History of the JLM

With a record of purpose and achievement, the Junior Charity League, Inc. continues its distinctive
services for our community. The League has always been considered one of the most active organizations
among the young women of the Twin Cities. It has grown both in size and program since its timely founding in
the “depression” years of 1930.
The desperate welfare situation at that time was the inspiration for a small group of concerned friends to
organize and help the needy children during the crisis. The idea of Junior Leagues was then already well
established throughout the United States, having begun back at the turn of the century when young women
began to express the desire to volunteer their services in the field of social welfare. For over four decades, the
local Junior Charity League, Inc. has been endeavoring to continue the work begun here by Louise Seymour,
the first president; Ruth Sherrouse, Margaret Dixon, Elizabeth Green, Mary Gray, Betty Isaacman, Anna Gray
Noe, Enola Rogers, Laura Shaw, and Anna Slagle.
The early years were a struggle because of the times, but with the unforgettable luncheon benefits in the
homes of Monroe, charity balls at the country club, and style shows, enough money was made to establish and
operate the first large project, Baby Clinic for underprivileged babies and very small children. Located in the
basement of St. Francis Hospital, the League’s Baby Clinic will always be a memory dear to the hearts of those
Junior Leaguers who gave their time that first decade to making that major project a success.
Also prior to those World War II days, the records speak for League hours spent on Red Cross Nursing
Committees, trips to St. Francis with magazines, work with the Y.W.C.A., Camp Fire Girls, Salvation Army,
Louisiana Training Institute, Crippled Children’s Clinic, Christmas baskets, and more. To keep the bank
account abreast of the expanding program of social services, there are reflections of trials and tribulations and
successes with money-making efforts of Follies, style shows, bridge, and concert benefits. By the latter part of
the “thirties,” the “hours” system was set up to cope with human nature and strengthen the organization for the
challenge of the next decade of war and post-war calls from the community.
The first of the “forties” saw the move of the Baby Clinic to Neville High School for a short period of
time, establishment of a Clothes Bank for children on the milk list, and a book project for Charity Hospital
Library. Members found time to aid the March of Dimes and Easter Seals Drive, while doing patriotic work at
the Red Cross Canteen and Selman Field. When the war was over and the membership more stable, the League
concentrated on its reorganization for more efficiency –– manifested in the creation of the Life Membership
category for former members, the increase from 65 to 75 members, the revision of Bylaws into booklet form,
printed schedules of work for Active members, the adoption of the Placement System for volunteer services, the
publication of Charlons for all classes of members, rules to regulate the services of Active members, the
introduction of the Provisional Member’s Course. With a temporary financial arrangement with the knoe
Happiness Exchange, the social service department was enlarged and the League’s Milk Fund became as
prominent as its forerunner, the Baby Clinic. With the weekly radio programs put on by the League, this
program grew by leaps and bounds, and an office was maintained in the Amman Building to facilitate the
operation of the expanded milk program.
Around 1950, the profitable money-making project of raffling an automobile was forced to an end,
which gave rise immediately to the Thrift Shop. The League was then in business with an “Inc.” after its name!
In several more years it seemed wise to disband the downtown office and combine it with the Thrift Shop in a
large building. Also, in the early “fifties,” the Children’s Reading Room project at the Ouachita Parish Library
became a reality and broadened the scope of the League’s activities by permanently branching into the cultural
and educational fields of service. In addition to the Thrift Shop, financial undertakings of a social nature were
felt needed, and the Charity Ball joined the annual Silver Tea in providing pleasure in exchange for dollars for
the treasury.
“Mid-fifties” saw the League helping with the physical establishment of the long-needed local Mental
Health Guidance Center. A room was decorated at St. Francis for ambulatory patients in the pediatrics wing. Of
a financial nature was the rebirth of the Follies, the proceeds of which went to the establishment of a Special
Gift Fund. With great pride, the Junior Charity League, Inc. was able to answer diverse needs with this fund:
projector to the Y.M.C.A. for the training of workers and the education and entertainment of boys; a fence for
the Little League Baseball Park; wheel chairs and work table for the Cerebral Palsy School; a station wagon to
the Cerebral Palsy School; blinds for the treatment rooms at the Rehabilitation Center; donation of First Aid
Room in new Y.W.C.A. Building; and financial aid to the Y.W.C.A.
In 1963, the League began a picture-lending collection at the library. Another phase of League work in
the cultural field is support of the Masur Art Museum. League members did volunteer work at the Cerebral
Palsy School and Cooley School for the Mentally Retarded. Also, the organization continued to give financial
support to the Y.W.C.A.
In 1964, the most successful Follies ever undertaken was presented. In 1965, the organization made a
substantial donation to the Open Door Home, Inc. The puppet show remained still a delightful treat to school
children throughout the parish.
Beginning in 1962, the League sponsored a Summer Remedial Reading Program for the children of this
area which was so successful, that in 1966 it was expanded to a second school in West Monroe.
Always with the youth of the community in mind, the contributions to the Y.M.C.A. Day Camp, the
Salvation Army Camp, and a Northeast Louisiana University scholarship was continued, and in 1966, the Junior
Charity League enabled the West Monroe Boys’ Club to buy much-needed equipment. This was also the year
that the Strawmarket was used by the Ways and Means Committee as a project and was so successful that the
Christmas Ball was not needed as a fund-raiser, and was limited to Actives, Provisionals, and Sustaining
members of the League.
The year 1966-67 saw some interesting innovations both in Puppets and Social Services, and the League
lent its support in the furnishing of the City’s First Aid Room of the new Civic Center. The Junior Charity
League performed a worthy service to the community by helping with the restoration of the Colonial Dames
Museum. All established projects continued in the finest League tradition.
1967-68 will be remembered by Junior Leaguers and by the community for several noteworthy “firsts.”
Day Camp for Mentally Retarded Children was adopted as a new project. In addition to maintaining its former
activities, the Le ague initiated a traveling Art Show for viewing in the public schools, plus the addition of a preschool
program called the Primer School. The grandest of social events was the Junior Charity League Ball,
held for the first time at the new Civic Center, with more than on thousand people in attendance. Among the
more revolutionary ideas was the abandonment of the Thrift Shop, to be replaced by an annual sale called
“Strawmarket.” The year closed with the League taking up residence in a new location –– the beautiful old
Neville home was restored and known as the Junior Charity League House.
The new Junior Charity League House proved an excellent addition for our membership, providing an
attractive home for all social and business gatherings and a facility for storage of Strawmarket goods.
Strawmarket was successful and a highlight of the 1968-69 year. Other events of the year were the Junior
Charity League Ball (financially rewarding) featuring Peter Duchin; the Summer Day Camp for Retarded
Children, which provided as gratifying a project to its supporters as any service project ever offered to the
community; and League members had worked hard for a long time to initiate a class for children with impaired
hearing, and were largely responsible for the innovation; puppets and other established projects continued.
The year 1969-70 saw the beginning of new projects as well as the discontinuation of our summer
reading program. The Parish and City School Systems provided summer reading programs so the League added
School Volunteers to help in the first grades in concept development, correcting language patterns, and
teachers-aids. The League co-sponsored with Selber Bros. a formal style show with the proceeds going to
another new project, “Operation Neverstop.” The formal dance at the Civic Center was a big social event of the
year again, featuring Peter Duchin. Volunteer help for West Monroe Boys’ Club began and the League
purchased a film on drugs for use in area schools and supported the White House Conference on Youth. Also,
Strawmarket, Puppets, Summer Day Camp for Retarded Children and Social Service continued as worthwhile
The League began several new projects during 1970-71 which contributed to a very successful year.
Volunteers were sent into the Impaired Hearing Classroom. A Cookbook was in the making, to be published in
1972 as a money-making project. The Parents League became a League project, and Service and Income
Committees were outstanding in their performances.
September 1971 saw the Cookbook becoming a full-fledged League project with hopes of going to press
in late ‘72 or early ‘73. The Parent’s League Committee found their endeavors bearing fruit with the formation
of the Ouachita Parish Parent’s League in October of ‘71.
Ways and Means and Strawmarket Committees exceeded even the outstanding records of previous
years. Social Service was challenged with a tripling of cases over the previous year, thus keeping committee
members and Clothes Bank working unceasingly.
Puppets entertained over 4,400 students in sixteen Parish Schools. The Community Arts Committee
gave lectures on the “Old Masters” to fifth and sixth grade students in twenty-one schools. The committee,
working with the Cerebral Palsy School, provided music instruction and entertainment for the children there and
the Impaired Hearing and Crippled Children’s Committees volunteered many hours of service.
