November 29, 2010

Alys Grace ad in the Almanac: Extraordinary Women; Jennie L. & Kim B, 2010 Co-Chairs for the Home Tour & Boutique and Kathleen C. & Helen U., the co-chair elects for next year's Home Tour.

November 27, 2010

Helping Families Thrive: Fostering Families Committee Begins Workshops

Re-printed from the Winter 2010 Piper
By: Joy Peacock, Community Vice President, 2010-11

Fostering Families is one of our Community Projects and was featured in our Fall 2010 Piper magazine. This reprint features the upcoming classes planned for this League Year.


At the beginning of each session, children will be grouped with a leader for dinner that includes a fun “ice breaker” to establish a social connection. They will be given an opportunity to practice and improve their basic everyday etiquette. Following dinner, the children will participate in a craft project related to the evening's curriculum. After completing the craft, the children will re-group to practice in social transitions. The new group will engage in a team-building exercise that explores emotional expression and how that affects their ability to communicate with others. At the conclusion of the evening, the children will return to their original group and be given an opportunity to share their experiences. A take-home packet reinforces each evening’s program.

Self Esteem
Sept 13th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM
Oct 4th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM

This first curriculum will focus on personal development and a child’s sense of self through games and exercises relative to the topics below. Following dinner, the children will participate in a craft project that explores and affirms the inherent good in every child, fostering self-esteem and exploring their inner voice (self-talk).
• Self-Talk
• How to Communicate with Friends and Family
• The Concept of Self-Esteem
• Listening Skills
• Interpersonal Communication

Nov 8th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM
Conflict Resolution
Jan 10th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM (to volunteer for this click here)

The second curriculum will focus on interpersonal communication and improving a child’s communication skills through games and exercises relative to the topics below. Following dinner, the children will participate in a craft project that focuses on how they feel in their relationships with family, healthy assertiveness, and managing conflict.
• Assertiveness at Home and at School
• Managing Conflict
• Maintaining Good Emotional Health
• Emotional Expressiveness

Respectful Behavior
Feb 7th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM (to volunteer for this click here)
Anger Management
Mar 7th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM (to volunteer for this click here)

The third curriculum will focus on relationships and helping a child understand their value in relationships through games and exercises relative to the topics below. Following dinner, the children will participate in a craft project that focuses on how they feel in their relationships with family and friends, the power of respectful behavior, and the damage caused by un-harnessed anger.
• The Impact of Respectful and Responsible Behavior
• The Impact of Abuse and Dishonesty
• Anger Management Techniques
• Community Development

Get Involved!
This year, to further support Fostering Families you can volunteer to be either an assistant at one of the sessions described above, or help prepare and serve dinner. Actives can fulfill their DIAD obligation and get a sneak peek of the project for possible placement on next year's committee! Open to Provisionals, Actives and Sustainers, you can even
bring your family (children over 12 welcome) to prepare dinner. For more information, please see our website,

Our next DIAD shift is Monday, January 10th. Available shifts are for Kitchen Assistants 4:30-6:30pm and Table Assistants (assisting the children with projects) 5-8:15pm. Sign up online: Member Area/Volunteer Shifts (in Quick Links), choose January, 10 2011.

November 26, 2010

Sprinkles Home Tour Cupcake!!

The Finishing Touches Holiday Home Tour is the Event of the Year,
And what better than Sprinkles Cupcakes to bring you good cheer.
From Nov 29-Dec 3 special Home Tour cupcakes make their debut,
All proceeds benefit the Home Tour so please have a few.
The peppermint frosting must have come straight from heaven,
And we promise not to tell if you have one, two or seven.
Hurry on over to Sprinkles at the Center Stanford Shopping,
Or pick some up while Home Tour Boutique hopping.
There will be many new exciting vendors sure to intrigue,
Come show your support for Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula Junior League!

The Sprinkles Home Tour cupcake promotion is 11/29-12/3. Purchase the Home Tour cupcake at the Sprinkles at Stanford Shopping center and the proceeds go back to the League.

