March 14, 2017

Looking Forward: JLPA•MP Board of Directors Passes Inclusion Statement

Looking Forward: JLPA•MP Board of Directors Passes Inclusion Statement
This fall, the JLPA•MP Board of Directors approved the League’s first formal Inclusion Statement. We went behind the scenes to learn about the process that brought this statement to life and what it means for our League. What follows are excerpts from a conversation between Communications Committee Member Chiara Sani and Board Member-At-Large Michelle Rodriguez Flores, who chairs the ad-hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is a Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager at VMware.
What was the genesis of the Inclusion Statement?
The Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) has been empowering Leagues to become more inclusive and has provided great resources and guidance to our League. The inclusion message sent by AJLI really resonated with JLPA•MP President Sara Hollister, who reached out to me because of my professional work in this field. Sara is a leader with a vision and she is very passionate about inclusion. Within our League there has been a lot interest in and many conversations on the subject.
What were the next steps?
Last year the JLPA•MP Board decided to create an ad-hoc committee to work on inclusion strategy. Because of my passion for the subject and my years of professional experience, the Board invited me to work on the inclusion strategy for the JLPA•MP.
Can you tell us more about why this process is important now?
The JLPA•MP is a very welcoming group, but we are still faced with the stereotype of what a woman in the League does or looks like. Rolling out a JLPA•MP inclusion strategy is an important step toward reflecting the reality of our League, retaining great members, as well as, recruiting new members who can feel they are part of an organization that values their roots, background and experiences.


So the Inclusion Statement is about diversity? Can you elaborate?
In other words, diversity is making sure we have the best mix of members that reflects our broader community and inclusion is making sure that the diversity mix works. We have to make sure that our environment is as inclusive as possible so that any woman who wants to contribute to our League can bring her full self, talents and leadership to make our League the best it can be.
Now that the Board has passed the Inclusion Statement, what are the next steps?
The strategy and the new Inclusion Statement were presented at the January General Membership Meeting. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will now leverage other groups within the League, to facilitate a strategic roll out. The goal will be making inclusion an integral part of what the League promotes, values and reflects, in all its aspects. The Board of Directors and the ad-hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee have a clear vision of how inclusion will improve how our League reflects and mirrors the demographics of our community.
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September 12, 2016

The Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula grants over $30,000 to local Non-Profits

Menlo Park, Calif. – Each year, Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula (JLPA•MP) supports local non-profits by funding new programs or specialized training for those in need. As part of its community focus on empowering girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), the 2016 grant awards selection criteria was based on relevance to this 2016 focus area. The committee members worked diligently to ensure all applications were carefully reviewed and considered for relevance to our focus area and League bylaws. After narrowing down the applications to six, the committee members then vetted the final proposals and presented to the board to vote.

16 local non-profit organizations submitted applications to the JLPA-MP and three distinct and worthy organizations were awarded this year’s grants:


Charlie Cart Project

Erica Wehrs conducted research and presented the grant proposal for Encinal Elementary, which was awarded $11,000 to launch the Charlie Cart Project. Charlie Cart is an educational program that connects lessons in Math and Science with Food and Cooking.

The Mouse Squad

Robin Hindry Enan researched and presented the proposal for The Mouse Squad, which was awarded $10,000 to help fund attendance for over 100 girls in grades 7-10 to Oracle’s Annual Dare 2B Digital Conference in February 2017.

The Tech Museum

Beth Greenberg researched and presented the Tech Museum proposal, which was awarded $10,000 to fund a toolkit for parents who are interested in fostering their daughter’s interest in STEM.

More information on the Community Grants process can be found at JLPA-MP Grants.

Celebrating 50 Years of Community Impact

Since its founding in 1965, the Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula has contributed thousands of volunteer hours to the local community, supported nearly 100 community service projects, and awarded grants to 192 area nonprofit organizations. In its 50 years, the League has tackled important social issues such as affordable housing, societal violence, literacy and education, homelessness, drug addiction, and at-risk children and youth.

The League has also played a key role in starting several local nonprofits, including The Tech Museum of Innovation, Daybreak Shelter, The Stanford Health Library, Rebuilding Together Peninsula, East Palo Alto Charter School, and Rosalie Rendu Center.

Additionally, delegates from JLPA•MP participate in the State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of California (SPAC), a non-partisan education and advocacy organization representing more than 11,000 women voters. SPAC’s efforts have resulted in passage of two critical bills dealing with domestic violence (Senate Bill 563) and health care (Assembly Bill 40).

About the Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula, Inc.

The Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula, Inc. (JLPA•MP) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The JLPA•MP serves the Peninsula communities of Atherton, Belmont, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, Stanford, Sunnyvale and Woodside, and invites women of all races, religions and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to voluntarism to join our ranks. For more information, visit www.thejuniorleague.org.

July 19, 2016

Technovation World Pitch Summit Awards

by Shelly Welch

Last week, I had the fortune of being invited to attend Technovation's World Pitch Summit Awards 2016 Ceremony. I was escorted from the sign-in table to a room full of large poster board displays and people milling around them. A young woman introduced herself. "I'm Grace," she showed me her ambassador badge.
She told me that she's a university student from Nigeria and asked me if I'd ever attended one of these events before.  I told her I hadn't, so she walked me to a table with a team from Cameroon, Africa.

