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#JLCUIMPACTS: EMILY DUPUIS

harvestmarketpic(2)How did you get connected with Junior League?

I was approached because of my role as a dietitian of this store and being the community dietitian. My mission and role are to help people be as healthy as they possibly can and be included. I think just finding different outlets, friends, and people who are part of this community. When I first started here, I got as many contacts as I possibly could and sent out mass emails telling people ‘Hey I’m here. I’m a dietitian and if you need anything let me know!’ to make collaboration and relationships with the community because that’s really my goal. The first event I was contacted as a potential partner.

 

What specifically working with JL stuck out? What drew you to the Kids in the Kitchen program?

JL and Kids in the Kitchen’s whole goal from what I understand is to address child obesity and get kids exposed to healthier options, trying everything, making eating healthy fun and exciting and that’s what I’m all about. I think it’s great to be partnering with organizations that are so well embedded in the community already and that really drew me to that to because (JL) is a very organized organization that has been in the industry for a long time. That’s why I believe it would be a great collaboration for me.

 

Anything in the future you have in mind with JL? Any potential partnerships in the future?

I’m open to anything! I really am! As far as programs and things, I love what we do here to have people come interaction with different stations with snacks, apples, and fruits. I don’t know about bridging out with JL to offer something to women or mom specifically, but I do teach my own cooking classes. While JL is more geared towards kids, my classes are geared towards the parents and how to provide healthy choices and dealing with picky eaters. A lot things I get asked by moms is how to stay healthy, quick easy meals, meal prepping, and all that good stuff.

 

Any favorite recipes from the program?

It’s not a recipe but the last one we did was four different kinds of apples. It was really cool because we had different kinds of dipping sauces. The kids tried every single one of them and voted which of them were their favorite. We had it all on a board and drawn out. That was my favorite because it was watching the kids trying and experimenting. A lot of the parents saw their children eat everything and was surprised to find that that their kids liked it because they could never get their children to try anything. It was great for the kids be independent to try and vote for what they like. The parents were surprised by watching their kids try anything. They really enjoyed it and the parents returned to buy some more apples.

 

When you do these workshops, are the parents just as engaged or are the kids more independent?

So we had different stations set up throughout. We had a big table where they could make their own trail mixes. I like to add whole grain cereal, popcorn, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, and nuts. We really really encourage kids to do it by themselves. It depends on the parents and kids. We were there to help the kids rather than the parents, but it all depends because some kids are very shy and young so some parents may be more involved. The older kids are allowed to do be more independent because it was more for them to be comfortable to be around food and choosing what do they like.

 

Have any families brought knowledge taken from these classes back into their own kitchen at home?

I have some parents that are recurring customers and they continue to tell me how much they and the kids enjoy it. I like to think they kept something from these classes.

 

Some of these classes a geared towards low-income schools, any advice on ensuring affordable but also healthy meals?

My background in undergrad is human resources. We focused on accessibility and I think that is really important for everything because everybody has that in mind, but especially a common misconception of eating well is that it can be very expensive. Fruits and vegetable are the main focus. My plate guideline is to have half the plate fruits and vegetable. That is where I like to start people when I am recommending healthy eating practice. 90% of the people are not getting the recommended fruits and veggies. We’re really good at eating meat and really good at eating refined carbohydrates and sweets, but not so much whole grain, fruits, and veggies. Focusing that all forms of fruits and veggies are important meaning not only fresh but canned and frozen as well. There so much nutritional noise out there and misconceptions that canned food is bad for you. No, I rather you eat canned corn if that’s the only vegetable available. I really think educating all the different ways you can eat well: eating in season, looking for those deals, and not wasting food. Incorporating that knowledge and information is important to gauge parents. The recipes we give to kids are from thebetterhealthstore.org. They are very budget friendly.