Top Ten Things I Learned at ODI

By Amy Truel

I meant to write this article a month ago-really. I had such a great experience at ODI (Organizational Development Institute) in Houston and there was so much I wanted to share. But, I came back to my life-my busy, busy life. You know the deal.

So there I was, one month later, on a 7 hour car ride to Newport Beach for Thanksgiving and something really cool happened. I thought, “I’m going to come up with the top 10 things I learned at ODI and it will be genuine since I have to do it all from memory.” I didn’t have my notes, but I did have my iPad, some noise canceling headphones, and a strong desire not to listen to Prince of Persia which the kids were watching in the backseat :) I’m sure it is a great movie, but I want to watch it, not listen to it.

So here you go, the product of my procrastination:

Top 10 things Iearned at ODI no particular order)

1. It is easy to finish a book when you have a weekend without your kids. Loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!

2. The Houston Junior League HQ is a palace and they even have their own parking garage.

3. We are a 110 year old women's movement. It is true because Vicki Clark says it is so.

4. Humanity: look for the good in people and focus on that. Sara Speer Selber evoked a lot of emotion around the room when she dared to mix things up and challenge some common beliefs. Read for yourself here.

5. We need to do a better job communicating what we want from our external partners. We worry so much about what we have to offer that we sometimes forget to think about what we want out of the relationships.

6. Toiletry drives are great when you are staying in a hotel! I collected two large bags full of toiletries to benefit domestic violence victims at Next Door Solutions, our DIAD November toiletry drive.

7. Some leagues offer Affinity Groups like Book Clubs or Running Clubs. Not sure if we’ve tried this before but sounded like a good idea to me.

8. Motivate by being passionate and tapping into what members are passionate about.

9. We are a part of something so much bigger and should capitalize on collective resources. How cool would it be to have buddies in similar roles at other leagues to chat with? Be sure to check out the AJLI Website for helpful info!

10. You can design your league focus around one issue and still appeal to a variety of member interests. DIAD can help by providing a broader focus for balance. I have to admit I was skeptical when I first heard about leagues that focused on one issue, but thoughtful planning can make it work. Check out how they do it in Phoenix here.

Thanks for this amazing opportunity-I really enjoyed it, learned a lot, and met some great league members from all over the country. I have lots of handouts for anyone with a burning desire to learn more about Achieving Community Impact!

Amy Truel is currently serving as a co-chair for our Done in a Day (DIAD) committee.

November 22, 2010

Next Door Solutions Toiletry Drive

By Melissa Hollatz

I just got back from dropping off the first batch of toiletries at Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, the beneficiary of our November toiletry drive ( We’ve collected two full bins already, and we still have through the end of November to continue our collections.

What a great group of Junior Leaguers we have to give so generously – our donations really make a difference to the women and children who flee their abusers and are unable to bring anything with them. There were three women in the lobby when I went by, and they looked just like anyone I pass on the street every day. It’s horrible to think of how much violence goes on that we just don’t know about. Sadly, Next Door’s shelter ran at around 97% of its capacity last year, and it doesn’t look like things are slowing down.

Did you know last year Next Door answered over 10,000 calls to their hotline, served hundreds of women and children in its shelter, and thousands more through its advocacy work, drop in safety planning, and other programs? Thank you to everyone who contributed to the drive (and, by the way, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for someone who already has everything, I think a donation to Next Door in their name might be just the ticket!).

Next Door just did a teen survey where 2/3 of the teenagers surveyed said they knew of people in abusive relationships, and where 17% admitted to committing abuse themselves and another 20% were experiencing it. Terrible statistics, and it makes me think of what important work Next Door is doing and it makes me proud that we can help. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed.

Melissa is a Board Member at Next Door Solutions and a member of the Done in a Day (DIAD) Committee. Along with fellow League members Liz Webb and Kate Yagen, Melissa is coordinating the drives for DIAD this year.

Spotted: That Inspiring Little Girl at Safeway

By Cynthia Muñoz

Those of you who attended the November General Meeting might appreciate this.

