December 30, 2011

'Robotripping' Law Takes Effect January 1, 2012

The following is from a press release regarding Senate Bill 514, prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter cold and cough medications containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. This bill was supported by the Junior Leagues of California's State Public Affairs Committee.

On January 1, California will become the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of over-the-counter cold and cough medications containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. Senate Bill 514, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian of Palo Alto, will require store clerks to check identification to ensure that no one under 18 purchases these medications, which are known to cause a potentially life-threatening high when consumed in high doses. 

According to WebMD and the Consumer Healthcare Productions Association, 1 in 10 teenagers say they’ve used DXM to get high – making it more popular than LSD, cocaine, ecstasy or meth. The California Poison Control System reports that DXM abuse calls for children under age 17 have increased 850% in the past ten years, making DXM abuse the most commonly reported type of abuse in this age group.

“The truth is that ingesting too much cough medicine can be as dangerous as abusing alcohol and other drugs,” Simitian said. “Until now, these drugs have been easy for young people to obtain. By putting age limitations on these drugs, we’re communicating to kids and their parents that, when used inappropriately, these are dangerous drugs with serious consequences.” 

Restricting the sale of DXM was a winning submission in Simitian’s 2004 “There Oughta Be a Law” contest from Wayne Benitez and Ron Lawrence, both with the Palo Alto Police Department at the time (Lawrence is now the Rocklin Police Chief). The legislation stalled in 2004, but Simitian successfully reintroduced the bill earlier this year. 

Senate Bill 514 was supported by the Junior Leagues of California's State Public Affairs Committee, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (manufacturers of these products), the California Peace Officers Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the California State Board of Pharmacy, among other groups. A violation of the new law will be an infraction. The law provides an exception for sale to minors with a prescription.

Click here for a video relating to the SPAC-supported bill, which goes into effect January 2012.

December 29, 2011

Blogging! Team Activity from September GMM, Bundle 5

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair

This is Part V of a series of team blog submissions from the September GMM. See Part I on the 12/7/11 blog post.

Team Blog Activity from September GMM, Bundle 5

Among your table, what are some of your money saving tips?

Submitted by Rosa Singh and Team

1. Shop in bulk (Costco) 2. Comparison shop 3. Use cash as you will spend less 4. Pay bills online to save on postage 5. Buy from The Shop 6. Cook on Sundays and freeze meals 7. Have a vegetable garden 8. Swap books and toys 9. Use the library for DVDs and books 10. Use Coupons 11. Bike or walk to work

Submitted by Dana and Team

1. Shop at the Shop 2. Coupons 3 Use Groupon 4. Cook from scratch 5. Watch HGTV - Design on a dime 6.Take a lunch 7. Shop at Marshalls and TJ Max 8. Shoe repair for your heels 9. Wait 24 hours to think about a big purchase 10. Make twice the amount of food and save the rest in the freezer for lunch 11. Public transportation when its cheaper (and its green) 12. Drink during happy hour 13. Share clothes with your girlfriends 14. Rent a movie and make dinner at home for a romantic date 15. Shop Palo Alto mother's club for deals on kids stuff.

Submitted by Emily Cunningham, Erin Reyes, Nina Bailey, Calla Griffith, Lauren Wald and Regine Nelson

1. Don't go to Stanford Shopping Mall 2. Go to the grocery store with a list 3. Brew your own Peet’s or Starbucks at home 4. Only buy what you need 5. Develop a budget

December 21, 2011

Thanks for Having Us!

By Ansley Jentz, Member Resources Committee

On behalf of the ladies of the Member Resources Committee, we sincerely appreciate the hospitality of your committees over the past few months. We were welcomed into your meetings, given time on your agenda, and allowed the chance to meet you in person – which is, hand-down, the best part of all.

Member Resources Committee (L to R) Miriam Huntley (holding Ashlyn Levy),
Marissa Levy, Ansley Jentz, Liz Wood, Gabriella Cirelli, and Mary Grundy
Not pictured: Leticia Gonzalez-Ratchev and Stephanie Pearson-Phillips

As our committee discussed the committee visit experience, we all agreed that the visits are invaluable. Meeting the women that we represent is what it’s all about. As a liaison, the committee visit is our chance to say hello and put a name to a face – which allows a better connection for the coming year.

We likely missed several of you if you were not at “that meeting” – so below is an abbreviated overview of what we shared:

Member Resources Committee members are your partner in the League and want the best for you. We are the ones you reach out to when you need:
  • To change your membership status – for example, due to outside circumstances you cannot complete your commitment and need to take a Leave of Absence
  • To discuss your League experience – whether you’re having a fabulous experience thanks to your fellow committee members and leaders, or if you feel that you need to switch and explore another committee placement
  • To confirm that you’ve met your membership obligations as the year moves along – we are the ones who will give that gentle reminder of any missed obligations
  • To express your interests for your League future – we need to know whether you’re interested in doing a community project, or fundraiser, or an internal placement in the next year
So, we are sorry if we missed you, but certainly hope to have the chance to get to know you in the months ahead. You can look for us at the January General Membership Meeting… we have bright-colored flowers that we’ll be wearing.

Be sure to reach out to us with any concerns or questions about your League year.

Happy Holidays, and thanks again for having us!

December 19, 2011

Blogging! Team Activity from September GMM, Bundle 4

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair

This is Part IV of a series of team blog submissions from the September GMM. See Part I on the 12/7/2011 blog post.

Team Blog Activity from September GMM, Bundle 4

What are your table’s top 10 summer activities around the Peninsula?

Submitted by Jan Woolsey (pictured below), Jessica Escalante, Rachana Shah and Kristin Huguet

1. Go cart racing in Millbrae 2. Shopping at Stanford 3. Museum at Stanford 4. Antiquing in San Carlos (Laurel St) 5. Concerts at Shoreline 6. A day at Half Moon Bay 7. A day at Filoli 8. Farmer's market 9. Wine tasting at Savvy Cellars in Mountain View

Jan Woolsey responding to the
Blog activity question on her ipad

Submitted by Caitlin Hyatt, Kathleen Castaillac, Katy Cecere, Angela Espinosa, Heather Bauer, Carmina Littlefield, Heather Caelius, Helen Ungerman, Angie Dupree and Courtney Zanini 

Who knew there were so many things to do with family and friends in the area! Home Tour's Top 10 summer activities will wow even your grandparents. 1. Wednesday's concert in the Park – in Menlo Park 2. Raging Waters 3. The Circus came to town! 4. Menlo Charity Horseshow - and yes the kids love it! 5. Connoisseur’s Marketplace in Menlo Park or Palo Alto! 6. Happy Hollow 7. San Mateo County Fair 8. Gilroy Gardens 9. Downtown Redwood City Movie in the Park on Friday nights! 10. San Carlos Farmers Market - hurry!! the last one is this week or next!?!

Submitted by Maggie Furey, Laura Wiley, Lauren Brown, Olivia Sorell, Jennifer Donegan, Katie Anderson, Sara Malek Compani, Rebecca Williamson and Laura Martin

Bungee Jumping, Skydiving, Giants Games, Fireworks on the pier, Napa Valley, The beach, Spa, Hopping in HMB, Dish hiking w/ Claritan, Menlo Charity horse show, Movies in the Square – RWC, Downward Facing Dog @ Stanford

Tune in for the last Blog post of this series on Wednesday 12/21/2011!

