Known for the company they keep!

Known for the company they keep!

It’s an old timey expression, to be sure, but one that says volumes about Colgate-Palmolive and its Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® program, which provides free dental screenings and oral health education to children through a fleet of mobile dental vans that travel to under-served rural and urban communities across the U.S. and around the world.

Started 25 years ago in only two cities, Philadelphia and Oakland, BSBF now reaches children in more than 80 countries, at a rate of 12 million a year in the U.S. alone.

Since 2013, a significant number of individual Junior Leagues have sponsored BSBF van visits in their communities. (BSBF also sponsors AJLI’s Community Impact Awards, presented at Annual Conference since 2014.)

Colgate-Palmolive came to partner with The Junior League because BSBF seeks out organizations with deep roots in their communities. Dawna Michelle Fields, BSBF’s Director of Community Affairs, says that the League’s mission of improving the lives of children aligns beautifully with the BSBF mission of improving the oral health of children, one kid at a time. BSBF looks forward to working with Junior Leagues in 2017 and beyond.

The program’s goal is to reach 1.3 billion children around the world by 2020 with information on how children and families can maintain a healthy smile. They are up to 850 million so far.

Getting to that ambitious goal requires tremendous effort, however, not just by BSBF but by its many partners. For example, in the U.S., BSBF partners with organizations as varied as The Links, Incorporated, Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the Urban League, the NAACP, Points of Light and Junior Achievement.

“Bright Smiles, Bright Futures is in good company with The Junior League,” Dawna comments. “When you do good, you do well,” Dawna says, adding: “We have delivered a lot of good to our communities, but we can certainly do more.”

*This article was originally published in connected, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.


Volunteer Internationally with AJLI + Cross-Cultural Solutions


Cross-Cultural Solutions is a nonprofit working to address critical global issues by providing meaningful volunteer service to communities abroad, and contributing responsibly to local economies. As a leader in the field of international volunteer travel for over 20 years, they know that the best approach to International volunteering—the only approach—is one designed by the community.

The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. and Cross-Cultural Solutions have partnered together to offer Junior Leagues and their members the opportunity to volunteer internationally with countless opportunities to connect with and learn from, local people in these global communities. There are three opportunities:

It’s Easy…..


Join the next extraordinary Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteer service opportunity: Rabat, Morocco.

Experience an eye-opening first-hand look into Islam and its beautiful and historic layers while you’re taken on a sensory journey through the warm and welcoming country of Morocco. As an international volunteer, you’ll support dynamic grass-roots initiatives that lend services to the women and children of Morocco’s most vulnerable populations. In addition to volunteering, you’ll explore the many colorful medinas of Morocco, visit ancient ruins, and perhaps take a camel trek through the Sahara Desert!

Our March trip is filled but we’ve scheduled two additional trips to accommodate demand:

  • August 20 – 27, 2016
  • October 29 – November 5, 2016

Plan a League Trip— Cross-Cultural Solutions will help you customize a trip for your League.  You and your League can volunteer together, grow together, learn together and raise funds all while changing your lives and those of others.

Volunteer Independently —Enroll in your own Volunteer experience in one of 9 countries around the world where Cross-Cultural Solutions works- spend a week or a month with your friends, your family or alone making a difference in a community of need.

Program fee and discounts—Program Fees vary by destination and length of stay. Cross-Cultural Solutions is a 501c3 not-for-profit. Program fees are 100% tax-deductible for US tax payers. All Junior League members are eligible for a $400 discount on any program they choose.

Groups traveling on an AJLI trip or a Junior League Program may benefit from the follow discounts:
One out of every 8 participants, irrespective of their League, will earn a complimentary program. The fee for the 8th participant will be disseminated among the 8 travelers, thereby lowering the cost for all. Furthermore, for each person who enrolls, CCS will make a $100 donation to AJLI and a $50 donation to the traveler’s League.

Pricing for family and friends!
Bring a friend or family member along and the referring Junior Leaguer receives an additional $262 outreach discount on their travel. Children 12 and under receive the child discount of $700 off of their program fee.

