|Community Projects 2023 – 2024
For 100 years, the Junior League of Birmingham has been a positive force for change in Jefferson County. The JLB’s approximately 2,000 trained volunteers collectively donate more than 40,000 hours of direct community service in Birmingham each year. The JLB’s 28 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:
Birmingham Botanical Gardens: Can You Dig It?
As we all know, children learn best not only by listening but also by seeing and doing. Volunteers will work in teams of 2 to 3 to conduct science-based field trips at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens that correlate with school curriculum. These field trips are offered free of charge to participating schools, and volunteers will have the opportunity to share one of Birmingham’s greatest, free resources with the next generation. Can You Dig It is one of our longest-running community placements.
*Bridgeways: Links Up Mentoring
The BridgeWays Links-Up Mentoring program is designed to detect and assist children who are exhibiting early signs of at-risk behaviors. As group mentors, volunteers will offer a warm, accepting atmosphere in which children feel free to discuss problems they are experiencing at home and at school. Mentors are trained to help the group explore their behaviors, feelings, and interactions with peers; and to learn appropriate ways of expressing themselves.
Cornerstone Schools of Alabama: Taking Steps for Success
The primary objective of the Taking Steps for Success program is to increase the percentage of Cornerstone graduates prepared for high school and college success. Cornerstone provides a world class educational alternative in a nurturing learning environment to children growing up in inner city Birmingham. These students grow up in communities dominated by poverty and encounter many barriers to achieving academic success and completing their education. In the Taking Steps for Success project, JLB volunteers will serve as mentors for high school students at Cornerstone, playing a critical role in sharing about their own experiences as high school and college graduates. Volunteers will also assist students as they navigate the college admission/financial aid process, introduce students to different possibilities for their future careers, and provide hands-on opportunities for students to learn “success skills,” like communication, goal-setting, and problem-solving.
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. The goal of the program is to empower the young women enrolled in the program to take on leadership roles in their school and community while also learning career and life skills to become self-sufficient, make healthy choices, and become financially responsible.
*¡HICA!: ESL Classes for Hispanic Applicants for Naturalization
¡HICA! Is a community development and advocacy organization that champions economic equality, civic engagement, and social justice for Latino families in Alabama. This project with the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama aims to provide a sustainable way to offer English as a Second Language, or ESL, classes for Hispanics and other immigrants seeking to become US citizens through the process of Naturalization. JLB Volunteers will provide steady weekly opportunities for practicing skills learned in class with English native speakers, evaluate their progress, and participate in a celebration at the conclusion of class attendance.
Junior League of Birmingham: Birmingham City Schools Career Cafes
Birmingham City Schools Career Cafes is a new program for the 2023-2024 League Year. The program is designed to enable middle schoolers to gain an understanding of diverse career paths. We are partnering with Birmingham and Fairfield City Schools to bring middle schoolers to the JLB building and provide students the opportunity to learn from Junior League members about career paths, career readiness, and more. The fields students will learn about and hear more about range from law enforcement, banking, healthcare, human resources, nonprofit, accounting, and public relations industries.
Junior League of Birmingham: Choral Group
The JLB Choral Group serves the community by singing and visiting with many of our community partners, as well as nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and underprivileged schools. They bring music into the lives of those in need. Christmas and Spring performances are held throughout the Birmingham area.
Junior League of Birmingham: Little Leaguers
No hands are too small. No gesture is too small. We’re giving our children an opportunity to make an impact on our community and serve alongside their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. This is a great way to show the children in our lives how the League serves others through efforts such as Junior Volunteer Academy, MLK Day of Service, and the annual Auntie Litter Earth Day event.
Junior League of Birmingham: Public Affairs
Public Affairs is designed to educate the public, including League members, about civic engagement and develop connections with community leaders through newsletters, updates, and events. This group collaborates with local and state government officials on issues that affect their constituents, such as the initiative to remove the Pink Tax in Alabama. They provide voter registration opportunities through our community placements and train Junior League members as poll workers in advance of elections.
