January General Meeting

Were you unable to make it to the General Meeting on Tuesday, January 20th? This is what you missed:

IMG_1965The evening started off with a provocative Community Panel on “A Conversation about Advocacy” with panelists (Starting on the right) Lynn Stuckey, a Unit 4 School Board member, Kerris Lee from Storyboard Café Inc., Cris Vowels, Principal at Urbana Early Childhood School, and Danielle Wilberg from My Super Marketer. We learned about the roles that each panelist plays in our community, how we can work together, and what we could learn from one another.

Principal Cris Vowels shared her thoughts on how JLCU’s mission statement is a great way to start advocating for funds to support Early Childhood Education. She mentioned that for every dollar spent on preschool, $7-$14 dollars come back into the community through a reduced need for spending on other services. This is a great way for Junior League to promote our new project Bright Starts and to get more funding to help this project develop and grow. Danielle Wilberg continued on about the next steps to advocate for preschool and to think about the larger picture. “You do not want to get pigeonholed into only one statement.”

Kerris and Lynn left us with great motivational pieces about how perseverance is key and not to be afraid to be the one to take the lead.

After the community panel we heard from Paula Massey from International Hospitality Committee. The International Hospitality IMG_1966Committee (IHC) is a volunteer organization founded in 1952. IHC offers programs to help international University of Illinois students, faculty, staff and their families during their stay in the Champaign-Urbana community. The goals of the IHC are to promote an enjoyable experience for international visitors, to facilitate their adjustment to their new environment, to aid them in improving their English skills, and to encourage understanding and friendship between local residents and people from other countries. This also benefits you and your families in broadening their experience with other cultures and languages. For more information about IHC you can go to their website http://www.isss.illinois.edu/involved/intl_hospitality.html.


We finished the evening off with the announcement of our Shining Star Award. Ashley Miller (New Member) nominated by Meghan Fisher (New Member)

Ashley took the lead on putting together the Princess Package to be auctioned off at the upcoming Gala event. As part of the team who is helping gather donations, I have been thoroughly impressed by Ashley’s organization and responsiveness throughout this process. Any time I have reached out to Ashley she is very quick to respond, and provide even more information than asked. I’m so thankful she is leading this, and her hard work deserves to be recognized!

We hope you will be able to join us for the next General Meeting on February 17 at the Champaign Public Library.

JLCU Ended 2014 with Fundraising Success and Holiday Cheer!

Happy New Year to all of our members, sustainers, supporters, community partners, and friends!

The members of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana were busy through the end of 2014!   We had our largest fundraiser of the year and holiday social… here are some highlights:FOT 2014

Festival of Trees and Daddy Daughter Dance

The Junior League’s Festival of Trees started off with a shimmer and shine in the Daddy Daughter Dance Winter Wonderland.   The Daddy Daughter Dance is a special event where Dads and their girls get to dress up, dance, eat amazing desserts and create lasting memories… while getting the first sneak peak at the Festival decorations and prizes!

We tried something new this year with two different seating times.  We wanted to create the chance to entertain the little girls and get them home to bed, while the older girls could attend the later seating and enjoy the night with their dad a little longer.  We had a total of 425 attendees to both times.  Illini Photography was there to take portraits of Dads and their dates and Sweet Pea Photography captured pictures of the girls getting their faces painted, hair styled and dancing the night away.

The Festival of Trees open hours were on Saturday and Sunday.  There were so many amazing trees, wreaths and other decorations to see and children got to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Vendors offered parents a chance to start their Christmas shopping, and guests took a chance to win all the trees, wreaths and prize packages in the raffles and silent auctions.

Junior League has been hosting Festival of Trees for 19 years as one of their major fundraising events.   We are grateful to our guests, sponsors, vendors and partners who helped us raise almost $50,000 to support our important community projects.

December Holiday Social

Every December, the JLCU membership takes a break from formal meetings and gathers in a relaxed setting to enjoy the holiday festivities and comradery of fellow members.  This year’s event was held at the Larry Kanfer Gallery for the first time, which allowed members to enjoy the art and even try for a chance to win a free print!  Thank you to our Arrangements committee for putting on a lovely event and to all of our members who brought wine and treats to share!2015 Holiday

Our DIAM (Done in a Meeting) for December was collecting unwrapped toys for Salt & Light Ministries.

Shining Star

Cherie Kessler, VP of Finance Council this year, was named Shining Star for December.  Here is what nominator, Charlotte Miles, had to say:

I nominate Cherie Kesler for the Shining Star award because of the light that she shines on everyone in her life. I look up to her every day as a friend, mentor, and woman because of the insight and compassion that she gives wholeheartedly. In her JLCU career, she has held many positions, volunteered many hours, and given this group a lot of direction and support. But the best thing about Cherie is that she gives wholeheartedly without expecting anything in return and with a beautiful smile on her face. I have never met another woman who was so unselfish and joyful at the same time. This is why I think Cherie Kesler is the epitome of the Shining Star award I can’t describe how much I will miss her.Dec Shining Star

Charlotte Miles, VP of Community Impact, has chosen to step down from the Management Team, as she is moving to Florida this month to explore new and exciting ventures.  JLCU thanks Charlotte for her dedication to our league and wishes her well on her journey.

Junior League of Champaign-Urbana had a busy and productive 2014 and is ready to jump into 2015 with excitement to continue developing and improving our projects:  Junior League Bright Starts, Junior League Locker and Kids in the Kitchen.

We are also looking forward to our upcoming Gala event, which will be Saturday, February 21st at the Champaign Country Club, and Juleps & Jockeys, our Kentucky Derby party, on May 2nd at Jupiters at the Crossing.

May your New Year bring you happiness and success for 2015!