Community Projects 2012-2013
For more than 90 years, the Junior League of Birmingham has been a positive force for change in Jefferson County. The JLB’s 2,500 trained volunteers collectively donate more than 50,000 hours of direct community service in Birmingham each year. The JLB's 32 community placements address some of Birmingham’s most critical issues, including domestic violence awareness and prevention, health education to the at-risk community, life skills for families in transition, and literacy.
The four Impact Areas with the target issues and community projects that fall under each are listed below:
Issue: School Readiness
Birmingham Public Library: Family Place Library
The Family Place Library provides community-based parent-child workshops in an educational environment. Information is presented on pre-reading literacy skills, health and safety for parents and caregivers of children ages one to three years. Target areas include Avondale, North Avondale, Huffman, Center Point, Roebuck, Bessemer and North Birmingham. The parent-child workshop is the Family Place Library’s signature five week program focusing on early intervention and healthy child development.
McWane Science Center: Early Education Summer Science Studio - New!
The Early Education Summer Studio will provide a quality, fun, hands-on and child-centered educational environment that inspires creativity and exploration in young learners ages two through six. The studio will house a series of volunteer-led public programs and free play experiences to give young children the opportunity to explore concepts in science, math, art, music, language, physical development and literacy. The studio will only be open when JLB volunteers are present to staff. The 2012 Summer Studio serves as a prototype to test programming for the future Children’s Museum at McWane Science Center.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church: PreSchool Partners
PreSchool Partners seeks to equip families of at-risk preschool children with the skills necessary to achieve school readiness. Parents participate one day a week, enabling them to meet other parents, strengthen their parenting skills, and promote for their young children a sense of the value of education. Transportation is provided to bring adults and children from various locations to St. Luke’s, where parents attend classes and the children participate in educational projects and enrichment activities.
Issue: Success in School
Birmingham Botanical Gardens: Can You Dig It?
The Education Department of the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens created a series of field trips for students in elementary schools within the Birmingham City School System. Children understand and learn best not only by listening, but also by seeing and doing. The field trips are free to the schools and correlate with school curriculum, standardized achievement tests, and the Alabama Course of Study. Over 2,500 of Birmingham’s City School students participate in this program.
Birmingham Children's Theatre: From Page to Stage - Readers' Theatre - NEW!
From Page to Stage will expand access to the arts, while promoting and improving literacy and education for children ages three through twelve across our community. The arts-based literature program will partner with the Jefferson County Library Cooperative to feature selected literary works. Books and curricula will be distributed to public and school libraries, and BCT artists, actors and Junior League of Birmingham volunteers will lead community events to support each work
Cornerstone Schools: Seeds to Sprouts
Cornerstone was founded in 1993 by the late C. Molton Williams along with area business and community leaders. Seeking to intervene in the cycle of poverty, which is perpetuated by a lack of access to quality education, these leaders established Cornerstone in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Birmingham. Today, the school enrolls approximately 220 children from across the city and offers a supportive environment focused on student achievement. The Seeds to Sprouts program provides science activities in the lab and during field trips for children kindergarten through 5th grade. Students conduct scientific experiments utilizing materials that are aligned with and enhance the school curriculum. In addition, all students will participate in fun, experiential learning activities and will explore science applications to everyday life through various field trips in the Birmingham community.
Girls Inc.: Mother-Daughter Connection
The mission of Girls, Inc. of Central Alabama is to prepare girls of diverse backgrounds to become productive members of society by providing a safe place to learn and grow with the freedom to take risks and try new things without fear of criticism. This program seeks to provide an opportunity for mothers and daughters to share in both educational and fun workshop sessions together. Mothers and daughters strengthen their relationships with each other, as well as with other mothers and daughters, thus building a sense of community and support.
Girls Inc.: Teen Leadership
The mission of Girls, Inc. of Central Alabama is to prepare girls of diverse backgrounds to become productive members of society by providing a safe place to learn and grow with the freedom to take risks and try new things without fear of criticism. The Teen Leadership Program offers fun, educational and social opportunities for 9th – 12th grade girls through classes, workshops, field trips and presentations by professional women in the community. Topics for the events have included Mean Girls, a Healthy Me workshop, Teen Dating Violence, and College/Career Preparation.
Vulcan Park and Museum: Learning Adventures Field Trips
Developing pride in and awareness of the importance of our region is central to Vulcan Park and Museum’s mission to area students. However, not every child has the opportunity and means to visit Vulcan and experience the benefits it offers. The goal of this program is to provide field trips for those children grades kindergarten through 5th grade that might otherwise not be able to attend. Field trips to the Vulcan Center Museum allow students to explore the city of Birmingham and beyond, through grade-appropriate instruction, interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits, and a “take-away” project that students complete back in the classroom.