At 8:30 on Saturday morning, my husband, son and I stopped at a Starbucks in Almaden Valley for some morning caffeine. As we're leaving the parking lot, we drive by the front of the Safeway and I spot a little girl standing in front, with what appears to be a violin in her hands. I take a second look and also see who I think is her father sitting in a lawn chair by her, a collection bucket of some sort, and a poster with some graphics that I vaguely recognize. I realized it was the little girl that Poppy Pembroke (from the Second Harvest Food Bank) talked about during her presentation to us!

I couldn't believe it and I started excitedly telling my husband about her inspiring story of being appalled that there were children who went without food and decided she wanted to help raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank by playing violin for donations. My husband thought I was a little nutty for being so excited about it, like I just saw Brad Pitt standing there playing violin or something, but what a coincidence! (And in the end, he did agree that she was one amazing little girl.) How proud her parents must be of her! I thought about my own little guy in the backseat and I hoped we'd be able to teach him to be as selfless.

Tonight at dinner, he announced he wanted to go through his toys and pick out things to give to kids who don't have toys. Don't know if it's motivated by thinking of others and being thankful for how much he has, or if it's because his birthday AND Christmas are coming up and he's trying to make room for new stuff. I didn't ask too many questions. I just enjoyed the moment and chalked it up to a great start for an almost-six-year-old.

November 19, 2010

November Provisional Meeting Recap: Focus on Fundraising

By Adi Raz

The second Provisional meeting of the year really helped us get in the holiday spirit! It is always so exciting to see all of the Provisionals in one room-so much positive energy is contagious. I think a lot of us were still on the sugar rush from the Sprinkles Cupcakes at the General Meeting.

(Be sure to visit Sprinkles Cupcakes at Stanford Shopping Center 11/29-12/3 to purchase the special Home Tour cupcake. All proceeds from the sales of this cupcake will benefit the JLPA•MP and our Community Projects)

After being treated to a delicious meal of pasta, salad, and those amazing olive rolls, we were all set to get started. I love how the Provisionals who plan the meeting get to introduce the speakers. It was especially sweet to see a daughter Provisional introduce her mother Sustainer. It served as a reminder that the Junior League transcends the generational gap and is a family within a family.

The theme of the November meeting was Fundraising and we got to hear all about the different ways the Junior League raises funds for its various Community Projects. It was really interesting to learn about the Endowment Fund and how one can contribute to it. We heard an update from The Shop and got excited to do a little holiday shopping there. And of course, who can forget the Home Tour, which is looking to be the most glittering event on everyone’s event calendar. Beautifully decorated homes, a cocktail party, and a holiday boutique-who can resist? (Tickets are still available!!!)

My favorite part of the evening was the Done-In-a-Meeting Project. I don’t think I have ever had more fun wrapping empty boxes, and I know they will look so beautiful under our tree at Home Tour. We also collected more utensils to make ornaments for the Kids in the Kitchen themed tree. Although we may have arrived in our heels and work clothes, nothing stopped us from sitting cross-legged on the floor, gabbing and wrapping boxes. The Done-In-a-Meeting Project really represents the heart and soul of what Junior League is all about: helping to build communities (one roll of wrapping paper at a time).

To learn more about our Community Projects, click here
To learn more about the JLPA•MP Endowment Fund, click here
To follow The Shop on Facebook, click here
To learn more about and purchase tickets for Finishing Touches: A Holiday Tour of Fine Homes & Boutique, click here

November 16, 2010

November is Inspirational Role Models Month

posted by Summer Brill

November is Inspirational Role Models Month, did you know that? I didn’t either, until Amy Truel (DIAD co-chair) told me today. She told me she found out by reading the AJLI (Association of Junior Leagues International) Blog Connected. The AJLI ( has a wonderful website full of interesting articles, links to a blog (yes, they have one too!) links to their Facebook and Twitter and access to AJLI membership.

