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 86 years.
Throughout our history, JLCR has built a strong reputation as an organization that develops and trains women to be leaders in the community and trains members to make lasting contributions to our community. You can find active and sustaining members of JLCR throughout the community on other non-profit boards and leadership, in civic leadership positions, and in corporate leadership positions.
Junior League of Cedar Rapids uses service opportunities in our community to train our membership and provide leadership opportunities. Since 2012, our community project has centered on Bridging the G.A.P., which focuses more specifically on teens who are in and young adults who have aged out foster care.
It started out as a simple program providing meals to foster teens during a support group as well as providing a small suitcase full of necessities to those 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 those in the support group. We Advocate for them through work including Day on the Hill, foster parent trainings, and foster care awareness speakers and events. We also Provide for them with a multitude of necessities in packed in large suitcases for teens aging out of care. Smaller suitcase refresher packs with additional cleaning and hygiene supplies or baby specific packs with items such as diapers.
Over the past few years, we have been able to have a scholarship program set to provide over $10,000 in assistance over the course of the year. These much-needed funds provide assistance for things such as school laptops, assistance, rent deposits, beds, car repairs, emergency general assistance and more. Alongside this program, we have also implemented a housing program which assists 3-5 young adults with rent payments over the course of 1 year. The program assists them with payments while teaching them how to save money and be a good tenant.
Lastly, we have also been able to coordinate with our community partner Family Helping Families to provide school supplies for over 100 students in our area schools. We specifically provide items which are of higher value that some families may not be able to afford such as a graphing calculator.
As a 100% volunteer-based organization we are able to quickly provide needs and emergency funds to this group. 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 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 who we have known for 3, 4, or more years now, we may be the most consistent, long-term relationship they have with an adult.
This project has gained momentum in our community as we are 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.
All of this would not be possible without the passion from our members. Each year our members gives hundreds of hours of their time, talents, and funds to ensure we continue moving forward in fulfilling our mission. We would not be able to make the impact on our community that we do if it were not for our amazing membership.
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 where we share stories of our members, community partners, and our project. Whether you are looking for a place to make a difference in our community while expanding your leadership skills, seeking a community partnership, or wanting to learn more about our phenomenal project, we welcome you.
The 2020-2021 board is excited to continue our work in the Cedar Rapids area and welcome you to join us on this journey. This year has thrown a lot at our local community, but we look forward to working together to continue improving it any way we can.