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Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Little Black Dress Initiative Driven by LOVE Our 2016 –2017 Annual Campaign: GOAL!

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Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Skylines Staff: Vice President of Communications: Lauren Karlsson Editor-in-Chief: Amelia Buchholz Editor: Jessica Hendrix

Contributors: Kendra Ferguson Hannah Kitt Mindy Harrington Laura Herndon Alysia Johnson Lauren Karlsson Melissa Kledis Tracey Morgan


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

From the President . . . Warm spring greetings, In a year where our country seems more divided than in recent history, the Junior League of Asheville has focused on what’s important: training women to be civic leaders to create lasting positive community change. I am proud of our members’ resilience and determination to work harder to find solutions to make this community stronger. The strength of the Junior League of Asheville lies in its membership and this year the members of the Junior League of Asheville were powerfully engaged in addressing issues facing women and children living in poverty.

The League continues to build on the firm foundation established during the past 90 years. The Board of Directors and I had four primary focus areas for this year: a commitment to diversity and inclusion; an investment in membership development; continuing our community impact; and ensuring the League’s financial stability. You will read about these priorities in this edition of Skylines. We recently celebrated the year at Annual Dinner. It was a fantastic evening to recognize the terrific work of the League’s members, including giving the annual Spirit of the League Awards. This year we had more nominations than in recent history, which means that our members are deeply committed to the work of this League. Congratulations to Krista Gregg, Lauren Karlsson, Jess Hendrix, Julie Heinitsh and Julie Porter-Shirley. These women exemplify the mission of the League. As I reflect on the past year there is one word that continues to come to mind: gratitude. I am grateful for the leadership of the Board of Directors, for the history of this 90 year old organization, and for our past leadership. I am grateful for the sponsors and donors who have invested resources with the League this year. I am grateful for my family who provided me unending support during this year and, most importantly, I am grateful to our members for their dedicated service to the League. The Junior League of Asheville continues to thrive as a catalyst for lasting community change and is in good hands with the incoming Board of Directors under the leadership of Kendra Ferguson. I will remain an active member and look forward to serving on the community research project development (CRPD) committee and developing my leadership skills. It has truly been the honor of my life to serve as your President. Sincerely, Laura Herndon, JLA President 2016–2017


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Feeling the LOVE By Mindy Harrington, Community Projects Outreach Committee During the 2016-2017 League year, the Community Projects Outreach Committee (CPOC) along with the Community Council organized three very important Love Drives to help out community partners. League members happily and generously participated to make these Love Drives very successful this year. In October, we collected items for Chemo Care Kits that were assembled at Headquarters by Active and New Members and delivered to the HOPE Women’s Cancer Center in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. These kits are designed to help women going through chemotherapy. They were packaged in reusable shopping bags and included items such as lip balm, hand sanitizer, puzzle books to pass the time, and tea. We delivered 40 kits to the Cancer Center and the women receiving them were overjoyed and very grateful. This is becoming one of our favorite Love Drives to repeat each year. The outpouring of love in December was overwhelming! Once again we received a list of all residents including single women, mothers, and children at the Steadfast House. Members “adopted” a woman or a child and purchased Christmas gifts including: gift cards, comfy lounge clothes, slippers, self-care items, toys, books, and clothes. Each gift included a personalized card to the recipient. These were delivered to the Steadfast House and given to all 49 women and children currently living there. JLA members were very generous, and the coordination of this Love Drive even allowed for two brand new residents of the Steadfast House to receive gifts. The residents of Steadfast House were so gracious and appreciative. In February, we had a book drive for children’s books as well as books for adults. We collected approximately 200 books that were then sorted and dispersed to various community partners. Some of the children’s books will go into the Junior League of Asheville Educational Playroom at the Steadfast House. The other books will be split between other non-profits. Throughout the year, other Love Drives addressed the needs of victims of both Hurricane Matthew and the forest fires in North Carolina and Tennessee. Members also came together to collect feminine hygiene products in connection with the Little Black Dress Initiative this year. Thank you again to all who participated, gave, coordinated, and delivered these gifts and donations to our community partners!


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

The 19th Annual ChildWatch Tour By Alysia Johnson, ChildWatch Tour Co-Chair For the past 19 years, the Junior League of Asheville has hosted an event called the ChildWatch Tour. This year’s Tour was another wonderful experience! As a result of the hard work from the ChildWatch Tour committee, this community field trip to help create awareness of the impact of homelessness on local children had a great number of community leaders and citizen attendees.

The Junior League of Asheville began collaboration with Children First to start the ChildWatch Tour in 1998. It is a program that strives to educate community leaders on important issues through an experiential field trip. In the past, the program has focused on dental care, literacy, transportation, and child care subsidies. Our intention was to inspire community leaders to implement change based on topics that were presented during the tour. This year, participants learned about the effects of homelessness on women and children in the community. The Tour began with refreshments donated by Fresh Market of North Asheville and a presentation by Christine Craft, the Buncombe County Youth Transition Coordinator. Her presentation included a meaningful discussion about the effect that homelessness has on women and children in our community.

