COTTAGE HILLS — As volunteers waited in the halls of Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills, another group of volunteers waited in the kitchen and cafeteria to begin what would be, for about 270 people this year, their Thanksgiving dinner.
The center has been delivering meals to shut-ins, the elderly, and local first responders as part of a long-standing tradition, Assistant Executive Director Denise Ukena said Thursday morning. Junior League of Greater Alton members were among the volunteers.
This #GivingTuesday we’re raising money for our Junior League Locker project. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps.
On Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, Facebook and PayPal will match a total of $7 million in donations.
Junior League Locker is JLGA’s newest Issue-Based Community Impact project, designed to address clothing insecurities in our region.
Throughout the Junior League Locker’s pilot year, we are working with counselors and administrators in the Alton School District’s K-1 centers – Eunice Smith Elementary, Lovejoy Elementary, Gilson Brown Elementary and Lewis and Clark Elementary – to fulfill clothing requests for students in need on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, each school will be stocked with a “Locker” filled with basic clothing needs and shoes that teachers, counselors and administrators can give to children as needed throughout the school year.
ALTON – Diana Kay loves her little house in the 3600 block of Horn Avenue in Alton – and especially so after Saturday’s annual Bucket Brigade event.
“It’s such an amazing gift,” she said of the annual day of donated paint-slinging. “It’s something that just freshens the house up to where it almost looks new. It was way more than I ever could have expected.”
It’s the 30th year of the original Bucket Brigade effort, founded by then-Pride Inc. President Dale Neudecker. Since then, the teams have gathered each May to paint nearly 1,500 homes.
Kay, herself, had a hand in more than a few of those.
She’d painted in Alton Bucket Brigades herself since high school. Her father led a Boy Scout troop that did the same.
“It was neat to be on that side of it, and do it for people who couldn’t do it themselves,” the career healthcare provider, with expertise in hospice work, said.
But even with her seemingly unbreakably bubbly spirit, her sentences stifle when describing what it means to be a Bucket Brigade recipient.
“I’m getting choked up,” she confides. “It was neat to be a part of it from that standpoint, and just do something for somebody. And then, a couple years ago, I found out I had a brain tumor and had a couple of strokes. Now, I can’t do that, but I need it done. These guys stepped up and are doing it for me. It’s all so incredible.”
Kay’s home, which she cheekily proclaimed the nicest on her street, was polished and painted by a team from the Junior League of Greater Alton, a loyal member of the Bucket Brigade.
When I think about why I joined the Junior League of Greater Alton a little less than one year ago, it was because I wanted to give my time and talent to help make our community a better place.
But it’s not all donating money and volunteering time–it didn’t take long to realize that with JLGA, members have the opportunity to get back what they put in, in the form of life changing experiences and leadership training and development.
A first year manager of a Media Relations/PR department at Lewis and Clark Community College and a grad student in Organizational Leadership, the opportunities presented by JLGA couldn’t have been more perfectly timed for me. Sure, I have a lot of irons in the fire, but League meetings have become my refuge, my guilty pleasure, my oasis on the second Thursday of each month.
This year–my first full year in League–is also my first on the Board. As Secretary, I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc.’s Organizational Development Institute in Houston, Texas, last weekend. The experience changed the way I see League and talk about League with friends, and made me so proud to be a part of something so special. So now I want to share that with you.
Whether you’re already a member or considering becoming one, know that the key is becoming the change we wish to see in the world, or more specifically, our community. What I mean by that is we have to open ourselves to learning about the true needs of the Greater Alton community, and be willing to invest the time and energy it takes to learn and train ourselves to become the best possible leaders we can be. It’s what makes League so fabulous. We’ve been empowering women to lead since 1901.
You see, achieving real, lasting, community-impacting change requires leadership, strong and true. That’s why when you participate in one of our fundraisers or community events, you’re not only helping our direct efforts to tackle community issues like hunger and illiteracy, you’re helping to engage the women of JLGA–local women–to keep positive change rolling for decades to come.
And we need more women to join, because the more women we engage, the better our capacity for direct volunteerism and fundraising, but also the deeper the impact we can achieve.
If you or anyone you know is interested in learning what we’re all about–please contact our new member committee chair, Nikki Fiedler, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re in the middle of planning our new member mixer (details TBA) and would love for interested women to come by and see if JLGA is for them.
You don’t want to miss this opportunity to become a part of something special, and to meet the best group of women around 😉