2021 - 2022 Coastal Columns Newsletter

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Rebecca hank you! Two such simple words, yet they cannot convey the depth of gratitude I have for each of you for allowing me to serve as your president this year. On the heels of the pandemic, this year saw us through transition to our favorite catch phrase, a “new normal”. We persisted through

and have come out with the support of daring leadership from each one of you, and I am so proud of the work we did this year. We successfully navigated it while overcoming a few challenges, as we continued to fulfill our tagline – Women Building Better Communities.

OUR WORK The Community Council continued our work with community partners Park Place Outreach and Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club, going from virtual back to meeting in person after a long hiatus. Fit Kids Fest was back in a big way at a new location, and we had

many impactful Done in a Day Opportunities to support other community non-profits. After a year off, we restarted our fundraisers with Thrift Sale in a new location, the first Touch-ATruck/Duck Pluck combined event at the Oglethorpe Mall, and our Spring Auction. The cookbook team found new venues for sales and our annual fund team built a successful partnership with the Savannah Bananas. This year we also gathered more frequently in person, as members participated in a diverse series of Girl’s Nights Out, as well as welcoming a great group of provisional members. Internally this year saw the rollout of the new Membership points system as well as the development of the next Junior League of Savannah strategic plan.

Additionally, the Association of Junior Leagues International will be voting on a new mission statement thanks to all your input and feedback on multiple drafts throughout the year, which will eventually become our new mission statement. We also had


multiple outstanding leadership training sessions both on weekends and at General Member Meetings to help us grow a variety of skillsets. All that to say - thank you for the opportunity to serve alongside you this busy and productive year, to make mistakes and celebrate our successes, and to see the fruits of our labor - it was an honor. Thank you each for your individual time, talents, and commitment to the Junior League of Savannah, none of this would have been possible without you.

A special thank you to the members of the 2021-2022 Board of Directors and Management Team for your leadership, support, encouragement, vision, and dedication to doing the hard work this year. Alone we are strong, but together, League women are a force of nature! For 96 years, the League has been a safe space for women to come together with a shared vision and mission, fueled by their individual contributions. As your League journey continues, I encourage you to use your daring leadership to try something new, challenge the status quo, meet new people, or step outside of your comfort zone in some other way. Be daring! - Rebecca Strawn 2021-2022 President


past year as part of my


inspirations at the monthly general membership meetings I did a series I called “A League of Our Own” and we looked back at the early years of the Junior League of Savannah, from the struggles the founding members had to even form the league, to our work in the health centers and Telfair Women’s hospital, our service during World War II, our first Thrift Sale in 1947 and the provisional project that turned into a City wide initiative with Project SABRE. It is amazing what all the Junior League accomplished in those years and how impactful we were in the community. Now the point of me saying that is not to belittle the work we are doing now because many things have changed in the 96 years the Junior League has been in Savannah. The biggest one being that most of us also work full-time jobs which was not true of our founding members. Does that mean the Junior League was better back then, no. Does that mean that we are better now, also no. We are simply different, but in so many ways the same. We may not be running the baby ward at the Hospital, but those years laid the foundation to finding our



own ways to make meaningful impact in our community. That is something that we need to remember and focus on because at the end of the day that is why we have all chosen to be here, we want to make an impact.

Going into the 2022-2023 League Year, I am taking inspiration from a training sustainer Mahogany Bowers gave our members, from the fictional book Power of One by Bryce Courtenay and from my 5

beloved Wake Forest football team to produce an overall

the world at. It is about understanding what we are

... hopefully This upcoming year we can focus more on that

theme based on the Jim Collins book, Good to Great.

deeply enthusiastic about – what the Junior League of

understanding and get rid of the excess noise. We need members

Savannah stands for and why

to be thumbs, to stand out and

Good to Great is not a goal, strategy, or intention, it is an

we exist. What can we uniquely contribute to our community

take charge, but without the hand working together, without

understanding. It is about what can the Junior League of

and, what drives our most valuable resource -- our

the power of one that is the Junior League of Savannah, we

Savannah be best in world at

members -- to come back every

(or at least best in the Savannah Lowcountry area),


are just a good organization. Let us start looking at the next one

not what we want to be best in

hundred years and how we can be great.