The League year ‘72-’73 was known as the Year of the Cookbook. In March ‘72, the first material was
delivered to the publisher and the completed book arrived in Monroe in November. By December 15, the first
10,000 copies were sold and the Cotton Country collection was on the road to success.
Ways and Means and Strawmarket continued to provide the necessary financial resources for funding
the various activities and all committees performed in such a fashion as to guarantee a successful League year.
In 1973-74, we experienced unparalleled success with all our money-raising activities –– the
Strawmarket, the Charity Ball and the Cookbook.
We endeavored to meet our community’s needs in diverse ways. For one of our long-standing projects,
the West Monroe Boys’ Club, we purchased a tractor for $3,000.
The League underwrote the cost of a speaker for the Twin City Association of Student Councils. He
addressed several thousand local high school students in the Civic Center. Also, the League pledged $24,000
toward the establishment of a community-based Youth House for runaway girls in our area.
We requested and received the informational questionnaire from the Association of Junior Leagues, Inc.,
which is the first step in seeking affiliation with their group. A committee compiled and submitted needed
In 1974-75, the League continued contributions through their support of such worthwhile projects as the
West Monroe Boys’ Club, the Impaired Hearing Class, the Cerebral Palsy School, and the Crippled Children’s
Clinic. The Puppet Show brought smiles to thousands of faces during the year and the Community Arts
volunteers conducted a number of our area school children on tours of Masur Museum exhibits. Over $9,000
worth of clothes was given to the CAP Center through the Clothes Bank, and Social Service tended the needs of
so many in a time of crisis.
We sponsored the Parents’ League’s Parent Effectiveness Training course held at St. Paul’s United
Methodist Church in October when over two hundred concerned parents and teachers attended the four sessions
conducted by Pat Meriwether. A food freezer was purchased for the refurbishing of Camp Kiroli, and needed
furniture was secured for the new Mainline headquarters. Plans for the Youth House moved along during 1974,
as the previously pledged League money was used to purchase and renovate a house for the project.
Early in 1974, notification was received that the Monroe League was not eligible to apply for National
affiliation at present because of a recent national policy adoption which requires all national affiliates to
maintain an Active membership of at least one hundred persons.
The Charity Ball and Strawmarket surged past existing marks of success to insure the means to carry on
our service projects. The cotton country collection continued to surpass our wildest expectations in its
enthusiastic acceptance and sales volume in a worldwide market. After 10 years of successful Strawmarkets, the
membership decided that it was practical not to hold the event in 1975. Instead, four new committees for service
were added for the coming year. Volunteers worked with the Tutorial Program in the Parish School System,
assisted again at Cooley after an absence of several years, administered the Denver Development Screening
tests, and actively worked with the Youth Home. A Site Committee was appointed late in the year to look into
the feasibility of a permanent location for the Monroe League.
The Bicentennial Year ‘75-’76 was ushered in with great success by the League. Profits continued to
increase from the Charity Ball ($12,000+) and the cotton country collection ($71,000+). These funds, secured
by the work of two outstanding committees, provided us with the resources to increase our community service
work and add additional projects.
Youth House, started in 1973, became a reality, with an additional $18,000 contributed toward its
completion. The Developmental Center, a drug rehabilitation center, moved to a new home furnished by the
League. Our financial, administrative and volunteer help was added to both of these much-needed community
Over eighty volunteers worked in excess of ten thousand hours in the community at Boys’ Club,
Crippled Children’s Clinic, Cooley School, CP School, Ouachita Parish Tutorial Program, Masur Museum, and
Impaired-Hearing Classes. The Puppets continued to delight the school children of the Twin Cities. Special
projects undertaken were $1,200 for the completion of the Y.M.C.A. jogging track, sponsor of a West Monroe
High School Choir student to a national meeting, and the purchase of magazine subscriptions for the boys at
League year 1976-77 will be most remembered, as the League became proud owners of our new
building on Cameron Street. With the continued financial success of the cotton country collection, the League
found itself in a financial position to become an owner instead of a renter. Much planning and many renovations
preceded the official move of Cookbook in February, followed by the initial League meeting in May. The new
building has sufficient space both for our present activities and for future projects.
As many familiar projects continued through this fourteen-month year (the League fiscal year was
changed from March 1 through March 1 to May 1 through May 1), the League had the opportunity to purchase
a $700 printing machine for the Sheltered Workshop and underwrite the Suzuki Workshop. Our members
continued to serve at Boys’ Club, Cooley, CP School, Hard-of-Hearing Class, Tutorial, Crippled Children’s
Clinic, Public Health Testing, C.P.R., Masur Museum, Puppets, Youth House, and Social Services.
Our funds continued to flow from a very fine Charity Ball and Cookbook.
As a result of having our own “home,” a spirit of renewal and purpose had developed among all the
members in 1977-78. The Ways and Means and Cookbook Committees continued to provide our financial
backbone, while the volunteers in service committees spread instruction and goodwill throughout the
community. Our successful new projects –– Handicrafts for the Trainable Mentally Retarded, CardioPulmonary
Resuscitation Instructors, and Sunshine for Seniors –– continued ahead in 1978 with increased
members. A program for League Volunteers in the field of child abuse was planned.
Special projects approved during 1977-78 were: gifts to the Suzuki Forum, the Louisiana Legend, the
West Monroe Drill Team, the Twin City Ballet, and to the Reading Is Fundamental program. Joining the
community’s wholehearted support of the New Horizon’s Boy Scout Camp, the League pledged $6,000 to this
worthwhile project.
The League year 1978-79 will be best remembered for its record sales of almost 37,000 cookbooks and
for the Cotton Country Tennis Exhibition. The Ways and Means Committee and the entire membership can be
proud of the community service that the exhibition provided and most pleased with $24,000 profit.
The League made gifts of $10,000 to Ouachita Pastoral Counseling Organization, $3,000 to the
Y.M.C.A. for a whirlpool for arthritics, $300 to the American Legion Home, and $4,000 to the Northeast
Louisiana Arts Council, which the League Helped to organize this year. We also pledged $20,000 to the
Developmental Centers for a Youth Home for Boys and $20,000 to the Ouachita Regional Blood Center. Along
with our usual memberships we underwrote the Suzuki Workshop, the Louisiana Legend Showboat Ride, and
the children’s opera production of “Little Red Riding Hood.”
Our volunteers continued to work in many service areas and were excited about a new service project ––
volunteers in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Medical Center.
Group meetings were held in November resulting in a bylaws change from a multiple to a single slate
for officers. The membership voted not to apply for membership in the Association of Junior Leagues this year.
Our beautiful home on Cameron Street was finally truly ours as the last payment was made in April. We
were extremely proud of the League House and pleased that so many committees and groups made use of our
fine facility during the year.
In 1979-80, the League saw the opening of the Ouachita Regional Blood Center. Over 25% of our
membership participated in a blood drive.
This year we had several special projects. Gifts were made to Mayor’s Committee for Visual Arts,
Northeast Louisiana Association for Children with Learning Disabilities Conference, Monroe Police
Department for 12 Trauma Kits, and Cooley School for establishment of a Girl Scout Troop. We also gave
financial aid to Bengal Belles, Youth House II, West Ouachita Dixie Youth Complex, and Open Doors of
In addition to these, we gave a microwave oven to the Neonatal Unit at St. Francis Medical Center.
The Tutorial Committee was dissolved for the next year. It was turned over to the community for further
participation. In its place, we had a Strawmarket Committee for our Ways and Means Project. It was in October,
1980, at Monroe Civic Center Arena.
The Developmental Center did not use our pledged money.
Our “Working Girls,” now called Professional Women, met monthly the night after Board Meeting.
They voted to do this so their voice and vote could be brought to the regular meeting.
In 1980-81, the League celebrated its 50 years of service to the community with a gala celebration
planned by a committee of past presidents. A Memorial Fund was established, and a lovely baby grand piano
was purchased for the League House through donations by our Sustainer and Active members.
This year began the orientation process for affiliation with AJL. Kaleidoscope ‘81 was the theme for the
programs planned by the AJL Committee.
The League responded to a critical need for a program dealing with child abuse by helping to form a
Parents Anonymous Chapter, a self-help group for child abusers and potential child abusers.
Twenty-five percent of our membership again donated blood, and we were excited to be placing
volunteers in the Blood Center the next year.
