And today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago celebrates a group near and dear to my heart: the Junior League of Chicago (JLC)! I joined JLC in January 2009, just a few months into my tenure here in Chicago, as the first group named the Burton Class. (The fall provisional classes are now called Astor, the spring classes Burton, as the closest cross streets to headquarters — Astor & Burton. Makes it handy to remember on those times that taking public transportation isn’t going to cut it to make it there on time). JLC is celebrating the second year of its centennial this year, and part of that is sharing the Mad Hatters program, which will be celebrated at Daley Plaza over today’s lunch hour.
So what is JLC? Our mission, vision, and focus statements puts it pretty succinctly:
VISION STATEMENT: The Junior League of Chicago will be a preeminent and innovative organization of trained volunteers empowering diverse and dynamic women serving as catalysts to improve life in metropolitan Chicago through community partnerships.
FOCUS STATEMENT: The Junior League of Chicago empowers at-risk families, especially women and girls, through mentoring, advocacy and education.
In my years as a member of JLC, I’ve seen a greater emphasis on service in the community, which blossomed as part of our Centennial Days of Service, larger Done-in-a-Day events celebrated every month during our two year centennial celebration. This has been fantastic, as I’ve seen a broader swath of the city engaged, including more opportunities in my own neighborhood and south of Roosevelt in general. It has been inspiring and even easier to stay engaged. Plus I’ve learned even more about my own neighborhood, which I always love doing. So JLC engages several of my loves — community, voluntarism, and history!