- Elizabeth Summerell 2022-2023 President










– Catherine Charlton JLS Founding President 1926 6

From left to right: Ansley Howze (Fundraising VP), Dianne Talcott (Executive VP), Caitlin Condon (Communications VP), Tosca Morgan (Community VP), Abby Johnson (Membership VP), Mary Beth Kennedy (EVP – Elect), Lindsey Eberle (Finance VP)

Front row, left to right: Rebecca Strawn (President) and Dianne Talcott (Executive Vice President). Back row, left to right: Kathy Bellios (At-Large Director), Lisa Muller (Sustainer Director), Misty Thompson (Treasurer), Elizabeth Summerell (President-Elect), Jan Johnson (At-Large Director), Jennifer Wise (Secretary), Natasha Holmes (Nominating Chair)





Emeritus 73

awarded to local groups in Community Assistance Funds

Provisional 18

Active 86

Sustainer 282

Transfer 21

15 middle and

high school students reached through Park Place Outreach


Done in a Day events


awarded in scholarships to local youth

54 women in leadership positions


cookbooks sold


Savannah Bananas Tickets sold to support Annual Fund

raised during Thrift Sale weekend

attendees at Touch-A-Truck and Duck Pluck


$23,000+ $8,000

raised in online auction at Lowcountry Boil



52 online

auction items

Girls Night Out events

6 Trainings

attendees for Lowcountry Boil & Auction

5 37 attendees at Fit Kids Fest

Membership Award Winners This year’s Provisional Member of the Year has been immensely active within the League her first year. Not only participating in as many opportunities she could, but also helping us make new connections with community events and people. She has already made herself indispensable, and we're looking forward to seeing all the amazing things she will accomplish as a member.

This year’s Community Member of the Year did a fantastic job diversifying our many Done In A Day (DIAD) projects. She coordinated with various community organizations to ensure our members had ample opportunity to participate in areas of interest and volunteer their efforts where needed. In addition, this member racked up a total of 34 membership credits (14 over the required credits) exceeding expectations.

This year’s In-League Member of the Year demonstrated true volunteerism. As a Thrift Sale committee member, her involvement and contribution to its success has led her to be our Thrift Sale Chair-elect 2022-2023. But, that is not all. When asked to assist in the administrative work for our other fundraiser, Duck Pluck, she responded, with a smile, “No problem, what can I do to help?” She works hard, she’s down for any challenge, and she participates with a contagious energy that keeps us members motivated.

This year’s Sustainer of the Year came to us as a transfer and made an impression right away. She started TWO affinity groups, Sights & Bikes and Healthy Habits. She coordinated not one, but TWO successful GNO’s, our Women of Savannah Bicycle Tour and our JLS Tea Party! And, we are thrilled she has accepted next year’s position as Sustainers Activities Chair!

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: Kerry Coursey, Patricia Tyler, Lindsey Eberle, Natasha Holmes, Dianne Talcott 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!

73RD ANNUAL THRIFT SALE After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Thrift Sale was held on October 22-24, 2021. It took place inside the Oglethorpe Mall, steps from Macy’s in the former Hollister space. Weekend events included a Preview Party on Friday, the main sale on Saturday, and a Bonus Sale on Sunday at steep discounts. The Preview Party provided early access to all the best items in a relaxed setting with snacks and beverages provided! The Sale had over 4,500 square feet of the best deals on new and gently used children's clothing and toys, furniture, boutique, holiday decor, and so much more!

$25,000+ raised


tickets sold to the Saturday Sale


volunteer hours Sales per customer were up from 2019




FIT KIDS FEST The 10th annual Fit Kids Fest was a blast for kids and adults alike! 375 children and adolescents from almost 100 different schools joined us on February 19, 2022 at the Savannah Children’s Museum. This year we hosted 15 local vendors and 5 interactive stage demonstrations focusing on the different aspects of childhood health: from physical activity and healthy food choices to mental wellness and more! We were able to provide this fun and educational day at no cost to participants thanks to our generous event sponsors Expercare Urgent Care and Mingledorff’s, Inc. We could not be more excited to continue this signature JLS event next year for the 11th annual event!


Provisional Class

Before the Retreat we met up at the Alida to get to know one another. Then we officially kicked off the year with our Provisional Retreat at the Gingerbread House. It was great to come together to start off our Provisional year. We met the Board, our provisional advisors and learned about the history and organization of the League.