Due to the tremendous success of Strawmarket, which netted $26,000, and also the cotton country
collection, with a profit in excess of $78,000, we were able to return $40,000 to the community. Special gifts
were to the Mayor’s Committee for Visual Arts, Twin City Ballet to cover costs of sending dancers to the
Southwest Regional Ballet Association for evaluation, Ouachita Humane Society to purchase vaccine for the
Parvo-virus, Youth House to cover costs of lodging at Six Flags, and to Cooley School to again fund their Girl
Scout Troop. The League also had the opportunity to give $10,000 to the Tri-District Boys’ Club to help this
group recover from fire damages, $2,850 to the Silver Water Girl Scout Council to be used for the training of its
staff and volunteers at key workshops, $6,000 to the West Monroe Boys’ Club to refloor the gymnasium, and
$2,065 to the Ouachita Civil Defense Agency to furnish the 3rd floor communications room.
The membership pledged $6,250 for a Crib-O-Gram for the St. Francis Neonatal Unit, a screening
audiometer to test for hearing impairments. One of our members instructed the personnel on the operation of
this machine and the evaluation process. Also pledged was $40,000 for the future establishment of a Youth
Home for boys.
The CPR Committee was disbanded for the present due to fewer calls for this service and also the fact
that other groups were offering this program.
We were excited about three new committees planned for next year –– increased volunteer placement at
E. A. Conway Hospital, a Community Research Committee, and also a placement to investigate the need for a
Woman’s Crisis Shelter.
The year of 1981-82 will be remembered as the year of our affiliation with the Association of Junior
Leagues. On February 22, 1982, the Junior Charity League was accepted by the Membership Development
Committee as the Junior League of Monroe–the 249th League of the Association.
The membership many times served double duty as they participated in the affiliation process and
continued to serve the community. The cotton country collection Cookbook continued to provide funds, and in
addition to the budgeted projects, the membership voted: $3,000 to help fund the 1981 Suzuki Workshop;
$1,000 to the Y.W.C.A. to send two Y-Teen girls to a Mid-South Regional Conference and to sponsor the
Y.W.C.A. Summer Day Camp; and up to $4,000 toward refurbishing the waiting area at the Strauss
Rehabilitation Center.
The membership also adopted a $36,000 budget to be spent over the next three years by the League to
support five new programs: Substance Abuse Awareness and Prevention, Education Task Force, Volunteer
Placement Bureau, Zoo Docent Program, and Mental Health Clinic. A Follies was held in January 1983 to help
raise funds for these programs.
As the Monroe League moved into its first year as a member of the Association, it did so with renewed
dedication and commitment, and great expectations for the future of the organization.
The year 1982-83 began with the Junior League of Monroe sending four delegates to our first Annual
Conference as a member of the Association of Junior Leagues. The conference was held in San Francisco,
California, and dealt with the issue, “Dollars and Decisions: Opportunities for the Volunteer Sector.” During the
year we received excellent training, as delegates attended various seminars and workshops dealing with issues
that concerned our League and our community. We joined the State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC), an
organization (composed of the seven Junior Leagues in Louisiana) that deals with issues of statewide concern.
A Time Management Seminar offered to our membership in the fall received an enthusiastic response.
A highlight in December was a coffee at the home of Jan Brockman honoring the original Cookbook
Committee on the tenth anniversary of the publishing of the cotton country collection. The committee members
were also the honored guests at our Christmas luncheon following the coffee.
January began with a “Meet the Director” party that kicked off a month of daily rehearsing, ticket
selling, costume fitting, Patron Party planning, and culminating in our spectacular Cotton Pickin’ Kickin’
Follies. Because of the hard work of this committee and the wonderful support we received from the
membership and from the community, the League recognized a net profit of $49,000.
These funds, along with those received from the continuing success of the cotton country collection,
enabled the League to place over $50,000 in the community during the year. A major contribution was $10,000
to the Goodfellows Flood Relief Drive to aid flood victims after the December flood. We pledged $6,000 to the
Tri-District Boys’ Club over a three year period to aid in their rebuilding efforts. We also voted for several
requests to be included in our 1983-84 budget. Those projects were $18,000 pledged to the Northeast Louisiana
Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse toward the purchase of an Interim Treatment Facility (pending state
funding), $5,000 pledged to the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council to fund four Arts Development programs,
$4,300 pledged to the Cancer Research Center to fund equipment, and $2,000 pledged to the Y.W.C.A. for
Three new placements were approved by the membership this year. Beginning in May, 1983, we had
volunteers working with Lifeline, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Cancer Research Center.
In April the Substance Abuse Committee organized and sponsored a seminar directed to parents and
dealing with the issue of Substance Abuse. The seminar was very successful with over 1,500 people attending.
Enthusiasm and dedicated efforts filled 1983-84. The year was filled with activities and many “firsts”
were realized.
The Zoo Committee had a very productive year with the sanctioning of the Zoological Society Board,
the opening of the Edzoocation Building at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, Safari Days, Junior Zoo
Keepers, and the PIPS summer program.
In the fall the Monroe Junior League realized a first –– a grant from the Department of Health and
Human Resources to provide for the salary of a full-time director of the Volunteer Action Center. The center
began operation in March.
The Substance Abuse Committee provided tremendous community service by raising the public’s
awareness of the problems facing the children of Ouachita Parish. A survey was conducted of 11,000 junior and
senior high school students concerning their use of drugs and alcohol. The televising of “Chemical People” and
“Epidemic” provided insights into substance abuse.
Marva Collins, renowned Chicago educator, spoke to both public school systems and interested persons
about the strengths, weaknesses, and needs of public education.
The League donated $4,300 to purchase an automatic sampling system for Gas-Liquid Chromatography
for the Northeast Louisiana University Cancer Research Center.
In March an interim treatment facility operated by the Northeast Louisiana Council on Alcohol and
Drug Abuse was opened. Bright House was funded in part by an $18,000 donation from the Junior League.
Other “firsts” for our League included the election of one of our members to serve on the Association of
Junior League’s Area V Council, and the formation of an active Sustainer group known as “Sustainer of
Standby.” To underscore the League’s emphasis on trained volunteers, many conferences were attended by the
members during the year. Delegates were sent to the Annual Conference of AJL, Area V Seminar, SPAC,
President Elect Training, President’s Council, Teen Outreach, and a White House briefing in Washington, D.C.
The 1984-85 League year was known as the year for “Putting the Pieces Together.” It began with Diana
Plosser of Birmingham, Alabama, conducting board training. In September Rick Little of the Quest Foundation
spoke to us on improving our parenting skills. The cotton country collection introduced the new hard-cover
edition, and “Charlons” changed to a magazine format.
Strawmarket was a huge success in october producing $45,000 for our community projects. The
Sustainers on Standby celebrated their first birthday.
In November, Layne Longfellow spoke to the membership and community on stress management. The
Cookbook Committee, working with KTVE’s Potpourri show, produced a six-part series of programs for the
1984 found us taking the OSA and trying to decide what direction we wanted to take for the next 3-5
years. Three new projects were voted in by the membership: Dental Clinic, Oral History, and an Entertainment
Committee. Last year’s new project, Hospice, offered a training session for community volunteers, and was
finally ready to work with the terminally ill in Ouachita Parish.
The first annual press conference of the JLM was held in March. Shady Wall was recognized as the
recipient of the Benefactor of the Junior League Award. Donations were presented to the Ronald McDonald
House ($10,000); Silver Waters Girl Scouts ($7,500); and the Christian Community Ministries ($2,500). We
also welcomed 22 new Provisionals and 12 non-resident Provisionals.
The Zoo, “I Care” Program, and the new Puppets, “Kids on the Block,” all reached the community
through new program. When all the pieces were put together it had been a rich and rewarding year.
1985-86 marked the fifty-fifth year of the Junior League, one in which we continued our efforts in
community involvement.
In May, we instituted our first “Speak-up” Meeting, which focused on the concerns of the organization
and what direction the membership wanted to take. The League’s first future plan was devised, and will give
direction to administrative and committee work for the next 3 years.
This year also marked the League’s entry into the “Computer Age.” We purchased 2 systems –– thanks
to a $10,000 Gannett Foundation Grant.
Our yearbook exhibited a new look: it was revised and reorganized, and placed in a hardcover binder
making it more cost effective.
In September, our League hosted the State Public Affairs Committee meetings here in Monroe, which
were beneficial to all involved.