Tour visits included the Family Justice Center and Western North Carolina Rescue Mission. At each stop, a community leader spoke to guests about topics ranging from the current homelessness initiative to the extended impact that the lack of housing can have on a person. At the conclusion of the event, participants were then presented with a “Call to Action” assignment that provided attendees with an opportunity to give back to the organizations that help to alleviate homelessness. Each attendee was presented with a Pledge a Project list with projects such as: creating baby care kits for Rescue Mission; organizing a book bag drive for homeless children; or collecting teddy bears or stuffed animals for incoming children visiting the shelter. They were then instructed to take their “Call to Action” back to their community organization for assistance with completing the assigned project.

The Tour was a success! It both educated participants, and reminded them that even when facing a large and daunting issue like homelessness, one person can make a difference.


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

A New Experience: The Little Black Dress Initiative

By Kendra Ferguson, President-Elect Did you know that if we gathered everyone living in poverty in Buncombe County together at McCormick Field, we could fill the stadium more than nine times? During the week of April 3-7, over 20 JLA members participated in our first Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI), a campaign to raise awareness of the challenges that face the over 37,000 citizens living in poverty in Buncombe County. Each participating member wore the same black dress or black outfit for five days in a row and paired it with a button that said "Ask me about my dress." The Little Black Dress Initiative originated at the Junior League of London in 2014 and has since been adopted by several other Junior Leagues around the world. JLA's goal with our first LBDI was to raise awareness of the difficulties facing those who are in need and have few resources, to understand how limited resources can affect daily life, to educate the community about the Junior League of Asheville and our efforts to help those women and children living in poverty, and, finally, to train and empower our members to be advocates for causes they care about. I am so pleased to report that we accomplished all of our goals and even raised over $1,500 to support the League's programs! Members spent the week sharing many statistics and facts about poverty in the Asheville area on social media, as well as describing their experience as they put on the same dress for five straight days. Many members commented that their participation resulted in several impactful conversations about poverty with co-workers, friends, family, and even strangers. If you would like to see some of the social media postings, search for #LBDIAsheville on Facebook or Instagram. As a part of the Initiative, we also collected hundreds of feminine hygiene products from both League members and community supporters. Those products were donated to the Buncombe County Family Justice Center and will be given to women who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse. Our next Little Black Dress Initiative is planned for this fall and it will serve as one of the League's primary fundraisers for the 2017–2018 League year. If you would like more information on how you can participate or have ideas to expand the reach of the Initiative, please contact Kendra Ferguson at kendraferguson14@gmail.com or 828-713-1320.


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Coming Together at the Mid-Year Retreat By Kendra Ferguson, President-Elect The League's annual Mid-Year Retreat was held on Saturday, February 18 at UNC Asheville. Approximately 30 League members, including several sustainers, got together to discuss critical topics. The morning began with an inspirational presentation from Effin Logue, the Chief People Officer at Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP (DHG), a generous annual sponsor of the League. Effin spoke about the importance of defining an organization's unique culture and being able to articulate that culture to others. This is particularly important for nonprofits like the JLA, who are constantly competing for members and funding. Effin also gave a great outline of ten steps organizations can take to create a more diverse and inclusive environment. After Effin's presentation, members broke into small groups and brainstormed ways the JLA could implement each of the ten steps offered by Effin as a part of our effort to exemplify the League’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. We then discussed a new event, the Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI). In preparation for kicking off the League's first LBDI, members brainstormed ways to increase the reach of the initiative. Several of the ideas generated during this session were used in carrying out the LBDI in April (see the previous article for more information). Finally, as the League is currently searching for our next Impact Project, members spent a few minutes brainstorming the most pressing issue facing the Asheville area. The most common responses were related to housing and affordability. After the retreat, several members attended a UNC Asheville women's basketball game as special guests of the university. Thank you to everyone that attended for making the retreat a great time to connect to, learn from, and be inspired by each other!


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Sustainer Engagement

By Lauren Karlsson, Vice President of Communications Our Sustaining Members are vital to the Junior League of Asheville! We appreciate their continuing commitment to the League and we hosted several events this past year especially for our sustaining members. The League kicked off its 90th Anniversary in the fall with an evening celebration at the Western North Carolina Nature Center—a past JLA impact project. Active and Sustaining Members had the chance to learn more about the WNC Nature Center as well as enjoy reviewing some amazing JLA memorabilia from the last 90 years. In the spring, Annual Campaign Chair, Tracey Morgan, hosted a cocktail party for Active and Sustaining members at The Tracey Morgan Galley on the South Slope. Guests enjoyed a wonderful evening of art, conversation, and light hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Sustainer Anne Goosman and past-president Kristi Goodrum put together a lovely luncheon for our past Presidents and Board of Directors at the Biltmore Forest Country Club. More than a dozen past JLA Presidents were in attendance! Kristi Goodrum opened the program with some brief remarks followed by JLA President Laura Herndon, President-Elect Kendra Ferguson, and Sustaining Advisor to the Board of Directors Julie Heinitsh. Thank you to everyone who attended!