The Association and Junior League will benefit from invited family and friends as well with the $50 and $100 donations.

To reserve your spot or for more information, CLICK HERE to visit the Junior League—CSS webpage.

*This article was originally published in The Civic Lede, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.  The Civic Lede spotlights notable developments in philanthropy, not-for-profits, women’s interests, voluntarism and leadership, and offers commentary on the issues on which The Junior League has been active for many years.

Who Feeds Hungry Kids in Summer?


It’s a good question. According to the USDA, more than 22 million schoolchildren are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the year through the National School Lunch Program, but during the summer, only 1 in 6 of those kids participate in the Summer Food Service Program. (The federal government is seeking to address that shortfall with the Seamless Summer Option, which offers local school districts a streamlined approach to feeding hungry children.)

Of course, the question of hungry kids in summer is part of a larger problem – hunger in American homes generally. A widely quoted statistic, from the Food Research & Action Center, a national advocacy group working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the U.S., says that 1 in 6 families suffer from food insecurity.

Many nonprofits and advocacy groups are working to address that imbalance, in a wide range of ways.

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals.

Feed the Children connects donors, experts, partners, leaders and communities to attack the hunger problem from all angles.

Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, with a powerful and efficient network of 200 food banks across the country.

Food and nutrition have long been issues of concerns for many Junior Leagues.

In fact, action by the Junior League of Brooklyn in successfully petitioning the New York City Board of Education led to free lunches in schools there, a program that later became the model for the National School Lunch Program.

Many other Leagues are still creating innovative ways to deal with hunger insecurity and children in their communities.

And then there’s AJLI’s Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen program, now in its 10th year, and adopted by more than 200 Junior Leagues in four countries.

By the way, if you’re looking for some healthy and nutritious kid snacks and meals from the KITK cookbook, try these!

*This article was originally published in The Civic Lede, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.  The Civic Lede spotlights notable developments in philanthropy, not-for-profits, women’s interests, voluntarism and leadership, and offers commentary on the issues on which The Junior League has been active for many years.

It All Began in a Place Called Seneca Falls


American women gained the right to vote in 1920, with the adoption of the 19th Amendment and its ban on denying women the right to vote on the basis of sex.

But the road to women’s suffrage actually started some 70 years earlier, on two hot and humid days in July 1848, with the Seneca Falls Convention. That historic meeting brought together women – and men – who believed that equality between the sexes is a critical element of the American experiment. And a key tenet of their shared goals was the right to vote.

A simple idea today, but radical then.

And in the 100 years that followed the Seneca Falls Convention came a flowering of organizations—ranging from the Links, the League of Women Voters to The Junior League to the Girl Scouts—designed to ensure that women’s (and girl’s) talents would not be ignored.

Today, the achievements of remarkable American women can be seen in the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls or the National Women’s History Museum (with its goal of building a Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC).


*This article was originally published in The Civic Lede, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.  The Civic Lede spotlights notable developments in philanthropy, not-for-profits, women’s interests, voluntarism and leadership, and offers commentary on the issues on which The Junior League has been active for many years.



It’s the Junior League way: When you find a need, create the solution

jl 1.jpgEveryone agrees that juvenile crime has wide-ranging implications for young offenders as well as their families and communities. But when members of the Junior League of Collin County saw that “diversion programs” for young first-time offenders were not readily available in their area, they decided to dig deeper. What they discovered was that often the best legal outcome was probation only—with only the traditional probation services.

The question: Why not provide non-violent, first-time offenders with leadership classes to help them in school, in their families and in their communities? What if a condition of successfully deferring formal judicial proceedings was to attend these classes put on by he Junior League of Collin County?

It wasn’t an easy process, but with the help of master counselors at different regional agencies, JLCC began to outline their proposal for the course and began to seek approval of the Collin County Juvenile Probation Services. With the ability to fund the program, all the League needed was approval, a meeting space and kids.

