Where We Volunteer
As an organization of active, involved, educated women, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) feels strongly about using its resources where we can have the largest impact. Accordingly, since 1999, we have chosen to devote our resources – volunteer and financial – to combat a great challenge our community faces, illiteracy.
The ability to read, write, and communicate affects far more than a person's knowledge of literary masterpieces. It changes their access to jobs, health care and transportation, and the way they raise their children.
JLW has adopted a broad approach to solving the literacy challenges our community faces by addressing the issue from many angles: adult, child, and cultural.We are honored to partner with over 20 organizations throughout the area. Please click below to find out where we are contributing in our community
Resolution Read (Formerly Books for Bright Futures)
Resolution Read is a Junior League of Washington program that puts new books in the hands of children who might not otherwise have access to them. Resolution Read concentrates JLW’s focus on literacy into three key areas: the importance of reading aloud to children; placing age-appropriate books in the homes of children; and providing more books to schools and libraries, with a large emphasis on children in Wards 5, 7, and 8 and children from birth through fifth grade. JLW partners with local nonprofit organizations across the community to select and distribute age-appropriate books. In addition to providing books to existing JLW Community Partners, JLW is working with organizations like Everybody Wins! DC and the DC Public Library to facilitate book distributions to targeted communities. Please click here for additional details on the Resolution Read program.
JLW members volunteer on Saturday mornings with the Reading All-Stars program, a major in-school partnership between 826DC and the Harriet Tubman Elementary School, located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington DC. Our volunteers provide weekly, intensive, one-on-one reading and literacy support to students — with the goal of helping all students read at or above their grade level as determined by the school’s administration — and serve as caring and reliable informal mentors and models for a lifelong love of reading.
JLW volunteers established in 1990 and continue to support Bright Beginnings, a nationally accredited child and family development center for over 150 homeless infants, toddlers, and preschoolers every day. Throughout the year, volunteers provide childcare while parents receive literacy and life skills training, plan literacy events for the children and their families, and organize a holiday party with wish list items donated by the community. JLW volunteers also organize the Bright Beginnings 5K Race held annually in April.
Higher Achievement Program
Each year, JLW volunteers support the important mission of the Higher Achievement Program (HAP): to develop academic skills, behaviors, and attitudes in academically motivated and underserved middle school children to improve their grades, standardized test scores, attendance, and educational opportunities.
Late one night in 1989, Karin Walser stopped at a gas station in Anacostia where several young children offered to pump her gas for some change. Over the ensuing years, Karin enlisted friends to join her in working with these and other children in their Ward 8 neighborhood by taking them on weekly Sunday outings, and in 1991, Horton’s Kids was formally established. In 1993, the organization began offering Tuesday night tutoring sessions. Horton’s Kids began Monday night tutoring sessions in the U.S. Capitol in 2001 and added Wednesday afternoon tutoring sessions in 2004. After nearly 18 years, Horton’s Kids has become a second family to hundreds of children and families in Anacostia. Horton’s Kids has 125 regularly attending children, with a waiting list about one year long.
The Literacy Lab
JLW members volunteer with The Literacy Lab in their Ready to Read program at DC General Family Emergency Shelter, the largest of Washington, DC’s government-run family shelters, and work with children and their parents through weekly Parent-Child Literacy Development Workshops. Ready to Read is a critical reading readiness program for families with toddlers and young children ages 0 – 5, providing a consistent amount of read aloud and print exposure to high-risk homeless children as well as provide homeless parents with a skill set to read with and engage their children in literacy activities from birth onward. By providing individualized reading instruction which targets fundamental skills, The Literacy Lab's trained volunteers will lead students to higher reading levels and increased confidence, which supports the League's focus of increasing reading skills in children.
Calvary Women's Services
Calvary Women's Services is a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC, that provides housing and support services to homeless women. JLW volunteers educate and empower homeless women residing at Calvary Women’s Services' Center through Calvary’s Life Skills, Education and Arts Program (LEAP). Through LEAP, JLW has expanded its role through book clubs, computer training classes, and conversation. These activities help prepare women for independent living with personalized skills development, exposure to problem-solving methods, and confidence-building activities.
