voiced their thoughts on building a culture of philanthropy across JLW and the engagement of League leaders in fundraising events. One suggested way to build a philanthropic culture is through additional fundraising training, such as sessions in “making the ask,” identifying and cultivating donors, and understanding the impact of JLW donations. Members also expressed interest in having additional options to earmark donations to specific JLW causes and initiatives. For example, today members may donate directly to the dues scholarship fund. JLW leaders are exploring ways to achieve this by studying budgeting, nonprofit best practices, and audit compliance.
ONE SUGGESTED WAY TO BUILD A PHILANTHROPIC CULTURE IS THROUGH ADDITIONAL FUNDRAISING TRAINING, SUCH AS SESSIONS IN “MAKING THE ASK,” IDENTIFYING AND CULTIVATING DONORS, AND UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF JLW DONATIONS. Kelly Strategies presented its recommendations in November 2019 to the Board of Directors. The Board plans to review the recommendations and engage members through another round of member input sessions in early 2020, including soliciting feedback at the second General Membership Meeting in January 2020, to discuss the recommendations and next steps. •
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A LASTING LEAGUE LEGACY AND COMMUNITY COMMITMENT
By Kristen Archer
ampbell Frank did not always think the Junior League Club, and a board member of the Children’s Hospital Child of Washington (JLW) was for her. This seems ironic, Health Center. She also contributed to the history of the Sulgrave given her family’s ties to the League—her maternal Club and St. Albans School and was the “Topics” columnist for grandmother served as President of the Junior League the Washington Times from 1982 to 1985. of Portland, ME, and her mother was a member of the Though Waldrop Frank’s accomplishments were numerous, the Junior League of the City of New York. value of The City of Washington cannot be overstated. Not only It was Frank’s paternal grandmother’s commitment to was the book groundbreaking for the time, but it visually docuJLW, however, which cemented her family’s legacy with the League mented a deep history. The City of Washington featured images and her connection to Washington, DC, which persists today. from private collections from well-connected League members Judith “Judy” Lanier Waldrop Frank, a native Washingtonian, and Waldrop Frank’s Washingtonian roots, never previously been served as President of JLW from 1966 to 1968. Writing and editing, released to the public at large. skills she would employ throughout her time with JLW and beyond, Campbell Frank describes her grandmother as an enterprising were paramount in Waldrop Frank’s family. Her father had served as person—very social, innovative, energized—who loved entertaining. editor-in-chief of the Washington Times-Herald. After graduating from When Frank was a child, she says she treasured the feeling of her Bryn Mawr College in 1953, Waldrop Frank won a contest sponsored grandmother treating her as an individual and an equal. Frank recalls by Condé Nast and became a writer for Vogue magazine. joining her grandmother on trips to visit her adult friends, run errands, In 1955, Waldrop Frank married Dr. Randolph Adams Frank Sr.; and attend activities. the couple had three children, the youngest of whom is Frank’s father, Lanier Frank. Growing up in the family home in the Spring Valley section of Washington, DC, he recalls attending countless meetings at the Klingle Mansion, JLW’s Headquarters at the time. Frank has shared many memories of his mother’s term as president of JLW and her work as an editor on The City of Washington: An Illustrated History. He fondly recalls a 25-foot dining table was brought into the family living room and filled from end to end with typewriters to produce the book. Waldrop Frank would go on to edit the Nineteenth Century magazine, published by the Victorian Society of America, and serve as a member of St. David’s Episcopal Church, the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, the Sulgrave Club, and the Chevy Chase Judith Frank with the Chairman of the Board of Security Storage Company of Washington (left), and Club. Over the years, she has also served the 1966 Holiday Shop Cover (right). At the time, Junior League members would go ask for sponsoras co-chair of the Washington Antiques ships in person and travel with a photographer to secure the images. This image is one of twenty that Show, president of the Evergreen Garden appeared in the 1966 brochure.