A girl in traditional dress began to show me local agricultural products. She did her best to explain that her group was helping to connect regional farmers with the global marketplace. The whole Cameroon team learned English specifically to present their app in this competition. 

We walked to the other side of the room, where I saw an app called "OOL" by a girl from Mexico that connects volunteers with NGOs (non-governmental organizations). This app ended up winning the main prize in the high school division. Another app, "Loc8Don8", came from a local Bay Area team that compiles donation locations into one handy app, encouraging people to donate their extra stuff. This team won for the middle school division.

What stuck with me most is the simplicity of Technovation's premise: to tell girls "you are capable of changing the world" and here are some tools and coaches to guide you along the way.

What these girls create are mobile apps that do astounding things: help connect volunteers with nonprofits, reduce food waste in homes and on farms, educate their peers about self-acceptance, answer questions about sex, and what to do after high school.

I asked Grace how she came to be involved with Technovation. She told me that her team had won the previous year by creating an app for a garbage pickup service. She told me that with her app, people could call garbage carriers to pick up their garbage  or could report garbage in the street to be picked up by sending photos and locations. 

Grace asked me, "How did you become acquainted with this group?" I sold the League very simply, "I'm part of a organization that helps get girls into careers in technology and science." Her eyes lit up. "We're very glad to have you here."

January 19, 2016

Innovative Collaboration of Community Partners for The Tech Challenge Learning How To Soar

By Nan Acharya, Co-Chair / Tech Challenge

Displaying IMG_4924.jpgOn November 17th, 2015, the Junior League of Palo Alto Mid-Peninsula, in cooperation with the Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose and two peninsula schools, Synapse School and Charter Connect, launched its signature Girls in STEM project with a training for girls and League volunteers on the Tech Challenge. The Tech Challenge Committee (co-chaired by Kate Thome and Nandini Acharya) was on hand to welcome 15 League women, representatives from the Tech Museum and girls in grades 3-5 from Synapse School and Charter Connect. The purpose of the event was two-fold, to introduce the girls to the Tech Challenge and to train the League and parent mentors on how to best guide and encourage the girls (without doing the work for them!).

Displaying IMG_4906.jpgFirst, Abby Longcor, Director of the Tech Challenge at the Tech Museum reviewed with the girls how the challenge works, the timeline, the theme (flight!) and core requirements. Ms. Longcor emphasized the importance of planning and the role of experimentation and trial and error (emphasis on having fun and not being afraid to try out innovative ideas). The Tech Museum even set up a mock version of the test course to help the girls visualize the event. After reviewing the guidelines for the Challenge and answering some great questions from the girls, the girls engaged in a hand- on mini challenge involving creating a flying object and shepherding "Ant-man"in it across a short course. It was fantastic to see the interest sparked in the girls and the enthusiasm with which they embarked on the mini-challenge. Afterwards, the girls were given the opportunity to form teams and sign up to participate.

Displaying IMG_4915.jpgThe second half of the evening involved an engaging session again led by Ms. Longcor designed to prepare the League and parent volunteers to take on the role of an effective Tech Challenge team mentor. Ms. Longcor reviewed techniques and strategies to engage the girls, spark innovation and creativity, help them organize and project-plan but let them do the creative and scientific work. All in all, it was a fantastic event and the League, the Tech Challenge Committee and the schools are poised to launch weekly mentoring sessions at Synapse School for the girls starting in January and running through the Tech Challenge Day on April 23, 2016 at the Tech Museum. The League will underwrite the entrance and participation costs and purchase supplies for the girls. We can't wait to take flight!

January 15, 2016

Feature Friday: Vicki Clark

Not only is Vicki Clark the guest speaker at next week's GMM but also today’s #jlpamp_FeatureFriday!!

Vicki Clark, Organization Development Consultant/Trainer will be speaking about Diversity and Social & Cultural Inclusion. As one of the 7 elements of civic and community leadership for women in Junior Leagues, it is important for League members to continue to develop their skills, attitudes and knowledge in this area and move toward individual and organizational cultural competence. 

Here is more about Vicki:

How long have you been a consultant/trainer: I have been an independent trainer and consultant since 2002.  I provide training, consulting, speaking and writing and work with nonprofit, business and government groups. Looking back, the majority of my work in the business and nonprofit sector involved training others and leadership development.

Favorite part of your job: Getting to meet passionate, amazing, thoughtful people who want to change lives and communities and make the world a better place.

How many years you have worked with Junior League: I began training with Junior Leagues in 2000 during AJLIs 100th Anniversary.

How many Leagues have you spoken to? Have no idea. Have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a great many Leagues. Have provided training and consultation to Leagues in 47 states, in Canada and London League.

Any Non-Profit/ Foundation positions: Currently on the boards of two national non-profit organizations:  National Diaper Bank Network and Youth Volunteer Corps.

Hobbies: Movies/Theatre

Favorite vacation spot: HOME. I travel for work 300 days a year and home is my vacation spot.

Where is home? Memphis, TN.  Have also lived in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Houston

Fun Fact: I was queen of my Kindergarten class.  I am an only child of an only child.