Festival of Trees Weekend Wrap Up!

What an amazing weekend!

“JLCU celebrated the 20th anniversary of Festival of Trees with a great weekend – one of the best attended Daddy Daughter Dances in recent memory, a brand new event, Brunch with Santa, and the Gala, back where it all began with Festival Of Trees again, honoring 20 Women of Influence. These amazing leaders are quietly and fiercely impacting our community. All of these events support our JLCU projects and as I am getting more and more comfortable saying, ‘If you like our Junior League projects, it’s equally important that you support JLCU fundraising efforts.’” – Heather Vazquez, JLCU President.

If you were not able to come to the FOT events, it’s never too late to make a philanthropic gift in support of Junior League. We hope you will make a gift today!  Make A Donation

Festival of Trees weekend kicked off Friday night with the Daddy Daughter Dance, sponsored by Busey Bank. We had 175 attendees for the 5:30 dance and 254 attendees to the 7:30 dance. We were excited to see an increase in attendees for both dances over last year, with 29 more people attending the 5:30 dance and 30 more people attending the 7:30 dance (7:30 tickets were sold out in advance!) The girls had an awesome time dancing to music provided by Bugbee’s DJ Plus, getting their hair styled and chalked by BJ Grand Salon & Spa, and getting their faces painted by Wild Style Design Company.

11-21-15 108

DDD DAncing

This year’s Festival of Trees drew 1,072 people out to see the gorgeous trees and wreaths and to soak up some of the holiday spirit. 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.FOT

New this year was our Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus, sponsored by Hilton Garden Inn.  131 kids and adults attended to have brunch with Santa and a very special story time with Mrs. Claus. Kids enjoyed their breakfast and afterwards, one lucky child got to take the story time book home with him!


As you know, this year marked a very special year for both Gala and Festival of Trees. We were very excited to honor 20 women who are making a difference right here in Champaign County by inviting them to share their wonderful, heartfelt, and funny stories with us at this year’s Gala.  The honorees included both JLCU members and non-members: The night segued into a great time filled with drinks and dancing. We sold 160 tickets and 17 of the 20 women recognized were in attendance! JLCU would like to extend a big thank you for the efforts and hard work of all 20 women: Amy Armstrong, Katie Blakeman, Cynthia Bruno, Judge Ronda Holliman, Anne Dill, the Honorable Deborah Feinen, Sue Grey, Allison Groce, Becca Guyette, Lyn Jones, Mary Konken, Lori Larson, Meredith Mills, Jen Parastaran, The Honorable Laurel Prussing, Stephanie Record, Phyllis Robeson, Kerry Rossow, Susan Toalson, and Joni Utnage.

20 Women_Gala

At the Door Event Ticket Sales & Raffle Ticket Sales for the entire weekend totaled $71,111!! Thanks for everyone for all your hard work and volunteer hours. Additionally, JLCU would like to extend special thanks to all of our sponsors of the 2015 Festival of Trees Weekend:

  • Busey Bank
  • BJ Grand Salon & Spa
  • Paunicka Chiropractic Clinic
  • Triptych Brewing Co.
  • J Scott Anderson, DDS RPh
  • I Do Events
  • Cherie Kesler
  • Bugbee’s DJ Service
  • Wild Style Design Company
  • Jackson Chiropractic
  • Wyldewood Cellars
  • Custom Flooring
  • Timpone’s
  • The Little Gym
  • Ann & Allen Gerhold
  • Urbana Park District
  • Sephora
  • TGI Fridays
  • English Hedgerow
  • Prairie Gardens
  • Arisa Naturals – Nina St. Peter
  • Roger Ebert Film Festival
  • Jenette Jurczyk
  • Fisher Chiropractic Wellness Center
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • Illini Hockey
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Krannert Center for Performing Arts
  • Chicago Bears
  • Urbana Country Club
  • Two Men & A Truck
  • CU Ballet
  • Debbie Pico of Premier Designs
  • Kelly & Sarah Baxter
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Louis Rams
  • Julie & Tim Aries
  • Martin, Hood, Friese, & Associates, LLC
  • Horizon Hobby
  • Pam Hieser
  • Olive Garden
  • Escobar’s
  • Milo’s
  • Alexander’s Steakhouse
  • Big Grove Tavern
  • Papa Del’s Pizza
  • Meatheads
  • Sammy’s Pancake House
  • The Ribeye
  • Espresso Royale
  • Gumbo’s
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • Jupiter’s at the Crossing
  • Cream & Flutter
  • Heartland Bank
  • Sunset Funeral Home
  • Frederick & Hagle
  • Hickory River Smokehouse
  • First Midwest Bank
  • Dana Kennedy & Jen Hesch
  • KEC Design
  • Amy Riha, Mandy Davis, & Jami Houston
  • Laura Gerhold & the Project Development Committee
  • Molly Neiswender
  • Mothers Morning Out
  • Annie Kibler
  • Rape Advocacy, Counseling & Education Services (RACES)
  • Fetch! Pet Care
  • Patterson Office Supplies
  • Danielle Wilberg
  • Carle
  • First Federal Savings Bank/GTPS Insurance
  • Past Festival of Trees Chairs (Laura Gerhold, Becca Guyette, Danielle Wilberg, & Mary Konken)
  • Health Alliance
  • 2015 Festival of Trees Committee
  • JLCU Board of Directors
    • President: Heather Vazquez
    • President Elect: Jennifer Romine
    • Executive Vice President: Danielle Wilberg
    • Treasurer: Loni Trimble
    • Secretary: Katie Blum
    • Nominating Chair: Jennifer Schmidt
    • Sustainer Rep: Amy Chamley
  • JLCU Management Team
    • Executive Vice President: Danielle Wilberg
    • Treasurer Elect: Andrea Singh
    • Communications Council VP: Ashley Morgan
    • Community Impact Council VP: Sara Olson
    • Finance Council VP: Stacey Kresge
    • Membership Council VP: Jenette Jurczyk
  • The Robeson Family Benefit Fund
  • Marine Bank
  • Kale Monk & Allie Teagarden-Monk
  • Chaya Sandler
  • Emily Neal
  • Campus Recreation
  • Gray, Yallaly, & Black DDS, Ltd.
  • The Handyman Property Maintenance Service
  • Broeren Russo Construction, Inc.
  • Prospect Bank
  • Johnson Trailer Sales
  • Pixels by Emily Donohoe