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Washington Post news release featuring The City of Washington. Having grown up in the same family home in Spring Valley, Frank’s first introduction to JLW came at a young age. She says her family’s “strongest friendships today are a result of [her] grandmother’s Junior League involvement 50 years ago.” Patricia Marks, who served as president after Waldrop Frank, is one of those close family friends. “Mother Marks,” as Frank affectionately calls her, still spends Thanksgiving with the Franks at the family’s cottage in Maryland every year. The family is also close to Polly Mitchell, who served as JLW president prior to Waldrop Frank. After living abroad, Frank returned to Washington desiring connection to a community beyond her high school and college network. But, she did not know where to begin. Working as Director of Communications and Fundraising Events at Rosemount Center, a nonprofit where JLW volunteers annually, Frank was reintroduced to the community she knew all along. In Frank’s eyes, the Rosemount Center’s Fall Fiesta Fundraiser would not be possible without the help of the League. This was her ‘ah-ha’ moment. She knew she had to be a part of JLW. Since joining, Frank has fully immersed herself in the JLW experience and shared commonalities with her grandmother. Her new member mini placement was at the Archives Committee, a choice partially inspired by her grandmother’s work on The City of Washington. Now, as a first-year active member of the League, Frank is proud of the friendships she has made and hopes to carry on her family’s traditions and connections to the community. •
Congressional Record review of The City of Washington from 1977.
Former JLW president, Patricia Marks, with Campbell Frank during Thanksgiving of 2018.
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ENGAGING PARTNERS TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE
ach year, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) hosts a series of community roundtables, convening thought leaders and stakeholders in the nonprofit, civic, and business communities to discuss new and innovative ways to address Washington, DC’s most urgent needs. The roundtables are meant to encourage a productive, and meaningful dialogue that informs and shapes the expansion of the JLW focus on critical education needs in the community. Roundtables are also an opportunity for JLW to provide resources and information to empower Community Partners in support of their mission. The first roundtables, which were then called the Literacy Advisory Board, were held in 2006 to seek recommendations on how to strengthen the League’s relationship with community organizations and make a positive and lasting impact on literacy in the Washington, DC, area. Since 2015, JLW has held multiple roundtable events with Community Partners and other stakeholders to collaborate on specific education concerns in the community. These roundtables have included topics such as: • Identifying ways organizations can work together to improve science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education in the community; • Brainstorming how cultural institutions, community organizations, and JLW can better unite efforts to educate DC students about arts and history topics; and • Collaborating on best practices to remediate the issue of absenteeism in DC-based public charter schools.
By Jessica Sanchez
On October 17, 2019, JLW held a roundtable called “Grant Writing: Successful Tips and Tricks” at Pepco Edison Galleries in collaboration with Katy Moore, Senior Director at the Orr Group; Anna Bard, Community Affairs Manager at Wells Fargo; Sheila Archambault Helke, the JLW Targeted Grants & Volunteer Resources (TGVR) Committee Chair; and Cheyenne-Jordan Gill, TGVR Rising Chair. The roundtable focused on providing Community Partners and other local nonprofits with insight into and strategies for applying for JLW grants and other corporate funding. The roundtable also discussed JLW’s literacy focus, ways to engage community partners and the community-at-large in Readers2Leaders fairs this year, and challenges facing our community with respect to improving illiteracy more generally. During the 2019–2020 League year, JLW received 56 applications for Targeted Grants. Of those, between 10 and 12 will move on to the full application phase. The TGVR Committee interviews the top three to four organizations and conducts site visits to evaluate those applicants’ programming. In February, the committee will choose two finalists for $30,000 Targeted Grants and two finalists for $15,000 Community Partner Grants. Once the JLW Board of Directors approves the list of finalists, they will be added to the annual ballot for review and will be voted on by the entire League. Winners will be notified in mid-May 2020. With such a competitive process, JLW is pleased to share insights with Community Partners on what makes a successful application.
Katy Moore, Senior Director of the Orr Group, and Anna Bard, Senior Vice President Community Affairs Manager at Wells Fargo, share tips and tricks for quality and effective grant proposals.
JLW President Carly Mitchell and Jacqueline “Jackie” Malkes kick off the October Roundtable. “Grants give the League a unique way to support and be a part of the efforts of other community organizations working towards the same goal—improving literacy in the DC community. In addition to League volunteers directly working in the community, JLW grants are just one other way we can contribute to the important work of our Community Partners,” noted Archambault Helke. JLW welcomes suggestions about potential partners as it continues its effort to make a positive and lasting impact on the Washington, DC community. If you have ideas for roundtable topics or would like to be included in future roundtable discussions, please email email@example.com. •
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DATES TO REMEMBER WINTER GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING Thursday, January 29
WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST Friday, March 6 (tentative)
KITCHEN TOUR ON CAPITOL HILL Saturday, April 18
FOR THE LOVE OF LEARNING: A READERS2LEADERS FESTIVAL February 1
TOSSED & FOUND Friday, March 20–Sunday, March 22 (tentative)
ANNUAL MEETING Thursday, April 23 SUSTAINER SPRING TEA Sunday, May 3