Read this post on the AJLI blog about Inspirational Role Models Month and chime in on the AJLI comment section. We also want to hear from you here! If you have an Inspirational Role Model, tell us (send to and we’ll post on our Blog or self post on our Facebook Page (

Who inspires you and why? I’ll start…

My Inspirational Role model is my friend Jill. We’ve known each other since our days at Arizona State University. She now lives in Chicago and I’m in California, but we keep in touch via Facebook, text and email. Although she is a plane ride away, she continues to inspire me with her thoughtfulness and unending support for her friends in need.

When my brother was in Iraq with the Marines, she started sending him letters and included funny articles, notes from her friends and general words of thanks and encouragement. She was not close with my brother before he left to serve, and I’m not sure they met more than a handful of times either. I did not ask her to write, she did it on her own. It didn’t take a lot of time, but her impact was great. He told us how getting letters from non-family members really lifted his morale and that of his fellow Marines.

A few years ago, a friend of hers had a daughter who became very ill and continues to rehabilitate to this day. From the very beginning, Jill rallied support among her friends, family and coworkers to lend encouragement and support to this friend of hers. I began to follow the progress of this young girl and even donated to one of the many many fundraisers put on by Jill and her friends to support this family. I’ve never met her friend nor the little girl, but I think about them often and keep tabs on them and lend support from afar, because Jill brought them to my attention.

And she continues to keep this family in the minds of those around her by continuing fundraising efforts through runs and activities. Just last week she climbed the Sears Tower in honor of her friends in need! These are just a few of the ways Jill supports those around her. She is the first one to participate in any donation or drive. She doesn’t hesitate ever to support those in need. She inspires me to lend support great and small.

See, that wasn’t so bad! Share! Tell us who your Inspirational Role Model is. Need some “inspiration”? Read the AJLI Blog post here, then send us your Role Model and why, we’ll share on our Blog. Or, share yourself on our Facebook Page (

You can access the AJLI member area with your AJLI number. It is located in your profile in our Member Directory. In the Member Area, choose ME on the Quick Links section. In your profile, the second box down has your AJLI Member ID. You can use this on the AJLI website ( to create a unique login and password. Still can’t find it? Contact

November 02, 2010

The First Provisional Meeting of 2010-11

By Madeleine Douglass

The year’s first Provisional Meeting went off without a hitch. First of all, the food was delicious. An evening of listening to inspiring JL stories becomes even better when butternut squash ravioli is brought into the mix! It was great to see all the familiar faces from the Retreat again too, as we had had a Mentor Group dinner between the general meeting and this Provisional meeting but hadn’t had a chance to get the whole class in the same room again.

Naomi Chavez-Peters was such a charismatic and engaging speaker that it was hard not to be in awe of all things AJLI. It doesn’t hurt that our group’s table won some candy to snack on during the talks! It was a great behind-the-scenes look at the larger community we have all just joined, and it really gave me a sense of pride to be involved in such global service efforts. The video of the Katrina relief trips, of course, made everyone tear up – not just because of the hardship these families have endured, but because of the way JL groups from across the nation came together at a time of need. It truly demonstrated that we are all connected in our mission.
Polly Neumann’s introduction to SPAC was just as inspiring in a different way. SPAC incorporates real women’s ideas into statewide legislature to not only help where help is needed, but to try to curb that need and creative positive preventative measures for all Californians. It was great to hear exactly how our ideas can be turned into something concrete that has real effects on our state.

My favorite part of the meeting, however, was the DIAD project – I miss the days when paper-cup phones were all we needed! Drawing old-school phones on the cups, our table joked about how these kids wouldn’t even recognize them; and then, seriously commented that we wished they had these lessons for everyone these days. It’s a great cause that JL has taken up, and it was fun to get an inside look at those “little steps,” like paper doll decorating or cup-phone construction, that make it all possible.

In the end, though we’re all busy and life is hectic these days, going to each JL meeting only makes me more excited for the next!

November 01, 2010

The Shop: Not a Rummage Sale Anymore!

