[Editor’s note: as part of the UNA Cares series, we like to highlight the organizations that UNA employees personally volunteer for. This week Ellen Fales, Content Developer shares why she volunteers.]
One of the qualities that first attracted me to UNA was the eagerness to give back to the Kansas City community. I, like my co-workers at UNA, place a significant amount of importance on volunteering and giving back. That’s why I joined the Junior League of Kansas City in 2016. I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization that worked to better the local community and placed an importance on developing women.
As stated in our mission, “The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri (JLKCMO) is a 501(c)(3) organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”
The Junior League of Kansas City has developed Signature Programs to support women and children in the community. These programs were created to help support three major issues: abuse and neglect, childhood development, and women’s self-sustainability.
Abuse and Neglect
In order to better aid women and children who turn to domestic violence shelters with little-to-no belongings, the League puts together Hope and Healing Kits. These kits are designed to help ease the transition from abusive situations. We also plan and put on fun days for moms and their kids at Rose Brooks shelter, Newhouse or other community agencies we partner with.
According to Feeding America, "one in four children in our region is food insecure, and 38% of their households do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and must rely on charitable food assistance." In order to address these issues, League members bring families together on a monthly basis to learn how to make budget-friendly and healthy meals. We take more than 20 families with 40 children at a time and cook healthy meals based off of menus created by members.
As a part of our women's self-sustainability initiative, we aim to provide assistance to women across the Kansas City metro who are unemployed and have to turn to government programs for support. We’ve partnered with the Women’s Employment Network to create our Empower to Succeed program, which assists women in becoming more economically independent and self-sufficient through sustained employment.
During my three years in the League, I’ve volunteered with our largest fundraising event, Holiday Mart, worked to better our marketing collateral to help attract and retain members and helped educate potential new members as well as the community on what Junior League is and how it impacts the local community.
This is just a small peek inside all The Junior League does for the Kansas City community. If you’re interested in learning more or even how to get involved, check us out at www.jlkc.org.