December 15, 2011

Blogging! Team Activity from September GMM, Bundle 3

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair

This is Part III of a series of team blog submissions from the September GMM. See Part I on the 12/7/11 blog post.

Team Blog Activity from September GMM, Bundle 3

If you could forever eliminate one task from your daily routine, what would it be and why?

Submitted by Amy Truel and Team

Amy Truel and League members
Laundry! If we didn't have to do laundry, we would have time to do the following: 1) Have time to donate clothing to the Shop 2) Go to lunch with a Junior League Member 3) Volunteer for every Junior League event on the calendar 4) Have time to submit blog entry daily for Junior League 5) Have time to write Piper articles 6) Comment on every Junior League Facebook post 7) Buy enough Junior League t-shirts to wear 365 days a year

Submitted by Stacey Harbeson and Team

In our perfect world there would be no dishes to do. We all would have a dishwasher fairy that would whisk away our plates after dinner, place them in the dishwasher, and empty it while we sleep. There would be no crusty dishes from husbands who don't rinse and dry chapped dishpan hands.

Submitted by Chris Sapyta, May Matsui, Rebecca Siegel, Taylor Fleeson, Stephanie Dugary

CS: I'd l eliminate dish washing and laundry.TF: shaving legs and laundry RS: putting on makeup or straightening my hair MM: I'd get rid of washing dishes. SD: I would eliminate the colossal waste of time that is sitting in traffic.

December 12, 2011

Blogging! Team Activity from September GMM, Bundle 2

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair

This is Part II of a series of team blog submissions from the September GMM. See Part I on the 12/7/11 blog post.

Team Blog Activity from September GMM, Bundle 2
League members working on the Blog activity

Share with us a placement you've learned the most from in the League

Submitted by Joy Peacock

I was the assistant chair of the Spring Gala. I had never been in charge of solicitations before and a month after I took the position, I found out I was pregnant. I learned to be fearless and juggle many priorities.

What’s the best gift you ever received?

Submitted by GMM Group

1. Port-a-potty for the boat. 2. Puppy. 3. Having a child, after being told by two doctors that I wasn't able to give birth to a child. 4. Large photo from a loved photographer. 5. Trip to Rome. 6. My grandmother's engagement ring.

December 08, 2011

The Provisional Class Tailgated and Volunteered!

By Molly Sundstrom, Membership Development Committee

November was a susy month for the Provisional Class!

We kicked off the month with our social by tailgating at the Stanford-Oregon football game on November 12. Although Oregon defeated Stanford, everyone had a great time BBQ-ing and socializing with other Junior League members.

Provisional Class November meeting presentation
about Kids in the Kitchen by Jacquetta Lannan
Our Provisional Class met on November 15, and we learned about the different service opportunities within the League. We were privileged to presentations about our biggest fundraiser—Finishing Touches Home Tour—and discovered the many opportunities to volunteer at The Shop. The Shop is an upscale second hand store in downtown Menlo Park and each provisional will have an opportunity to volunteer. We were filled in about Kids in the Kitchen, and even learned how to solicit donations in order to ensure a successful event. The Kids in the Kitchen initiative promotes healthy eating and exercise with the help of the San Francisco 49ers Academy and will be held in April of 2012. All the provisional members were excited to volunteer and are looking forward to the event.

The Provisional Class volunteered at Finishing Touches Home Tour, December 2nd and 3rd. Volunteers worked at Mistletoe & Martinis, the Home Tour and the Boutique at the Rosewood Sandhill Resort.

Also coming up, we have our Holiday Social, which will be on Wednesday, December 14, at the Gatehouse. This year’s social will be co-hosted by the Membership Enrichment/Outreach Committee and is a cookie exchange in which provisionals, actives and their guests will bring their favorite cookies and recipe to share. The social will also feature a contest with prizes for the best tasting, best presentation and most original cookies! To attend, RSVP here!

December 07, 2011

Blogging! Team Activity from September GMM, Bundle 1

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair

The JLPA-MP had a very busy Fall and start to the 2011-12 League year. Now that things are starting to quiet down as we enter the holiday season, I will be posting a few blog articles that were written after the September GMM, but never published. The responses are too good not to be shared, so here they are!

The first General Membership Meeting of this league year was on September 14, 2011. There were at least 20 tables set-up in the meeting room, each completely full – the room was packed! President Meaux Costello kicked off the meeting with a warm welcome and announcements, followed by project and event updates from the different committee’s.

Summer Brill, Communications VP, gave an update on the League’s Communications focus for the upcoming year, including three main areas:
  • Marketing - Streamline the process for using communications outlets for League
  • Interaction - Facilitate and encourage sharing and interaction among members
  • Branding - Increase awareness of the League in the community
During her presentation, Summer introduced a group activity related to our League blog. Each table received a blog topic and was given instructions to discuss their topic, create a unique blog post, and submit the blog post by logging onto the JLPA-MP website.

The blog posts submitted during the activity were extremely creative. From the submissions I developed five bundles of responses from the various teams. The remaining team response bundles will be published over the next few weeks, so check back in to read each one!

Team Blog Activity from September GMM, Bundle 1

Tell us about a situation you experienced with the League that you wouldn't have experienced outside of the League

Submitted by Naomi Chavez Peters and Board Members

Naomi Chavez Peters & Team
The League turned Sally into a master fundraiser. The biggest auction ever held in the League was her year running the auction at the Fashion Show! "Being a League member brought me out of my shyness," says Sustainer Anne. "It's a safe place to try things and not be judged" says sustainer, Kathy. "I would never have become a CPR instructor without the league training." She got Red Cross CPR training through the League in the 80's. “And both my husband and I became gourmet cooks after writing two "Private Collection" cookbooks!" Kathy ended up with over 700 cookbooks! "I got the opportunity to be the 'mom and consultant' I always to be, through my association with the Junior League," says Naomi, who just returned from a trip to West Texas (Amarillo and Odess) training League leaders in those communities.

If you were given 30 days free of all responsibilities (work, childcare, etc.), what would you do with that time?

Submitted by Christina York

We would travel, read, eat, sunbathe, shop at The Shop, go running, garden, and volunteer.

Stay tuned for more team responses to be published.

December 01, 2011

Member Recognition Awards - November 2011

By Mary Grundy, Member Resource Committee

Pictured left to right, Brenna Preston,
Noelle Santamaria and Kristin Najarian
Did you enjoy the 11th Annual Pancake Breakfast with your family? Did you know this year's Pancake Breakfast achieved a fundraising record? Thanks to our DIAD committee and the particular efforts of Jen Baker and Noelle Santamaria, the event was a tremendous success!

Have you heard the buzz about the Holiday Home Tour? Did you buy your tickets yet? Do you know how much goes into this huge and important event? Our Home Tour committee has some gals working very hard to make sure it all runs smoothly, with a BIG turnout. Courtney Zanini and Heidi Bullock are just two of the Home Tour committee members going above and beyond to make this year’s event the best ever!

Pictured left to right, Helen Ungerman,
Courtney Zanini and Miriam Huntley
All four of these amazing ladies demonstrated incredible enthusiasm, energy and dedication to their committee projects. Please join Member Resources in congratulating Jen, Noelle, Courtney and Heidi on jobs well done! Thank you for all of your hard work and for going “above and beyond” in your efforts to support the League! You’re an inspiration to us all!