“Puttin on the Ritz” was the theme of our Charity Ball, an old tradition we are looking forward to
reviving. The Civic Center was transformed into a lovely ballroom, and by selling corporate sponsorships as
well as tickets, we made $21,000 for our projects. Also a new fundraiser: gift wrapping at Pecanland Mall
during Christmas was undertaken, profiting $2,500. The cotton country collection continued on its winning
course –– selling over 20,000 copies for a profit of $49,691.75. A committee was established to study the
feasibility of an entertainment cookbook.
1985 also marked the establishment of our Endowment Fund, the foundation of which was a $10,000
donation by the late Shady Wall. All memorials and contributions will be placed in this fund to be used in our
community projects.
A new committee was formed: the Community Coordinating Committee was designed to fill the need of
communication within the League and facilitate planning through the year. We also established the Teen Court
Committee and voted to investigate a self-esteem project for youth.
We added 23 Provisionals, while saying goodbye to 16 new Sustainers. Our financial contribution to the
community through 22 projects was $106,042.50.
“Sharing Today . . . Shaping Tomorrow” was the theme for 1986-1987, a year of progress and new
directions. The League joined with the United Way in conducting our first Community Needs Gap Study, which
prioritized gaps in services provided in the area. The findings were then reported to various agencies and were
widely publicized in the Twin Cities. This study greatly aided Community Research in recommending new
projects. Three new projects were approved by the membership and established: Teen Pregnancy (Adolescent
Pregnancy Childwatch program), Youth Theatre, and Skills for Adolescence.
Teen Court became operational with $15,000 from the Lea gue and a $10,250 grant secured from the
Police Jury for future operation.
The League was able to make donations to the Y.W.C.A. Battered Women’s Shelter, Covenant House,
and L.T.I. In addition, 18 service committees were funded.
A new Marketing Committee was established which assisted many League committees and projects.
Also represented on the Board was an Association Issues Committee and an Office Manager.
We undertook two fund-raisers –– an auction in November, and later, in February, a Queen of Hearts
Ball. Both were quite successful and netted over $41,000.
The membership voted this year to publish a hard-bound entertainment cookbook; to open a new Thrift
Shop, named “Cotton Country Corner”; to hire a part-time secretary to keep our paperwork under control; and
to change our meetings to Wednesday mornings and Wednesday evenings with the President presiding at both
At our annual news conference in the spring, we presented plaques of appreciation to Central Bank,
Ouachita National Bank, and the News-Star World for their generous and continued support.
We ushered in a new year by welcoming 29 new Provisionals to carry on the legacy.
“Making A Difference” marked our goal as Junior Leaguers in 1987-88. We undertook, and were
largely successful in implementing, such new projects as Cotton Country Corner – our Thrift Shop, Children’s
Theatre, Adolescent Pregnancy/Childwatch, and Celebrations on the Bayou, our new entertainment cookbook.
Changes in our administration were brought about by the addition of a Community Vice President to the
Executive Committee.
The “Louise Seymour Community Impact Award” was created to honor a Sustaining member of the
Junior League on an annual basis.
The League worked this year with the United Way of Northeast Louisiana in a Community Needs Gap
Study; we hosted a reception honoring community persons responsible for Teen Court’s first successful year;
Public Affairs and Education and Training held our first political forum; the cotton country collection
celebrated 15 years with a birthday party, and established “Cotton Country Cooking School,” a marketing tool
for both cookbooks. In addition we held a well-attended press conference for Quest’s Skills for Adolescence
Project, and provided leadership in Governor Roemer’s Education Forum in Northeast Louisiana.
Our three focus areas for community committees were: Youth/Children, Public Education, and Adult
Health/Mental Health.
1988-89 will be remembered as the year our Admission Procedures changed to a Sponsored System. On
December 14, 1988, we voted to change our Admissions procedures and to retain our membership in the
Association of Junior Leagues, Inc.
“Voluntarism . . . Commitment in Action: was accepted as our slogan. Celebrations on the Bayou was
completed and sent to press. The cotton country collection was recognized by Wimmer Brothers with a
reception for turning over $940,000 to our community through League programs during the past 16 years.
A Community Advisory Board was formed to lend expertise in a variety of areas. A new three-year plan
was written by Future Planning. The League joined with the United Way, Gannett Foundation, Ouachita Parish
Police Jury, and Cities of Monroe and West Monroe to fund and complete a Community Needs Assessment.
Historical Preservation developed a new project called “Ouachita Under Wraps,” which is a historical wrapping
paper highlighting buildings in Ouachita Parish, to raise funds and awareness.
In 1989-90 we found ourselves enjoying the success of Celebrations on the Bayou. An aggressive
marketing committee brought Willard Scott of NBC’s “Today Show” to Monroe. He promoted our cookbook
nationally and sales of both of our cookbooks rose dramatically. We also accepted a unique offer to promote the
cotton country collection on a national basis by Proctor and Gamble. Cotton Country Corner’s sales increased
significantly after their move to Castle Hall in Monroe’s Downtown Historic District.
We replaced the roof and three awnings at the League House after a devastating hailstorm swept through
Monroe. After 13 years of use the main meeting room needed refurbishing. Plans were finalized to purchase
new carpeting and do interior painting.
In an AJLI-funded workshop, Jane Crain assisted us in developing a financial long-range plan.
Recommendations were also made concerning the structure of our Finance Committee and the hiring of a parttime
Our membership adopted Opportunity Knocks as its new project. This committee will enable us to meet
short-term community needs for volunteers on specific projects.
1990-91 has been a year to remember. May of 1990 saw a 16-page Sunday newspaper supplement
highlighting “60 Years of JLM Volunteer Commitment Focused for the Future.” September returned members
to newly-renovated general meeting rooms.
In October members voted on Cotton Bayou Publications’ proposal for a marketing video, “Secrets of
Southern Cooking, Vol. 1” to help promote cookbook sales to still broader audiences. Production involvement
between members and a professiona l crew progressed at breakneck speed and the first cooking video was
unveiled at a press conference in early December.
The holiday season focused on the JLM 60th anniversary celebration with some 600 in attendance at a
cocktail reception, dance, and silent auction. Funds raised totaled almost $10,000 for a JLM gift to the
community, an interactive sculpture to be placed in Forsythe Park.
The new year of 1991 brought sad news in the form of a war in the Persian Gulf. The good news,
however, was a record-breaking 47 member Provisional class and a new project, a parenting resource center to
be located at Northeast Louisiana University. Successes with Cotton Bayou Publications and Cotton Country
Corner brought the JLM Community Trust Fund Balance from $140,000 to $200,000.
Volunteer Week in April found JLM members busily involved in “Surviving the 90’s,” the theme for
Education and Training Week. Sessions on finance and the environment were open to the public. JLM also
participated in the AJLI “Don’t Wait To Vaccinate” Campaign to increase public awareness of the need to
immunize children from childhood diseases.
May of 1991 found League members sandbagging against rising flood waters and concerned for friends
touched by the chemical plant explosion in Sterlington. The joint Board of Directors, as a part of their year-end
business meeting, took emergency action which resulted in a $10,000 donation to the Red Cross for Ouachita
Parish victims. Many League members were victims, as well as volunteers and contributors, thus playing
multiple roles and ending the year with an even better appreciation for community spirit.
Four words are the fewest that can possibly be used to differentiate 1991-1992 from other JLM years.
Those four words would be: giraffe, bylaw reform, and focusing. They are tied together by proactive change.
Setting the tone for volunteer commitment was the first ever, anywhere, community-wide “Giraffe”
campaign to recognize people who stick their necks out for the common good. This was sponsored in
conjunction with Century Telephone, Premier Bank, the NLU Student Government Association, and the
International Giraffe Foundation. This program is now available worldwide and we were the original.
Local bylaw reforms brought a new executive officer, the Membership Vice President, who heads a
stronger placement committee. A two-year process for International bylaw reform culminated in the adoption of
a cutting edge governing document by AJLI that reaffirms the current mission statement. it concentrates on
consentual belief statements and allows individual Leagues to approach these ideals in compliance with local
legal requirements without risk to AJLI affiliation.
The fourth word . . . focusing (a process to increase community impact), is currently under study and has
new projects on hold until a proposal can be presented to the JLM membership in September of 1992.
In the service arena, 91-92 found the JLM helping open the doors of the Family Resource Center at
NLU, expanding the mini-grant program for teachers, and providing a Public Education Forum. Some 31,000
bookmarks highlighting the need for literacy efforts were printed and distributed locally as well as throughout
the state by League SPAC-PAC’s. A community report for 92-93 was printed in the June “Charlons” and will
be a necessary marketing tool for the future.
