July 29, 2011

Mother and Daughter Pack for Pride

By Ann-Christel Graham, Community VP

On July 17, I participated in the first Done in a Day event of the year: Pack for Pride. This annual event held by My New Red Shoes aims to give homeless children in our area an opportunity to look and feel confident as they start the school year. Pack for Pride volunteers, including 15 League volunteers and their families, packed 3566 bags filled with a pair of shoes, a school supply and a personal note. This bag, along with a $50 gift card from Old Navy, will be handed out to children in more 50 shelters across the Peninsula and San Francisco.

Brenna Preston, DIAD Co-Chair, her daughter Reese Preston and Aubrey Graham (daughter of Ann-Christel Graham)

Haven House donations
Looking around as the warehouse began to fill up with these bags, you felt a sense of accomplishment, feeling like you made an impact by giving just a few hours of your time. At the same time, as co-chair Brenna Preston noted, it served as a reminder for how much need there is in our area and the stark reality that there are so many more children and families who need our help. As Community VP this year, I was very excited when Brenna and co-chair Kristin Najarian, shared that they had spoken with the Program Manager about other opportunities for the League to partner with My New Red Shoes through future Done in a Day events. I look forward to learning more about those opportunities and sharing them with you in future a future posting.

Alyse Benham and Aubrey Graham (daughter of Ann-Christel Graham)
On a more personal note, this event was special to me because it served as the first opportunity for me to introduce my daughter, Aubrey, to volunteerism and to offer her a few life lessons. For years, she's heard about mommy going to "Junior League meetings", and she was really excited about being able to come with me. I had explained what we were going to do, but I thought that a 5-year old wouldn't necessarily understand what I was explaining. Of course, she understood we were going to pack bags with shoes in them, but I wasn't sure she'd understand why.

Kristin Najarian and Brenna Preston, DIAD Co-Chairs

When we arrived and were gathered by the My New Red Shoes staff for an introduction to our challenge and instructions for the event, Aubrey and two of her friends made their way to the front of the group and listened. Once we were told we could start, off they went. The kids were focused. They picked the colors of the bags based on the sex of the recipient. They picked the school supply and personalized card that was age and sex appropriate. They handed over the identification tags to the volunteers who would bring us the right shoes, and they inspected the shoes for accuracy. They packed the bags carefully and helped place them in the right spot according to shelter. During the process, I was able to explain to Aubrey why we were doing this; why these shoes were so special to these children. I read to her the stories of some of the kids featured in the My New Red Shoes press cards. I watched other volunteers doing the same with their kids.

JLPA-MP Volunteers
In the two hours we spent at Pack for Pride, my daughter learned that there are many kids her age who are homeless and who don't have shoes or clothes that fit them. She learned that she is really lucky and that she needs to value that and maybe think about it before she asks for something in the future. She learned that it's important to help others in need, not out of pity but because that's the good thing to do. She learned empathy. There were a lot of life lessons learned that day. To top it off, she's anxious to do it again!

For more information on My New Red Shoes, please visit their website: http://www.mynewredshoes.org/

July 27, 2011

Training for Bowling

By Beth Ann Brown, Communications Team

The new Communications Team and Community Council met tonight for a joint social and meeting on July 25th. The first part of the evening was spent bowling and socializing at Palo Alto Bowl. Twelve of the sixteen attendees played and Ana White was the overall winner with a score of 130. (She was also the only person to bowl over a hundred, though Catherine Wilson came close.)

Pro-bowler Summer Brill
After an hour of bowling the group adjourned to a back room for a presentation by the impressively organized Summer Brill. Summer outlined the new system of communications being utilized by the League and walked the group through the usage of the newly created web forms. (One of which is being used to submit this article).

Catherine Wilson & Catherine Ross-Stoll

Overall, the mood was one of excitement among both groups. We're excited to get the word out about what the League's doing-- excited to get the community more involved in what we're doing. All the work and thought that's been put into simplifying the process for all the members is finally coming together and it's amazing to even be a small part of it. It's a great time to be part of the League and a great time to be involved with communications!

Beth Greenberg

Caitlin Darke & Ann-Christel Graham

July 26, 2011

Horsing around with Gallop Ventures

By Kathryn Brownstone, Communications Team

On Tuesday July 12 a group of 14 Junior League women got together at NCEFT in Woodside for an equine facilitated woman's leadership training, or in layman's terms, we hung out with an awesome palomino horse named Ben who very patiently helped teach us about our leadership styles. The session started out with observing Ben and two other horses demonstrating their natural leadership techniques which mostly consisted of biting, kicking and trying to make themselves physically higher than one another. Fortunately for us, once the other two were put in a separate paddock, Ben was a perfect gentleman!

Angie Klein attempting to put the harness on Ben.
The training itself consisted of a series of loosely guided instructions that allowed us to explore our instincts in new and unfamiliar situations followed by talking through our experiences so that we could learn from them as a group. Angie Klein bravely volunteered for the first exercise which had her put the halter on Ben despite not knowing how. After a first attempt which resulted in it being put on backwards, Amy talked through Angie's frustrations and then Angie tried again and successfully put the halter on correctly. After a few more exercises, which included five of us leading Ben around the arena with the actual leader rotating, we got to an exercise where you say your goal for the day, be it for your career, family life or personal life, and then lead the horse around while thinking about your goal. Ben definitely reacted to some people differently than others, with some people leading him and him leading others! The highlight of the day came at the end when they had Joy Peacock state her goal and then lead Ben around with no halter or rope! 

Sarah Shen, Calla Griffith and Joy Peacock with Ben.

Joy Peacock leading Ben without the halter.

July 21, 2011

Member Spotlight: What's in your bag?

