Member Spotlight: Heather Miller

img_9753Junior League member Heather Miller, is in her first active year with JLCU and happens to be the assistant chair of Festival Of Trees which is coming up November 17 -19.  She moved to Champaign a year and a half ago, but her family has been here for 17 years, so she “came home” in a sense, but is technically new to the area. She spends her daytime hours as the Office Administrator for the local McDonalds franchises, and has 1 dog named Pinkie and 1 cat named Grimace.

She agreed to answer some questions for us about herself and Festival of Trees!

JLCU:  When and why did you join JLCU?

Heather: I joined Junior League last year.  I was looking to meet people and find a way to get involved with the community.  My family (parents and brother) have lived here for about 17 years and while it was great to move close to them I also want to find my own identity and JL has helped me do that!

JLCU:  What has it been like planning FOT this year?

Heather: Totally and completely crazy – in a good way!  Seriously though, it’s actually been great!  Our chair Emily Cross is super organized and very good at giving direction, she has been able to make decisions quickly and easily and any time there is anything at resembles a setback she takes it so well and just problem solves a solution.  The board and management team have also been VERY supportive, helping with everything from initial vision to getting donations and general planning.  Of course the committee has been amazing.  They have worked diligently for the past several months, and they are still giving everything they can in time and energy down to the last minute to make this the best FOT yet in celebration of our 85th year of League in Champaign County. They are amazing and I want all of them on the committee next year with me!  I have personally never planned an event at all, much less something to this scale, and to see it all come together and the amazing  teamwork that has happened makes me very proud to be a part of it, so I know we will have successful event!

JLCU: What aspect of FOT are you most looking forward to this year?Logo_FOT_Large-300x247

Heather: EVERY.SINGLE.MOMENT!  Truth-telling time though … I have never been to the Daddy Daughter Dance or Breakfast with Santa, so I’m really excited to be at those specific events because I keep hearing they are so special for families to attend together!  I really can’t wait just to see people at the public hours as well, enjoying the start of the holiday season amidst all the trees and decorations.  We are going to have over 85 trees and wreaths and donated items, I can’t wait to see people walking around looking at our little winter wonderland.  Overall, I’m excited to see the kids excited about and enjoying the displays with their parents.

JLCU: What are your JLCU plans after FOT is over this year?

Heather: This is going to sound crazy, but …start planning for Festival of Trees for next year (<3 ❤ <3)!  As the assistant chair this year, I will be chair next year, and I couldn’t be more excited to keep the momentum going from this year! So, we want to start planning right away based on the aspects that go really well, and the areas we can keep improving.  In short, I’m going to be full-time Festival-of-Trees-Champion until this time next year!

JLCU: Any advice for next year’s new FOT committee members?

Heather: ABSOLUTELY!

#1. This committee is a lot of work but it’s all fun work! I love the holiday season and getting to prep for that year round with a group of awesome women in order to support amazing organizations within our community… I call that a win.win.win!

#2. I think it’s important to remember that we are a committee and not just one person so at no time are you alone!  We are here to support, help, grow, teach, and learn from each other, which is truly what Junior League is all about – women supporting and empowering other women!

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JLCU News: Membership Transformation Rollout

Seeking Volunteers for Membership Transformation Rollout
The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana leadership has decided to join the Association of Junior Leagues International in their Membership Transformation Rollout.  During this first year of our membership model transformation, a committee comprised of Jenn Schmidt, Jenn Smist, Lonndon Blake, Sara Hubbard and January Boten are being trained on the rollout details and implementation process.
We are currently seeking members to volunteer for our pilot cohort in the 2018-2019 League Year.  Interested members should email January Boten at january.boten@gmail.com.  The committee will notify members in January if they have been selected to participate.  The committee will be selecting participants to include a diverse cross section of League members in order to preempt issues which may arise during the transformation before the model is expand to the entire League membership during year three.
This new structure will allow members to explore how for League can work best for them.  Hopefully this model will inspire all of us to re-imagine our commitment to Junior League in new and exciting ways.
Informational sessions about the Membership Transformation will be held prior to the November and January General Membership Meetings.  If you have any questions, please contact one of the committee members.

October 2017 General Member Meeting Recap

Who went where?