After the Retreat, we jumped into League events! We participated in everything from Done in a Days with Ronald McDonald House to socials at Two Tides Brewing and splatter painting!

She has been involved in the local CURE chapter for several years and decided to start a CURE club at her high school. She kick-started the club with a t-shirt fundraiser raising over $500. Mandy Garola, VP of CURE-South Georgia describes Annalin as dedicated, responsible and no ask is ever too big for Annalin. She will be attending Georgia Southern in the Fall.

Annalin Crawford By his junior year of high school, he earned the status of an Eagle Scout. For his Eagle Scout project, he built a ramp for differently abled members of a local church. During the scholarship interview, he was asked who the most influential person in your life has been so far. His response was his dad. His dad has shaped him into the young man that he is today. Joshua will be attending Georgia Southern this Fall.

Laurel Bixler

Joshua Johnson

Laurel has participated in various community service projects. She has collected holiday gifts for her community, provided programming for residents at a local nursing home, volunteered at a summer camp for exceptional needs students, and the list goes on. She also sits on the Bryan County Student Advisory Board. Not only does she excel in the community and classroom, but also in sports. She was the receipt of this year’s Heisman high school award for Richmond Hill High School. She plans on majoring in nursing as well as cheering in college.

Peyton Coursey

Peyton has volunteered with the Oatland Island Wildlife Center for several years. She has created and conducted outreach education programs, created educational videos, assisted with summer camps, and worked along the animal care staff. She is the president of her high school FFA organization and has led this organization to win national awards. Also, she is an entrepreneur-she just celebrated her first year with her photography business-Peyton Elizabeth Photography. She will be attending Abraham Baldwin College this Fall.

Congratulations Cong Co C onngggrrarrataatttuul uulalallataatatitittioiiooons nnss ttoo our recipients! ou uurr 22022 0022 22 rrerec eecccicip iipppiiieien eentnntttss!s! en Tyler is also an Eagle Scout. For his Eagle Scout project, he designed and managed a parking lot beautification and environmental project. His recommender describes him as one of the most-kindhearted youth she knows. In her letter, she mentioned that he is not your average kid-he’s dedicated; he looks out for others. He is currently a dual enrolled student at Georgia Southern where he has already earned college credit. He will be continuing as an Eagle this Fall.

Tyler Schell

Along with scholarships, we were able to award four community assistance grants to local nonprofits. These grants will be used to further their mission and programming.

Royce Learning Center Support their annual summer camp for local students to enrich their math & reading skills.

Lowcountry Legal Volunteers Provide equal access to justice to residents of the Low Country.

Love One: Provide support and education to local fostering and adopting families.

Urban Hope: Support their annual summer camp to provide a safe and engaging environment for local students over the summer.

Building Community Bu ui ing ng Co omm B uilildldidin C mmu mun uni nnitittyy FOCUS AREA: YOUTH DEVELOPMENT We focus our 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. We believe opportunities for reaching personal milestones and having access to the most basic lifesupporting resources are essential for children to thrive and become equipped, contributing members of the community.


Our Done in a Day partners this year included Habitat for Humanity, Over the Moon, Humane Society of Greater Savannah, P.A.C.K, the Garden Club of Savannah, and others.

Humane Society DIAD Over the Moon DIAD

P.A.C.K. DIAD Over the Moon DIAD

Mission: To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. The Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club soared into outer space this year! The students started their adventure with learning about the Earth and its moon phases in a delicious way. The participants then set off to learn about the other planets, stars, constellations, and solar environment. The group wrapped up the year with a mural of the solar system.

Mission: To provide services to atrisk youth and their families, increase their functional level, and reunify families whenever possible. Within this program, JLS provides interactive lessons to middle school and high school students on topics including sustainability, healthy eating, resumes and interviews, art appreciation, and more.

Building Each Other B Bu uilildldidin ui ing ng Up Ea E ach ac ch Ot O ththe herer TOUCH-A-TRUCK The Junior League of Savannah held its second annual Toucha-Truck event at Oglethorpe Mall on April 9th. This event allowed the participating children and families an opportunity to interact with the supporting trucks and vendors. We are appreciative of the many community entities and private businesses that contributed their time and resources to ensure a fun time was had by all! MEMBER EVENTS With happy hours and chances for League members to explore Savannah, this year gave members tons of opportunities to connect after a long period of social distancing. Notable events includedthe Escape Room and Duck Pluck.




