FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 9, 2015) – The Junior League of Fort Myers, Inc. kicked off its 50th Anniversary on Saturday, June 6 with more than 200 children and their parents in attendance at its Kids in the Kitchen Summer Festival at the Stars Complex in Fort Myers.
Junior League President Danielle Lucht unveiled the volunteer organization’s new logo honoring its 50th year and announced a community-wide volunteer challenge.
“In celebrating our history and charting our future, the League wanted a logo that reflected the beautiful landscape that so many people associate with Southwest Florida and one that also played homage to several logos throughout the league’s history,” Lucht said.
Lucht also announced the Junior League’s 50th Anniversary sponsors including Scanlon Auto Group, Guardian Retirement Services and Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA.
Since 1966, the Junior League of Fort Myers has contributed more than one million volunteer hours to community projects and programs.
To celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2016, the Junior League’s members are encouraging all of Southwest Florida to join them in continuing their ongoing volunteer efforts.
“Each volunteer hour is valued at $23,” said Lucht. “When 218 people complete their 50 hours of service, this will equal $250,000 of service. Just think about the impact of 436 committing to the challenge.”
The challenge is simple. From June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016, the Junior League is asking adults to commit to volunteering 50 hours of community service and/or $50 to the local nonprofit(s) of their choice. Children, ages 6 to 16, are asked to donate 25 hours. Families are encouraged to take the challenge together if they wish. During this same time, JLFM members will also commit to completing 50 community service projects.
Participants may commit to the challenge and track their hours by downloading a form on the Junior League’s website at www.jlfm.org. At the end of the year, the Junior League will hold a celebration honoring all participants with a certificate and commemorative pin next May.
At the end of Saturday’s event, 100 participants had already signed up for the challenge.
The Junior League’s Kids in the Kitchen initiative provides lessons and demonstrations in the preparation of healthy meals and snacks in partnership with local organizations, chefs and nutritionists to help reverse the increased rate of childhood obesity and its associated health issues. The day included activities for kids to enjoy, including seed planting, fun exercises, free summer reading books and educational information on healthy drinks, foods and dental health. A free, healthy lunch was provided by Jason’s Deli. Other sponsors included Suncoast Beverage Sales, Costco, Imaginarium Science Center, Sun Harvest, Jared Ford DDS, Kenneth A. Jandik DDS, Pediatric Dentistry and Southwest Florida Dental Group.
More than 20 nonprofit organizations were onsite to provide information about the services they provide children and their families as well as how locals can volunteer with their organizations.
Since its founding in 1901 by social activist Mary Harriman, the Junior League has evolved into one of the oldest, largest and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world, encompassing 150,000 women in 292 Leagues in four countries. Its mandate has remained the same: to develop exceptionally qualified civic leaders who collaborate with community partners to identify a community’s most urgent needs and address them with meaningful and relevant programs and initiatives that not only improve lives but also change the way people think.
Through the decades, the JLFM has made major contributions to Southwest Florida to support a wide variety of community needs including founding the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium (1973), the Volunteer Service Bureau – Volunteer Action Center – now known as Volunteer Center (1992),
Teen Court (1992) and the Women’s Resource Center (1996). It has also been active in feeding the hungry in the five-county area through the food drive at the annual Taste of the Town, mentoring teenage girls in foster care, supporting self defense for women, preparing women to re-enter the workforce, creating a listening library for cancer patients, preserving historic architecture, supporting the Ronald McDonald House, distributing holiday food baskets, organizing holiday gift drives, providing gender-specific programming to teenage girls in juvenile justice, supplying backpacks to children in Harlem Heights Community and more.
A member of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., the Junior League of Fort Myers, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1966 and made up of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. The JLFM is also a granting organization, providing mini-grants to organizations throughout Southwest Florida’s five-county area to programs that create better life outcomes for our area’s youth. JLFM memberships are open to all women aged 21 and older of all races, religions and national origin who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to voluntarism.
For more information on the 50 for 50 Challenge, call 239-277-1197 or visit www.jlfm.org.
Patrice & Shea Cunningham with Kim Berghs
Sharon Torregrossa & Karen Belcher
Raquel Torres, Christina Milker & Buffie Gray
Officer Alain Gagnon, Gretchen Eberhardt & Officer Johnny Seay
Kids doing activities
Jay Scanlon, Danielle Lucht & Lori Wilson
Bob Beville & Lauren Baugh