Collaborative efforts with other agencies continued to increase. Training was stressed throughout the
year and possibly involved more members than ever before. Still another large and needed Provisional Class
with 39 candidates was sponsored and the largest ever Provisional Class with a total of 44 was welcomed into
Active membership.
The total JLM budget for 91-92 was $131,735. Cotton Bayou Publications turned over $42,000 and
Cotton Country Corner donated $18,000 plus an unexpected additional $8,000 for a total of $58,000 in profits
for continued service to the community.
The 1992-93 year can best be described as a year of evaluation and focusing. In the spring of 1992, the
membership of JLM voted to place community research on hold while we studied the concept of focusing
through our Cross-Functional Team. This was precipitated by an awareness that our membership was changing
with more demands on women and their volunteer time. In September, League members embraced the idea on
focusing our efforts and resources on specific issues to increase our impact on the community. On a national
basis JLM was selected as one of our demonstration projects in focusing by AJL. Thus began months of
surveying, small group meetings, and questionnaires by our Cross-Functional Team that culminated in the
adoption of education as a large concern with “Children-and Youth-at-Risk” being the specific issue to be
addressed. Feeling compelled to act immediately in the community in the area of education, League members
chose a short-term issue area of “Science and Math Curriculums.” This short-term issue will allow the League
to begin immediately putting money and volunteers into the community. The “StarLab” project was developed
and funded for the coming year which will see the League placing two StarLabs in the public school systems at
a cost of $22,000. An additional $8,000 will provide additional equipment and the teacher training necessary to
use the StarLabs. An important aspect of this program will allow private and parochial schools to use the
StarLabs and participate in the teacher training. League members felt the need to reach as many children in
Ouachita Parish with their programs as possible.
While implementing the focusing process required much time and energy from the entire League, JLM
was able to do an excellent job of maintaining our community service commitment. Our adolescent Pregnancy
Prevention Committee helped to organize a seminar on sex education with the NLU Home Economics
Department and distributed 7,000 “Who can Help Me?” booklets. Our Education Task Force continued its
commitment to chairing the Scholars’ Banquet and awarded $7,000 in mini-grants to teachers. The Opportunity
Knocks committee was expanded to include a day and night committee which enabled our members to work in
a wide variety of capacities within the community.
This year was the Junior League of Monroe’s opportunity to host the state SPAC meetings. Our SPAC
committee did an excellent job of showcasing our organization and community. The Junior Leagues of
Louisiana are joining together through our SPAC committees to produce a video to support the “Shots for Tots”
immunization campaign.
Internally, the Junior League of Monroe began to move toward the re-structuring that will be brought
about because of focusing called the “goal-centered approach.” Each committee will be valuated according to
how it supports the organization’s commitment to our focus area. Education and Training began this emphasis
by targeting its spring trainings with information for League members about sex education and the AIDS
epidemic. The Community Coordinating Committee evaluated and restructured some of our community service
committees for next year and established the Community Research/Program Development Committee to
continue to develop “Children and Youth-at-Risk.” Placement was given a new emphasis with the addition of
the Membership Vice President to the Executive Committee. An enlarged Placement Committee did an
excellent job of staying in contact with individual members and rewarding outstanding performances with “pats
on the back.” A major accomplishment was computerizing the placement files with our own computer program.
“Charlons” increased its coverage of League committees and accomplishments, re-organized its billing, and
increased advertising. These changes meant that League members and Sustainers were more informed than ever
about League business.
The Finance Committee administered a budge t totaling $124, 151. Financial policies were revised and
updated according to guidelines from our accountant and in accordance with new demands for accountability
for non-profits. The Cotton Country Corner contributed $18,000 in revenues with Cotton Bayou Publications
adding $49,000 to our financial resources. Cotton Country Corner added consignment sales for the first time
and looks forward to increasing this popular program. Cotton Bayou Publications pursued a contact with
Shadco for placing both of our popular cookbooks in their nationwide stores.
The League House saw improvements this year with the office space being re-decorated and a new sign
in front. The Sustainers on Standby met twice during the year for fun and information and were supportive on
many League committees.
While the foundation for change was laid this year, the next few years will see focusing and the goalcentered
approach become integral in the way the Junior League of Monroe operates. This has been an exciting,
busy year that sets the stage for a more committed organization working toward long-lasting, significant impact
in our community.
Accomplishments of the 64th year of the Junior League of Monroe are mirrored in the reflection of the
Waterford crystal sculpture of the J. C. Penney’s Golden Rule Award. This award was presented to the Junior
League of Monroe in April 1994 for outstanding volunteer service for an organization in the Ouachita Parish
Community. The League also received a $1,000 contribution for this award which has been dedicated to the
Education Task Force and StarLab Committees.
The Junior League of Monroe donated two StarLabs to Monroe City and Ouachita Parish Schools at a
cost of $35,000. The League members developed training sessions for area teachers who would be used as
guides in these portable planetariums. This committee will be continued through 1994-1995 to further train
teachers in this invaluable tool.
The State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) developed and distributed a video aimed at educating the
public on the need to immunize their children. This SPAC Committee worked in collaboration with the other six
SPAC committees in the state to make this video. The Louisiana state SPAC’s were awarded third place at AJLI
Annual Conference for video development for their efforts. This state-wide collaboration of Leagues was a first
of its kind for Louisiana. Over 1,500 children received immunizations in the Monroe area under the Shots for
Tots campaign. These clinics were held at St. Francis Hospital and the Ouachita Parish Public Health Unit. As
further help for these agencies, SPAC furnished crayons, coloring books, and other materials to supply the
waiting rooms.
Adolescent Pregnancy Committee hosted a nationally recognized speaker on Teenage-AIDS to speak at
area Monroe City Schools. Duane Crumb spoke to six junior high and high-schools during his two-day visit to
Education Task Force presented 54-mini-grants totaling $10,000 to area teachers.
The Junior League of Monroe presented a check for $5,000 to Ervin Turner and the Tri-District Boys
Club for construction and development of a Cultural Arts Center. The League also presented a check for $2,500
to the local school systems to be used in meeting the Riverwood Challenge of $22,000 in grants to local
Cotton Country Corner turned over $18,000 to the League at the end of the year. The Thrift Shop
expanded its services to League members and the community by starting a Consignment section where League
members would receive partial payment for goods that were sold.
The cotton country collection was sent to the printer for the 16th time. This printing will make 530,000
copies of the cotton country collection in print.
Cotton Country Cooking School held a record 32 cooking schools and researched a pantry which will
open in the fall of 1994. Research for the pantry began with a conference trip to the famed Tea Room at the
Junior League of Houston.
The Junior League of Monroe was presented with a check for $1,000 from the Biedenharn Foundation.
This donation was split between Education Task-Force and StarLab.
Community Coordinating Committee developed and approved our belief statement which culminated in
the development and League approval of a new program in the Children-at-Risk belief which will operate in
conjunction with the Y.W.C.A. Shelter for Battered and Abused Women.
Throughout the year there was much rhetoric on the proposed changes in Equity for Leagues,
internationally. The issue was resolved at Annual Conference in Dallas with a cap being put on dues for the next
three years and all voting equity staying the same.
After several years of study, the 1994-95 year successfully incorporated our focus area, Women-and
Children-at-Risk, into our League committees. Our new project, the Y.W.C.A. Safe House Committee,
coordinated the design and building of the learning modules, play equipment, play areas, decking, and
landscaping of the Y.W.C.A. Shelter for Battered Women. In March, the membership voted to continue our
involvement with the Shelter for two more years. A much requested hands-on approach will be taken next year
with a day camp for the shelter children and personal workshops throughout the year for the mothers. As each
committee continues to become more active in working with the shelter, our League will then truly become a
“focused League”.
StarLab Committee continued to assist in the training of area teachers who presented the program to
over 14,000 school children and adults. Education Task Force awarded over $13,000 in Mini-Grants to 74
teachers for teaching aids in subjects ranging from computers to physical education We are now in our 12th
year as Foundation Sponsors of the Scholars’ Banquet. This year 132 seniors from eleven area high schools
were honored. Approximately 5,000 area seventh and ninth grade students were given the “Who Can Help Me”
booklets this year sponsored by Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Committee. After ten years of continuous
involvement, we turned Teen Court over to the Teen Court Board.
