Fall Project Update – League Locker

The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana’s League Locker kicked off our fiscal year with an amazing $10,000 donation – the 2nd gift of this size in 2-years of school supplies from ACCO Brands Corporation. The supplies included in this donation are: Five Star 1 subject and 2 subject notebooks, Color Coded spiral notebooks, Angry Birds pencil pouches, accordion files, Five Star Flex Binders and Trapper Poly folders. “We are once again proud to support Junior League of Champaign-Urbana and the important work they do supporting teachers and students,” said Richard L. Nelson, Vice President, Corporate Communications, ACCO Brands.

Junior League Locker Chair Emily Donohoe stated, “We are again astounded by the generosity of ACCO brands’ $10,000 donation of school supplies to the Junior League Locker program this year. This donation makes it possible to help outfit Champaign and Urbana’s school children with the tools they need to succeed. We could not be more thankful!” Junior League Locker is a teacher supply store organized by the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana to provide free supplies to teachers in the Champaign and Urbana school districts. All classroom materials are provided at no cost, and are based on each school’s free and reduced lunch population. The supplies offered vary from typical school supplies, such as pens, pencils, composition books and crayons, to more unconventional supplies, such as copy paper, tote bags and toys for classroom treasure chests. Teachers are invited to shop once per quarter according to the school, thereby allowing teachers to secure materials at various times throughout the school year.

If you are a teacher in the Champaign and Urbana School districts and are wondering how many points you get to use at the JLCU League Locker, please contact our office at 217- 356-5880. In order to shop, teachers need only to bring their school ID and fill out a Supply Use Agreement*. (You must be present to shop. No one can shop on your behalf.)  The shopping sessions can be found by clicking here, as well as through the CU Schools Foundation list serve.

The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana is committed to helping children in our community go to school ready to learn. Therefore, it is important that teachers are able to provide students with supplies that their parents might not be able to provide. During the 2013-2014 school year, Junior League Locker served 445 teachers and provided approximately $30,000 of supplies to the Champaign and Urbana school districts.


Teachers waiting to get their school supplies from JLCU's League Locker - August 2014

Teachers waiting to get their school supplies from JLCU's League Locker - August 2014

Junior League Bright Starts is off to a Bright Start!

By Jenette Jurczyk
September 25, 2014

The Junior League of Champaign Urbana launched its new project, Junior League Bright Starts, on September 23rd, welcoming 19 children to the inaugural event of this important project. Working in collaboration with Urbana Early Childhood School, Junior League Bright Starts welcomed families with pre-school aged children to enjoy a complimentary dinner and an introduction to pre-school.

The pre-school programs in our community often have to waitlist children when their classes reach capacity, leaving many children at risk to miss the critical and proper introduction to a school environment prior to kindergarten. In its inaugural year, the program will provide monthly sessions to both students who are on the waitlist and their families.

For this first session, the students learned how to be good listeners when in a classroom setting. The parents were given exercises and games to engage their children at home, including a lesson on how to make homemade play-dough.   One mother of two pre-school-aged children, Clara Burton, offered her impression of the program. “It was very educational for me, to learn things to do with my kids when they are home, so I don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun with them.   There are many resources in the community that I did not know about that I can use to help me better my kids’ education.”

The first session hosted 19 children for the classroom portion of the evening. More than 50 people participated in total. Dinner was supplied by Minneci’s of Champaign.   According to project chairperson Sara Olson, “the Junior League Bright Starts committee was so happy to see the fruits of all the planning over the last two years realized, and to hear the positive responses from the families. We’re looking forward to serving more families in future sessions!”

Here’s what participants can expect when they sign up to attend a session of Junior League Bright Starts:

After receiving a complimentary dinner, the students will attend an hour-long class taught by UECS teachers and aided by JLCU volunteers. The parents attend an info session where they receive materials and information to reinforce the learning at home.   Childcare for older and younger siblings is provided, as well.

JLCU is looking forward to watching the program grow in the next few months and to see more families in the community take advantage of it. For more information on how to register, go to www.juniorleaguecu.org/brightstarts



First JLCU Bright Starts (9/23/2014)
First JLCU Bright Starts – Food provided by Minneci’s (9/23/2014)
First JLCU Bright Starts (9/23/2014)
First JLCU Bright Starts – Urbana Early Learning School (9/23/2014)
First JLCU Bright Starts (9/23/2014)
First JLCU Bright Starts (9/23/2014)

Welcome to League Life Blog

Welcome to the launch of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana’s League Life Blog. To enhance the Junior League experience and use social media to engage and inform our members and the community, we are turning our once quarterly report into a regular blog. We hope to provide readers with a snapshot of what’s happening in JLCU and our involvement in the community. We welcome members, sustainers, community partners, donors, fellow organizations, media and the community at large to join us as we share the best that Junior League of Champaign-Urbana has to offer.

Members, this blog will keep you informed on upcoming events and share stories and pictures of the great work our committees are doing. So, subscribe now, and check back often. And remember to share your experiences and photos with the communications committee.

We want not just to showcase the work that the League is doing as a whole, but to highlight our members who are making news and making a difference in the community. Each member of League is essential to the function and success of the organization and the community needs to know about all our achievements.

We hope members of the community will come to learn Junior League is about more than a Festival of Trees and more than a bunch of ladies talking about making an impact… and instead, how JLCU is changing lives every day in the greater Champaign-Urbana area and we mean business!

This past year, Books by the Bushel stocked the shelves of 40 area libraries with more than 300 books in Champaign, Urbana and Mahomet. Junior League Locker served 445 teachers with $30,000 worth of school supplies to provide their students with the tools they need to learn. Kids in the Kitchen educated dozens of families and children about the importance of physical fitness and nutrition. From September, 2013 – May, 2014, Junior League of CU donated almost $3,000 to organizations and schools striving to improve the education of our children. To read our entire 2014 Annual Report, click here.

Junior League spent the past two years identifying the most serious needs still facing our community and together with Urbana Early Childhood School, is getting ready to launch Junior League Bright Starts. This program will offer pre-school age children – who are waitlisted to other programs – and their families an opportunity to experience the classroom and receive materials to prepare the children for the kindergarten years.

Members of the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana have been volunteering their time and talent and have been around for over 82 years, making a lasting impact on this community. Many of our projects have become independent entities continuing to serve the community. Many people do not realize that institutions like Crisis Nursery and Backpack Buddies with the Eastern Illinois Food Bank were launched by the dedicated women of JLCU.

This is sure to be the start of another amazing year with JLCU and our new blog will keep you updated on all the exciting news along the way. We hope you enjoy the JLCU League Life Blog and that you will continue to follow us. For more information, feel free to go to our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About JLCU

The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

As one of the 293 members of the Association of Junior Leagues, International, the resources and influence of the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana extend beyond our local community to state, national and international levels. Headquartered in New York, the Association includes Leagues from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Great Britain and represents over 193,000 volunteers.

Our volunteer efforts focus on women and children in our community. The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana provides ongoing and diversified training experiences for our membership through community service, seminars, leadership opportunities, mentoring and the development of organizational skills.

The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana develops and participates in projects, educational programs, conferences, and advocacy efforts in areas where needs are unmet and existing resources are minimal. JLCU has often been a front runner and a catalyst in addressing the emerging issues of the day. Projects begun by JLCU offer community partners administrative guidance, strategic planning, volunteer support, and financial resources. Once a project or program is successfully established, it is frequently turned over to the community partners for continued action in the community.