(Un)-happy Valentine’s Day?

ajli-1What does Valentine’s Day have to do with teen dating violence awareness?

In 2017, more than you might expect.

First, Valentine’s Day falls in February, of course, which is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

This year, Valentine’s Day has also been designated Wear Orange Day, in which supporters of all ages wear orange – whether clothing, nail polish, ribbons, jewelry or shoes – to demonstrate their support of healthy dating relationships. (This is an offshoot of the “orange” movement, which uses the color orange as a universal symbol of the fight against violence against women and girls.)

And, if that’s not enough, Respect Week takes place during Valentine’s Day week (February 12-18) and provides a framework for young people to continue the fight against dating violence with awareness events and social media.

The sponsor of Wear Orange Day and Respect Week is loveisrespect.org. The nonprofit, which strives to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse, provides these statistics to demonstrate the seriousness of the problem:

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

(The love is respect initiative is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which Junior League members MariBen Ramsey and Christine Benero wrote about here in support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 2016.)

Junior Leagues are approaching the problem in a wide range of ways.

The Junior League of Ann Arbor/Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Domestic & Dating Violence Prevention Endowment Fund tackles it directly by providing a sustainable resource for the education and prevention of dating and domestic violence that supports innovative, early intervention and prevention programs.

Strong Girls, Bright Futures, a project of the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties, seeks to make a difference in the lives of girls in the 5th through 8th grades by coaching them on how to make positive choices and think critically.

Positively More, a project of the Junior League of Greenwich, is designed to give pre-teen girls the tools to avoid compromising situations, lessen the consequences of potential conflicts and identify lessons learned by those challenges.

The Junior League of Little Rock’s Families and Community Together (FACT) initiative pairs JLLR mentors with pregnant and parenting female teens to encourage the participants to stay in school, delay future pregnancies and learn positive parenting skills. The League’s Girls Realizing Opportunity Within (GROW) is designed to help adolescent girls establish and improve their self-esteem and self-image in order to develop an inner confidence and to promote positive life choices.

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

5 Ways to Support the JLP HealthFest


JLP Members, Supporters, And Sponsors

Our inaugural HealthFest is coming up THIS Saturday, January 21 from 10 a.m. – 2p.m. at Kiwanis Park (North Soccer Field) l! The HealthFest is a FREE* family-friendly event that features health and wellness vendors, activities, bounce houses, cooking and fitness demonstrations and FREE health screenings.

  • Free pediatric dental screening and fluoride varnish for children 0-17
  • Free BMI, Glucose, Cholesterol Testing
  • Free Parenting Workshops
  • Bounce Houses
  • Face Painting
  • Cardinal’s Big Red Mascot
  • Blood Drive
  • Free Personal Hygiene goodie bags (one per family, first come first serve)

When: Saturday, January 21  I 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Kiwanis Park (North Soccer Field)    5203 S. Ash Ave.    Tempe, AZ 85283

Here are 5 easy ways you can help us promote this event!
  1. Download this flier and share it with friends, families, and colleagues. Ask permission from your child’s school, local church and/or community organization to post the flier on their bulletin boards.
  2. Share this post on your Facebook page or retweet this post on your Twitter account
  3. Share our blog post on your social media accounts and tag our handle, @juniorleaguephx
  4. Give blood and save lives at United Blood Center’s mobile bus that will be at the HealthFest! Register at www.BloodHero.com using Sponsor Code: JuniorLeaguePhx OR email JLP President, Cathy Comer
  5. Start a trend! Include the hashtags #jlphealthfest , #iamjlp #juniorleague #jlp on your social media posts


We are looking forward to a fun and successful day on January 21 and are excited to see you there.

Thank you for your support!


The HealthFest Team

*This event is free to the public thanks to the generous support of General Mills


Quick! What’s the #1 health issue for American kids?

Quick! What’s the #1 health issue for American kids?

The answer, of course, is tooth decay, according to Oral Health America (OHA), a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on preventing oral disease and promoting oral health for Americans of all ages.