It took two years to secure the approval, but JLCC’s Juvenile Mentoring Program (JuMP)—winner of AJLI’s 2016 Community Impact Award—began to provide a six-module program to first time non-violent offenders in McKinney, Texas in June 2013. League volunteers, with training from Collin County Juvenile Probation Services, conduct interventional training sessions with a curriculum that covers topics each month such as Media Literacy and Messaging, Boundary Setting and Building Healthy Relationships, Conflict Resolution and Life Skills training. JuMP provides the guidance, tools and resources necessary to reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

The participants, referred by the Collin County Juvenile Probation Services, are chosen based on their referral history, potential to benefit from the program, and their ability to complete the program based on family support.  Program capacity is limited at this point based on the size of the classrooms available and because the League strives to have one-to-one mentoring relationship in an uplifting environment.

In the first two years of the program, 40 kids, aged 11 to 15, have graduated from JuMP and successfully completed probation. The program has been expanded to a second location in Plano, and plans for expansion into additional locations are in discussion. The possibility of offering parent education classes is also being explored.

Anecdotal evidence of the program’s success can be found in the remarks from one participant who reported that participating in JuMP made him realize that he needed to make changes in his life, successfully complete rehab treatment and return to school, where he is now getting good grades.

Adds Maria Moffatt, President of JLCC, “You can’t change everybody, but if you can change the course of one teen’s life, this program will have worked.”

*This article was originally published in connected, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.

Junior League of Cincinnati welcomes refugee population

jl cincinnatiIn June, communities across the globe pause to raise awareness for refugees, specifically on World Refugee Day. Fifteen years ago, the United Nations General Assembly designated this international observance day to raise awareness for the millions of refugees living around the world.

Even if you are not familiar with World Refugee Day, chances are you heard the political debate raging around this issue, both in the United States and Europe.

Politics aside, let’s take a look at what the Junior League of Cincinnati (JLC) is doing to help the refugees living in its community.

Finding a home in Greater Cincinnati
As a refugee resettlement community, Greater Cincinnati is home to an estimated 25,000 refugees and plans to welcome 500 more by 2018. Since the area is known as a welcoming city with a thriving refugee community, often refugees move there after being settled in other parts of the U.S. This is known as a “second migration,” making the actual number of refugees living in Greater Cincinnati difficult to calculate.

Looking for a new project in 2011, the JLC began extensively evaluating service gaps in the needs of women and children in Greater Cincinnati. They discovered a missing link between refugee families and organizations that provide support services; RefugeeConnect was born two years later.

Today, the organization hosts a virtual resource center that connects refugees and service providers. The site also increases community awareness of refugees, shares volunteer opportunities, and promotes upcoming advocacy events.

Bringing service providers together in a community partner network is a critical part of this project. The Refugee Empowerment Initiative (REI) hosts quarterly meetings to allow providers to share needs and innovative solutions that better serve refugees living in Cincinnati. The meetings are hosted by the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University and involve more than 80 organizations.

Soccer: The international language
In addition to the virtual resource center, the JLC is committed to finding unique ways to help refugees integrate into the community, learn a new culture, and share their stories with other Cincinnati residents.

On June 4, the JLC sponsored the 3rd annual World Refugee Cup soccer tournament. Fifteen teams competed in a full-day, World Cup-style elimination tournament. This tournament is designed to reach beyond the players on the field. Approximately 20 REI partners participated in a resource fair to connect with the refugee population face-to-face, and the JLC’s Community & Outreach committee hosted a family fun zone. At the end of the tournament, RefugeeConnect awarded three local refugee students scholarships to college to continue their education beyond high school.

Next up: RefugeeConnect earned a grant from FUEL Cincinnati, a nonprofit accelerator that identifies innovative young professionals and works with local nonprofits to ignite unique projects. Working with the grant, RefugeeConnect will build a volunteer “funnel” to educate engaged community members – including the JLC – about the refugee experience and place them into meaningful volunteer opportunities that include ESOL tutoring, mentoring, employment preparedness, and navigation of social services.