Youth Leadership Forum: YLF Logistics Committee
Youth Leadership Forum is a leadership development and community awareness program for high school sophomores and juniors from the greater Birmingham area. Youth Leadership Forum was started as an outgrowth from the adult program, Leadership Birmingham. The program consists of eight sessions which allow participants to explore the needs, strengths and challenges of the Birmingham community in the areas of education, economic development, government, human services, the environment and the arts.
YWCA Central Alabama: Start The Adventure In Reading [STAIR] in Woodlawn - NEW!
The STAIR program provides an important boost to children in a way that will profoundly affect their cognitive success and future achievements. Partnering with Oliver Elementary School serving Woodlawn children, girls and boys in second grade with difficulty reading are identified by the school. By participating in this nationally recognized curriculum, these children will have improved reading skills and self-esteem.
Better Basics: Birmingham Reads
The Junior League of Birmingham has partnered with the Children’s Literacy Guild, Better Basics and the Children’s Literacy Guild of Alabama to collect books suitable for children and adults. The mission of Birmingham Reads is to distribute books to low-income children, while also raising awareness of child and adult literacy efforts. Birmingham Reads will take place over a two-week period in April of 2012 and will consist of two major efforts – 4th Annual Birmingham’s Biggest Book Drive and United We Read. Birmingham’s Biggest Book Drive is a community wide book drive that collects new and gently used children’s books and distributes them to agencies in need in the Birmingham community. United We Read is an existing literacy program in the Birmingham City Schools – volunteers from the community come together on the same day in April to read in each Birmingham City classroom (grades kindergarten through fifth). A copy of the book is distributed to each student in the class.
Cornerstone Schools: Literacy for Life
Founded in 1993, Cornerstone Schools provides a challenging academic program to children growing up in our inner-city. Literacy for Life provides individualized literacy resources for student instruction. Volunteers work with students individually or in small groups to aid with oral language development, writing, listening skills, and proper grammar, which are all integral parts of developing literacy skills. Through this program, students’ academic achievement is increased and students will work to obtain the skills needed for later academic and professional success.
Junior League of Birmingham/United Way of Central Alabama: Imagination Library
The Junior League of Birmingham and United Way of Central Alabama, in partnership with the Dollywood Foundation, have made the 60-volume Imagination Library available to all children under the age of 5 in Jefferson County. Each month, from birth to age 5, every child registered will receive a high-quality, age appropriate book in the mail free of charge. The first books were delivered in January, 2007. As of December 2010, 344,813 books have been mailed to children in Jefferson County through the Imagination Library program.
Impact Area: Financial Stability
Issue: Women and Children's Homelessness
Pathways: Learning to Be a Kid
Pathway’s offers a range of emergency, transitional and long-term services for homeless women and Children in the Birmingham Area. Today the agency operates three transitional shelters and ten two-bedroom transitional apartments in Birmingham, and a housing program for chronically homeless women at our downtown location. Each of Pathways’ housing programs includes supportive services and case management. Learning to Be a Kid is a program designed to teach homeless children about emotions, anger, decision-making, and self-esteem while their mothers attend the Pathways Employment Program.
Issue: Personal Finance Skills Training for Woman
Impact: Save First
SaveFirst is an Alabama Financial Literary Initiative which trains college students to offer free tax services and educational seminars for low-income individuals on savings and investments. The purpose of the program is to instill in students a sense of responsibility to improve the economic situation of a large segment of Alabama’s population. The program seeks to equip low-to moderate income individuals and families with the tools they need to protect themselves from predatory lenders. Free tax preparation ensures that these individuals do not pay commercial preparers for such services, providing them immediate economic gain. SaveFirst also provides access to reputable financial institutions to bring these individuals into the mainstream economic community.
Pathways: Fiscally Fit - NEW!
This mission of the Fiscally Fit Program is to equip homeless women and children with the tools needed to manage their finances responsibly, to become financially independent and to secure permanent housing. The Fiscally Fit curriculum addresses the lack of financial literacy and offers education about banking, credit, checking accounts, saving money, consumer rights, borrowing money and owning a home.
Issue: Job Readiness for Women
Pathways: Employment Readiness Program
Pathway’s offers a range of emergency, transitional and long-term services for homeless women and Children in the Birmingham Area. The mission of the Employment Readiness Program is to help homeless women maximize their incomes by obtaining and maintaining employment. The objective is to conduct six 2-week sessions over a 12-month period to help homeless women get and keep a job. Each session includes classes on resume writing, interviewing, working with others and maintaining a job.