November 29, 2011

Finishing Touches Featured in San Mateo Daily Journal

Our Home Tour Committee has been hard at work planning the League's fourth annual Finishing Touches Home Tour and Boutique. The San Mateo Daily caught up with our Co-Chairs Helen Ungerman and Kathleen Castaillac and committee Treasurer Pam Wagner at a recent planning session at the Rosewood Sandhill, see the article here.

Photo Credit Tom Jung/San Mateo Daily Journal

The festivities kick off this Friday, December 2nd, with a festive luncheon and boutique at the Rosewood Sandhill, followed by a self-driven tour of the lovely Atherton homes and then the Mistletoe and Martinis Cocktail Party and Boutique at 6:30pm.

On Saturday, December 3rd, the festivities continue with the Designer's Breakfast & Guided Tour followed by the self-driven and shuttle driven tour. And don't miss the Boutique at the Rosewood, open until 3pm. See details here.  Tickets for the Tour and Mistletoe and Martinis Cocktail Party will also be available for purchase at the door.

Follow us on Facebook!

November 28, 2011

We learned how to TWEET a photo at the Communications Team Social!

By Catherine Ross Stoll, Communications Team

On November 14th the Communications Team got together for a social (thanks to Gae Sares for organizing it) at The Office Bar and Grill in San Carlos. While we were there, having a good time and enjoying some yummy food, the subject of Twitter came up in our conversation.

Cynthia Munoz, Michelle Hostrup, Gae Sares, Amy Truel, Beth Ann Brown, Catherine Ross Stoll, Summer Brill, Catherine Wilson, Kathryn Brownstone
I suggested we take a photo right then and Tweet it out. We had the waiter take our photo on my iPhone and I immediately tweeted the photo straight from my iPhone using the hash tag #jlpamp to make it easy to search for. Michelle Hostrup (our Social Mediaa Assistant Chair extraordinaire) then searched for that hash tag within her Twitter app on her iPhone, and retweeted my tweet within a few minutes of the photo being taken. So easy!

If you want Michelle to see your JL-related tweets too, please use the hash tag #jlpamp and she can either retweet it or use the info in your tweet to compose her own tweet. A quick and easy way to bypass the web form if there is something happening that's worth tweeting about right away.

Follow us on Twitter today!

November 20, 2011

Highlights from the November General Meeting

By Marcie Brown, Endowment Fund Committee Member

The November General Meeting had everything! There was a yummy dinner, loads of information about our Community Projects, a discourse with Sustainers and outfits from The Shop, adorable children in a Home Tour video, and more!

Sprinkles, a big League supporter, will again donate the proceeds of a special Home Tour cupcake. Last year their donation exceeded $2,500. I know many League members will be stopping by Sprinkles the week before the Home Tour as the special cupcake (Peppermint-Vanilla) is only available for a week. I hope they freeze well because I'll be buying a lot!

The Home Tour Committee also showed an adorable video featuring “Toddlers & Tiaras” – who knew we had a rival to Imelda Marcos in our League? They also talked about their “refer a friend” promotion and all their other events, emphasizing that the Cocktail Party would have college football on television for those who cannot bear to miss one moment of the game.

Catherine Carlton, 2010-11 Sr. SPAC Delegate, shared about how the month of May became perinatal depression awareness month. She added that Radio Disney had picked it up and that it was becoming a nationwide movement. The League isn’t often associated with advocacy, but there it is in action!

Susan Herman, Executive Director of Help One Child, made an enlightening presentation about foster children. Help One Child partners with Fostering Families, a League project. The statistics she shared were extremely sad, but it was clear that the League project is making a positive impact.

Nominating Chair Tara Roussel presented the President Elect Elect, Joy Peacock, via photo and words since Joy couldn‘t make the meeting. Besides giving great reasons for choosing a leadership role, Tara encouraged people to self-submit. The ever fabulous Naomi Chavez-Peters facilitated a discussion with uber-accomplished Sustainers Susan Martin, Jean Limbach and Sarah Rosendahl about taking their League learned skills and putting them to work in the community.

Many wonderful finds from The Shop were strutted across the stage by members of The Shop committee. The outfits were great!

And Meaux got us out on time! Our heads were filled with a lot of good information and feeling good about being a League member!

November 17, 2011

The Provisional Class's First Meeting and Social

By Alison Hart, Provisional PR

The provisional class had two very exciting events last month including our first meeting on October 18th at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto and a Provisional Class Social at the Dutch Goose on October 27th. The overall theme of the Provisional Meeting was how the Junior League and its members make an impact in our community.

We listened to a number of excellent speakers including Vanessa Roach, Special Projects/Community MAL, who gave us a brief introduction to The Strategic Continuum. Vanessa spoke about six aspects of our Strategic Continuum: Impact Community, Increase Visibility, Recruit & Retain Members, Train Volunteers, Raise and Manage Funds, and Develop Projects and Make Grants.

After Vanessa’s speech, we were introduced to Polly Neumann, Senior SPAC Delegate, and Catherine Carlton, SPAC State Chair. During the introduction to SPAC, the provisionals were educated on successful SPAC sponsored legislation and how the Junior League supports and sponsors bills. Cat also told the provisionals about the many ways we can become involved with SPAC including the “There Ought to be a Law” contest, Day at the Capitol event on May 6th, and the Public Affairs Special Interest Group that will hopefully be launched in 2012.

Provisional Member Kristin Barker especially enjoyed learning about SPAC and said, "I really enjoyed listening to Polly Neumann and Catherine Carlton speak about SPAC. I think it's great that Junior League helps to create and sponsor legislation regarding important issues in our community and state." Lisa Hammon, also a Provisional, commented about SPAC, "I enjoyed learning about the Junior League State Public Affairs Committee, how the League has taken action on important state and national issues and the legislation they have drafted, like the children's bicycle helmet law. Their work is very inspiring."

Finally, the Provisional Meeting closed with a speech by our League President, Meaux Costello, on the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). Julia Alshvang commented on the first Provisional Meeting, "I really enjoyed learning about different opportunities in Junior League during the first Provisional Class Meeting. I'm excited to participate in different activities in the future!"

The members of the Provisional Class enjoyed mingling on a more casual level at the Dutch Goose at the end of the month, and look forward to the next Provisional Meeting!

November 14, 2011

Riding Into Fall With RAFT

By Beth Ann Brown, Communications Team

This was my second year volunteering with the League at Resource Area For Teaching (or RAFT) and, I have to say, they're as impressive as I remember. I really admire them for all they do to make supplies affordable for teachers. We were at the store site in San Jose (as opposed to the Sunnyvale office where the previous DIAD projects were) and actually able to see what they had for sale -- it was quite impressive. 

This year, Valerie Dennis was the DIAD member in charge. The turnout was a total of ten members with four provisionals, four actives, one sustainer and one non-League member. Mary was the RAFT employee helping us and the one who instructed us on our projects for the day. 

We completed four projects: 
  • Bagging pipets
  • Pricing books
  • Bagging buttons
  • Pricing stickers 
Unlike previous years, we all got to work together on each project!

Provisional Christine Gibson said she really likes the idea of DIAD projects because it gives her a taste of the community service component of the League. Kristin Barker, also a provisional, thought it was a nice volunteer opportunity for the weekend; it was fun and let her feel like she'd accomplished something. Meaux Costello, our League President, was glad to see the energetic members of the Junior League helping at RAFT and thought it was a great place with fabulous resources. She had a blast her first time volunteering. 

