Founded in 1901 by social activism pioneer Mary Harriman, Junior Leagues all over the world have been at the forefront of tackling critical issues faced by their communities including but not limited to childhood nutrition and obesity, human trafficking, foster care, juvenile justice, teen self-esteem, cybercrimes, literacy and the environment. Each league’s Community Council identifies and plans projects that align the mission and vision of the JLS with the needs of their community. The council is comprised of several committees, which for the 2016-2017 year include Done in a Day, Hunger Outreach, Kids in the Kitchen and State Public Affairs Committee.
Done In A Day (DIAD)
Done in a Day (DIAD) refers to a community project that can be completed in one day, or an 8 hour time frame. Done in a Meeting (DIAM) refers to a project that can be completed during one of our general membership meetings and typically takes 10 – 15 minutes to complete. The Junior League of Sarasota, Inc. provides DIAD and DIAM applications to more than 400 agencies in Sarasota County each summer. The DIAD committee makes a recommendation to the Board for a selection of projects, the number of projects are based on the year’s budget.
The Junior League of Sarasota is proud to have “Hunger Outreach” as their main community focus project. The Hunger Outreach Committee’s main goal is to help to reduce hunger, raise awareness of hunger in Sarasota and give back in a unique way to the community. To accomplish these goals, the Hunger Outreach Committee has a partnership with All Faiths Food Bank and their Cooking Matters Program to teach slow cooker classes, provide a free slow cooker to each family, and provide a slow cooker recipe book so the attendees can continue cooking with their families at home. Additionally, Hunger Outreach partners with many other organizations throughout the Sarasota community to provide slow cooker classes including Girls, Inc., Lighthouse for the Blind &Harvest House. Hunger Outreach also hosts food drives and participates in special seasonal events. The Junior League pursued Hunger Outreach as its’ focus project because it believes that by providing Slow Cookers to families, fills a gap for families who may already be receiving food assistance by All Faiths Food Bank or one of their partners, but lack time, cooking knowledge, or the ability to afford proteins or other fresh ingredients to make complete and nutritious meals for their families. As of the 2015-2016 League year, the Junior League Hunger Initiative had collected and donated over 1,100 pounds of food to All Faiths Food Bank, given 100+ slow cookers and cookbooks, conducted 7 slow cooker classes, served 1,000 meals through donations to over 100 families, helped pack over 3,000 meals for families in need and have given over 200 hours of time volunteering for this initiative in the community. We are excited as to what we can accomplish in the 2016-2017 league year!
Kids In The Kitchen (KITK)
Another component of the overall nutrition initiative, KITK specifically empowers children in Kindergarten through 6th grade and their families to make healthy choices about nutrition and fitness and fight against childhood obesity. This program inspired by the Junior League of Calgary’s Junior Chefs program began in 2006 and is now promoted in more than 200 communities across four countries. Locally we partner with organizations, festivals and events that serve this demongraphic in order to do hands on demonstrations for children and families in our community.
State Public Affairs Committee
The Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) has been the advocacy arm of the Junior Leagues of Florida for nearly 40 years, monitoring the state legislative process and addressing issues of political importance to our members. The State of Florida boasts 25 Junior Leagues, with combined membership of over 11,000 women. The Junior League of Sarasota’s Public Affairs Committee is 1 of the 25 committees representing and advocating for issues faced by Sarasota County.