Junior League of Cedar Rapids is an organization of women who are committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving our community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. We are proud to have served Cedar Rapids and our surrounding communities for the past 83 years.
Since 2012, our community project has centered on Bridging the G.A.P. for teens in foster care. It started out as a simple program providing meals to foster teens during a support group and providing a small suitcase full of necessities to teens aging out of care. In just a few short years, with help from our partners, it has grown to encompass so much more! We now help Guide them by providing meals, life lesson sessions, movie/social nights and a graduation party for the support group teens, Advocate for them through work including Day on the Hill, foster parent trainings, foster care awareness speakers and events, and Provide for them with necessity suitcases for teens aging out of care, suitcase refresher packs, baby packs, school supplies for over 100 students in our area, and a scholarship program set to provide almost $10,000 in assistance over the next 12 months. These much needed funds provide assistance for things such as school laptops, assistance, rent deposits, beds, car repairs, emergency general assistance and more.
As the scope of the program continues to grow so does our community impact. The meals we provide at their monthly support group may seem small, but to many of these kids we have known for 3 or 4 years now we may be the most consistent, long-term relationship they have with an adult.
As a 100% volunteer based organization we are able to provide emergency funds in just days where other organizations sometimes take weeks to sort through the red tape. To these teens this can make all the difference. It can mean the difference between falling behind at the beginning of the school year, or being the top of the class, between moving into a new apartment or facing homelessness.
As the project has gained momentum in our community we are also seeing an increase in the number of donors who support us. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity and support. Last year, we received over $50,000 in project donations, corporate sponsorships, grants and in-kind donations.
We are also excited to host two great fundraising events again this coming year. Butterfly Kisses (Father Daughter dance) and our Fostering Strength Speaker Series Fundraiser help supplement our projects and continue to provide training to our members. Allowing our members to learn the skills needed to work not only within JLCR, but go out and serve as leaders in our community.
And our members are outstanding. Each year our membership gives hundreds of hours of their time, talents, and funds to ensure we continue moving forward in fulfilling our mission.
We appreciate your interest in the Junior League of Cedar Rapids. I encourage you to learn more about us by exploring our website or by finding us on social media. Whether you are looking for a place to make a difference in our community, seeking a community partnership, or wanting to learn more about our phenomenal project, we welcome you.
On behalf of the 2017-2018 board, we are excited to continue our work in the Cedar Rapids area. We look forward to another year of working together to continue improving our community.