Overall, it wasn't too long of a day but we managed to get a lot accomplished. Everyone left RAFT feeling good about what we'd done to help and happy that the League had chosen to continue with this DIAD project. It was a really fun afternoon and I look forward to going again next year.

October 31, 2011

An Intimate Gathering at the Neighborhood Meeting

By Beth Ann Brown, Communications Team

Last week I attended a neighborhood meeting at the lovely home of Polly Neumann. It was an intimate affair of perhaps a dozen members (including one baby) where we shared delicious finger foods and pomegranate martinis. 

After perhaps a half hour of socializing, Naomi Chavez-Peters called us together to discuss the topic of the meeting: outreach. We began by sharing how we got involved with the League, what we thought the League was doing well and where it could improve. With one transfer, four provisionals and a handful of actives in attendance, the discussion was lively and ideas flowed freely. Naomi also spotlighted the AJLI website and its features, particularly the new Webinar Wednesdays. 

Afterward, we socialized a bit more and everyone seemed happy they'd attended-- I know I was! So if you haven't had a chance to go to one of the neighborhood meetings, I'd advise you to try! They're quite fun.

October 28, 2011

Home Tour Committee Hard at Work

By Jillian Shenk, Home Tour Committee

Jillian Shenk with her son
Ladies, are you getting ready to find that special unique gift for your best friend or a little something for someone in your family? I know I am! I am on Home Tour and I wanted to give you a little insight into what it's like on the Home Tour Committee...

Yes, the our committee has been working very hard to make this year a tour and boutique NOT to be missed! We are very fortunate to have all of our meetings at the Swanky Rosewood Sand Hill. We usually start off the evenings catching up in the Library and then head down for an efficient working meeting. Last night we were faced with a challenge by our leaders – for us each to bring in one advertiser for the Special Edition Piper. We all grouped around our tables and started brainstorming. Initially thinking of ad sales can be daunting, but the chairs made it easier by giving examples of how some recent sales came about. Because of this brainstorm session, it brought each table together working as a team...this is just one great way to make us all feel like we are participating and making a difference for Home Tour and for our League.

After being led by our fabulous leaders and assistant chairs, many of us stick around after in the Library to get to know one another and plan out the coming months. I have really enjoyed getting to know the fantastic women on this committee. I look forward to each meeting to be able to have a nice dinner at the Rosewood and adult conversation, all while making a difference for our community.

Home Tour Tickets are now available! To purchase, click here.

October 24, 2011

Tapas Under the Stars

By Summer Brill, Communications VP

Summer Brill, Joy Peacock, Rahela Abbas, Meaux Costello & Calla Griffith

What a wonderful social put on by Member Enrichment on October 11th. We woke up to rain, but by the evening, we were outside on the patio of Iberia enjoying sangria and a balmy (dry) evening. We had a nice crowd and endless tapas. I brought my husband and we spent time congratulating Joy Peacock (newly appointed President Elect-Elect), chatting with Meaux (President), Calla, Jan Hickman, Tara and Laura Redmond. We learned that Laura's family and my husband's family have many similarities (Stanford football players, family names etc). Before we knew it, it was time to head home to relieve the baby sitter. But we so enjoyed the evening and look forward to the next League social! Thanks Calla, Regine and Member Enrichment, you did a wonderful job!

October 19, 2011

Project READ Tutor Shares First Experience

By Marisa Dittmer, Project READ Committee Member

The big day arrived. After days of training and meeting together as a committee, I was ready for my first Project READ tutoring experience. Filled with excitement and plenty of nerves, I hopped in my car and headed for Redwood City.

I walked into the charming library and felt more at ease. Once upstairs I was happily greeted by Kirsten Crum, one of our fearless leaders, and guided as to where I should sign in and get my badge. Quickly I was ushered out into the FLC (Family Learning Center) and seated at a table with a darling, and quite precocious, 2nd grader. We worked, chatted and got to know one another over math and language arts worksheets. 

While finishing up with her, and ready to play an educational game, I was asked if I could go help another 2nd grade girl. Yet another sweet, hard-working girl whose goal was to complete all her homework packet for the week. Once finished, she rushed to the bookshelf, stating “I want to read you two books! Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat!” The evening quickly drew to a close, with the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, hugs, thanks yous and a smile on my face, grateful for the evening experience. 

I look forward to this year of learning together with my committee and the family that is Project READ.

October 18, 2011

Shelter Network's Second Workshop

By Krista Szyndlar, Shelter Network Committee Member

Haven House, Menlo Park
On September 21st, Shelter Network continued its success by bringing its career and money management workshop to Menlo Park’s Haven House for the first time of the 2011-2012 League year. The committee worked like a well-oiled machine, comfortable with its format of three sessions attended by three to four clients each and knowledgeable of the workshop’s material. Consequently, the ten clients left with many positive takeaways: rejuvenated spirits to find a job despite an economy that is flirting with recession, budgeting worksheets to better direct household spending, tools to confidently ace a job interview, and useful gifts like money management books.

Haven House participants also developed a new appreciation for and understanding of the Junior League. Before the workshop, one potential client explained why she did not sign up for what seemed like a promising training session; she said, “I thought Junior League’s was about teaching children finance or something – kind of like how Little League teaches kids baseball. I just figured a ‘Junior Group’ or ‘Small League’ was for my kids and I really did not think they would want to learn about job interviewing and money management.” Thus, neither she nor her children signed up for the September 21st workshop. She did, however, stop by quickly to introduce herself. Upon meeting the Junior League women and understanding the adult-based curriculum, she quickly changed her opinion of this so-called “Junior Group.” She was eager to sign up for the next workshop and thrilled to tell her friends the real mission of the Junior League. 

Another client felt the League’s mission firsthand that night. She experienced a committee member’s willingness to take action to help her in a time of need. Her need came to light during one of the engaging, open Q&A sessions; the client wanted to understand how legally she could have been fired with no warning or seemingly no due cause. One of the evening’s Junior League participants happened to be an attorney. After the workshop ended, the caring attorney patiently answered the client’s questions and provided further contacts. 

Haven House participants were not the only ones to walk away with rewards. Committee members left feeling great for authentically connecting with clients and for gaining glowing evaluations from all the participants. Members’ enthusiasm grew; the women were eager to continue Shelter Network’s positive impact through nine upcoming workshops at Menlo Park’s Haven House and San Mateo’s First Steps for Families.

October 10, 2011

Nominating News: President-Elect-Elect Announcement!

It is with great pleasure, confidence and, yes, JOY, that we announce the JLPA-MP President for 2013-14:


Joy came to the Nominating Committee with bountiful experience in our own League and in other parts of life, and a tremendous drive to lead our organization onward in its pursuits.


Once we had a chance to review all applications and interview the candidates, our committee took some time to weigh this heavy decision. We deliberated, voted, and are very pleased to have now placed our very first leader as a committee. (For details on the Nominating Committee's process, please see the 'Process' tab in the Nominating Forum, which is found in the members area of our website.)

Joy is organized, efficient, smart, reliable, well-spoken, thorough, effective as a leader, gracious, humble (somehow), and fun! Congratulations Joy, and thank you for agreeing to serve in this big way!