Laura Gerhold, Jennifer Schmidt, and Jenette Jurczyk attended the AJLI Fall Leadership conference in Salt Lake City, Utah October 12-14. One stand out aspect of the conference was when current presidents of Junior League in cities impacted by recent tragedy (Hurricane/Texas/Las Vegas) shared their outreach efforts within their membership and to support vicitims in their communities, with the support of AJLI and other leagues.

Community Spotlight & JLCU Connections

COMMUNITY: Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club – Jordan Hornickel the Academic Services Coordinator shared information about a new facility called the Martin Center to open in 2020!

JLCU CONNECTION: Kids in the Kitchen – Amy Riha shared about the October success where the theme was “All about Veggies” for kids 5 – 8 years old, who afterwards received quite a fun workout with the firemen who came to help out!

COMMUNITY: Urbana Early Childhood School – Cris Vowels the Principal shared some information and statistics to help us better understand the obstacles and opportunities within our community as they pertain to the Early Childhood Center. For example:

  • 60-100 Kids at risk are on the waiting list for pre-school such as Head Start.
  • For every dollar spent on pre-school $7-14 return on your investment for the community
  • Children who have attended pre-school: listen better, more emotionally secure, healthy relationships, sit in groups, and less likely to be incarcerated

JLCU CONNECTION: Junior League Bright Starts (JLBS) chair Jami Tanner shared more information about how you can get involved in this fun and rewarding volunteer opportunity!

  • Assistance and Volunteer duties:
    • 5:00-7:00 Soft Set-up and classroom assistance
    • 5:15-7:15 food service and sibling care.
  • If you have children you can bring them to Bright Starts!

Community Impact Model

Crisis Nursery partnership plans and needs were communicated by Miranda Smith and Mary Wakefield. Check out these volunteer opportunities.

  • Thursday, Nov 9
    • Casual dress-will be working on holiday shop need 10-12 people, 6-9PM
  • Saturday, Jan 27
    • Crisis Nursery workday activity TBD Noon-3PM
  • Monday, Feb 19th
    • Crisis Nursery workday activity TBD Noon-3PM
  • Wednesday, March 7th
    • Crisis Nursery workday activity TBD 6-9PM

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Committee Updates

DIAM and CAF Grant Update was given by Annie Bruno, and we were happy to hear that JLCU collected 21 Pillows, 22 towels, and 10 washcloths last month for Courage Connection!!!

Laura Gerhold discussed creating partnerships with JLCU requesting that we reach out to organizations that may be interested in partnership opportunities with JLCU. The application for next year is on the website and is due November 30.

Diversity and Inclusion presentation by January Boten and Denise Poindexter really made us think, and challenged us to grow. Their talking points included the following:

  • Think about what it is like for someone else to walk into this room (it isn’t easy for everyone!)
  • Think outside your own experiences (sometimes hard to do!)
  • We will get who we plan for (so let’s make plans to include everyone!)
  • Think ahead (be proactive!)
  • Food is important (makes people feel at home and welcome, so include options that appeal to all diet-types!)
  • Diversity is more than just ethnicity (so much more!)
  • Don’t make assumptions (re-train your brain!)
  • Everyone’s experiences are normal (to them!)

General Business

  • Kids in the Kitchen Re-Proposal by Miranda Smith (3 more years with an increased budget) will be voted on at the November GMM
  • Festival of Trees
  • New membership Transformation Rollout – Jennifer Schmidt and January Boten
    • In-person discussions will be held
      • Tues, Nov 14th 7-7:30 PM at the Hilton Garden Inn prior to the GMM at 7:30.
      • Tuesday, Jan 23rd at 6PM at the Hilton Garden Inn prior to the GMM

September General Members Meeting 2017

Celebrate the 85th year of JLCU

Our First General Members Meeting of the 85th year of JLCU opened with music, refreshments, a group photo, and candy… and that’s just the beginning!

SPOTLIGHT ON TRAINING Cheryl Mitchell shared a valuable lesson with us entitled “the Outside In” about discovering our “why” and strategies for approaching change in the coming League year.

SPOTLIGHT ON COMMUNITY   We received an awesome update about the success of the Match for Courage from Megan Wolf, before learning more about the Crisis Nursery – our project partnership for 2017/2018!

Our DIAM raised over $400 and a huge box of art supplies for the Crisis Nursery – so the year is off to a great start!