Trainings rain Tr ini nin ing ngs gs T MANAGING CHANGE: RESILIENCY AND BARRIERS Leaders learned about living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment and what is required to lead successfully. They also learned how to recognize and navigate the emotional shifts that happen during change.

5 KEY BEHAVIORS TO ENHANCE COMMUNICATION It's time to consciously manage difficult situations. Attendees discussed on 5 key behaviors that will lead to better communication in every situation: building trust, mastering conflict, achieving commitment, embracing accountability, and driving results.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND BELONGING Attendees defined diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and mapped their own diversity wheel to have a visual for their personal identity. After time for group and personal reflection, the session ended with a panel of community leaders to answer questions about DE&I and the role it plays in their lives and careers.

TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES Jennifer Grayson is a Wealth Management Advisor & Certified Financial Planner with Merrill Lynch. She presented a series on Savings & Budgets, Debit & Credit, and Retirement & Investing, focusing on issues women may face regarding their finances.

HOLISTIC WELLNESS Chelsea Dye, of Blend + Press Wellness Bar, led members in breathwork and provided helpful guidance on managing stress and improving one’s overall health and wellness. A passion for holistic wellness and family enable Chelsea to create an approach to health that is easy to adapt—even for busy JLS members!

Written by Jenny Britt Joining the Junior League in my 40s has been the best decision! I had meant to join the league in NYC years ago, but life took over. My moving to Savannah has been a dream come true, and why not live out all my dreams, including volunteering as frequently as I'd always wanted to when my children were young? This year, my daughter Sydney and I joined as provisional members, making this journey incredibly special for me. Here in Savannah, I have clocked more hours helping others than in the last decade in NY. I have met inspiring women through the League, including another incredible mother-daughter team. My favorite event was the Historic Bike Tour curated by JLS sustainer Melissa Austin. What a wild ride the Savannah On Wheels crew took us on! I felt like a child again and was blown away by the women-focused tour of Savannah's squares. I learned so much about Alida Harper of the Harper Fowlkes House, Juliette Low, and Flannery O'Connor as Linda, our tour guide shared a new slant on the accomplishments of these women important to Savannah's history. I most loved the story of the seven ladies: the women who saved the Davenport House and then went on to save other homes across our beautiful city. I cannot wait to experience year 2 with the League as an active. I know I will be happier and busier than ever. Thank you to the Provisional and Cookbook chairs who took us under their wings!

Written by Caroline Jackovich In 2020, before the world shut down,The Savannah Book Festival put out their list of authors coming that year. I spotted Kristy Woodson Harvey, and what stuck out to me was that she had noted she was a Tar Heel (from UNC). Pairing this (as a UNC fan) with her upcoming book, I knew that was one of my must-see authors. I went to the talk and just knew I had to get her books! So I purchased all 3 books in her Peachtree Bluff trilogy and had her sign them. We got to talking about UNC and other things, and I discovered that she had grown up and knew two of our JLS members, Katie Messinger and Kathryn Campbell. So I followed Kristy on Instagram to make sure I was up to date on the launch of her book in May. I kept watching for news of her book release and she finally let everyone know that her tour had been canceled. Around the same time she joined forces with 3 other authors who also had books coming out around the same time as her own, Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, and Patti Callahan Henry. They came together and formed Friends and Fiction. They talked about their own books coming out on a Facebook Live and slowly it grew! They started interviewing other authors and also highlighted independent book stores struggling due to COVID. What started out as a way to promote their books after tours were canceled grew into this wonderful community of book-loving friends. Fast forward to this year when the book festival was finally back in person. I was beyond thrilled to read that the foursome would be closing out the book festival. My mom and I immediately bought tickets for the event. The hour and a half listening to these women talk about how they had been there for each other, keeping each other accountable, and how much they enjoyed the community was amazing. This experience was a example of how these women took a dark time and brought an exceptional amount of light into it.









Thank you for supporting our work!

Junior League of Savannah PO Box 13268 Savannah GA 31416

PRST STD U.S.POSTAGE PAID Savannah, GA Permit #1473

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