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CAF Grant Recipient The Reading Group gets a visit from JLCU

contributed by Jenette Jurczyk
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It is one thing to know that our Community Assistant Fund (CAF) Grants and community outreach goes to support local non-profits in our town, but it is another to see the impact firsthand.
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Last month, I was invited to take a tour of The Reading Group, a non-profit organization celebrating 45 years of service in the Champaign-Urbana Community.  During the tour of their offices and classrooms, located in The Village at the Crossing, the executive director Winnie Crowder educated me on the history of the organization and how JLCU has had a direct impact on their mission.
Founded by Urbana resident Marilyn Kay, The Reading Group is a program for students who require special assistance with reading above and beyond what they can get in the school system.  Many students who suffer from dyslexia and other reading challenges can get lost in the schools and feel like they can never keep up with their peers.
The Reading Group offers special, affordable, one-on-one teaching and tutoring to students and adults who can overcome such challenges in as little as ten weeks with the right approach.
Winnie showed me the series of books that they were able to purchase for their library with the last CAF Grant they were awarded by the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana. The “Who is?”, “Who was?” and “What is?” books series are designed foIMG_20180403_162241r those who are building their confidence as readers and JLCU has helped to purchase about 70 titles in the series.
She expressed her gratitude for the work that JLCU does to help smaller non-profits that don’t always have the same capacity for fundraising.
You can learn more about The Reading Group at www.readinggroup.org.  If you are interested in working with them, they do have teaching positions open and they are looking for potential candidates to join their Board of Directors.

#JLCUimpacts Erin Murphy

Photo Option 1What is Sistering CU and how did you come about the idea?

 

Sistering CU is a non-profit that recruits and trains volunteers to go to the homes of families with new babies for the first twelve weeks after birth, for two hours a week. So volunteers will go two hours every week for twelve weeks to help out usually a mom so that she has extra parenting hand, so she can take a nap, take a shower, pay bills, call a friend, or maybe play with her older children, you know, whatever she needs. Or, if she needs help running errands, volunteers can help, like if she needs to go to a grocery store or Target, the volunteer can watch the baby while she gets stuff done. So that, you know, she feels a little relief, and hopefully gets some time to herself. Because research show that if they get two hours, or even an hour a week, it can reduce rates of postpartum depression.

 

How did you connect with the JL from Sistering CU? What was the process like applying for the CAF grant?

 

It was very straightforward. They have it laid out, all the requirements that what you need to make the application. As long as your organization aligns with the things they are trying to support throughout the community, like children’s health, for example, or the health of the family, it’s pretty clear how your organization can fit with the CAF grant. So that’s why we have applied for it, and have have been successful in the past with it.

 

How has Sistering CU applied the CAF grant for expanding its resources?

 

When we first applied, we were brand new, and we needed help getting marketing materials out. We used the grant to help pay for marketing materials like flyers and pamphlets, to put out. These help explain to the community who we were, what we were doing, and how we can help, because we want to get our name out there so that moms will request our help, as well as to to recruit more volunteers, too.

 

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think about the Junior League? How would you describe the JL?

 

I think of women’s leadership, and how women demonstrate their leadership. It’s usually through supporting the community, supporting families, and trying to make a strong foundation so that everyone in the community thrives, and not just particular groups. When I think of the JL, I think of them trying to look at a more holistic picture of leadership and how the community can be improved.

 

How many mothers have you worked with so far with Sistering CU? Are they recurring families?

 

We served 17 families so far in our first year, and they are individual families. Some of the volunteers have been recurring they have taken a few different families, but it has been 17 individual families so far.

 

We saw that you have two programs that are listed as “coming soon” on your website: Life After Birth Family Support Groups and a “Preparing for the 4th Trimester” class. Could you talk a little bit more about these programs?

 

On May 16th, at the Urbana Free Library, we are hosting a free documentary film screening of the documentary “When the Bough breaks,” narrated by Brooke Shields, and it’s about postpartum depression. May is Perinatal Disorder Month, so that’s why we are hosting it in May. It’s co-sponsored by the Urbana Free Library and also the IDEA Coalition. At that event, we will have a panel of local experts talking about the local resources for postpartum depression. At least three out of ten women who have given birth will experience a perinatal mood disorder. and it’s probably more like four out of ten, because it goes undiagnosed very often. That panel of experts will be there to answer the questions about what we have locally, and at that point, we will roll out our postpartum class plan, and announce what we have. We are working on the postpartum resource guide, so that women, and the family together, can think about that fourth trimester and can think about the resources they do have, how they can organize it and be prepared. When the fourth trimester hits, I mean, that’s a real thing– it’s a healing, it’s a physiological healing, and if you are adopting, there’s still a physiological component to bonding, and sleep deprivation, and all of that.  Getting a plan together of what your resources are in terms of community, what your resources are in terms of services you might want to look into is really important, that’s just what we want to get people planning for.

 

You mentioned adoption– How does Sistering CU cater to different types of mothers, such as adopting mothers, single mothers, or mothers from low-income families?

