COASTAL COLUMNS A
P U B L I C A T I O N
PHOTO BY: TERESA EARNEST
T H E
J U N I O R
L E A G U E
S A V A N N A H
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C O N T E N T S
2019-2020 Editor Caroline LeGates
JLS Headquarters 7706 Waters Ave Savannah, GA 31406
JLS Mailing Address PO Box 13268 Savannah, GA 31416
OUR MISSION The Junior League of Savannah is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
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Outgoing President’s Note
Incoming President’s Speech
Board & Management
Membership Award Winners
2019-2020 Provisional Class
Kids Who Care
Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club
Loop It Up
America's Second Harvest
A Glimpse of The League
FROM THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT
"WE ARE WORKING FOR SOMETHING
THAT IS MUCH GREATER THAN OUR
GRAFTON I have enjoyed this year so much, even with it’s strange and unusual occurrences along the way. We have accomplished so much! A new focus area, a fresh new headquarters, and I bet you all didn’t even realize that when we hosted our auction online back in early March, we were ahead of the virtual curve that came this spring! That’s proof that JLS women truly are trailblazers! I’m being silly,
but I really do believe that a group of women who have a common goal really do have the power to make big things happen. It’s not a coincidence that our tagline - Women Building Better Communities - was installed here at HQ in such a prominent place. It’s the first thing you see when you come in. It’s a reminder of why we are all here - why we do all the hard things that we do. Because we are working for something that is much greater
than our individual selves. To each of you, who I consider MY fellow JLS women, thank you for allowing me to serve you this year. Thank you for the opportunity to serve my community with you by my side. I will forever hold dear the time I have spent with you, and please know that I am always here to support you any way I can.
FROM THE INCOMING PRESIDENT
Jackie SCHOTT It
is with great honor I accept this gavel and formally step into President of the Junior League of Savannah. I ask you to indulge me for a few minutes as I must reflect on the past and acknowledge the present before I address the future. THE PAST: When I joined the League in August 2008, Lynn Brennan was president. Lynn probably doesn’t remember the first time she met me, but I 100%
"NOW, MORE THAN EVER, WE
ARE GOING TO CELEBRATE!"
remember the first time I met Lynn. It was our Provisional Retreat, which was held at First City Club. I walked off that elevator and into the main room only barely knowing 1 other person…my boss’s daughter...and I didn’t even really know her that well. I remember frantically scanning the room to see if she was there yet but, in true fashion, I was insanely early. Only the board, provisional advisors, and various other Active members that were there.
As I awkwardly stood at the entrance, Lynn spotted me from across the room. She walked right over, stuck out her hand, and introduced herself as Lynn Brennan, President of the Junior League of Savannah. I swear my eyes popped out of my head. I thought, what in the world is the President of the league doing here? I thought for sure the President of the league would have far better things to do than be at our little provisional retreat. 4
So, as I began to profusely sweat from nerves, Lynn walked me around, introducing me, asking me about myself, and within minutes I felt like I was hanging out with my life-long best friend. That’s just how Lynn makes people feel. It’s a true gift. I came home that afternoon and told Matt, “I want to be President of the Junior League of Savannah. I want to be Lynn Brennan.” Matt just stared at me and said, “Ok!” That was almost 12 years ago and since then, Lynn and I have worked together on various Junior League initiatives and committees, served on the Ronald McDonald House Board together, and volunteered for Savannah Food and Wine Festival together. She has been a mentor, a friend, and someone I still look to for guidance and inspiration. The fact that Lynn will come back and sit on our board this year as the Sustainer Director is really a full circle moment for me. In truth, one of the hardest parts I discovered about writing this speech, is that I have a story like that for so many other members over the years but for every other past president I’ve served under as a member. Every year since 2008 I have watched in awe as these women before me have stood up and led this organization. And every past president has taught me something about leadership and challenged me as a committee member, chair, and VP. Lynn Brennan, Julie Allen, Tanya Glaize, Kathleen Taylor,
Lisa Pinyan, Nelle Bordeaux, Amy Reisinger, Jennifer Claiborne, Lisa Muller, Melissa Jackson, one of my dearest friends Jessica Thomas, and Jennifer Grafton, Thank you. Thank you for inspiring me, and so many others, for over 12 years and for being such incredible examples of how to be compassionate leaders. THE PRESENT: Let’s fast-forward to today. While I never anticipated my speech referencing the words “global pandemic” or “coronavirus/covid19”, here we are. I have personally spoken to many of you over the last few weeks, kept up with some via Facebook and social media, and received emails from others. And like many of you I’ve run the gamut of emotions. I’ve cried for fellow members who have been furloughed, or laid off in any capacity, I’ve prayed for just about everyone I know, both in the league or not, I’ve gotten angry, etc., but I’ve also begun to find peace. Maybe it’s because I was forced to write this speech. But I’ve realized, it’s times like these where organizations like ours have a real opportunity. We have the opportunity to provide our members, and potential members, a safe, welcoming, happy, place where they can come spend some of their time, engage with their community, hone or potentially gain a new skills, and come network with other women, meet people, and just have fun and feel good.
