After nearly 75 years, the Junior League of Corpus Christi continues to work toward improving the Coastal Bend community through early childhood education and literacy awareness.
Special to INSPIRE COASTAL BEND
Photos by: D’yan Lopez Garza
The women in red. Who are they? They are the women with a vision to make a change in our Coastal Bend community. They are teachers, mothers, small business owners and counselors – everyday women working in the trenches.
When Lorine Jones Spoots started having meetings in her home parlor in 1937, she started a movement in Corpus Christi. Almost 75 years and thousands of volunteers later, the Junior League of Corpus Christi (JLCC) continues on as group of dedicated women who are working diligently to better our community through early childhood education and literacy awareness.
“When you see the red shirt, you know that something important is happening,” says Natalie Villarreal, public relations chair. “We want the kids in our community to remember an organization that cared and created positive change in their lives.”
Many members of the community can recall major projects such as the Texas State Aquarium and Cole Park that the ladies in red have helped with. However, over the years, the strategy for JLCC has changed.
In order to provide a more concentrated effort, JLCC, with the same mission statement, has changed their focus to “child welfare.” The plan includes a three-year community action plan targeting early childhood development. Programs will targets children ages 0 to 6 from a financially deficit area of Corpus Christi. JLCC volunteers will focus on literacy, nutrition, cognitive skills and physically activity.
Here are some examples of JLCC’s latest projects:
Christmas Tree Forest Exhibit:
In collaboration with the Art Museum of South Texas and H-E-B, during the month of December, more than 7,000 children and families visit a reading wonderland of decorated Christmas trees. Trees are decorated by local schools, and after the exhibit closes, the Antonio E. Garcia Arts & Education Center donates the trees to families in need.
Cinderella’s Closet: More than 700 high-school students have gone through the doors of Cinderella’s Closet in order to provide them a positive experience for a milestone event in their lives: prom! Young women receive mentoring, education and professional training as part of their experience. The idea of empowering young women is an important component that drives JLCC. Beginning in 2017, community partner Dress for Success will be taking over the project, allowing JLCC to focus on the ages 0-6 initiative.
Kids in the Kitchen: This initiative is grounded in the belief that children who are empowered with the knowledge of how to feed and exercise their bodies will be less likely to become obese and have fewer health risks. The fun includes menu planning, budgeting, meal prep and of course, eating yummy foods!
Story Time: Family literacy is promoted through literacy programs at targeted early childhood development centers which include reading aloud to children, providing valuable reading material and tools for activities.
How Can You Get Involved?
1/ Volunteer: In the spring of every year, JLCC invites dedicated women to join the women red. If you are interested in making a change in our community, go to www.jlcc.org to learn more.
2/ Donate: Community projects cost money, and the only way to get things done is through the generous support of JLCC sponsors.
3/ Attend fundraisers: The JCLL Rummage Sale and Run Amuck Mud Run are the two signature fundraisers for the league.
For more information, visit www.jlcc.org.