CAF Grant applications  were due Oct 1, 2017. The goal of the Community Assistance Fund (CAF) is to respond to the financial needs of nonprofit organizations, specifically for programs and projects related to Junior League of Champaign-Urbana position statements.  These position statements outline the focus of JLCU’s focus areas, including child protection and welfare, families, health, hunger, literacy, shelter, school preparedness, voluntarism, and women.

GENERAL BUSINESS  Festival of Trees update SPOLIER … it is going to be EPIC! Reserve November 17th -19th this year for Daddy Daughter Dance, Breakfast with Santa, and the Festival of Trees Gala to benefit Crisis Nursery sponsored by Clark Lindsey Village. All events will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn.

SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERSHIP  We welcomed a class of 23 provisional members (and as of press time an additional 4 have joined our 2017-2018 class)! We are excited for them to embark on this new adventure with us!

It was awesome to hear from January Boten and Jen Romine as they shared their experiences producing and acting in “The Vagina Monologues” this summer to benefit the Courage Connection.  Beth Peralta (VP of Communications) updated us on hashtags (#JLCU and #JLCUrepresents) to use on social media as well. We even took selfies of our tables to practice.

We honored many Shining Stars that have worked hard this summer! Congratulations!

 

SPOTLIGHT ON ADVOCACY  We took an opportunity to write to our state senators, representatives, and governor to urge them to  fund the Crisis Nursery as they committed to during prior to the state budget crisis.

Celebrating 85 years of Junior League in the Champaign/Urbana Community!

Thank you to Northwestern Mutual for sponsoring our first meeting at the Hawthorne Suites.

Make sure you mark your calendars for everything going on in the coming year – there is so much to look forward to in 2017-2018!

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Match for Courage

Courage Connection Matching Campaign

Where do you turn when you feel like you don’t have any place to turn? When your family isn’t there, your friends won’t understand, and you still have to take care of your kids – in the midst of difficult circumstances? For many women in Champaign County, the answer has been Courage Connection, but due to the State of Illinois’s failure to pass a budget, the Courage Connection remains on the brink of closing.

This is where Junior League of Champaign-Urbana is stepping up and stepping in along with current and former board members of Courage Connection. Together we have created a $50,000 matching gift fund called Match for Courage to support its mission of providing housing and supportive services for individuals and families who are victims of domestic violence.

Starting June 12th, all monetary donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000. Donations can be sent to 508 E. Church Street, Champaign, IL 61820 or made online here.

Courage Connection provides support, shelter and service: 24 hour hotline, emergency shelter, counseling, court advocacy, transitional housing, job readiness programs, parenting education, children’s programs, safety planning, and more, and we have the opportunity to help see these services continue.

“We are honored to be able to work with Courage Connection and support them at this crucial time,” said Jenette Jurczyk, president of JLCU. “Junior League has been serving the Champaign-Urbana community for 85 years and has been part of the creation of so many organizations that supply such important services to women and families. We cannot stand by and watch as Courage Connection faces the risk of closing their doors. As a long-standing supporter and partner of this institution, we are choosing to step up and participate in this $50,000 donation campaign with matching funds.”

The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana has been a long-time partner and supporter of Courage Connection, from its earlier days as The Women’s Emergency Shelter of Champaign County and A Center for Women in Transition. JLCU’s mission includes a commitment to programs that work towards the elimination of domestic violence and support shelters for children and families. JLCU has also supplied grant money and volunteers to support Courage Connection throughout its evolution and has created, funded and supported programs for its residents and children.

Thank you for your consideration of support as we seek to make the Champaign/Urbana community the best it can be for ALL of its residents.

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And That’s a Wrap ! – May JLCU General Membership Meeting Recap

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Congratulations on another amazing year in Junior League!

Our May General Membership Meeting and Annual Dinner was full of laughter, thanks, and recognition of amazing women in our community and League. It was truly a night for celebrating women in all stages of life: from those graduating high school to our own members becoming JLCU sustaining members.

Continue reading And That’s a Wrap ! – May JLCU General Membership Meeting Recap

JLCU Member Spotlight: Erin Tarr

Erin Tarr
Erin Tarr

If you don’t know Erin Tarr yet, you’re missing out; she has big plans and even more enthusiasm!

Erin joined Junior League last summer after Jenette Jurczyk, our president-elect, told her about the organization. “It immediately connected that this would be the best fit for me since I am all about women lifting up and encouraging other women.” Continue reading JLCU Member Spotlight: Erin Tarr

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