THE FUTURE: Many of you have heard the quote by Maya Angelou that says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never for how you made them feel.” As I look forward to our year together, it is my sincerest hope that at the end of next year, you feel accomplished, appreciated, excited, but most importantly I hope you feel CELEBRATED. This league only exists because of our members. We cannot develop the potential of women without actual women. So, for me, you are my personal mission. Each and every single one of you is important to me and I thank you so much for deciding to dedicate your time and efforts to this organization this year. In January 2021, we will CELEBRATE the Junior League of Savannah’s 95th birthday. We will also celebrate multiple fundraisers, celebrate many members of the months, celebrate successful community projects, we will celebrate each week as we open our weekly e-newsletters, celebrate the opportunity we have to attend some seriously stellar trainings, BUT most importantly, we will celebrate each other, every day. I’m not sure if you’re picking up on this, but now, more than ever, we are going to CELEBRATE. I am so proud to be a member of the Junior League of Savannah and I look forward to serving this organization as your President for the 2020-2021 League year.
2019–2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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2019–2020 MANAGEMENT TEAM
Membership Award Winners Community Member of the Year – Kathryn Campbell
As an integral part of the success of Fit Kids Fest this year, this Community Member of the Year, showed exactly what it looks like to give back to her community and be a Rockstar for JLS. As a Fit Kids Fest committee member, this member revitalized the community/education outreach method. Her innovative attitude introduced us to Peach Jar - a mass communication to parents all over Chatham County. This was an efficient and free method to get the word out to parents within the community about our awesome event. She continued to impress by "going back to the basics" and visiting schools and community organizations in person with her baby girl strapped in. With boots on the ground, this helped establish excellent relationships with school counselors and coaches, ensuring Fit Kids Fest success in the years to come. We know that this member will continue to be an asset in her roles for JLS and can’t wait to see more of her cute baby girl in the process! The 2019-2020 Community Member of the Year is – Kathryn Campbell.
In-League Member of the Year – Kimberlynn Bush
This In-League Member of the Year stepped in to the Chair role less than two months prior to our biggest fundraiser of the year! With very little time to prepare or prior Thrift Sale experience this member was able to pull off an amazing Thrift Sale for the community and bring the League together like no other . Her ideas are unique and innovative. Her attitude is welcoming, friendly, and accommodating to all members, even those who aren’t Thrift Sale fans! She was and is a force of positivity in what is arguably one of our most stressful fundraising events. This member led the entire league with grace, ease and always a smile on her face. We are forever grateful to have her as a part of the Junior League of Savannah and because of her we are excited for this year’s Thrift Sale even more! The 2019-2020 In-League Member of the Year – Kimberlynn Bush
Sustainer Member of the Year – Lynn Brennan
The Sustainer Member of the year is truly an amazing lady who has not only given to the League but to our community in so many ways! After 33 years of service, this member retired as the Assistant Port Director and was presented with a resolution. They presented the resolution to her because she has been a huge supporter of the World Trade Center Savannah, and the Savannah Economic Development Authority; playing a major role in the success of the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Program as well as inbound delegations in Savannah and prospects who visited. Her efforts have been felt not only locally but nationally as well with major efforts to improve training for field personal. Because of her love of this community and her desire to help others she was asked to be one of the four panelists for the United Way "Women Who Rule" luncheon last year.She is currently (and has been for numerous years) on the Ronald McDonald House Charities Board and volunteers every year to help serve at the Greek Festival and the Savannah International Food and Wine Festival. She is also immediate past president of the Propellar Club of Savannah. She is not only a past President of the League but forever a supporter of the Junior League of Savannah and volunteers when she can at Fit Kids Fest and Thrift Sale. The 2019-2020 Sustainer Member of the Year is Lynn Brennan
The Junior League of Savannah allows members to become Sustaining members after six (6) years of service or at the end of any administrative year following their 40th birthday and five (5) years of service. The following members have requested to go Sustainer next year: Elizabeth Bittson, Mary, Anne Caywood, Maria Davis, Savannah Gladbach, Lindsey Greco, Jodi Hagan, Brooke Lozier & Ginny Tuten THANK YOU to these amazing ladies for all of their years of active service. We have been able to do such amazing things in the community because of you! And remember, just because you go Sustainer doesn’t mean you have to disappear---we grateful for each one of you and hope to see you next year!
