What We’re Thinking (the JL blog)


This is a fact that many Junior Leagues have embraced over the years with programs that encourage childhood literacy and look to involve parents as well as teachers in the process. Which is why we were delighted to see the recent announcement by the American Academy of Pediatrics asking its 62,000 members to take the time in office visits to tell parents of young children that reading aloud and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development and parent-child relationships. The statistics on the …


You arrive at school to an empty dorm room. And outfitting that room with even the basics – sheets, towels, blankets, pillows and the like – can be very costly (according to the National Retail Federation’s Back to School report in 2012, the average back-to-college family spending was $907).
Enter stage right the Junior League of Bronxville. For the second year, in partnership with Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE), the League held a successful “Dorm Room Drive” this spring to collect necessities for college-bound graduating high school seniors of neighboring Yonkers, …


Very! For over 35 years, May 18 has been celebrated worldwide as International Museum Day, to raise public awareness about the role of museums in the development of society. But the importance of museums to a community – particularly children’s museums – is nothing new to Junior Leagues.  In fact, Junior Leagues across the U.S. have been key players for decades in the movement to develop hands-on, learning-oriented children’s museums to supplement education in the sciences and arts.
According to League history, the first mention of Junior League members getting involved …


Because reading and children’s literacy programs are the cornerstone of many Leagues’ community outreach initiatives, we try to give a shout out every March to National Reading Month. This year we missed our target by a couple of days, but thought this initiative was so important we’re sharing it now regardless that it’s April.
But this year we couldn’t resist giving a hat tip to a truly innovative nonprofit organization that is addressing the “other” illiteracy…numerical. That organization is Bedtime Math, the brainchild of Laura Overdeck, who, among her many other …


After the heady consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time to think about giving back, rather than taking. And that’s the whole thought behind the #GivingTuesday movement, which AJLI has officially joined!
Now in its second year, #GivingTuesday aims to create an international day of giving to kick off the giving season on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.  (And some of our Leagues may be following closer to home through #GivingTuesdayUK, #GivingTuesdayCa and #DiaParaDar.)
It’s a great fit for The Junior League and our Mission. Every dollar donated via AJLI’s #GivingTuesday …


Maybe. Let’s face it – this holiday has been heavily commercialized for years and, increasingly, is more often an opportunity for adults to party than a chance for kids to be kids.
So it’s interesting to look at how some Junior Leagues have worked hard to refocus Halloween – whether as a way of involving kids who might be left out because of illness or economic status, or as a way to bring kids and their parents together in safe and fun activities that emphasize the value of coming together as …


If you’re from the Northeast, chances are you were preparing for Hurricane Sandy, little knowing that it would soon become the storm of the century (so far!). A day later, particularly along the coastline of New Jersey and in waterfront sections of New York City, whole neighborhoods were demolished, beaches and boardwalks washed away, and millions found themselves without heat or power, and many remained homeless, living in temporary accommodations, for months. Even now, with the first anniversary of Sandy, some communities and organizations are still struggling to rebuild.
But if …


Comparisons between the work of Junior Leagues and that of Zainab Salbi are not as far-fetched as they may seem—at least once you take the AK-47s out of the picture. The impassioned advocate for women victims of violence and deprivation may touch down in battlegrounds on several continents in a single month, but her ultimate goal is one that Junior League members share: improving the lives of others by learning their stories and negotiating with local influencers to take on challenges in a sustainable and meaningful way.
“If you want to …


From May 15 to 18, more than 600 delegates attended AJLI’s 91st Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. where the Junior Leagues of Washington, D.C. and the Oranges and Short Hills were celebrating their 100th anniversaries. Flying a bold new “Leadership Empowered” flag, the conference updated delegates on the work of the Association. In addition, it offered workshops ranging in content from innovations in fund development and Sustainer engagement to issue-based impact and legislative advocacy, and celebrated the work of individual Leagues at the annual Awards …


Only a few weeks ago we wrote about a variety of summer projects by Junior Leagues; but, with the first day of school only weeks or even days away for most kids, the focus for many Leagues now is helping children whose families need a little help in buying much needed supplies before the first day of school.
Since joining The Junior League in 2009, the Junior League of San Joaquin County has provided more than 3,000 backpacks, supplies and books to students in need through its Ready to Learn program. Each year, JLSJC’s Community Service Committee reviews …