Social Services assisted 142 individuals in immediate crisis situations for electricity and gas bills,
medications, food, and lodging for the homeless with funds totaling $12,000. Opportunity Knocks remained our
popular hands-on committee serving Boy Scouts, Med-Camp, Twin City Ballet, and United Way to name a few.
The Provisional class project was furnishing the kitchen of Our House, Inc. They provided casseroles, staple
foods, small appliances, a freezer, and a refrigerator.
Cotton Country Corner and Cotton Bayou Publications continued to be successful fund-raisers and far
exceeded their projected revenues. The League approved a new ways and means project for next year to
strengthen our monetary contributions to the community even more. Cotton Bayou Cooking School held
another record number of cooking schools for the community plus several demonstrations for the League
Placement Committee organized a fabulous Placement Fair in March. Our members enjoyed a reminder
of just how all of the committees work together. We welcomed 46 new Provisionals to our League and 15
Actives moved on to Sustainer status.
This year’s improvements to the interior of the League House were the last in our long-range plans made
five years ago. Also, exterior doors were replaced and the outside required painting.
During our AJLI Annual Conference, the Leagues voted overwhelmingly to remain an all women’s
organization. After many years of discussion, a firm decision was made regarding this issue. We also revised
our Mission Statement and developed a Vision Statement as well.
The sixty-sixth year of the Junior League of Monroe, 1995-96, proved to be a very productive one with
the League’s total budget of $153,395. The Ways and Means Committee successfully planned and executed a
Texas Armadillo Bar-B-Que and Dance fund-raiser netting over $33,000 for our community programs. Over
800 people attended this function which also brought great public awareness about our focus area of Womenand
Children-at-Risk. Ways and Means recommends a major fund-raiser every two years after accessing
member evaluations.
Our Community Coordinating Committee drafted a three-year strategic plan called focus 2000 which
details programs for continuation in our current focus area, Women- and Children-at-Risk, while Community
Research/Program Development will continue to research future focus areas. The membership overwhelming
approved this plan which will carry us through the year 1999. We were able to involve many more League
committees in direct service within our focus area this year.
The Women- and Children-at-Risk Committee (formerly known as the Y.W.C.A. Safe House
Committee) held a week-long Growing Up Strong Camp for children from abusive situations. This G.U.S.
Camp included activities which encouraged the children to believe in themselves and others. It has proved to be
so successful for the children and League volunteers that we will be continuing it for the next few years. This
committee also planted a vegetable garden at the Mary Goss Shelter to teach women how to garden and to
supplement their family’s food supply. They also took meals monthly to the shelter along with fresh flowers and
a craft project for the children. The League donated $8,200 of this committee’s budget to help bring the
Y.W.C.A.’s newly purchased Shelter Annex up to building codes. The League received the Y.W.C.A.
Community Spirit Award. The League was also nominated for the J. C. Penney Golden Rule Award for
community voluntarism as an organization.
Social Services assisted 155 families, 70% of whom were single women and children in immediate crisis
situations. A total of $14,500 was given to aid in the payment of utility bills, medication, household goods, food
and temporary lodging. Approximately 20,000 volunteer hours were contributed to our various community
programs by our dedicated and hard-working League members. Opportunity Knocks worked 80% of its projects
within our focus area assisting the community in such ways as Louisiana Folklife Festival, Monroe Jaycees
Christmas Tour, Boy Scouts of America Field Days for handicapped children in the parish schools, Ronald
McDonald House Mini Grand Prix, Our House for runaway teens, and The Extra Mile –– Immuno-fest 1996.
StarLab’s final year validated our participation in this community project by sparking the purchase
locally of two additional StarLab portable planetariums. Another League-sponsored teacher training was held
for 50 teachers from city, parish, private, and parochial schools. As this commitment is phased out we can be
assured that it has been beneficial to tens of thousands of children and hundreds of teachers who will share their
knowledge from our training programs for years to come. Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention completely updated
the “Who Can Help Me?” booklet and reprinted about 6,000 books which will be distributed parishwide to 7th
and 9th graders when the new school term begins.
Education Task Force worked on the Scholars’ Banquet for 171 area graduating seniors, which was the
thirteenth year for the League to be a Foundation Sponsor. The Teacher Mini-Grant Program was expanded to
kindergarten through twelfth grades and to all city, parish, private, and parochial schools. This year 85 teachers
received grants totaling $17,000. Our Provisional class chose to redecorate the playroom at the Mary Goss
Shelter for Battered Women by painting paneling, laying flooring, building a reading loft, replacing toys, and
buying new books and videos. Our SPAC/PAC Committees hosted a forum for the Candidates for Sheriff in
October where they fielded questions from League members. The forum was broadcast live over KEDM public
The Placement Committee held a Facilitation Workshop in February and a “Take Me Out To The
Placement Fair” in March where they distributed the newly-revised Committee Placement Brochure detailing
all League Committee information. We welcomed 42 new Actives this year, 18 dedicated Actives moved on to
Sustainer on Standby status, and 179 Actives were given Placements for next year. Admissions welcomed
approximately 35 new Provisional members at a reception hosted by the Sustainers on Standby at the League
House. The Sustainers held three social functions, the first of which was an “Ugly Soup Bowl” luncheon where
they donated the bowls to the League kitchen. Susan Crawford received the Louise Seymour Community
Impact Award for outstanding continued community service.
Cotton Bayou Publications and Cotton Country Corner continued to be very successful ongoing fundraisers
with their contributions to the League being $39,000 and $18,000, respectively. Each committee was
able to give an additional $5,000 this year because of continued good sales. A contract was signed for a 17th
printing of the cotton country collection. The Thrift Shop lease was renewed for another three years for the
same terms. The Cotton Country Cooking School held several cooking schools and regaled League members
and their guests with “Pumps, Pearls, and Pasta” Italian night in February.
The Association of Junior Leagues, International, published a new cookbook to kick off the celebration
of 100 years of service called The Junior League Centennial Cookbook with over 750 recipes from 200 Junior
Leagues. Our League had 15 recipes published from our two cookbooks. At the AJLI Annual Conference in
Phoenix, 293 Leagues voted unanimously for an External Policy Resolution on Early Breast and Cervical
Cancer Detection. Nancy Evans finished her two-year term as Association President and Carol Kleiner began
her Presidency.
The sixty-seventh year of the Junior League of Monroe, 1996-97, was a year of continuing and
strengthening our focus area of Women- and Children-at-Risk. The League’s budget of $160,231 afforded the
League to expand community service in this area.
The Women- and Children-at-Risk Committee conducted the Growing Up Strong (G.U.S.) Day Camp
that was initiated last year. The week-long camp provided activities for 20 children from abusive households.
The committee completed the interior renovation of the YWCA “Centerpoint” facility by hanging wallpaper,
window treatments, and purchasing furniture. They also took meals each month to the Mary Goss Shelter for
Battered Women, along with fresh flowers and a craft project for the children. Silhouettes were made and
donated to the YWCA for use in the national “Silent Witness program.”
Social Services assisted 197 families, 73% of whom were single women and children in immediate crisis
situations. Opportunity Knocks also maintained a very high percentage of projects in our focus area. They
assisted the community groups such as Med Camps, United Way “Day of Caring,” Twin City Ballet, March of
Dimes, Ronald McDonald House, Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, Susan G. Komen Foundation,
Women’s Wellness Coalition, West Monroe Community Center, and the Monroe Housing Authority.
Adolescent Intervention focused on giving adolescents opportunities to find activities for involvement
and productive ways to spend their free time. They sponsored a self-esteem workshop with Charter Forrest
Counseling Services, donated 15 scholarships for a Little Theatre workshop, and purchased two computerized
dolls to be used in the schools to simulate caring for an infant.
Education Task Force gave 63 area teachers over $12,000 through the teacher mini-grant program. They
also worked on the fourteenth Scholars’ Banquet, where a record 198 students were honored.
Our SPAC/PAC Committees worked with over 20 organizations with the Women’s Wellness Coalition.
The League was a major sponsor in the first “Women’s Wellness Forum” put on by the Coalition. A full day of
educational sessions were attended by over 350 women. Dr. Holly Atkinson was the featured speaker at the
event held at the Monroe Civic Center.
The Education and Training Committee filled the year with informative speakers such as West Monroe
Mayor Dave Norris, District Attorney Jerry Jones, and YWCA Board Member Barbara Biersmith. They held a
week of training sessions in October featuring Phyllis Johnson Jones speaking about positive self-marketing.