Community Family Life Services
JLW volunteers plan and facilitate bi-monthly life skills training for the Community Family Life Services (CFLS) parents and educational activities for the children, all of whom are residents of a transitional housing center run by CFLS. CFLS is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help individuals and families and women returning home from a period of incarceration, who are low-income and homeless, achieve personal growth, social and economic self-sufficiency, and independence through a web of integrated care, regardless of their faith.
IONA Senior Services
For over 20 years in partnership with IONA Senior Services, the Junior League of Washington volunteers have delivered meals to 100+ seniors each Saturday who are unable to afford private in-home service. Over 80% of the deliveries are to food insecure individuals and over 60% live alone. In addition to the Weekend Meal Delivery Program, JLW members also participate in other IONA programs including the quarterly Senior Art Installation receptions, toiletry & food bank drives, and Friendly Visitor/Grocery Shopping Programs.
For over 25 years, JLW has enjoyed a partnership with Langley Residential Support Services (LRSS), a Northern Virginia-based nonprofit offering a variety of quality comprehensive residential and community services for mentally challenged adults. JLW initially became involved with Langley through a joint project with the Junior League of Northern Virginia to fund the purchase of a new group home, later named "The Junior League House." Nearly 30 JLW volunteers support Langley with weekly programs focused on improving literacy. Several times a year, the committee also plans weekend activities with the Langley residents.
N Street Village
Founded by Luther Place Memorial Church, N Street Village is a center that offers a spectrum of services for homeless and low-income women in the Washington metro area. JLW volunteers plan two Sunday evening dinners each month which allow the women time to socialize with the volunteers and other women outside of their specific programs. Volunteers also plan two parties for the ladies and their families: a holiday party in December and a spring party in April. To encourage literacy at the special events, volunteers provide a selection of books for the women and their children to take home with them.
National Rehabilitation Hospital
JLW volunteers have volunteered with the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) for over 20 years, providing support and assistance to the patients and hospital staff. NRH is dedicated to the treatment and education of patients who have suffered strokes and traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. Volunteers support NRH at weekly meetings where volunteers play interactive games such as bingo with the patients and their families. The games help with the patients' motor skills and provide an enjoyable escape for the patients and their families from the normal hospital routine.
Community Training Committee
Community Training Committee members provide training to community organizations to help their clients achieve personal goals as they process through recovery programs. Most clients are working toward staying clean, finding permanent housing and becoming a better parent. The CTC brings the clients closer to reaching their goals by training on topics that involve life skills (i.e., financial literacy, budgeting, borrowing basics, resume writing, etc.) and personal development (i.e., goal setting, stress management, conflict management, and nutrition).
Folger Shakespeare Library
Each year, JLW volunteers provide much needed support to the Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world's largest Shakespeare collection, by staffing events and educational programs. JLW is involved with the Folger Shakespeare Library to help educate and guide theatre and library visitors, and to ensure the continued knowledge of this valuable Washington institution.
Historic Alexandria Docents
JLW supports our American historic, cultural, and artistic history by volunteering at different historic Alexandria properties by working with the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, NOVA Parks, the Office of Historic Alexandria and the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation. Volunteers serve as docents, support special events and assist in other ways at several Alexandria sites including the following:
JLW has been a true partner with the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) since 1982. NMWA is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to recognizing women's creative contributions. Today, more than 20 JLW NMWA volunteers manage the museum information desk and help educate visitors on the collection and exhibitions. Volunteers also support the public programs that the museum offers throughout the year.
425 JLW volunteers joined the Library of Congress to promote literacy at the 2016 National Book Festival on Saturday, September 24, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, managing the book-signing lines and staffing other locations throughout the festival, including the Pavilion of the States and the book sales tent. JLW has served as the Library’s primary partner for volunteer support since 2003. Follow the National Book Festival online here.