Author: Erica Bock
For those unable to attend the November General Member Meeting, a recap awaits! The meeting commenced with the JLC President, René Robers, who underscored the fact that we are almost to the mid-way point of the year, and reported progress on key priorities including the new strategic plan, DEI&B organizing plan, and our third and final year with our current partner, Family Nurturing Center. We have also launched our new Program Development cycle with applications for potential partners, and the Board is working to future proof our financials and membership, all while fostering fun & connection! Gratitude was extended to Nurture, our featured Women in Business Sponsor, and Delightmore for their delicious catering contributions.
CandO Chair and Vice Chair, Liz Mason and Riece Drew, introduced some of the organizations we have partnered with for community impact; Mentoring Plus, Saturday Hoops, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, and Bethany House.
Laura Gordon, Volunteer Coordinator at Mentoring Plus, provided a comprehensive look into their mission. She emphasized the structured weekly regimen for mentees. Mentees are hosted once a week and their time includes a life skill lesson, mentorship session and a communal meal. Laura encouraged members to apply to be a mentor or volunteer as a cook, for fundraising, or as a board member.
Jay Brown, Coordinator at Saturday Hoops, thanked JLC volunteers who routinely join on either a weekly or monthly basis. Saturday Hoops, based in Winton Woods and the West End, is there for children seeking stronger support. An average of 85 kids in Winton Woods and 65 kids in the West End attend each week. The program brings positive life messages as well as hands on activities, and of course, basketball, to the kids each week.
Saturday Hoops is part of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC). Vanessa Kitcher, from CYC, shared that CYC works with over 4,000 kids in Cincinnati Public Schools and has opportunities to work one-on-one or in a group as a mentor.
Bethany House is our newest CandO community partner. Bethany House provides trauma-informed care for families experiencing homelessness. Our first volunteer opportunity with them was on November 13th. All Bethany House volunteers are required to fill out a paper application prior to volunteering. Blank applications can be located and returned to the JLC office prior to volunteering with this partner.
Following the presentations from our community partners, we heard from a few more of our JLC Councils and their committees. Katey Baron, the VP of Fund Development, shared anticipation for the 13th Annual Tour of Kitchens on December 2nd. Volunteer recruitment is currently underway, presenting an opportunity for active involvement. Members are also encouraged to purchase tickets to this fundraiser which contributes to their $100 annual obligation. Volunteer opportunities for the Tour are also available which is another great way to experience this keystone event.
Kelly Barber, President Elect, and Sarah Houseman, Legal Advisor, discussed the Code of Conduct bylaw adoption vote, pledging an accountability plan upon its ratification, which will be available for member review before a Board vote to adopt these new practices. Members had an opportunity to vote on the Code of Conduct, and it passed!
Casey Burleigh, VP of Membership, brought awareness to the upcoming mid-year member survey; Recruitment Chair, Katie Ardent, provided information on the new Prospective Member Referral program. Sam Markle, Chair of Member Engagement, gave an announcement for the annual holiday party, scheduled for December 6th at The Spot on West Fifth. Tickets ($50) are now live and include dinner, dessert, two drink tickets, and also offer the option for $4 pre-paid parking. Returning this year is a dress competition with an opportunity for prizing, with categories including sparkles, fur, or evergreen.
Leslie Touassi, Program Development Chair, expounded upon the open call for program development applications, focusing on mental health, affordable housing, and life skills based on the Community Needs Assessment in the spring. The first round of applications closed on November 10th.
Sara Kemerer, Member Curriculum Chair, concluded the meeting with hands-on CandO volunteer activities, including sandwich making for Our Daily Bread, card writing for Survivor Cards, and mailbox notes and encouragement letters for Family Nurturing Center. The room resonated with a palpable sense of purpose and positivity – emblematic of the ethos of the Junior League of Cincinnati.
Here’s to the spirit of community and transformative endeavors – until our next GMM on Tuesday, January 9, 2024!