Issue: Living Healthy
Birmingham Area Tennis Association: Elementary Schools Tennis Challenge
Since 1998, the Birmingham Area Tennis Association has provided quality tennis programs to youth who may not have been exposed to the sport. The Birmingham Area Tennis Association, along with the P.E. teacher at each school, works with students to teach them tennis and life skills, such as nutrition and sportsmanship. Ten students from each school are selected to compete at the Elementary Schools Tennis Challenge, which is held each spring. All students who participate in the program are offered follow-up tennis lessons and the opportunity to join the Excellence Team, which is a competition team that plays against area clubs in team tennis.
Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama: It’s Your Story – Tell It!
The goal of The Hispanic Initiative: It’s Your Story – Tell It! is twofold: to continue to reach a community that is not highly familiar with Girl Scouts because previous generations have not participated. The other is to expose Hispanic girls to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience as they take this new journey that focuses on fostering self-esteem and building girls’ confidence so that they can make healthy lifestyle choices.
Jefferson County Council on Aging: Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels provide hot, nutritious noontime meals to homebound senior citizens. The delivery of meals also provides a safety check on these elderly members of our society. 74% of the clients served by Meals on Wheels are female.
Jones Valley Teaching Farm: Seed2Plate - NEW!
Seed2Plate is one of the ways Jones Valley Urban Farm works to confront some of the significant health and education issues facing our community. This is a hands-on agriculture and nutrition education curriculum geared toward school-aged kids from kindergarten through eighth grade. Volunteers will be trained to deliver the Seed2Plate program.
Junior League of Birmingham: 5K for Kids
Alabama leads the US as the most obese and overweight state. Within that ranking the percentage of children who are obese or overweight is staggering. In an effort to continue the JLB’s tradition of focusing on a problem and working to create awareness and solutions, the 2011-2012 Provisional Class will plan and sponsor a community-wide 5K for Kids, to include a 5K race, Children’s Fun Run, Fun Zone Activities and Health Screenings.
Junior League of Birmingham: Kids in the Kitchen
The goal of the JLB’s Kids in the Kitchen initiative, which is supported by the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), is to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices and help reverse the growth of childhood obesity and its associated health issues. This initiative aims to make an impact in this area by educating the public at the grassroots level by providing lessons and demonstrations related to preparation of healthy meals and snacks that are both tasty and affordable.
Oasis Women’s Counseling Center: Wise Women
Wise Women seeks to reduce stigma, increase awareness and provide treatment for mental health problems (particularly depression) for low income women ages 55 and older. Wise Women combines education and outreach, community collaboration, support groups, individual counseling, and case management to better meet the mental health needs of low income elderly women in Jefferson County.
The Exceptional Foundation: Enrichment Activities
The Exceptional Foundation provides meaningful social and recreational activities on a regular basis for individuals who have mental and/or physical challenges. Junior League volunteers work with The Exceptional Foundation to provide social and recreational activities for persons with physical and/or mental disabilities. The programs enhance the social and recreational needs of exceptional people in the greater Birmingham area. Activities include arts and crafts, exercise, sports, cooking, gardening and dances.
Vineyard Family Services: Backpack Buddies
The Backpack Buddies Program provides children from food-insecure homes with weekend meals during the school year. Vineyard Family Services in collaboration with the Inverness Vineyard Church began implementation of a Shelby County Backpack Buddies Program. Shelby County Public School Administrators identify students who have family situations that require assistance and/or those who are currently living in shelters or other temporary housing. These students are secretly given bags of nutritious snacks in their backpacks for over the weekend. The bags contain single serve, shelf stable food items that are easily handled and opened by the child and easily transported to the child’s home or other living environment for their personal use over the weekend and holiday breaks.
Issue: Access to Health Care and Support
Children’s Harbor: Prime Time and Weekends
The mission of Children’s Harbor is to strengthen families and children. This project addresses the need for weekend and special occasion events for children with cancer, sickle cell, kidney, heart or other life-threatening diseases, or other blood diseases. Prime Time and Weekends provides social, educational and recreational activities during weekends and on special occasions for all family members to participate in activities while the child is hospitalized.
Children’s of Alabama: Family Fun Times
Children’s Hospital serves thousands of children and families each year from across Alabama. The Family Fun Times goal is to help these children and families feel as much like “normal” kids as possible. Patients with chronic conditions are often unable to take family trips to the Zoo or Alabama Adventure. Likewise, their siblings often are required to attend every doctor’s appointment or test and cannot take part in family trips, either. This program aims to give the families a brief respite from worrying and give patients’ opportunity to say “Because I’m special, we get to have fun today!”