MARY BETH KENNEDY
COMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL The ongoing theme for the Communications Council was “Pivot!” and, thanks to so many League members, we were able to accomplish most of our goals. The Council secured earned media for several initiatives, including oncamera appearances for Thrift Sale. Our Instagram presence increased, and we had a wide reach on all of our social media platforms. We especially saw a massive response to our inaugural Touch-A-Truck event, with organic (AKA free!) social media reach like we’ve never seen. We even successfully navigated event cancellations and the ever-changing new normal,
communicating to our members, our partners, and the public about our shifting focus and changing protocols as the world around us reacted to the ongoing pandemic. I would like to thank Lindsay Melvin and Madilene Lake for doubling up their placements to assist the Communications Council when we had changes in Council leadership. And thank you to every single one of you who read the emails, share the social media posts and help us create the content that highlights the amazing work each of you do on behalf of the Junior League of Savannah. 8
COUNCIL DIANNE TALCOTT
The following is a brief summary of some of the wonderful things that the Community Council and membership were able to complete in the 2019-2020 League Year. The Backpack Buddies committee packed over 1,000 bags of food this year for Garden City Elementary. We held 5 Done in a Day Events which were very well attended by membership for Park Place Outreach, Traffick Jam, and the Family Justice Center. With the Amazing Ultimate Journey with the Boys and Girls Club, we were able to teach about the cultures of Italy, Brazil, and Egypt and also take a field trip to the Savannah Georgia Southern Campus to learn more about one of our awesome local schools. With our partnership with Loop It Up, we held several art enrichment classes with children from
Juliette Low Elementary with themes of Sea Life including whales and other sea animals. For Public Affairs, we were heavily involved in the State SPAC meetings and several of our members read to children during Pre-K Week. The South Carolina Low Country had several great events this past league year and they expect to have even more next year with the support of the many low country sustainers. Under Community Outreach, we were able to award five area teens with $1,000 each for Kids Who Care Scholarships and we were also able to grant $2,000 each to Cope for Change and Tybee Fresh Air from our Community Assistance Funds. And to cap off a great year, we held our 9th Annual Fit Kids Fest on February 29, 2020. This is a free event that we hold every year where kids can come and play games and have fun and are provided information on healthy living habits.
We had a great turnout this year especially considering it was at a new location. We had a total of 129 kids attend this year and being there and seeing the looks on their faces, we would say it was a huge success. In looking toward our new league year which starts very soon, we have some great things coming down the pipeline including a new community partner, Park Place Outreach. After doing a couple of DIADs this year with Park Place, we are excited to continue to work with such a great organization. We would like to express our gratitude to all of the community committee members this year and our general membership for embracing all of our community events. Without the support of our membership, including our sustainers, our events would not be as successful. Look for some exciting things to come in our new league year! 9
COUNCIL The Provisional Committee had a phenomenal year! We kicked it off with all the Advisors and Chair getting to know each other with some axe throwing. We enjoyed getting to know each other at some of our Provisional socials. We had a ball during a pool party/new member mixer, the Harry Potter party, Painting with a Twist, and a private yoga class led by Nikkie Swain! We even held a JLS Cookbook Recipe Contest! We've welcomed our Council VPs into our Training Meetings and learned so much about JLS from them. We had two very successful Provisional Projects. The Savannah ladies organized a book drive and storytime for Memorial Children's Hospital. The SCLC ladies organized a school supply drive for MC Riley Elementary School. I cannot wait to congratulate everyone in person and celebrate you at our Graduation dinner later this summer! I truly enjoyed showing you our little JLS world and our impact in the community. It has been a pleasure! I want to make sure I take a moment to thank a few people:
My advisors were great role models and wonderful partners in this journey. I appreciate all the support from the Membership Council and the rest of the leadership, especially Rebecca Strawn. Thank you for letting me bounce ideas off of you, for keeping me in line, and keeping me sane! I also want to thank the Provisional class. I welcome all constructive feedback and use it to become a better person and a better leader. Thank you for your responses to my surveys, for reaching out with questions, and letting me help guide you through this first year! Finally to Nikkie: you are going to do such an amazing job and I can't wait to see what you bring to the Provisional Committee next year! Finally, Provisional of the Year . . This year's recipient has truly embraced our motto of "Always join the bouquet!". She has shown a tremendous commitment to her success in JLS, as well as to the success of the League as a whole.