*This article was originally published in connected, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.

Do we still need public libraries?

librariesGood question.

Some people think that the Internet and the all-encompassing digital age it brought means that we don’t. After all, information is available to anyone, at any time, with access to a computer. So just Google it!

Standing in opposition to that simplistic argument is a movement that views the expansion of the role of public libraries as incredibly important to our society and culture. Here’s what the Aspen Institute says in a report calling for a “re-envisioning” of the public library.

“But this new world of ‘information plenty’ creates new, essential skills, such as the ability to gain value from information and produce new knowledge. Access to digital networks and digital literacy skills are essential for full participation in modern society. Economic, educational, civic and social opportunities are tied to a whole new set of knowledge and skills that barely existed a generation ago, and people without these skills or access to this information abundance are quickly left behind. Public libraries can be at the center of these changes: a trusted community resource and an essential platform for learning, creativity and innovation in the community.”

At the heart of the re-envisioning (also known as “reimagining”) movement is a goal already embraced by many Junior Leagues – making the public library a vital center of the community in ways that go well beyond the physical structure of the building, with its stacks of books and rows of reading tables.

For example, the Junior League of Sacramento has partnered with the Sacramento Public Library to use gardens to educate Sacramento-area families on healthy food choices and nutrition. Each Read & Feed Teaching and Demonstration Garden serves as a focal point for community activities that bring diverse community members together across culturally different backgrounds.

The Junior League of Summit is supporting an initiative of the Summit Public Library to bring together diverse groups of Spanish- and English-speaking families to the library. Among JLS’ contributions was sponsoring a book fair to raise funds to purchase Spanish language books for the library.

The Junior League of Birmingham (AL) partners with the Birmingham Public Library’s Family Place Library, part of a national network of children’s librarians who believe that literacy begins at birth and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families. A grant from JLB was instrumental in helping to jumpstart the initiative in Birmingham, and League members are active volunteers in day-to-day operations.

Other Leagues are bringing libraries out into the community in innovative ways.

The Junior League of Sioux City and the Junior League of Bristol are participating in a national program called Little Free Library that creates “take a book, return a book” gathering places where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories.

And the Junior League of Tampa is bringing books and readers to neighborhoods in need through a refurbished school bus called MILO (for Mobile Interactive Literacy Opportunity), in partnership with the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library. In addition to matching kids with books they will want to read over and over, MILO gets parents involved in teaching reading skills through art activities and character-led reading.

*This article was originally published in connected, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.

The Junior League of Cairo?


Recognizing the critical role women play in building democratic societies is nothing new for The Junior League. We’ve been espousing this thinking and empowering women as civic leaders for more than a century, as Junior League of Dallas member and former First Lady Laura Bush well knows. Learn more about her and President George Bush’s effort to perpetuate this thinking across the globe through the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Women’s Fellowship Initiative. Read about it in AJLI Executive Director Susan Danish’s piece on The Huffington Post entitled “The Junior League of Cairo?”

*This article was originally published in connected, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.

Timeless Principles in a Modern Context.


For more than a century, Junior League members have confronted society’s most pressing issues and tackled its toughest problems, leaving a legacy of reform like no other.
But in a complex world, accelerating and advancing at a rapid pace, change is uncomfortable, conflicts are inevitable and challenges are cyclical. Problems loom large. Leadership talent and funding are scarce.
To fight these battles, find solutions, and advocate for those in need, a renewable army of women empowered as agents of positive change is essential.
Preparing women to serve their communities is The Junior League’s mission. Because tomorrow there will be new issues and new challenges—and the women of The Junior League will continue to serve as the undeterred voices for action, justice and change.
The Junior League of Phoenix is a network of empowered female civic leaders working with community partners to address and solve pressing issues like food insecurity/food access and nutrition and obesity. We’re part of an international network of 291 Leagues comprised of over 150,000 women, in Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., engaged in similar work in their own communities. This provides us with a unique and powerful depth of knowledge and resourcefulness to bring about the changes we strive to accomplish.