Surprised by that answer? Don’t be. More than a quarter of American children age 18 and under are at higher risk for tooth decay, according to OHA, with more than 68 percent of kids aged six to nine not receiving dental sealants (thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth) to protect them from tooth decay. Cost of care is a major factor, with many families experiencing difficulty paying for private services or finding a dental provider that accepts government funding through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid.

Without treatment, dental decay becomes irreversible, leading to infection of the teeth, gums and tooth loss. Lack of treatment also compromises the child’s ability to eat well, sleep well, and function well at home and at school. And dental disease can lead to diabetes and heart disease later in adult life.

Dental health has become a significant focus for Junior Leagues that partner with the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® program (BSBF), 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.

But the Junior League of Cincinnati is on its own path to ensuring dental health for our children…and it’s a good one.

JLC’s GrinUp! Pediatric Oral Health project is a public advocacy and education initiative dedicated to ensuring healthy teeth for kids in the Cincinnati community, including advocating for accessible and affordable oral health care.

The key to the success of GrinUp! is by making learning how to care for their teeth fun. How? By using learning tools that make it fun.

Take the GrinUp! website (operated separately from the JLC website), which offers an online “brush timer” to make it easy to do the two-minute brushing (twice a day!) that dentists recommend. Or fun facts about animals’ teeth (did you know snails have 25,000 teeth on their tongues?). And a kid-oriented video visually dissecting a child’s first visit to a dentist.

And then there’s the Inside the Grin exhibit at the Duke Energy Children’s Museum that lets kids step inside a giant mouth modeled after a typical dentist’s office, complete with reclining chair, child-safe dental instruments and interactive videos. Kids use giant dental floss and a massive toothbrush to practice proper flossing and brushing techniques, learning healthy habits through play.

A big part of the success of GrinUp! has been JLC’s partners. In addition to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, part of the Cincinnati Museum Center, they include Children’s Oral Health Network, Procter & GambleOral Health America, Landor Associates, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Delta Dental Foundation.

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


Save the Date for JLP’s Inaugural HealthFest!


Join us Saturday, January 21, for the Junior League of Phoenix first ever HealthFest! This FREE, family-friendly festival is focused on all things health and wellness. We will have vendors, fun activities, fitness demonstrations and much more.

When: Saturday, January 21  I  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Daley Park I 1625 S. College Ave. I Tempe, AZ, 85281

Come support the JLP and our focus area of building a healthy Arizona. Stay tuned for more details.

Healthfest save the date final.jpg

This event is free to the public thanks to the generous support of General Mills.

Kids in the Kitchen at the PHX Kids GET FIT event

kitk 1.jpg

Fresh air, beautiful Arizona sunshine and the sound of little voices laughing surrounded us at the PHX Kids GET FIT event on October 1st. This free afternoon of fun and health was offered by The City of Phoenix Latino Institute along with community partners including the Junior League of Phoenix Kids in the Kitchen Committee!

kitk 2.jpgWe offered 3 hands-on cooking demos consisting of fruit kabobs, hummus and a vegetarian wrap. The children loved getting their hands in the mix by measuring, preparing and creating. It was exciting to see cooking through the children’s eyes. What sometimes seems like a chore or simply a means to an end was great fun for the kids.

The little ones viewed it as an art project; ripping up cilantro, sorting the bright fruit colors, and combining the ingredients for an outcome that was tasty and aesthetically appealing. We forget how tactile cooking really is and how healthy it can be for both our minds and bodies!

In the booth we offered educational games involving the food groups and how much sugar various beverages contain. Their knowledge was pretty impressive and the best part—watching them learn while having fun! They loved the healthy prizes including water bottles, pedometers, apples and oatmeal. The pedometers were a big hit and surprisingly the oatmeal was a favorite as well.

Thank you to all the JLP members who spent their morning making a healthy difference! These are the moments when we see our effort come to fruition and our impact happening right in front of our eyes.

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.