She has attended every GMM, volunteered at multiple DIADs, Touch-A-Truck, and Fit Kids Fest. This member was excited about attending every social and made it a point to get to know our League members. She volunteered to lead an Affinity Group and was key in the success of the SAV Provisional Project. She attended every organizational meeting and took point on the "Blind Date with a Book" portion of the project, which was so well received and so appreciated by the staff at Memorial Children's Hospital. She is described as a cheerful, generous, genuine, and encouraging women and I agree wholeheartedly!
CONGRATULATIONS TO CAITLIN HILLIARD, THE 2019-2020 PROVISIONAL OF THE YEAR! 10
FINANCE COUNCIL Revenues from membership dues, cookbook, and annual fund fully covered expenditures for internal League Programs (training and education, provisionals, logistics and event support) and general operations of the League. Total expenditures for direct community funding and volunteer and member development programs for the 2019-2020 League year were approximately $32,000 and $14,000, respectively.
The League improved its bottom line with a 27% reduction in operating expenses from the previous League Year. The finance and budget committee re-formatted the League’s budget spreadsheet to make it clearer what revenues and expenses were allocated to funding external community projects and those to cover internal League programs. At the end of the League Year, after going through a bidding process, the Board approved moving the League’s Endowment funds from Morgan Stanley to Merrill Lynch. 12
AUDREY GRAY CAITLIN HILLIARD
SHEENA NORRIS BRANDI O'KELLEY
AMBER SEYMOUR BONNIE TOWNER
KALINA ZARYCZNY 11
KIDS WHO CARE SCHOLARSHIPS
Logan Bedenbaugh is the class of 2020 Salutatorian from Hilton Head Island High School. Logan fills her time with volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club, is involved with Junior Leadership through the Hilton Head Island Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and lead a fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association among other items. With a need to learn sign language for a mission trip, Logan spent long hours studying in a short amount of time. When a 12 year old boy from the Christian Caribbean School of the Deaf signed to her saying “that love does not always need words” she knew her studying was worth it. With her newfound knowledge of sign language, it has changed the way she approaches every relationship. In her recommendation letter, written by Hannah Horne with the Hilton Head Island Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and she says “I’ve interacted with hundreds of local students. However, there is something very special about Logan, and the unique way she uses her talents and gifts for serving others.” We agree, that Logan has found her voice and uses it to be an activist for her passions. Logan will be attending the University of South Carolina in the fall and we know she will go far with her education.
Annette Camargo-Vera is a graduate of the class of 2020 from Hershel V. Jenkins High School. With a school requirement of 20 hours of community service, Annette has logged 200+ hours volunteering at a local hospital, America’s Second Harvest, tutoring elementary students and serving as an assistant teacher for a summer language camp, and the list goes on. As a young girl Annette dreamed of being a doctor, so it was a perfect match when the opportunity came to volunteer at St. Joesph’s Candler. Using her bilingual skills (English and Spanish) Annette saw that the staff wasn’t able to communicate with some patients to do a language barrier. She stepped in quickly and started speaking to the patients, booking their appointments, and looking after them through their appointments. She said and I quote “I felt very accomplished and proud knowing I impacted the patients’ life by letting them know that a language barrier will never stop them from getting the health services they seek.” Annette will soon become a freshman at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs) and is currently looking at studying biology and pre-med. We have no doubt that she will be Dr. Camargo-Vera in the future!
Isabella Martinez is a proud graduate of Richmond Hill School and will be entering Mercer University this fall. Back in just 8th grade Isabella partnered with the United Way to start the “Fill the Bus” campaign, a school supply drive. In just the first year they collected 75 backpacks for families. The former United Way Director – Bryan County, Kristi Cox says “Isabella has always stood out amongst her peers, she is resourceful, driven and committed, as well as flexible, extremely compassionate, thoughtful and harmonious.” Isabella has also served on the State Superintendent Student Advisory Council for the past 6 years representing Bryan County, who meet and discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting students throughout Georgia. It is clear how much Isabella is an advocate for her community and her passion for helping others shines through. We will wish Isabella well in her continued studies.