 

Anybody is eligible. It doesn’t matter if you gave birth or adopted, and it doesn’t matter what your income is. We strongly believe that anybody who has a newborn baby needs help, and deserves help. We want to be there as a community for them, as this can be a really joyful time, but it’s a difficult time as well. We want to be there to help with the joys and the difficulties– it’s all normal. We just want be there to help because, especially in our culture, moms are not focused on, and they need to be, because the mortality rate in the United States is very high compared to other industrialized countries, and we can do better. It is so obvious and so simple, and there’s things we can do and all we have to do is get organized and do it.

 

What would you like to see JL doing in the future?

 

The JL [does] focus on children and do focus on families. I would also like them to focus on women, and women’s health, in and of itself, because I think women…we matter. We don’t have to only matter in terms of our service to somebody else. I would like to see that on the agenda, and [show that] it’s okay that we want to take care of women, too.

#JLCUImpacts: Cynthia Bruno

image1What organization are you from? What does your organization do?

Our organization is called Girls Go For It and we are an afterschool program currently in the champaign community. We are focused on making girls feel more empowered and lighting the candle for the entrepreneurial spirit and really helping them develop as leaders.

Why did your organization choose to focus on 5th graders, specifically?

We choose 5th graders for a very specific reasons. One of the things we were looking at when we started this program was that really wanted to make an impact for these girls going forward. We started noticing that test scores for girls were starting to drop between 5th and 6th grade looking at publicly available information. We thought maybe there is a tie between how they feel confident in the classroom and what their test scores are showing. If we can get in and try to increase that confidence and develop those leadership skills before they have those drops in scores maybe they will be more engaged in school and succeed in their academic careers.

Girls Go For It’s end goal is “to go forward with the armor of knowledge, education, confidence, and a plan.” Why and how did you choose these goals?

Let me give you the backstory of how Girls Go For It was born. I was a mentor at the Champaign school system and my mentee at the time was in 5th grade. I went to her classroom, and she has a picture of everyone in the class on a chalkboard of what they want to be when they grow up. I was so excited because she’s said “doctor,” and when we were talking a little bit more about it, she said, “I don’t know if that’s what I want to be because we just had to write something to take this photo.” Where she wants to be when she grows up was not part of the conversation. I was with some friends who were also doing the mentoring program that noticed the same thing. We thought, what can we do to help these girls get some professional development experiences early on, so they have a plan and know what it takes in 5th grade, high school, and beyond to get to the level they want to be. Planning has been a big part of our curriculum because we want to expose them to decisions they have to start making pretty early on depending on what career choice they want to go on. It’s not like they have to stick to the plan in 5th grade but when you start understanding what it takes to plan and what it takes to reach a goal you can do that so much faster if you are changing your mind.

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think about the Junior League?

Passion – because I think that it’s filled with people who want to make a difference. When you join the Junior League, they are very upfront that it is a community service organization, which is part of their mission. But, from the people I have met from the organization have some element of being mover and shaker to them, and I love being around that energy.

What do you wish the community knew about the Junior League?

I think that Junior League is a strong center of influence in this community and it is filled with women who are passionate about making a change, and who are dedicated to helping those in need. There is so much heart behind what the members do individually and together, so I would want more people to understand that it is a resource for the community, but it is also a place where you will find passionate people that will help YOU understand the cause. It is an excellent source of funding with CAF grants and that kind of things, but it is also a place for you to spread your message about what you are doing for the community.

How has being part of the Junior League influenced your involvement in other organizations?

I founded Girls Go For It after I joined the Junior League and quite frankly a lot of Junior League members were inaugural board members and continued to serve with Girls Go For It.  It is so great because JL is all about the potential of women and Girls for it is about reaching the potential of younger women, so it is a great tie to have those two organizations supporting one another.

Where do you see Girls Go For it five years from now?

We want to be wherever we can help whether that could be more schools around here or branching out other communities and other states. We want to expand. We just want more women to feel empowered and, however, we can best do that and best reach those people we want to be there for them.

Happy Holidays – A Year in Review

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From the desk of tIMG_2404(1)he President of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana

2017 has been an incredible year of growth and change for our league.  It has been a time to reflect on our history, appreciate where we come from and actively evolve into the inclusive, flexible and dynamic organization we truly want to be.   All year long, we have been celebrating our 85th Anniversary,  sharing the stories of our past accomplishments with our members and our community.  Mayor Feinen of Champaign and Mayor Marlin of Urbana to share a proclamation at our 85th Anniversary Gala during Festival of Trees weekend.