Cotton Bayou Publications made the Junior League of Monroe one of the first Leagues to have their
own web site. It includes over 20 colorful and informative pages about our cookbooks and League activities.
Cotton Country Corner Thrift Shop also had a first, by offering a diamond tennis bracelet as the grand prize for
the member donating the most merchandise.
Charlons increased awareness of our focus area by having a theme for each issue and using photographs
for the magazine cover. They had a guest writer every issue and had a record sale of advertisements.
The Marketing/Public Relations Committee held a luncheon for community leaders and the media to
increase awareness of League projects, answer any questions concerning the Junior League, and to thank these
individuals for their support of the League. At Thanksgiving, cards of appreciation were sent to over 300
companies, organizations, and individuals. Our community relationships were strengthened by the open
communication this committee supplied.
The Placement Committee held a Facilitation Workshop for members and a Placement Fair in March
detailing committee functions. We welcomed 32 new Actives, 46 Provisionals, and said “thank you” to 22
dedicated Actives who moved on to Sustainer status. Joy Harper Marshall received the Louise Seymour
Community Impact Award for her continued service to the community.
The Association of Junior Leagues International held their Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Carol Kleiner completed her first year as President and the conference delegates passed an external policy
regarding domestic violence against women and its effect on children.
The sixty-eighth year of the Junior League of Monroe, 1997-98, proved to be a year of grand public
awareness for the programming of the League. This year heralded the 25th Anniversary of the cotton country
collection cookbook. Under the lead of chairman Sara Greene, the 25th Anniversary Committee hosted a
Monroe Chamber of Commerce After Hours fete and the Celebration.
Our focus area of Women- and Children-at-Risk was continued while the new focus area for the years
1999-2002 was researched and established. The Community Research/Programming Development Committee
labeled our new focus area as “Family Matters,” and next year will see some transition programs in that area. A
tightened budget of $136,143 allowed us to place $93,647 into the community through programming.
The Women- and Children-at-Risk Committee held its third annual Growing Up Strong (G.U.S.) Day
Camp for 22 children from abusive households and continued visits with the children at play days. Committee
members took meals to the day shelter at the Y.W.C.A. monthly, bought and decorated a Christmas tree for the
shelter, and assisted mothers who were attempting to get into the workforce with clothing and advice.
Social Services assisted families in an extremely low-request year due to the mild winter from El Ninò.
The League assisted 163 families in immediate crisis situations. Seventy-six percent of these families were
single women and children. The committee administered $9,059.84 to aid in payment of electricity bills,
medication, food, clothes, and lodging for applicants provided by First Call for Help, a United Way agency.
Several women and children from the Battered Women’s Shelter were assisted with clothing from the Thrift
Shop as well. The Opportunity Knocks Committee offered assistance at numerous non-profit functions around
the community: Twin City Ballet Nutcracker performances, Operation Childwatch, G.U.S. Camp, March of
Dimes Mother of Distinction Awards Dinner, Mini-Grand Prix for Ronald McDonald House, Northeast
Louisiana Health Fair, Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament, and American Cancer Society Daffodil Sale.
Adolescent Intervention spent hours as it planned for a national speaker, John Rosemond, to visit the
Twin Cities in August 1998, distributed 600 Who Can Help Me! booklets to junior high schools and state
agencies, sponsored a Boy Scout Troop at an at-risk school, and funded a self-esteem awards program at an area
middle school.
Education Task Force initiated an ACT Workshop in conjunction with the Learning Source for at-risk
seniors. Twenty students attended the workshop, with two bettering their scores to enable them to attend the
Scholars’ Banquet. The committee raised additional funds to offer 78 mini-grants to 90 area teachers in the
amount of $13,383. The Scholars’ Banquet was a huge success again with 171 high school seniors being
honored and with the Junior League taking a more active role as Janet Breard acted as the Mistress of
Ceremonies. The efforts made by the League in Education garnered us the J. C. Penney Golden Rule Award for
Our SPAC/PAC Committee attended statewide meetings to form a more organized advocacy voice. The
Committee handled the publicity and programs for the Women’s Wellness Day with featured speaker “Dr.
Mom”; and additional members of other committees developed and implemented the first annual Childwatch,
with the day revolving around visits to childcare facilities.
Our fundraising committees worked extremely hard this year to increase monies to be used in next
year’s budget. The Ways and Means Committee put on a fantastic “Blues on the Bayou” dinner/dance which
netted over $40,000. The Ways & Means Committee continued the research for the next fundraiser –– a spring
market due to be held in February 1999. The Cotton Country Corner Thrift Shop enjoyed continued success as
it was able to contribute over $18,000 to the League treasury; this year they instituted a successful Sustainer
Bundle Coffee where Sustainers could bring clothing to the League House and have the committee take it to the
Thrift Shop. A grand prize of $1,000 was offered to the member who donated the highest value of merchandise.
The Cotton Bayou Publications Committee’s Cooking School held several cooking schools this year with the
help of the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.
In November, the Cotton Bayou Publications Committee saw huge sales with the excitement of the 25th
Anniversary Celebration of the cotton country collection. With the experience and help of sustainer, Sara
Greene, this committee pulled off a highly successful gala at the League House honoring all of the past
cookbook chairmen, and entertaining about two hundred community leaders.
Marketing/Public Relations Committee sent Thanksgiving cards to our supporters, other organizations,
and community leaders. Admissions issued invitations to 49 Provisionals. The Community Coordinating
Committee finalized and presented next year’s budget, programming, and changes at the March and April
meetings. The Advisory Planning Committee suggested changes in age requirements, cookbook requirements,
and dues which were accepted by the membership. Education and Training brought in several speakers
throughout the year to discuss issues relevant to Women- and Children-at-Risk. House and Arrangements
Committee gave us beautiful decorations for each meeting as well as special events such as the Christmas Party.
The Nominating Committee spent many hours putting together a great slate of officers which were installed
and sent several League members to the ODI in Dallas.
The Sustainers on Standby were active this year, assisting greatly in the 25th Anniversary Party, the
Provisional reception, and hosting their own parties. The Provisional Committee completed the awesome task of
educating the Provisionals about all the functions of the League. Forty-one women were voted in as Active
members. The Provisional project saw GO CARE as recipients of casseroles and a stocked pantry.
The Placement Committee held a Facilitation Workshop, the “Strike Up the Bank” Placement Fair, and
Pats-on-the-Back for outstanding service. With a dedication to enhancing membership satisfaction, committee
members spent more time in contact with their advisees. An updated and revised Placement Manual was printed
for members to understand more about the commitments needed for each committee.
The Association of Junior Leagues International held its Annual Conference in Orlando, using the theme
“Women with Vision: Inspiring Shared Solutions.” Carol Kleiner finished her term as President, and Clotilde
Dedecker became the new Association President. The Junior Leagues delegates passed external policies on
Voluntarism, School Readiness, and Domestic Violence Against Women.
The sixty-ninth year of the Junior League of Monroe, 1998-99, was filled with challenges and
accomplishments. Our focus area of Women- and Children-at-Risk was continued while we voted on programs
for our new focus area “Family Matters” to be implemented 1999-2002.
The Women- and Children-at-Risk Committee held its fourth annual Growing Up Strong (G.U.S.)
Camp, a week-long summer day camp for children from abusive households. Later in the year, the committee
took the children out for “Play Day” and enjoyed skating and pizza in the park. They purchased small
appliances and kitchen items for the Y.W.C.A. transitional housing for those families leaving the shelter but not
yet ready to be on their own. The committee also purchased computer software for the Y.W.C.A. learning lab.
Social Services Committee administered $12,000 to assist over 200 families in immediate crisis
situations. Opportunity Knocks helped out in the community “as needed” for many organizations including
United Way “Day of Caring, ” The Children’s Museum, Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament, Ronald McDonald
House, Youth House, and Our House.
Adolescent Intervention brought in national speaker, Dr. John Rosemond, to talk about improving
family life. The committee held a self-esteem workshop for girls aged 9-12 to promote positive self-awareness
and build self-confidence. Through this committee the League donated to the city and parish school systems
computerized dolls to be used to simulate caring for an infant.
Education Task Force funded 58 mini-grants totaling over $10,000 to area teachers for classroom
projects. The committee sponsored an ACT workshop for at-risk seniors who wanted to improve their test
scores. They also worked on the sixteenth Scholars’ Banquet, which honors outstanding high school graduates.