Joy will be serving on next year's Board of Directors as our President-Elect. Would you like to be there with her? Nominations for all Board positions and the Nominating Committee slate for next year are due 10/15. Please see the Nominating section of our website for more information, call or email your Nominating Committee liaison, or get in touch with Nominating Committee Chair Tara Roussel. And please do indicate your own interests. Our committee loves hearing from you personally regarding your leadership goals.

We look forward to filling more positions very soon!

Tara Roussel, chair
Jan Woolsey, chair-elect
Stefanie Bruggeman
Katie Husak
Moira Jacobs
Jennie Lang
Amanda Okamoto
Steff Witlin

October 09, 2011

ABC²: Amy's Bean Counting Corner

By Amy Aldrich, Treasurer

As this year’s League treasurer, I am thrilled to be your trusted “bean counter,” making sure every last penny is being raised, spent and saved in the manner it was intended. Although I spent my previous seven placements in community projects, this role is tapping into my passion: managing and tracking finances.

This passion started very early in my childhood when, in the fourth grade, I made a budget so I could track my revenue (babysitting, bake sales and car washes), my expenses (mainly dollhouse furniture) and my donations (the collection basket at church). My grandfather taught me the power of purchasing stock at age 8 when I selected Disney and McDonald’s as my first shares of stock (to this day, I still have them!). So that’s a bit about my background. Now on to important matters: the League’s finances.

Even with the continued turbulent economy, the League is off to a great fiscal start! We are already a League quarter in and have earned 33 percent of the revenue expected for our General Fund budget (click here to view the League's financials as of August 31, 2011). Collection of Membership dues and sales from The Shop led the charge in the League’s revenue through August 31, 2011. Thank you to all our members and congratulations to The Shop for a fantastic summer!

Now in its fourth year, the Finishing Touches Home Tour is expected to be another exciting event with expectations for a higher turnout and greater exposure with the community. Did you see the Home Tour committee’s video presented at the September General Membership meeting? After that, I AM FIRED UP! We hope you’ll be a part of it by underwriting, volunteering or attending one of the great events planned December 2-3. Right now, the committee is at 80 percent of their underwriting goal of $40,000. If every active member were to donate just $50, we’d not only meet but exceed that threshold! Stayed tuned for ticket sales starting October 1.

As it relates to expenses, the board has made cost reductions wherever possible. As of August 31, 2011, we are at 25 percent of budgeted expenses. The net income goal for the year – at the minimum – is to be at zero and not have to touch our reserves. Of course, we want to avoid any deficits and, if possible, end the year with a surplus while maintaining our commitment to the community.

Like last year, we have an ambitious budget to meet, so let’s work together to increase League contributions and save our financial resources without compromising our programs. You can actively participate to the League’s financial success this year through a variety of ways: bringing friends and family to the Home Tour, engaging your employer to underwrite, providing a gift to the Endowment Fund or making a donation to The Shop. Every little bit helps in a big way! Ultimately, the more money we raise and the fewer expenses we have, the more we can give back to our community.

Please feel free to contact me, our Finance VP Jovita Honor or President Meaux Costello if you have questions or comments about our financial position.

October 05, 2011

BreakfastFirst Campaign Success with SPAC

By Catherine Carlton, Endowment Fund Committee Member, 2010-2011 Senior SPAC Delegate

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, issued a letter on Wednesday endorsing innovative school breakfast models. Torlakson announced that he is now the Honorary Chair of the Breakfast First Campaign, emphasized that Classroom Breakfast and instructional minutes are perfectly compatible [referencing the prior State Supt./State Controller letter on the subject], and strongly promoted the BreakfastFirst Campaign!

This is wonderful support for school breakfast advocates working to ensure that all children start the day well-nourished and ready to learn through innovative school breakfast models! It doesn't mandate a conversation about breakfasts, but it does go a long way to meet our goal of working to educate the school boards, school administrators, etc. about the benefits of breakfast. State Superintendent Torklakson's letter is below, for your reference. As Honorary Chair of the Breakfast First Campaign, he will continue the effort to support Breakfast First implementation in schools throughout California.


Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Nutrition Service Directors:

I am proud to be the new honorary chair of the BreakfastFirst Campaign. Promoting the School Breakfast Program (SBP) is integral to my Team California for Healthy Kids campaign, which focuses on making healthy choices the easy choices. In alignment with the Team California goal to promote good eating habits, BreakfastFirst aims to ensure that all students are served an optimally nutritious breakfast using innovative models such as Classroom Breakfast, Grab-and-Go, and Second Chance Breakfast. These models are known to dramatically increase participation, bringing the benefits of school breakfast to the maximum number of students.

Research confirms the clear connection between health, learning, and attendance. Healthy children are more successful in school, miss fewer days of school, are more attentive and well behaved, and are more likely to graduate from high school and go to college.

Healthy students not only excel academically, but also are more likely to be positively engaged in social, community, and extra-curricular activities. The implementation of inventive models like Classroom Breakfast links nutrition to our joint goal of increasing academic achievement in school. In most cases, the breakfast can be completely supported by federal and state meal reimbursement. In addition, as former Superintendent Jack O'Connell and State Controller John Chiang shared in a joint letter last year, "As long as the breakfast is served and eaten in the classroom while otherwise allowable instructional activities are underway, the time will not be considered free time by auditors . . . The SBP is an easy way to enhance children's health and improve their academic achievement." The full letter is located on the CDE Breakfast in the Classroom - Letters Web page.

I urge you to expand your School Breakfast Program (especially outside of the cafeteria) to serve the nutritional needs of your students and to strengthen their academic performance. If you would like information on innovative breakfast models, visit the California Food Policy Advocates Web site for the BreakfastFirst Campaign. You may also contact your Field Services Unit Child Nutrition Consultant by phone at 916-445-0850 or 800-952-5609.

Sincerely, Tom Torlakson

The following information regarding the JLPA-MP's involvement with the State Public Affairs Committee can also be found on our website.


The State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of California (SPAC) is a non-partisan education and advocacy organization, representing 16 member Leagues, nearly 12,000 members, and millions of fundraising dollars in support for community programs that assist women and families.

Since 1971, SPAC has represented the interest of its member Leagues and the groups or issue areas addressed by Junior League projects accross California to policymakers at the national, state and local levels.

SPAC advocates in four issue areas: health, education, family support, and violence prevention.

The members of the SPAC delegation: 
  • ADVOCATE for specific legislation relevant to member league issues
  • EDUCATE their home Junior League members
  • COORDINATE the exchange of information from community based league projects to policy makers.
Since 1992, SPAC has sponsored six bills, and co-sponsored two bills, that are now California Law; sponsored one California Resolution; and co-sponsored one Congressional Resolution.

Each year, SPAC solicits ideas for potential new legislation by holding its "There Ought to Be a Law" contest.

To learn more about the League's advocacy work, please download the CalSpac brochure, visit the CalSpac website or email the JLPA•MP delegates at

September 28, 2011

Teachers in our Lives

By Valarie Dennis, DIAD Committee

Has a teacher made a difference in your life or the lives of your children? Want to give back to all those teachers that give so much to us? My answer to each of those questions was YES, and that’s why I volunteered to lead the DIAD Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT) event coming up in October. I know that my son and daughter, both teachers in inner-city schools, devote enormous amounts of their personal income to creating meaningful and enriching activities to the students they encounter as the parents don’t have the means to do so. I want to help them in their efforts to give back to an under served community in a time of shrinking state budgets and increasing class size.