Isabella Martinez 13
KIDS WHO CARE SCHOLARSHIPS
Tiana Ruden the 2020 Valedictorian from Savannah Arts Academy. Like many who we’ve heard about tonight, Tiana’s service is well extended. She volunteers for the Ronald McDonald House, is a Staff Docent at the Davenport House Museum and the local Heads in Helmets program. While doing all this, Tiana also is a member of the school orchestra and plays the Violin. Tiana says “Having experienced love and acceptance, I extend this warmth to others by volunteering at the children’s hospital or taking a moment to say “good morning” in the hallway. I make the most of every opportunity that presents itself, big or small.” Tiana has a love of science which allows her to imagine the future and to better comprehend the principles upon which life is built. She wants to enter a career in public health policy to improve healthcare systems. She plans to work with professors in biomedical undergraduate research, and would like to have an internship with the Center for Disease Control or the National Health Institute. With our current world situations, we know how vital it is to have Tiana in our community. We wish her much success as she heads to Princeton.
Congratulations to this year's recipients! Kara Harper is from Bloomingdale and is now a graduate of Savannah Arts Academy. This ray of sunshine has a laundry list of service experience, but you tell her pride and joy is the Book Barn Babies program that she created back in April 2018. An early initiative program, she has provided over 2,500 free books to children receiving care at our area hospitals. Being born with a physical abnormality, Kara hope’s that by providing and promoting early literacy skills that she is giving ever child who is born with challenges or delays an opportunity to flourish and defy the odds. Her experience continues with work at the Ronald McDonald House, the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, Tim Tebow’s Nigh to Shine and the Savannah Wind Symphony. Kara says through her volunteer work at the Ronald McDonald House it has taught her the value of selflessness. She quoted Milkulski in her application saying “each one of us can make a difference but together we can make a change”. Kara will be attending the University of Georgia (again, Go Dawgs) and is hopefully of turning her dream of being a pharmacist into reality in a couple years.
HQ PACER NOITAVONER
On January 19, 2020 the Board of Directors hosted an open house at our Headquarters. You may remember that in October of 2018 we moved into our new space at 7706 Waters Avenue in Savannah and quickly tucked things away so that we could move forward with programming for the league year. As we entered the beginning of 2019 it became obvious that modifications needed to be made to our new home so that we could best utilize the space. We spent time last spring considering our needs for meetings and storage. And during the summer months, we began the project of refashioning our office space into a member-centric, mission-focused headquarters. An open think-space was created for committee brainstorming sessions. Efficient inventory storage was created for our cookbooks. And an area has been dedicated to securing leaguebranded resources that are available to all committees. The administrative station still houses a desktop workstation accessible to all League members. A board room was designed to comfortably accommodate large meetings and allow for presentations on a flatscreen monitor. And a casual lounge offers space to host recruitment socials and greet scholarship interviewees. Both volunteers and experienced tradesmen worked tirelessly on these leasehold improvements through the summer and fall of last year. The first thing members notice when entering our updated space is the bold display of our tagline - “Women Building Better Communities.”
This artful installation is highlighted by its background, a painted wall saturated in just the perfect shade of “Junior League red.” Members enjoyed seeing large photo prints of the past three Fit Kids Fests displayed in the HUB area. It’s here also that plaques proudly display the names of members who have won the In-League and Community service awards in past years. The board room features largerthan-life framed prints of our cookbooks, as well as a framed photo of our founding members. The same shade of red was carried into the board room and used on a vintage dining room table that was refurbished and modified to accommodate ten members. Opposite the administrative area, the lounge boasts a casual seating group and credenza with our original Ray Ellis artwork on the wall, flanked by a pair of red ceramic lamps. Here members will also enjoy stepping back in time as they inspect the award wall full of honors the League has received since as far back as the 1940s. This display is a fabulous reminder of our past community partnerships and the impact they have had on our Savannah community. Every attempt was made to reinforce our Junior League brand, showcase our community impact and honor the members who have worked so hard to help our league achieve through the years. All members are welcome at our headquarters. Please reach out to a member of the Board or Management Team, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to visit. We would love to talk with you about our current projects and give you a tour of our newly renovated space.
POSITION STATEMENT FOCUS AREA: YOUTH DEVELOPMENT The Junior League of Savannah (JLS) focuses its efforts on supporting youth programs that improve emotional and physical wellness, build career readiness and soft skills, and develop prosocial behavior, community engagement and social responsibility. These programs aim to improve skills and character development for children and youth. JLS seeks quality partnerships with community organizations through which students will be supported, encouraged, empowered and sustained. We believe opportunities for reaching personal milestones and having access to the most basic life-supporting resources are essential for children to thrive and become equipped, contributing members of the community. 16
FRANK CALLEN BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
LOOP IT UP
AMERICA'S SECOND HARVEST
A GLIMPSE OF THE LEAGUE
WOMEN BUILDING BETTER COMMUNITIES LET'S GET