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August 2020 Community Newsletter

Message from the President

Informing Local Leaders

Hello, Leaders! 

As I transitioned into this role, I knew I wanted to do more than guide the Junior League of Tallahassee (JLT) through the steps we usually take to successfully implement our mission. I wanted to create lasting, sustainable change through relationships, our community and the opportunities presented by COVID-19. I wanted us- the Junior League of Tallahassee- to live out a new mantra, “be the one.”

Be the one means we will create efficiencies to serve more with less; reframe challenges as opportunities; learn from our mistakes; and be the one League that develops female leaders through community service and strategic trainings and conversations.

While I do not know the extent to which your organization, business, family and dreams have been impacted by this pandemic, I know that JLT went into this fiscal year with a declining Membership and reduced operating budget. Yet, we are even more determined to serve more children through Kids’ Boutique, reduce the number of food insecure households during spring break through Mighty Meals and support our community partners, HOPE Community and Capital City Youth Services, as they serve our neighbors. 

In the message below, you will read about our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Reopening Task Force, New Member Class, Signature Community Partner and how we executed our 24th annual Kids’ Boutique. I hope this is exciting and inspiring content because our work does not only impact our Members. It impacts our community. 

If you would like more information about partnering with or supporting JLT, please contact me at president@jltallahassee.org. We cannot do our work without the support of our community. 

Be the One, 

Samantha Sexton

JLT President

JLT Members purchased back-to-school items for 136 local elementary school children while maintaining CDC guidelines
Committee Rebranding

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)

During the May Board of Directors meeting, the title of one of our committees was changed to stress that JLT is not only committed to diversity and inclusion, but equity. Although this is a minor change on paper, it has significant weight in practice. We are currently using this committee’s passion and expertise to evaluate our Done-in-a-Day portfolio to ensure we are equally serving the committee; support the Finance Team as they review all of our requirements to determine if any are unduly burdensome; and establish an external webpage of relevant resources. 

To that point, the committee’s most recent initiative is their version of a book club called "Growth Club.” Through this, Members will explore books, movies, documentaries, podcasts, articles, etc. that are related to DE&I. The Netflix documentary 13th, which explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, specifically focusing on the judiciary system and the racial disparities in our nation's prisons, was selected as the first discussion piece.

COVID-19

Reopening Task Force

The term "normal", when applied to JLT’s work, indicates we are conforming to a type and allowing events to happen naturally. "Normal" means we are no different than any other organization. However, that could not be further from the truth. JLT is different. 

We are an organization of women dedicated to improving the lives of children and families, and our work is too important to hit pause. Thus, we are creating a new standard of volunteering, gathering, training and fundraising. This is an opportunity for JLT to raise the bar.

In May, a workgroup of JLT leaders was convened to identify best practices and recommend how JLT should re-open our physical space, volunteer shifts and calendar of events. With our members, partners and donors at the center of everything we do, we hope this plan will instill confidence for those we work with, and serve. And ultimately we envision this plan becoming a model for local non-profits and the 25 Junior Leagues in Florida.

Together, we will overcome the cascading effects of COVID-19 and implement new standards for serving our community. JLT’s foundation, layers of rich history and tradition of service to the Big Bend is strong and will focus on embracing the new normal. 

You can view the entire plan online.

JLT Committee Chair takes the temperature of a volunteer before a shift
Recruitment 2020

Against All Odds

Usually, JLT Members spend the spring months concluding their committee business and recruiting passionate women to join our organization. This year, however, our efforts were stunned by the pandemic. Instead of meeting and greeting potential members at local coffee shops and iconic Tallahassee venues, we met many of them for the first time virtually. 

Yet, against all odds, 69 talented women joined JLT, exponentially increasing the rate at which we can serve the community. This class hails from 9 different zip codes, representing Leon and involved in the community, spans from 23 to 67-years young and 28% identify as not White. 73% of the class members are already involved in the community as a volunteer, donor or civic leader. 

Our Strategic Plan states, “the Junior League of Tallahassee strives for our membership composition to be reflective of the diversity exhibited in the community we serve within all levels of membership and leadership,” and we believe we are making great strides towards this goal. Please join us in celebrating this incredible class of women seeking to apply their passions and leadership skills to the betterment of our community!

Table setting from a 2019 JLT Recruitment information session. These sessions were held virutally for Spring 2020
Community Spotlight

New Community Partner: CCYS

JLT is proud to announce Capital City Youth Services Inc. (CCYS) as its 2020-2022 Jill Pope Community Partner. CCYS is an organization that provides guidance, shelter, and support to youth and families in the Big Bend Area and fits squarely within the parameters of JLT’s Impact Statement. 

“There is a tremendous opportunity to increase our community’s awareness and understanding of homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth through this partnership,” says Carla Juarez, JLT Community Director. In the first twelve months of this partnership, JLT volunteers will design and deliver impactful training workshops and activities for CCYS residents, mentor and help to facilitate CCYS’ Youth Advisory Council, as well as coordinate opportunities to further support residents’ well-being through meal services and campus renovations.

JLT Members donated more than $880 in back-to-school supplies for students CCYS regularly engages
Volunteer Event Updates

24th Annual Kids Boutique

On Sunday, August 9th, JLT volunteers executed a socially distanced back-to-school shopping event for 150 elementary aged students. While Kids’ Boutique was uniquely structured, we still met the event’s goals of providing identified children with $100 worth of new clothes and a backpack full of school supplies. We did this by extending shopping hours from 5-7 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., offering families the option to have volunteers shop for them, which limited the number of persons in the store, conducted temperature checks, and provided disposable masks and hand sanitizer to all participants and volunteers.

The Kids’ Boutique Committee could not have pulled off this momentous event without the support of our generous sponsors: Walmart, Premier Fine Homes, Xcellence Realty, Strategos, Brett Thompson, and Jamie Wright.

Reinforced lesson: if there is a will, there is a way.

Left: JLT Volunteers assist student with selecting supplies
Right: Prepared backpacks filled with school supplies ready for our participants
Bottom: JLT Committee Chairs greet JLT volunteers with PPE supplies for their shift
Upcoming JLT Events

Looking Ahead

  • August 20th - JLT Virtual Kickoff Event
  • August 28th, Annual Golf Tournament at Southwood
  • September 5th, Governor’s Club Sponsored Fundraiser
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Copyright © |2020| Junior League of Tallahassee, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 13428 Tallahassee, FL 32317

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