If you haven’t heard of RAFT before, they help educators transform the learning experience through "hands-on" education that inspires the joy and discovery of learning. RAFT's products, services and low cost teaching supplies enrich and improve the education of over 600,000 young people each year. RAFT produces innovative "hands-on" teaching idea sheets and packaged activity kits that are created around important concepts in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as reading and art. DIAD volunteers will help them by sorting books, packaging academic kits, and sorting material donations.

If you are a JLPA-MP member and want to join us, save Saturday, October 22 from 1pm to 4pm and look for eNews for more information or go online to the DIAD section of the League website.

September 22, 2011

Shelter Network - First Workshop

By Amy Hamilton, Shelter Network Committee Member

Shelter Network hosted its first workshop for 2011-2012 at First Step for Families in San Mateo on Wednesday, September 7th - it was very successful! The training included 3 sessions led by Shelter Network committee members in small groups of 2-4 clients - Time Management, Money Management, and Interview Skills and How to Keep a Job.

The 10 Shelter Network clients who attended included one family, one couple, and other individuals. The clients received workshop materials relevant to the sessions (i.e. we provided alarm clocks during the Time Management session). The Shelter Network clients seemed very engaged and asked many questions! One client commented, Great! I am glad that I chose this meeting! Another exclaimed, I'm very appreciative that they have the time to help. Love it!.

I think the Junior League Shelter Network committee members get as much out of the Workshops as the clients! We really feel like we can make a difference when the clients ask questions and tell us their stories. Committee members have been asked to review resumes and give opinions such as what to wear to an interview and whether someone should cover their tattoo.

One of the best parts of the Workshops is the small groups. Each committee member discusses her topic with 1-4 Shelter Network clients at a time. This is a small enough group to facilitate discussions and feedback. We hand out course material and checklists for each topic along with relevant workshop materials including the alarm clocks and calculators. We will hold 10 Workshops during the League year (August, 2011 - May, 2012) - 5 Workshops at Haven House in Menlo Park and 5 at First Steps for Families in San Mateo. It should be a rewarding year!

September 20, 2011

Four Seasons Fun with My Least Likely Junior League Friend

By Jacquetta Lannan, Provisional Committee

There are hundreds of reasons why I love the Junior League. Making great new friends is certainly at the top of the list.

I met Valarie Dennis within the first hour of our Provisional Retreat. Val & I, along with Catherine Ross Stoll and Rachel Pickworth were mentored by Nina Bailey. We went around the table introducing ourselves. Valarie took a turn just before I did. Her introduction went something like this: I'm Valarie. I love volunteering and used to be very active in the National Charity League with my daughter. My husband and I just move here from Orange County and I just started my new job as a paralegal at Ropes and Gray. I'm surrounded all day by 30-something lawyers. I just can't take any more thirty year-old lawyers! So, I joined the league to meet some like-minded ladies to be my new NorCal friends.

Valarie didn't know that her worst nightmare had come true. It was my turn to do introductions. My introduction, paraphrased, was as follows: I'm Jacquetta. I just moved to Palo Alto to take a new job. Blah. Blah… Something about my poodle Lola. I'm a thirty year old lawyer. And you- directed at Valarie- are going to be my friend!  That is exactly what happened. While Valarie may have been looking for a different kind of friend at the league, she found me too, and we are both better for it.

Now, let’s jump forward several years.... It was a sunny but windy evening in May. I was at the JCC and it was time for the last JLPA*MP General Membership Meeting of the year. Out came Eugenie Atherton. The Endowment Committee was holding a raffle: a big spa day a the Four Seasons. Tickets were only $25. I bought a few tickets. My friend Valarie bought even more. I knew even if I didn't win, that one of my great new junior league friends would take me as a date. Sure enough, Valarie won!

Now, jump forward again to Friday, July 29. It was our day of leisure. I arrived to meet Kim, Valarie's daughter, and her friend Josie. Also, Valarie had invited a work friend, Nikki. We started our day with a little sparkling rose by the pool along with our spa lunch. Valarie put together adorable spa totes for each of us complete with towels, flip-flops, sun block, snacks and a handmade card. We retreated to our cabana where we lounged around until our yoga class began. The Four Seasons arranged for poolside yoga, setting up our mats with towels adorned with flowers. After yoga, we each were indulged with an aromatherapy massage. >We ended the day with cocktails down in Quattro with Valarie's husband Mike. Thank you Valarie for such a great day! And don’t forget to buy Four Seasons tickets at the next GMM!

September 18, 2011

Member Recognition Awards - September 2011

By Ansley Jentz, Member Resources

Jacqueline von Reichbauer
This month Member Resources has the great pleasure of recognizing Jacqueline von Reichbauer (PR  Chair)  and Michelle Hostrup (Social Media Assistant Chair) who demonstrated inspired teamwork and worked tirelessly to get our fabulous new League T-shirts sourced (major comparison shopping!), designed (worked closely with Kris Spencer-Jones), printed, and delivered. The t-shirts are a fantastic way for us to build the JLPA-MP brand and awareness within the community.
Michelle Hostrup
Jacqueline and Michelle started all this in May and worked very hard all summer to ensure the shirts were delivered in time for the League year to begin. From Summer Brill, Communications VP "It was an amazing feat and I feel very lucky to have these ladies on our team!" Way to go ladies!

Thanks for all your hard work and for going above and beyond!

September 14, 2011

And the Hunt Begins... with the Provisionals

By Ana White, Communications Team

It’s that time of year again to welcome the future women of our league. While looking around the room of more than 80 women at the Menlo Circus Club, it was exciting to see the energy and engagement of the new provisional class. It was one of my most unique experiences, as an active member, to see new faces and the anticipation of a phenomenal new year.

Abbie Paris, Anne Delfino, Kellin Dunne, Beckie Callahan, Gemma Newlove, Doreen Suruki

Stacey Harbeson, Dana Orquiza, Shannon Adams-Ferris
The first half of the provisional retreat started off with greetings and icebreakers by provisional co-chairs and seasoned JL veterans, Angie Klein and Lauren Case. Following the getting-to-know-you session, the group received a welcome message from our fearless leader of the year, Meaux Costello, and finally, a riveting talk by, Sustainer, Suzie Tinsley. More fun and info gathering followed, with the scavenger hunt to the Gatehouse, Menlo Park fire Dept, and The Shop.

The group split into mini teams and were let loose into the wilds of Menlo Park. The ladies’ first stop was the Menlo Park Firehouse. Although there were no studly firemen to be seen, provisional members signed up immediately for the Pancake Breakfast on October 1st (yes, shameless plug for ALL to attend!)

Catherine Boley, Ann Altman, Stacy Tyrala, Jayme Allen
At the Gatehouse, actives led an info session about the general membership meeting requirements and the historical importance about our Gatehouse. The last stop at The Shop, league members sashayed around in the Shop’s finest attire. Provisionals learned about the Shop’s importance to supporting our programs and league activities, along with all the different ways they can support the Shop… including shopping for awesome finds!

All in all, the league should be thrilled to welcome the new members on September 14th and look forward to an amazing and fulfilling year.