You are what made this very important fundraising weekend possible!  Thank you, and Happy Holidays!



Breast cancer is a devastating disease. Each year, more than 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 40,000 will die from it. It can take a toll on women physically, emotionally, and financially.


Since Angelina Jolie famously came forward about her own decision to have a preventative double mastectomy after tests showed she had a “faulty” BRCA gene, more women have opted for the same treatment. Women with an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene can have up to an 80% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Oftentimes when women decide to undergo preventative treatment with a mastectomy, or part of their treatment plan includes removing one or both breasts, it can leave the woman feeling insecure. However, a Champaign shop has women who can help.

Confidentally Yours

Confidentially Yours can assist women with undergarments that fit a breast prosthesis, activewear for recovering patients, and loungewear made from especially soft materials so they don’t irritate scars. Not only does it help women feel better physically, it helps them financially. Unfortunately, a diagnosis of breast cancer can also mean a huge financial hit. Women who are underinsured can end up not only facing treatment, but a pile of mounting debt. Confidentially Yours is also working to raise money to make sure the women can focus on their survival instead.

To hear more about how Confidentially Yours is making a difference, and how you can help, see the interview here.



In Case You Missed It…

If you were unable to attend the November General Membership Meeting, no worries! Here is what you missed:

We kicked off the evening with a great mini-training exercise that forced us out of our comfort zones, and encouraged us to turn a few “strangers” in the room into new friends.

Jennifer Schmidt discussed the various openings on the Board of Directors/Management team as well as Placement Advisor openings for 2015-16. Applications are due by Tuesday, December 8th, and should be emailed to Jennifer at jenniferEschmidt@gmail.com along with all supporting documents. More information regarding the nominating process can be found by clicking this link: Nominating Process

Sara Olson brought us up to speed on our most recent DIAM, Promises Healthcare Francis Nelson. The organization focuses on whole health, not just one single aspect such as dentistry, physical health, or mental health. Promises Healthcare also does monthly lunches to help educate the community members on their mission and goals.

8x8x8 speakers Mamie Hobbs and Sophie Roney gave a thought-provoking presentation: Embody Love: Redefining “Beauty,” in which we were all challenged to think more positively about ourselves and others. How do YOU define beauty? Do you find yourself making comments about the physical appearance of others? Do you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts or criticizing yourself? Mamie and Sophie started experiencing these same things in high school, and have since been on the roller coaster to recovery. These amazing young women want to live in a society in which beauty is defined by the soul, and they know the women of JLCU can help initiate that change.

President Heather Vazquez gave us an update regarding our Strategic Plan. The most important thing for us to remember is that what we do now affects us 5 years from now. If we want continued growth in the future (both in membership and in fundraising) we must be purposeful in our actions today.

Update on League Locker: Sara Olson and a committee have begun identifying potential organizations to take over the program next year. After 18 years, League Locker is no longer a sustainable JLCU project, but has such a positive impact on the community.  League wants to do whatever we can to identify a new leader for this important project. Potential candidates have been identified, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

The December GMM will be replaced with a holiday social, to be held on Tuesday, December 8th. If your last name begins with letters A-K, you are asked to bring a dessert or appetizer. L-Z should bring a bottle of wine or another beverage.

Lastly, the Shining Star award was presented to Jami Houston for her willingness to serve on both the FOT and the Gala committees simultaneously. Jami always keeps a smile on her face and her eye on the prize no matter how many tasks she is juggling. Be sure to tell her Congratulations and thank her for all of her hard work!