By Tara Roussel

Far surpassing its humble beginnings, The Shop, our long profitable resale shop on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park, is celebrating 40 years!

About 50 Shop customers and volunteers visited our 40th anniversary celebration last week to honor this institution and all the good work it has funded in our community. Shop co-chair Jan Woolsey said a great time was had by all, but especially by four lucky attendees who won one of our League’s original cookbooks, Private Collection: Recipes from the Junior League of Palo Alto. Quite a lucky thing, since those books are selling, used, for $67.50 on Amazon!

Said Jan of the Union Bank-financed celebration: “It was a really fun way to honor people involved in The Shop over its entire 40-year history.” Several past Shop Committee Chairs were there, as was the wonderful Shop staff. Congratulations to The Shop staff and volunteers, and thanks to our generous sponsor Union Bank for all the fun!

If you have a donation to bring to The Shop, please drop it at the back door Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Then, stay to shop! See a complete wish list here, along with more info on hours. Thanks for supporting The Shop!

Proceeds from The Shop help support our Community Projects, to learn more about our Community Projects, please visit our website.

The Shop is located at 785 Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. Follow The Shop on Facebook

Ode to ODI

By Lisa Malloy

Sorry, you won't find any lyrical rhyming here...maybe I should have consulted Ashley Roussel, who I am personally recommending as League Chanteuse for 2011-2012...but hopefully you'll find a little kernel of leadership inspiration you can use somewhere in your life. If not, I'll settle for a chuckle. Hey, give me a break, I needed a title!

If you want to learn how to sell cookbooks, talk to the ladies from Texas. I never will be able to resist a homemade peanut butter cup! Speaking of target marketing, communicating to all "generations" of the League from veterans to boomers to Gen X'ers and Gen Y'ers isn't one size fits all. If we want sustainer participation, the blog or facebook probably won't get them in the door. An evite works for me, while my nieces prefer facebook "events" and my mom is still a Hallmark-junkie! Communication = sent + received + understood.

Want your kids to impress Grandma or that cute fireman at the annual pancake breakfast? A little trick to help kids learn which glass is theirs at a formal table: Hold both hands in front of you, palms facing each other. Using the tips of your thumb and forefinger, make circles on each hand. The remaining three fingers in each hand point upwards. Your left hand will form a "b" and your right hand will form a "d". Bread plate (b) is on the left, and drink (d) is on the right. (Now, about that soup, I don't think you can blame me for "going left" when it was served AFTER the main course...)

Recruiting isn't about the mission statement, it's about the impact you can make on potential members. Rather than memorizing the mission & vision and reciting them verbatim, put your own spin on it! JLPA-MP - a group of fabulous women learning together and making a difference in the community. Your passion will come through. Diversity isn't just about the numbers, it's about inclusion. It doesn't matter if we can check off all the "boxes", if everyone doesn't feel part of the League. I bet you're wondering where should we hold the next meeting?

Yes, you can wear a white sweater (or cowboy boots or peep-toe shoes or - insert favorite fashion item here - ) in October in Houston.

We've all probably seen the commercial about hiding the veggies in the Spaghettios and my mother-in-law "hides" the spinach in the about hiding the training in the meeting? Did you know that Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 and runs to October 15? You do now!! September 15 is significant as the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.

Knowledge only helps the organization if it is passed's not too early to start thinking about your leadership transitions. Fill up those Committee forums, Council Assistants! Be sure to use your "big girl voice" to suggest improvements, too.

Paper airplanes aren't just for kids. Next time you see me, ask me about it! First, I'll thank you for reading this far in my blog post and then I'll tell you the story. Great for all the event planners among us.

Oh, and Dad can handle a 10 month old for 72 hours while you have a little "me" time...ok, there was that peach-rice-pudding for dinner incident. No harm, no foul!

Thanks for the opportunity to represent the League at ODI!

ODI: Organizational Development Institutes are a series of trainings sponsored by the AJLI (Association of Junior Leagues International). For more information, visit the AJLI website at . To access the member area, retrieve your AJLI number from your profile in our Member Directory.