If you are interested in organizing a sustainer engagement event please contact Tabitha Long or Jessica Martin.


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Annual Campaign – We Did it!

By Tracey Morgan, Annual Campaign Chair The Annual Campaign committee is pleased to announce that the League surpassed this year’s goal of $11,200! Thank you to all of the Sustaining, Active and New Members who contributed to Annual Campaign this year. Also, a huge thanks to Ferguson Well and Pump, which contributed $2,500 and The Glenda G. Morgan Charitable Foundation, which contributed $1,000 in matching donations. These contributions helped us gain momentum and exceed our goal. Lastly, this year would not have been possible without the work of Annual Campaign Committee members, Hannah Brown and Anna Richardson who gave their time and energy to Annual Campaign.


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Annual Dinner By Lauren Karlsson, Vice President of Communications The League celebrated the conclusion of the 2016–2017 year on May 9 at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village. It was a wonderful evening of celebration of both all that was accomplished during the League year as well as welcoming 18 new Active Members to the Junior League of Asheville!


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

Volunteers of the Month By Melissa Kledis, Member-at-Large At each General Membership Meeting throughout the year, we recognize members that have gone above and beyond in their service to the League. These women demonstrate the leadership and voluntarism that are key to our mission. The Junior League of Asheville truly could not do our work without the ongoing efforts of all our members. Thank you to each of these women for your dedication and uplifting spirit! September: Leigh Hutchins & Jessica Martin October: Emma Hodson November: Amelia Buchholz December: Tracey Morgan January: Krista Gregg February: Mindy Harrington March: Megan Stafford April: Beth Powell

Spirit of the League Awards By Melissa Kledis, Member-at-Large One of the highlights of serving as the Member-atLarge is the honor of giving the Spirit of the League awards at Annual Dinner. Reading through the nominations reminds me of what an outstanding group of women I am lucky to serve with in my community. This year there was no shortage of deserving women. The Spirit awards are the highest honor we bestow upon our members. The work of each recipient reflects the mission, vision, and goals of the League as well as the strengths of character, commitment to community, positive attitude, leadership, and the effectiveness we all strive to achieve in our personal and professional lives. This year’s recipients are as follows: New Spirit Award: Krista Gregg Spirit-of-the-League Award: Jessica Hendrix Leadership Award: Lauren Karlsson Full Circle Award: Julie Heinitsh and Julie PorterShirley

The Junior League of Asheville


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Welcome New Members!

By Hannah Kitt, New Member Committee We are proud to announce our newest members for the 2016–2017 League year. The New Member class spent the year learning about the mission, purpose, organizational structure and history of the Junior League of Asheville. All of the members of the current new member class will be placed on committees for the 2017–18 League year. Throughout the past year the New Member class focused on the issue of poverty in our community; spending extensive time and resources with ABCCM on the upcoming Transformation Village and with Buncombe County Schools to provide supply kits to school aged children who find themselves homeless. In addition to learning about JLA’s mission and giving back to the community the New Member Class enjoyed a number of monthly socials! Some of our favorites included a hike in beautiful Western North Carolina to kick off the year, an evening at BarTaco, the Little Black Dress Initiative celebration at Pack's Tavern, and a few movie nights. We had an incredible New Member experience this year and are very excited to see what the 18 members of this amazing class will accomplish in the 2017–2018 year and beyond.


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

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Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Good News! By: Melissa Kledis, Member-at-Large

It was a beautiful day in Asheville when Hannah and Joseph Kitt tied the knot on December 10, 2016. The happy couple celebrated with a Moroccan getaway. So happy for you, Hannah!

Jess and Chris Hendrix have a new addition to their family. Colton “Colt” Christopher, weighing eight pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 21 inches long, was born January 18, 2017. Welcome to the world, Colt!

Alysia and Chad Johnson welcomed a precious little girl, Clara Victoria, on March 6, 2017, weighing seven pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 21 inches long. Perhaps a future Junior Leaguer?

Jamie Bryan said YES when Jamie Whitlock proposed on February 23, 2017 during a vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We hope “Jaime squared” will have a very long happily ever after.


Skylines Spring/Summer 2017

The Junior League of Asheville

Natalie and Justin Ray have added another boy to their family! Wesley Christopher was born March 18, 2017 weighing five pounds, ten ounces and measuring 19 inches long. Wyatt is loving being a big brother!

Rebecca and Ryan Cecil welcomed sweet William James Vanderbilt to the world on March 29, 2017. He weighed seven pounds and 15 ounces. Congratulations!

Laura Herndon has a new role at UNC Asheville. She is now serving as Associate Vice Chancellor for External and University Relations.

A big congrats to Jessica Martin on her new promotion as the Nursing Unit Supervisor of Neurosciences!

Congratulations to Tracey Morgan on the grand opening of her art gallery on January 19, 2017 in the South Slope of downtown Asheville. Stop by and say hello next time you are in the neighborhood!

Skylines Spring/Summer 2017  
Skylines Spring/Summer 2017  
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