Our PAC Committee helped sponsor and promote a self-esteem book, You Are Sunshine, which was
given to all kindergarten students in the state. Through Operation Childwatch the committee sought to raise
public awareness about the need to improve the quality of child/day-care in Ouachita Parish. They ran PSA’s on
the radio to inform the public what to look for in choosing a day-care center and held in-service training for area
day-care workers.
The Provisional Class chose Mercy Ministries as their project for the year. They purchased a washer and
dryer for the home, along with providing a meal one a month for the girls.
Community Research/Program Development presented and the League voted in a three-year plan of
projects for our new focus area, “Family Matters.” Two major programs were voted in that will impact our area
for years to come. “First Steps” is a hospital-based program that trains volunteers to provide education, support
and referrals to postpartum mothers. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program assists abused and
neglected children in the Fourth Judicial District for Ouachita and Morehouse Parishes. The CASA committee
has already secured $81,000 in grants to help fund this much-needed program to train community volunteers to
serve as advocates for the children.
Cotton Bayou Publications and Cotton Country Corner Thrift Shop continued to be important avenues
for raising funds for our community projects. The first annual Spring Garden & Gift Market involved the total
League membership in bringing an educational and social event to our region. This very successful market
featured garden exhibits, lectures and demonstrations, and booths offering quality merchandise.
Charlons kept the membership and community informed of League activities with a theme for each
issue. Marketing/Public Relations boosted the League’s image through newspaper articles concerning League
projects and publicity for our Spring Market.
We welcomed 36 new Actives, 37 Provisionals, and 30 dedicated Actives who moved on to Sustainer
status. Jamie Pettway received the Louise Seymour Community Impact Award for her continued service to the
The Association of Junior Leagues International held their Fall Conference in Beverly Hills; the
President-Elect Conference in New Orleans; and, the Annual Conference in St. Louis. In addition to sending
delegates to the conferences, we sent members to AJLI Organizational Development Institutes in Austin and
Las Vegas.
The seventy first year of the Junior League of Monroe culminated with the showing of a new
Marketing/PR video at the Homecoming Dinner. This video serves as a wonderful piece for past, present, and
future members of our organization, because it captures the spirit and the success of the Junior League in our
2000-2001 programming reflected the focus of “Family Matters.” Adolescent Intervention continued
with the Growing Up Strong (G.U.S.) Camp and hosted a self-esteem workshop. Education Task Force awarded
mini-grants to area teachers and co-sponsored the Ouachita Parish Scholars Banquet, ACT workshops, and a
nationally know speaker. The SPAC/PAC committees continued public awareness with a Hepatitis B campaign
and a legislative candidate’s forum. Social Services continued their valuable assistance to people in the
community. New, successful committees started in this calendar year were Court Appointed Special Advocate
(CASA) and First Steps.
The three areas of fundraising were successful as well. Cookbook sales within Cotton Bayou
Publications remained very stable. The Cotton Country Corner was moved and renamed Bloomingdeals, which
contributed to increased sales in our resale shop. Additionally the second year of the Spring Garden and Gift
Market expanded with a certain growth potential in the future.
The successes of the year were beautifully preserved in the four issues of Charlons. Circulation and ad
sales reached an all-time high.
We added 65 provisionals, 33 new actives, and moved 21 actives to sustainer status. Honored at a Silver
Tea were 35 sustainer members who have served the Junior League of Monroe for 50+ years. Also honored was
AJLI Executive Director Jane Silverman.
The 1999-2000 financial contribution to the community through 40 community agencies was $111,000.
Volunteers contributed approximately 18,000 volunteer hours.
The seventy second year of the Junior League of Monroe was filled with many successful projects as the
programming continued to reflect the focus of “Family Matters”.
Adolescent Intervention had a busy year sponsoring the 6th year of G.U.S. (Growing up Strong) Camp, a
G.U.S. Camp Reunion, Self Esteem Lock-in and assisted in providing funds for area teachers to attend a
CASA had a 260% increase in the number of children served, due to lot of “firsts” this year including hosting
the first annual CASA barn party, hiring an executive director, opening an independent office and coordinating
a Spring Symposium. CRPD brought Project CHILD on board. First Steps reached their goal of 250 mothers
receiving education and support from their committee. Education Task Force continued to award mini-grants,
co-sponsored the ACT workshop and participated in the Scholars Banquet. Charlons made remarkable changes,
including a brand new look and increased ad sales.
Fundraising efforts excelled this year with Cotton Bayou Publications actively selling our two cookbooks. They
exceeded $100,000 in sales by reprinting a third cookbook from 1943, 333 Favorite Recipes. Bloomingdeals
continued to thrive with sale s over $75,000. Fudraising success continued throughout the year, with the third
annual Spring Market enlarging its venue and raising over $90,000. Many new features included Shop ‘til you
Drop, Baking on the Bayou, Style Shows and a very successful Preview Party. The league membership
increased with the addition of 25 provisional for the 2001 year.
During the summer, Adolescent Intervention chaired by Cathy Whipple and Keri Wall hosted its annual G.U.S.
(Growing up Strong) camp and G.U.S. Camp reunion in conjunction with the YMCA. Later in the year, this
committee hosted a Girls Lock-in with the assistance of the West Monroe & Tri-District Boys & Girls Club.
The First Steps committee, chaired by Jan Daniels and Jana Neal, provided education, support and referrals to
at-risk mothers. The committee also trained seven new volunteers.
The Education Task Force committee chaired by Dawn Sager had a very busy year. The committee began with
awarding 38 mini-grants totaling over $10,000 to area teachers. The teachers were honored with a reception in
October. Next this committee, in conjunction with The Learning Tech, sponsored two ACT Workshops . And
finally, they participated in the 18th annual Scholars Banquet honoring 180 students with GPA’s of 3.5 or above
and who scored 23 or above on the ACT.
CASA hosted their annual fund-raiser, the CASA Barn Dance. It was a huge success raising over $24,000 for
the organization. CASA was co-chaired by Regina McCarthy and Debora Colvin.
The SPAC/PAC committee, chaired by Ashley Manning, continued to stay current on public affairs issues and
educated League members on topics of relevance.
Fund Development, chaired by Kyle Wooldridge, seeked to contain fund-raising efforts to one committee and
look for future corporate support. They also worked on the formation of the Endowment committee.
The Ways and Means committee, co-chaired by Susan Clausen and Sandy McMillan, planned and organized the
fourth annual Spring Market. The committee worked many hours to ensure the success of this event for the
merchants and the many market visitors from Monroe and surrounding areas. The membership support and
3,000 volunteer hours all contributed to reaching our goal of raising over $100,000 for community projects.
Cooking School under the leadership of Charlynn Leehy and Lynna Caples hosted several cooking schools for
visiting groups and civic organizations.
The Marketing and PR committee, led by Chris Frostenson, worked tirelessly to promote the Junior League.
The committee worked through various media outlets to let the community know of the projects and events
undertaken by the League.
CCC chaired by Martha Ryan voted to change the league’s focus from “Family Matters” to “Women Building
Better Communities”.
In addition, $25,000 was awarded to the Community Outreach of Ouachita for their summer exposure”
program. Also, this committee proposed the new committee project “Willing to Wait”.
Under the leadership of the Social Services Chairperson, Lynne Thomas, the league assisted over 200 families
during the year.
Education and Training Committee co-chaired by Patti Nelson and Kelly Aaen worked hard to provide
motivational and educational speakers for the general meetings. The highlight of the year was the Health Fair at
the April meeting.
The Placement Committee, chaired by Lynn Duncan, worked hard to keep the lines of communication open in
the league and place individuals on respective committees.
Charlons continues to thrive under the leadership of chairman, Sue Ellen Cascio. This publication continues to
be a great tool to educate the community of the league’s various activities and projects.
The Provisional committee and co-chairs, Caron McPherson and Carol Squires, instructed 20 new provisional
members on the history and internal workings of the league. Provisionals worked on the Council on Aging,
Spring Market and Project CHILD.
House and Arrangements was co-chaired by Melanie Snuggs and Nina Wesley. This committee coordinated the
menus, set up and clean up for all the General Meetings and Board Meetings.
The Nominating committee prepared the slate of candidates to the Executive Board. This committee was led by
Ginger Knight.
The seventy third year was literally a ground breaking year as we began construction on a four bedroom
Habitat for Humanity Home. We contributed $17,000 and with St. Paul’s Methodist Church, volunteers worked
most Saturdays for 10 months.