Community Food Bank of Central Alabama: Mobile Food Pantry
One of the most valued new approaches toward fighting hunger is a program called Mobile Food Pantries (MFP). MFP are particularly effective in areas where there is inadequate “hunger infrastructure,” including lack of food pantries or pantries that are very limited in hours or refrigerated storage capacity. The purpose of this project is to execute 12 monthly Mobile Food Distribution events over the course of the project year at Tarrant Elementary School in Jefferson County.
Grace Klein Community: Food Delivery and Assistance
Grace Klein seeks to share resources and build relationships to ignite the restoration of individuals, families, and communities. The Junior League’s project with Grace Klein this year is two-fold. Some JLB volunteers will assist in distributing food to families facing food insecurity by building food boxes for distribution, loading cars, and encouraging families receiving support. Other volunteers will help rescue unused food from local restaurants, grocers, and events through an app-based system and deliver it to Grace Klein headquarters for distribution.
Foundry Ministries: Hope Inspired Ministries
The mission of Hope Inspired Ministries is to empower women who are recovering from addiction to reach and sustain financial independence. Financial literacy and interview skills to secure gainful employment are at the heart of the project, and these skills add incredible value to the employment readiness training the women receive in the Recovery Program. Volunteers will provide one-on-one support to the Women’s Recovery Program participants enrolled in HIM @ The Foundry by helping with personal budgeting and resume preparation, assisting with career assessments, and conducting mock interviews. Volunteers listen to the personal stories of the program participants and offer words of encouragement.
Vineyard Family Services: Backpack Buddies
Vineyard Family Services (VFS) is a faith-based organization working to decrease the crushing impact of hunger in our community. Backpack Buddies is a national program started by a teacher who noticed students leaving school on Friday and not eating again until they returned on Monday. VFS, in collaboration with the Inverness Vineyard Church, started the Shelby County Backpack Buddies program. VFS works with the Shelby County Public School System to feed children who are in need of further help. Elementary school-aged children who have been pinpointed by school administrators as being in need are discretely given bags of nutritious snacks in their backpacks for 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.
Junior League of Birmingham: Diaper Bank
Diapers are essential to a baby’s healthy development, but many babies do not have the clean diapers they need. The JLB Diaper Bank collects and distributes over 100,000 diapers/month through our partnership with the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. The Diaper Bank has expanded to include the collection and distribution of period products throughout the Birmingham area.
Junior League of Birmingham: Essentials Pantry
The mission of the JLB Essentials Pantry is to serve as a resource for unmet daily essentials. The Essentials Pantry provides basic toiletry items as well as school supplies and clothing to four elementary and middle school programs within Jefferson County. Essentials pantry committee members work with school administrators and counselors to determine the list of items needed and stock the Essentials Pantries based on those needs.
Children’s of Alabama: Family Fun Times
Children’s of Alabama serves thousands of children and families each year from across Alabama. The goal of Family Fun Times 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 an opportunity to say, “Because I’m special, we get to have fun today!” through weekend activities planned and implemented by JLB volunteers in coordination with Child Life.
Collat Jewish Family Services (CJFS): Senior Grocery Delivery Initiative
The mission of the Collat Jewish Family Services (CJFS) is to enhance the quality of life and strengthen independence for individuals and families, with a primary focus on older adults. Through the Senior Grocery Delivery Initiative, the CJFS works to improve food security (a determinant of health) for low-income older adults, aged 60+ who meet income qualifications.
Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center: Forging a Community
Forge offers a variety of classes to support the physical and emotional well-being of breast cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. Volunteers will serve as ambassadors to Forge clients and work in teams to plan and execute lifestyle programs and activities for breast cancer survivors.