Hilarie Bako, Jennifer Warren, Gemma Newlove, Beckie Callahan

September 08, 2011

Off and Running with Project Development

By Suzanne Camac & Allison MacQueen, 1st year active & 4th year active

As we embark on our League Year, we are remembering why we were drawn to Project Development. It was for the amazing opportunity to impact the League in a meaningful way. As many of you have worked on community projects that the League has supported, you also know the feeling of satisfaction and pride that all of us take away from community work.

I feel honored to have been a part of Shelter Network project last year, where we taught life skills classes to homeless families. Each session was the most rewarding part of my week. I built rapport with others from different circumstances, helped them think critically about their life situations, and provided information for job hunting, managing money, and time management. I was reminded not to judge a book by its cover, as the clients I worked with came from all different backgrounds, education levels, and former income/lifestyle. I watched shy people who couldn't meet my eye leave our sessions with a little bit more empowerment, confidence, and knowledge.

We see the effect of our work often, whether it's talking with Sister T about volunteer opportunities at Rosalie Rendu Center (a former League project) or watching the students from East Palo Alto Charter School (EPACS, a former League Project) develop into informed, charismatic, and scholarly young men and women at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy.

A freshman (former EPACS student) wrote this in a letter to a teacher at EPAPA just a few weeks ago, their first assignment of the year....

I am impressed by physics and I'm taking AP Physics this year. I plan on getting several degrees in the field of cosmology, which will take quite a bit of time. Twelve years if all goes well. With any luck I'll be able to solve some problems in physics. Who knows, maybe I'll create the first quantum computer.

First I had to recall what cosmology was and I still haven't figured out what a quantum computer is! This is one small instance of many, where people have gained the capacity to dream beyond their current life circumstance, and the Junior League is a part of creating these dreams, one interaction at a time.

We know from past membership survey results that 81% of us joined the League to give back to our communities, and here is your chance to shape the future of our League’s community involvement. What will be the next way that Leaguers change lives?

Check out the details of our campaign here. Be a part of the process by submitting your project idea here. If you have any questions, please send an email.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi

September 07, 2011

Member Spotlight: What's in Your Bag, Group 7

This week get to know...

Jan Hickman
2011-12 Placement: Shop Chair

What’s in your bag? Cute umbrella, cute wallet, keys, Chanel sunglasses and many pens (in a cute Coach pen case).

What has been one of your favorite league events? Strength Finder Training.

Describe the League in 3 words: Friends, giving, dedicated.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Gushy things in the ocean. I touched a bunch of gushy things at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Christl Denecke (who you'll read about below)

Christl Denecke
2011-12 Placement: Shop Committee

What’s in your bag? Wallet, phone, keys, business cards, pens, gum, iPod shuffle, gum, lip gloss and life savers.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Provisional Class Spa Social.

Describe the League in 3 words: Enthusiastic, efficient, effective.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: I don’t overcome fears – I just try to overcome them.

Did you meet any new league members last year? I was a Provisional, so I met lots of new people.

Jennifer Baker
2011-12 Placement: DIAD

What’s in your bag? Wallet, lotion, iphone, Blackberry and Dentyne Ice.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Pancake Breakfast

Describe the League in 3 words: Energetic, community, leadership.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it? I’ll get back to you (I’m not afraid of much).

Did you meet any new league members last year? Everyone in the Provisional Class.

Carson Eltoukhy
2011-12 Placement: Shelter Network

What’s in your bag? A two week old grocery list, keys, Sweet tarts and an iPad

What has been one of your favorite league events? Home Tour Luncheon. It was a fun evening for all the ladies with a great boutique.

Describe the League in 3 words: Energizing, inspiring and empowering.

Did you meet any new league members last year? I met some new members at the Neighborhood Meeting.

September 01, 2011

Member Spotlight: What's in Your Bag, Group 6

This week get to know...

Kate Lasisz Michales
2011-12 Placement: DIAD

What’s in your bag? Phone, wallet, sunglasses and calendar.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Fashion show in SF which benefited La Casa De Las Madres.

Describe the League in 3 words: Dedicated, making a difference, supportive.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Presenting in front of senior engineers. I had it all rehearsed and added some math/geeky fun facts that they loved and even had a laugh about it.

Did you meet any new league members last year? I met Amy Truel at the May GMM.

Michelle Altick
2011-12 Placement: Home Tour

What’s in your bag? Wallet, phone, pashmina, water bottle, lots of keys, dry cleaning ticket, head band for gym, gym card and money for champagne.

What has been one of your favorite league events? The annual dinner! We planned it and it was the culmination of our service to the league.

Describe the League in 3 words: Service, friends, philanthropy.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Opening up my own law practice was a fear, but I did it by using resources (SCORE at Chamber of Commerce), talking to others and reaching out for help when I needed it.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Everyone on my committee was new to me since I transferred from San Diego.

Kenzie Ferguson
2011-12 Placement: Project READ

What’s in your bag? My big binder from Finishing Touches Home Tour that I used when I was Treasurer.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Home Tour Rocks!

Describe the League in 3 words: Women, buzzing, together.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Heights. I jumped off the high dive over and over.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Helen Ungerman, Call Griffith and Courtney Charney.

August 30, 2011

Member Spotlight: What's in Your Bag, Group 5

This week get to know...

Andrea Loffink-Saito
2011-12 Placement: Project READ
What’s in your bag? Pink Kate Spade wallet, planner, 3 different shades of pink lip gloss, android phone, gym ID card and sun glasses.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Family Giving Tree – great project of service to our community.

Describe the League in 3 words: Community, sisterhood, inspirational.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: I had a fear of heights as a child, which was quickly overcome after I took up pole vaulting while on my high school’s track team.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Yes! Meredith Pfeffer and I met at the Provisional retreat and have become good friends.

Calla Griffith
2011-12 Placement: Membership Enrichment Co Chair

What’s in your bag? Agenda, cosmetic bag, lipstick, wallet, Mountain View Performing Arts Center brochure, fruit crusher and apple sauce.

What has been one of your favorite league events? The General Membership Meeting with Community Advisory Panel – inspiring, educational and amazing!

Describe the League in 3 words: Connect, inspire, belong.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Public speaking… hee hee hee… just kidding.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Regine Nelson and now we are working together on Membership Enrichment.

Ellen Dempsey
2011-12 Placement: The Shop

What’s in your bag? My son’s baby socks, 2 pairs of sunglasses and headphones.

What has been one of your favorite league events? The Shop Anniversary Party

Describe the League in 3 words: Welcoming, fun, hard work.

Name a fear you’ve overcome: Asking for donations.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Rachel Crawford.

August 26, 2011

Junior Giants Event

By Ana White, Communications Team

1500 youth baseball players, 24 community baseball leagues across Northern California, 20 Junior League volunteers, plus additional community support and sponsorships made for another successful and impactful event for the league to take part in last Sunday. The Junior Giants program not only emphasizes many of the league’s own goals such as leadership, integrity, and teamwork, but it also impacts one of the league’s most sought after groups to work with, kids! The program’s overall goal is to provide an alternative to drugs, gangs, and violence.

So, considering the weather gods don’t always cooperate with summertime plans in beautiful San Francisco, last Sunday was exceptional at AT&T Park. Teams of youth baseball players, 5-18 year old boys and girls, had the greatest opportunity to play one of our country’s favorite pastimes on the World Champion San Francisco Giant’s field. While our lovely ladies of the Peninsula "womanned" the home dugout at the yogurt parfait station, players rotated throughout the field to play games, participated in bike races to blend smoothies, and learned about important violence prevention programs.