UAB Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic: Every Moment Matters
The Hematology-Oncology Clinic is the largest Alabama provider of special services to children with cancer, leukemia, brain and spinal tumors, sickle cell disease and clotting disorders and other blood diseases. Some of the procedures children might encounter in Clinic 8 include chemotherapy and other drug infusions, blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, bone marrow aspirates, and disease specific testing. Clinic visits for these children are frequent (often weekly) and generally take all day. The goal of Every Moment Matters is to optimize the time the children spend in the clinic by providing educational and recreational activities in the waiting room and infusion area. Many of the children who are receiving treatments have siblings who come with their family. Any patients or family members waiting in Clinic 8 are included in the activities.
Issue: Maternal Health and Infant Well-Being
UAB Division of Women & Infants Services: Rock-A-Bye Babies
UAB’s nurseries provide care to a range of babies from the critically ill to healthy newborns. The majority of their parents lives out of town and cannot stay at UAB for extended periods. Volunteer’s rock and feed infants, make footprints and memory cards, and assist the staff in recording information in baby books to capture physical and developmental progress, including pictures of each baby for five holidays throughout the year. The JLB also provides parent family emergency housing vouchers so they can stay close to their newborns while they are in the hospital.
Impact Area: Safety & Crisis Intervention
Issue: Violence Against Woman and Children
Crisis Center: Rape Response Advocate Program
The Rape Response Advocate Program of the Crisis Center provides supportive counseling and advocacy to thousands of victims of sexual violence throughout their recovery. Through the Rape Response Advocate Program, individuals (including their family and/or friends) who have been affected by sexual violence receive immediate counseling under conditions of strict confidentiality. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) facility opened in 2002 and joins forensic medicine, victims advocacy, and law enforcement in a coordinated effort to ensure that sexual assault survivors receive comprehensive medical attention, evidence collection, and emotional support from the assault. Rape Response and SANE provides comprehensive quality crisis intervention services 24 hours a day at no charge.
YWCA: Children in Crisis
The mission of the program is to help children who witness domestic violence in their homes understand the dynamics of a violent situation and to break the cycle of domestic violence through education of healthy and unhealthy behaviors. Volunteer’s help children understand and cope with the dynamics of violent situations, build self-esteem and understand safety planning through specially designed activities.
Issue: Juvenile Crime
Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education: Teen Court
Teen Court provides first time non-violent juvenile offenders of misdemeanor crimes (vandalism, shoplifting, etc.) an alternative to the normal juvenile court system. In Teen Court, these first time offenders present their case to a jury of their teenage peers who give them an appropriate sentence. This program can keep teen offenders from having a criminal record. The program has been proven to effectively deter teens from committing future offenses. Teen Court also introduces teenage volunteers to the justice system.
Family Guidance Center: Teen Connection Program
The Teen Connection Program involves teens 13 to 18 years of age in Jefferson County in early stages of demonstrating patterns of poor judgment and increased risk-taking behaviors. The goal of the program is to help teens explore their personal perceptions and responses to issues, learn and apply healthier coping methods, and resolve conflict without resorting to violence.
JUNIOR LEAGUE OF BIRMINGHAM PROJECTS
Junior League of Birmingham: Choral Group
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Junior League of Birmingham Choral Group reaches out to the community by singing in nursing and retirement homes, community and church shelters, schools, and hospitals. The Choral Group performs approximately 40 times a year, reaching thousands in the community.
Junior League of Birmingham: Community Roundtables
The Community Roundtables Committee will identify meetings/events in the community that address our target impact areas (education, financial stability, health and safety & crisis intervention) to attend on behalf of the Junior League of Birmingham. The committee will research the issues within these impact areas and become educated on available services within that area. The committee will also report back to the Junior League of Birmingham Community Council the needs of the Birmingham community. Additionally, four times a year, the Community Roundtables Committee will host roundtable events at the Junior League of Birmingham where agencies serving issues identified by the Committee are invited to attend, with a goal of improving dialogue and collaboration between the agencies on the designated issue within an impact area.
Junior League of Birmingham: Corps of Volunteers
The purpose of the Corps of Volunteers is to provide a Junior League of Birmingham volunteer presence at a multitude of local one-time events, which, due to their short nature, do not qualify as Junior League of Birmingham placements. Some of these events are scheduled well in advance, while others are brought to our attention in a more immediate manner. To request assistance, please email Brandy Doyle, Chair of Corps of Volunteers with information about your event.