Strengthening Meals on Wheels of Central Alabama
JLB Volunteers deliver hot, nutritious meals to homebound seniors in Jefferson County through Meals on Wheels. Volunteers pick up meals at an assigned distribution point and take them to seniors’ homes on weekly routes; these visits also serve as a well check for potentially vulnerable seniors.
Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama: Nourish Alabama Babies
Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama serves as a center for collecting, pasteurizing and distributing breast milk to sick and pre-term infants and provides training and education for healthcare providers and community members about the importance of breast milk for neonates and infants, especially in low-income and minority populations. JLB volunteers support this mission through the collection and pasteurization of donor human milk. Volunteers work both in the office donor screening and the pasteurization lab.
NorthStar Youth Ministries: Soccer Club U6 Program
The mission of the U6 (under six years of age) Program within NorthStar Soccer Club is to promote a healthy and active lifestyle in urban youth by exposing them to organized sports at an early age. Volunteers help implement provided soccer lesson plans during practice, help manage the team, and coach during games.
The Exceptional Foundation: Enrichment Activities
The Exceptional Foundation strives to meet the social and recreational needs of mentally challenged individuals in the greater Birmingham area in order to enhance their lives through various activities such as dances, arts & crafts, youth fun nights, and sports activities.
Crisis Center: Rape Response Advocacy
Rape Response provides supportive counseling and advocacy to victims of sexual violence throughout their recovery. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) facility joins forensic medicine, victims’ advocacy, and law enforcement in a coordinated effort to ensure sexual assault survivors receive comprehensive medical attention, evidence collection, and emotional support after the assault. Volunteers act as on-call advocates who are available to accompany survivors of sexual assault during the forensic examination at the SANE facility or the hospital.
Crisis Center: Senior Talk Line
The mission of the Senior Talk Line is to provide supportive connection through weekly telephone calls to seniors and caregivers of seniors with the goal of alleviating negative impacts associated with social isolation and loneliness. Loneliness can be very detrimental to one’s sense of well-being, as connection is a basic human need. Lack of meaningful connection triggers the response as hunger, thirst, and physical pain. Senior citizens are often at a greater risk for isolation due to losing significant people in their lives, health-related issues, etc. These phone calls help senior citizens to feel cared for and connected to other people.
YWCA: Healthy Relationships
Healthy Relationships is a hands-on placement that provides the opportunity to interact with children and youth who have witnessed domestic violence. Volunteers facilitate support group curriculum on topics such as self-esteem, anger management, choices and consequences, good and bad secrets, safety planning, etc.
Junior League of Birmingham: Anti-Human Trafficking Program
The JLB Anti-Human Trafficking Program is tasked with addressing ways to prevent and provide education around the critical issue of human trafficking in our community. Currently listed as the second-largest, fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world, human trafficking cases have been reported in every state in the United States, including Alabama. It is a $13 billion per year business in the United States alone, and 75% of the victims are being trafficked as sex slaves (as opposed to general labor). Approximately 80% of human trafficking victims are female, with the average age of entry into human trafficking as a victim being in the early teen years. A major human trafficking corridor (I-20) runs through the Birmingham metro area. Junior League of Birmingham volunteers work within four focus areas: Community Awareness, Human Trafficking Free Zone Trainings, Hospitality Industry Human Trafficking Trainings, and Communications/Meetings with Municipalities & Multi-Disciplinary Agencies.
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. Please visit the Corps of Volunteers page for more information or to request assistance.
Junior League of Birmingham: Go The Extra Mile
The Junior League of Birmingham supports community agencies and organizations in the greater Birmingham area with one-time hands-on service through the Go the Extra Mile – Volunteer Days program. This program is open to all league members who wish to complete additional community volunteer work on top of their yearly placement obligations. As opposed to Corps of Volunteers, which focuses on special events and fundraisers, Go the Extra Mile volunteers provide support for larger service projects such as clean-up days, painting, landscape work, and more. Please visit the Go the Extra Mile page for more information or to request assistance.
* Indicates a new project for 2023-2024