Now, while "womanning" a parfait station isn’t uber glamorous, the staff and director of the Junior Giant’s greatly appreciated the support of our leaguers. This provided a smooth working operation, an extra fun environment with the enthusiasm of our volunteers, and a little less stress in executing the event! Thanks again to all who participated.

August 23, 2011

Member Resources is Here for You!

By Ansley Jentz, MRC Member

What a great League year ahead it will be! The eight ladies of the 2011-12 Member Resources Committee have met twice already (mid-July and again in mid-August) for nights of high energy and early focus on the coming League year.

In July, Gabriella Cirelli, Chair of Member Resources, facilitated an efficient agenda, including “get-to-know-you” time, a discussion of goals/expectations/norms, a review of our roles and liaison responsibilities, and of course, delicious dinner and dessert! In August, Gabriella did it again, with a terrific meal from Leticia Gonzalez. As we prepare to learn the ins and outs of our roles as mentors to League members, I came up with a simple list of the things we will do for you this year.

Here it is:
  • Advise you – we are the Human Resource element in the League. We can describe differences in committees, obligations, stages of membership, etc. Please use us!
  • Recognize you – we love this part! It’s our job to gather the good news about what our members are doing in the community or in the committee and celebrate them – look for our fun announcements at the General Membership Meetings this year.
  • Assist you – we are your assistant when it comes to your League experience. If you cannot fulfill your current commitments, or your current experience is not meeting your needs, please reach out to your MRC liaison. We will work to find a solution for you.
  • Remind you – we are very interested in seeing you maintain your good member status. We sometimes serve as the gentle messenger with regard to your membership obligations. Have you met your Shop donation or your volunteer commitments for the year? We will check in and remind you as needed.
  • Advocate for you – this is another big part that we love! When it comes to committee or leadership placement, we are YOUR ADVOCATES! We want to hear from you as to what you might want to do in the League. As Placement Night happens (each year in April), we represent you and speak up on your behalf. However, if we don’t know what you’re interested in, we cannot speak up for your interests.
Please stay in touch – we want you to be happy with all aspects of your League experience. So this blog entry became longer than I expected… my very simple message is this: We are here for you and look forward to enhancing the JL-PAMP experience for everyone this year!
Member Resources Committee Members, July 2011 - Photo (L-R): Miriam Huntley, Gabriella (and Donatella) Cirelli, Liz Wood, Stephanie Pearson-Phillips, Marissa Levy, Ansley Jentz, Mary Grundy, and Leticia Gonzalez

August 22, 2011

JLPA-MP Voluteer for Junior Giants Festival

By Ann-Christel Graham, Community VP

Crystal Galliher, Beth Greenberg, Brenna Preston, Alyse Benham, Alyse's friend, Lisa, Jen Baker
On August 14, JLPA-MP volunteers participated in The Junior Giants Festival which celebrates Junior  Giants teams that successfully completed the Home Run Level of the Round the Bases Reading Program, a campaign designed by the Giants Community Fund to encourage reading throughout the summer. Once all of the players on a team account for 12 hours of reading and reach the Home Run level, their team earns the chance to visit AT&T Park for the festival. These kids also committed to a healthy summer, giving up things like soda and focusing on healthy eating habits. To encourage healthy eating habits, JLPA-MP volunteers manned a parfait station where the Junior Giants teams could build their own parfaits using vanilla yogurt, blueberries and granola.

Laura Rogers (Sustainer) and Brenna Preston
Going into the event, we weren't sure which parfait ingredient we'd run out of first: yogurt, blueberries or  granola. We all had our own opinion on what the kids would like the most. We saw multiple kids first respond "no thank you" to blueberries, then change their mind and give it a try, and another kid who really wasn't sure about the parfait concept at all only to see him come and ask for seconds about 5 minutes later. Though I wasn't there at the end to determine what the kids liked the most based on what was eaten, I can certainly say the parfaits were well received.

The excitement wasn't all about the parfaits, however. As a young boy was finishing his while sitting in the SF Giants dugout, he exclaimed: "This is my first time on the field and in the Giants dugout. I am so excited!" That sentiment was shared by all the kids and JLPA-MP volunteers alike.

Meaux Costello and Michelle Bilafer
The Junior Giants event was a great opportunity to serve our community, get hands-on with kids, and partner with a non-profit that we hadn't worked with previously. I heard Vanessa Roach say: "Now this is what I call hands-on!" and another volunteer comment: "Seeing and hearing how appreciative these kids were made this event extra special." I think we'd all like to see this event become a repeatable DIAD for years to come.

August 19, 2011

Open House at the Gatehouse

By Michelle Hostrup, Communications Team

This past Wednesday 8/17/2011 was the first time I have ever been to a JLPA-MP Open House. It’s embarrassing to even admit! But after 2 years as an active member, I finally made it to one. I decided to go to the Open House because my friend Jen is interested in joining the league. I know she’d be a great member, and I really want her to join, so I wanted to go with her to make sure she had a good time.

There were so many league members socializing and meeting all the women. It was great. They made her feel so welcome! We were greeted and offered drinks and dinner food (including the most amazing taquito’s I have ever had), and even Sprinkles cupcakes for dessert! Calla Griffith kicked off the meeting, followed by a few words from Meaux Costello, Joy Peacock, Lauren Case and Angie Klein, and Summer Brill. The entire Open House was short and sweet, with equal amounts of time spent on socializing and then educating the prospective members about the league.

The fact of the matter is, I probably didn’t need to go – Jen would have had an equally great time even if I wasn’t there. But I’m glad I did go. It made me so proud to hear the leaders talk about our league with such enthusiasm and pride. Whether you’re an active member or prospective, I highly encourage you to go to an Open House.

There is one more this year on Saturday August 20, so don’t miss out and sign up today!

August 17, 2011

Member Spotlight: What's in Your Bag, Group 4

This week get to know...

Adi Raz
2011-12 Placement: Transfer to Nashville Chapter

What’s in your bag? Wallet, hair clip, cell phone, Chanel lipstick and perfume.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Provisional Bloomingdales Social

Describe the League in 3 words: Fun, friendship, fantastic.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: I used to be really shy and not like public speaking. I threw myself into planning charity events and got over any fear I had.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Pretty much everyone since I was a Provisional!

Katy Cecere
2011-12 Placement: Training Committee

What’s in your bag? Sunglasses, calendar, phone and camera.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Pancake breakfast. It was my first event when I transferred and it was such a great way to meet people and see what the league was really doing in the community.

Describe the League in 3 words: Impacting, leadership, friendship.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Spiders. We started getting small spiders in our house, so I will now kill them rather than simply call for my husband. However, I’m sure my fear would come back if the spiders started getting larger.

Did you meet any new league members last year? All members were new to me this year! Amy Truel was a Co-Chair for my committee (DIAD) and she was so welcoming. After the Pancake breakfast, she invited me and another transfer on the committee over to her house to go over information on the league.

Kim Burnham
2011-12 Placement: The Shop

What’s in your bag? Wallet, cosmetic bag, phone, keys, glasses and Tiffany card holder.

Describe the League in 3 words: Fun, shopping, fantastic ladies.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Spiders; got a boyfriend to take care of them.