Done in A Meeting (DIAM) – November and December, 2014

By Katie Jessup

I love this time of year, everyone is in such a giving mood.  The members of Junior League of Champaign Urbana (JLCU) are no different.  Every month at the monthly meeting the organization collects items for a local charity and the months of November and December are perhaps our most successful every year.  For these two months the organization collected unwrapped toys and gifts for Salt & Light Ministries.

Unwrapped presents

In November Nathan Montgomery, the Executive Director of Salt & Light, came to the meeting to discuss the new direction that the organization was taking.  The new vision statement for Salt & Light is:

Our programming is rooted in the belief that everyone has skills, talents, gifts, and abilities given to them by God.  Our intention is to work with each person – instead of for them – to identify each of these things, and to increase their capacity to use them for themselves, their family, and their community.

This foundation comes from a principle found in Toxic Charity which states “we should not do for others what they have the capacity to do for themselves.”  By doing for others what they can do for themselves, you disempower them and strip them of their dignity.

We believe that one of the first steps in restoring dignity is to develop systems of reciprocity, or give and take.  In most one-way giving models we unconsciously communicate that the person has nothing we need, or nothing of value to contribute to the “transaction.”

This is damaging to their sense of self.  However by creating systems in which we offer opportunities for the person to contribute towards acquiring the needed resources, we reinforce their capacity to do so, and they gain the sense of pride that comes from providing for themselves and their family.

Their mission echoes what Junior League of Champaign-Urbana has always strived to accomplish with each new project.  The purpose of Junior League Bright Starts, our most recent project, is to educate those who value education and are eager to participate and contribute.  We work towards filling needs in the community, but also for individuals to grow and be empowered by the process.

This DIAM collected close to 80 new toys in November and December to be delivered to Salt & Light for the holidays.  Thank you to our membership for your support and generosity.

Remarks from Denise Bates, 2014-15 JLCU President

Season’s Greetings to all our members, community partners, supporters, and friends!


I cannot believe how fast this year is flying by.  The end of November marked the half-way point of our Junior League of Champaign-Urbana 2014-2015 year.  I challenged our members at the September General Meeting to get their “Game On” this year and I am so proud of the work that has been accomplished.  Thank you to all of our members who have given 100%.  Our dedication to advancing the Junior League Mission by promoting voluntarism, improving communities, and developing the potential of women continues to be proven by all that we do as a League.  Thank you to all who supported our local charitable partners including Crisis Nursery and Salt & Light with your generous donations of snacks and unwrapped toys.

Our organization’s focus area, providing basic needs for school readiness, was put into practice this year.  I had the pleasure of attending the first Junior League Bright Starts event at the Urbana Early Childhood School.  I was impressed by how well it ran the first night.  Thank you to the committee for doing such a great job and to Urbana Early Childhood School for partnering with us to attempt to fill a much needed gap in services in this community.   Thank you as well to our other project committees Junior League Locker and Kids in the Kitchen; both projects continue to provide much needed services in this community.

I am so thankful to all individuals, organizations, and businesses that have supported our JLCU fundraising efforts this year.  Every donation assists our ability as an organization to continue our community outreach throughout the year.  Thank you to the Fundraising and Fund Development Committees for all of your hard work this year.   A special thanks to 301 Mongolia and Custom Flooring for your partnerships as well.  Their generosity is what keeps JLCU going strong.  Our fundraising committee truly outdid itself, putting on a fantastic Daddy Daughter Dance and Festival of Trees.  This was my daughter’s first Daddy Daughter Dance and I know that it is something that she will never forget.

Thank you in advance for those that will continue to support JLCU by attending the Gala on February 21, 2015, at the Champaign Country Club and the Juleps and Jockeys, Kentucky Derby Party on May 2, 2015, at Jupiter’s at the Crossing.  We have set our fundraising goals high this year.  We hope that members, sustainers, and the community will continue to support our efforts by supporting our events.  Please help us have another successful fundraising year so that we can continue to serve our mission in the community.

Denise Bates, President

November is Filled with Shining Stars!

by January Boten

The following members were honored at the November General Member Meeting with a “Shining Star” Award!

Congratulations Christina Paunicka!
Christina is on the Festival of Trees committee and has been willing to not only take on additional tasks when asked, but she has actively gone out seeking additional businesses in the community without being asked.  She has secured additional items from places we have never asked from and all because she has seen the need.  Christina contributed to the overall success of our Festival of Trees.

Congratulations Ashley Morgan!
As a League Locker committee member, she is very proactive in attending the store shifts and going above and beyond to keep things running smoothly.
She brought that same level of commitment to the communications council, by keeping the team informed of all League Locker updates and being available to help keep our social media current.  In fact, she was more than willing to use her media industry access to promote League as much as she could.  Not because she was asked to, but because she was genuinely excited to share all the great things that League is doing.

Congratulations Kelli Berry, Caitlin Drake, Julie Knott, Katie Madigan, Jami Tanner, Bridgette Thompson, and Joanna Willis!
The Bright Starts assistant chair and committee members have shown incredible enthusiasm and dedication to making the first year of Bright Starts of successful.. Their professional experience, volunteer background, overall knowledge, and most importantly, their desire to see the first year of this project build a strong foundation for Junior League to make a difference for young children and the families in our community is inspiring. They have devoted energy to raising awareness in the community, creating relationships with other organizations, creatively responding to budget requirements, anticipating and responding to programming challenges, and developing a strong first year project. Every member has actively participated in meeting, planning, and executing each and every session. They have stepped up to fill roles, helped and supported each other, and worked together as a team. The commitment and generosity they have shown to each other, to league, and to the community with their time and efforts are hallmarks of the Junior League spirit.