Celebrate Freedom by Serving One Another
By Trista McGlamery, VP of Marketing & Communications, The Junior League of Atlanta
Happy Birthday, America! Many of us celebrated an extra day off work by eating hot dogs and hamburgers at family picnics, watching spectacular fireworks displays, or perhaps even running the annual Peachtree Road Race. But how many of us helped a neighbor in need? We often think of honoring military service at this time of year, but what about those who serve in other ways? Our annual celebration of our country’s freedom may be over, but this is just the start of the Junior League of Atlanta’s (JLA) 100th year of service to our city.
In 1901, a group of New York City debutantes organized themselves into the Junior League for the Promotion of Settlement Houses. Learning about this movement in 1915, Isoline Campbell decided she wanted to organize a society “to foster among its members interest in the social, economic and educational conditions in Atlanta and to bring them in touch with whatever is being done along those lines.” So in 1916, JLA was formed.
Those first members started their volunteer efforts by providing free books and lunches to underprivileged children at the Luckie Street School. From there, they donated resources at Grady Hospital, Sheltering Arms Day Nursery, Girl Scouts, and many more. In 1928, League women undertook their first large commitment with a $6,000 annual gift to Henrietta Egleston Memorial Hospital, now part of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Members have also worked to strengthen the fabric of our community. From the earliest days of collecting funds for the Community Chest, the precursor to the United Way of Greater Atlanta, to donating $30,000 over three years for Volunteer Atlanta, a group tasked with placing community volunteers at appropriate agencies, the League has been paramount in maintaining Atlanta’s culture of service.
They have also trained phenomenal women interested in continuing that legacy of leadership. If you are a woman interested in serving in Atlanta, consider joining JLA. Membership applications are being accepted until Aug. 1. Members are required to be at least 22 years of age and reside in the greater metro area. You must also demonstrate an interest to voluntarism. For more information about membership, visit www.jlatlanta.org.
As one writer stated in 1939, “The need for intelligent women who are doing something for humanity has never been so great. The Junior League strives to put its finger on the need and then do something about it.” In celebration of 100 years of service to our city, JLA will make a $1 million transformational investment in Atlanta nonprofits in spring 2017. If you think you have a program or project that is meeting a critical need in Atlanta, visit www.jla100.org to learn more about the Centennial gift. A letter of intent is due by Aug. 15.