The history of Junior League projects is varied and long-lasting. Junior League has served as an innovator of projects in partnership with other community agencies. Many of these projects are taken over by others and maintained. This is the main way to train women to become community leaders.
Junior League Locker
The locker provided new clothing to children in need to help them find the confidence and pride they deserve through personalized shopping requests and through “lockers” in the schools stocked with basic clothing needs for teachers, counselors and administrators to utilize for children throughout the year.
We are happy to say the locker lives on through a local organization of amazing women called Mid-Town Moms.
One recent project involved working with Lewis and Clark Community College‘s Family Literacy program to tackle the epidemic of illiteracy.
“Did you know that 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read? That’s 14 percent of the population! 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.
The current literacy rate isn’t any better than it was 10 years ago. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (completed most recently in 2003, and before that, in 1992), 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a “below basic” literacy level in 2003, and 29 percent exhibited a “basic” reading level.” – Huffington Post 2014
On Tuesday, June 21, 2016 – one of many projects planned with the group – joined a class of GED students at L&C for a Cultural Food Event where we assisted in serving up some international cuisine to go along with their lesson of the day.
We have a rich history of working with the schools in the area. Some of the programs in the schools have included:
- Early Indians historical programs – Members visited classrooms and discussed the earliest inhabitants of this area. They presented a box of artifacts to class and passed them around to the students, including pottery shards, arrowheads and other archeological artifacts of this area.
- Kindergarten pre-screening program
- Safety Programs at the schools – Mr. Yuk poison and other safety programs
- Latchkey program held at the schools
- We still work closely with schools today, our most recent project being our contribution to the All God’s Children Must Have Shoes program.
Some other projects taken on by League:
- 1955 – Junior League members provided all the services for the Easter Seal Day Camp. The camp was run on the campus of Monticello College (now Lewis and Clark Community College) until 1975, when the affiliation ended and Easter Seals took over running and financing the program. This program is still run today by Easter Seals.
- 1973 – Junior League members formed the founding group of the Piasa Bicycle Trails, Inc. An initial event was to host the Great River Road Bike Day. The state closed the River Road for one day for bicycles only. This event led to the work to put a bike trail in permanently. Piasa Bicycle Trails Inc. was formed to allow separate and continued focus on the issue. This group worked with local, state and federal officials to create a bike trail in the area. The bike trail was dedicated in 1976.
- 1977 – Bike Safety Fair began – It was planned and executed by the provisional class and presented at area schools. This became an annual program until 2002. The last event was held in cooperation with Alton Memorial Hospital. They have now taken over this event and continue the program that gives away free bicycle helmets at their annual safety fair.
- 1975 – Provided leadership in organizing a citizens committee concerned with the new Gordon F. Moore Park. Dr. Gordon Moore worked to develop and implement the creation of the park.
- 1980 – Dedication of mini-park fountain and play area at Gordon Moore Park. This was joint effort of Alton/Godfrey Rotary, Kiwanis Clubs and Junior League to have these additions to the park.
- Installing Mini Parks in cooperation with Price and the Alton Parks and Rec. Dept. in small areas around Alton was a continuing project.
- 1985 – Organized Robert Wadlow statue dedication
- Also organized the opening celebration for Famous Barr; now Macy’s