We made some bold moves in 2017.  We welcomed Vicki Clark in February, to help us understand what Servant Leadership is all about and why we strive to make Junior League a place for women to connect, learn, and make a difference.   We stood up to the challenge when Courage Connection was faced with the risk of closing their doors and created the Match for Courage, raising over $150,000 in the final weeks of their fundraising campaign.  We launched a new Project Model, allowing us to partner with local agencies to build stronger relationships, expose our members to different experiences and broaden our outreach.   We aligned with Crisis Nursery, finding new ways to help them overcome obstacles by writing letters, participating in work days, and raising over $16,000 at our Gala Auction and Paddle Raise.  We are standing strong knowing that we have made an impact on the lives of the women and children who use the services of these vital programs.

We worked together to host our signature event, Festival of Trees, with over 90 trees and wreaths on display.  Thanks to the astounding success of FOT weekend, we raised the funds to support our Kids in the Kitchen and Bright Starts programs, as well as the grants and scholarships we distribute each year.  We can say with certainty that we are making a measurable difference.

We end this calendar year knowing we have so much to be proud of as an organization and as individuals.  But our work is not yet done.  We still have ambitious goals ahead.  We laid the groundwork to roll out a membership model transformation, which aims at increasing member satisfaction and retention.  We are deep in a review of the financial health of the organization and will be making long-term strategic decisions about our fundraising efforts.  We are excited about training opportunities and fun new events coming in the spring.  We are continuing to develop our members and encouraging everyone to step up into positions of leadership.  I can truly say that the more you put into your experience with Junior League, the more you get out of it.

For now, let’s all take a breath and be thankful.   As we all go forward into the hustle and bustle of the holidays, remember to enjoy the little things.  Each moment with family and friends is a gift to be cherished.  I have cherished each of you this year for the part you play and I celebrate you!

Much Love and Happy Holidays,

Jenette

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JUNIOR LEAGUE’S FESTIVAL OF TREES GALA CELEBRATION RAISES OVER $16,000 FOR CRISIS NURSERY

I hope you didn’t miss the year’s Junior League of Champaign-Urbana hosted the 22nd Annual Festival of Trees at the Hilton Garden Inn. For the organization’s 85th anniversary, the Festival was bigger and better with over 90 trees, wreaths, and vignettes on display to enjoy and win.

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During the Gala Celebration Saturday evening, sponsored by Clark Lindsey, we announced our new Project Partnership Program and introduced Crisis Nursery as the first selected partner for this program which provides financial and volunteer assistance to local non-profits. A live auction and paddle raise brought in over $16,000 which will go directly to support Crisis Nursery’s mission to prevent the abuse and neglect of children.  Live auction packages included a VIP Shopping Trip to the Kendra Scott store in Chicago, a Private Tour of Historic Downtown Champaign, a week’s stay in an Orlando resort, and a Private Painting Party with Lola’s Brush.

Other highlights of the evening included a proclamation by the Mayors of Champaign and Urbana, special guest Marilyn Thies, who served as pre

sident of Junior League from 1970-72 and a live performance by Katie Flynn, Central Illinois’ premier jazz and cabaret singer.

“The Gala Celebration was not only an opportunity to celebrate the history of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana,” remarks Junior League President, Jenette Jurczyk, “but it was an extraordinary platform to launch our partnership with Crisis Nursery by raising funds and awareness for this important institution in our community.”

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The Festival of Trees served as a festive backdrop to the weekend’s events, which also included a Daddy Daughter Dance Friday night, sponsored by First Midwest Bank, and Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning,

sponsored by Iroquois Federal.  The Festival was open to the public Saturday and Sunday and was enjoyed by hundreds of community members, hoping to win a tree or wreath to enjoy for the holiday season.  Each year, Festival of Trees raises tens of thousands of dollars to support Junior League’s community programs such as Kids in the Kitchen, Junior League Bright Starts, high school scholarships, Community Assistance Fund Grants, Leadership Training and the new Project Partnership Program.

A huge thanks goes out to all of our sponsors, tree decorators and contributors, and the Festival of Trees committee for all their hard work that made the exciting events of the weekend possible!

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JLCU members march in the Parade of Lights as a THANK YOU for all of our wonderful sponsors of FOT!

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!