Member Spotlights are back! 

This is a recurring feature to our Blog as a way for us to "Get to Know Each Other" better. We posed a few questions to our Membership and will post a few of the answers on a weekly basis, so be sure to check back to get to know your fellow Leaguers better! We will feature a new set of questions at each GMM and occasionally online for you to participate, so keep an eye out for Communications! 

This week, get to know Michelle Rodriguez, Joette Young and Emily Cunningham

Michelle Rodriguez
2011-2012 Placement: Provisional

What’s in your bag? 
Zyrtec, umbrella, travel brush, phone, planner, keys, gum, wallet, Kleenex, camera

What's been your favorite League event this year? 
Home Tour and socials with my Provisional Class!

Describe the league in 3 words: 
Empowering, service, social

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: I overcame coming into the league only knowing one person, but then realized it was so easy to meet new people.

Did you meet any new league members this year? If so, who and where? Neighborhood meeting, provisional retreat, Done in a Day, Provisional Meetings

Joette Young
2011-12 Placement: Provisional Committee

What’s in your bag? 
Makeup bag, wallet, car keys, cell phone and meeting invite

What's been your favorite League event this year? 
Home Tour Opening Night

Describe the League in 3 words: 
Service, friendship, fun

Did you meet a new League member this year?  
Yes, I met many new League members this year.  I met Crystal Galliher at church, Meredith Pfeffer at the gym and Tara Rousell at the nail salon.

Emily Cunningham
2011-12 Placement: Membership Enrichment

What’s in your bag? 
Lipstick, wallet, sunglasses, phone and car keys

What's been your favorite League event this year?  
Home Tour Opening Night

Describe the League in 3 words: 
Volunteerism, community, friendship

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it? 
I had a fear of big dogs, but have overcome it with my friend in the League’s dog (Jackson).

Did you meet a new League member this year? 
I met Ashley Holmig at the first meeting. She was a new transfer from the Dallas league. I was also on Provisional Committee and met so many wonderful new members.

July 18, 2011

The Kelly Martinez Act (Post-Natal Depression) Passes!!

By Catherine Carlton, CalSPAC Chair

I am delighted to inform you all that ACR 53, the Kelly Martinez Act, passed out of the Senate Floor and will be soon enrolled and chaptered. Senator Carol Liu presented it yesterday and it received unanimous AYE vote! 

Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, Catherine Carlton, Raul Martinez, Kimberly Wong, and Joy Burkhard on the California Assembly Floor

We received the following message from Raul, the husband of Kelly. This bill is named after Kelly, who killed herself when her baby was a few weeks old. Raul has spoken at legislative hearings for the past two years, and has helped a great deal to have this and our previous peri-natal depression bill pass. 

"Thank you all so much for your efforts. Words can't describe how much this means to our family. Thank you. Raul" 

Thanks to everyone for your efforts in supporting the passage of ACR53-- another success in addressing the needs of people who may suffer from peri-natal depression!! Cat

July 14, 2011

Fundraising Training with Kay Sprinkel Grace

Noted presenter Kay Sprinkel Grace imparted a great deal of information on donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship to a room filled with League members and guests tonight. The training was sponsored by the Endowment Fund and the Training Committee. Some of Kay’s key points included:

Kay Sprinkel Grace Fundraiser Training held at Hewlett Foundation

(1) When you ask for money, it’s not about you, it’s about the donor.
(2) You need to be passionate, a believer and convey your enthusiasm when you make your ask.
(3) Shared values are the focus between an organization and its donors.
(4) You have two ears and one mouth, use in that proportion when meeting with a donor.
(5) Stewardship of donors is the most neglected area in the non-profit world, but it is critical.
(6) A hand-written note to thank a donor is always well received.

League members listening to Kay Sprinkel Grace

Her talk, which included questions from attendees as well as dialogue with the audience, lasted about two hours. The event was hosted at the Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park and included social time before the presentation.

Sally Falkenhagen gives Kay a thank you gift

Personal thoughts: A great deal of useful information was presented in a gracious and engaging manner. Everyone who attended should now be more comfortable with the mechanics of fund raising through soliciting donors, as well as being better at stewardship of donors. Very much worth the time!

July 12, 2011

Open House at the Gatehouse, 6/29/2011

By Summer Brill, Communications VP 2011-12

What a wonderful evening at the Gatehouse! We welcomed over 30 prospective members at our first Open House of the summer. I was excited to introduce two of my friends to our League members and meet more women who are interested in learning more about the League.

Calla Griffith and Regine Nelson welcoming prospective members.
Calla, Regine and their committee set the stage for a fun evening with good food, margaritas, wine, and of course, cupcakes! After some social time, Calla gathered everyone outside and welcomed everyone to our Open House and introduced Meaux, our President. She gave a brief history of the League and shared some of her experiences over the years with fellow League members who are still good friends of hers. Next up was Joy Peacock, Membership VP. She gave an interesting run-down of the demographics of our League and a brief overview of our Community Projects.

Next up, Angie Klein and Lauren Case, Co-Chairs of the Provisional Committee this year. They outlined the Provisional year and welcomed everyone who attended our Open House and invited them to consider joining the League if they felt it was the organization they were looking for.

Naomi Chavez Peters with prospective members
We then had more time to socialize and it was so fun to walk around and watch and hear the animated conversations between current members and prospective members. It was a fun and lively event and we hope to see everyone at our Provisional Retreat on September 10th! We look forward to our remaining Open Houses this summer, if this Open House is any indication of future events, this is going to be a fun and lively summer season!

Lauren Case, Angie Klein and Kate Hurley.
If you are interested in learning more about our League or joining us for a summer Open House, please click here for more information. 

July 07, 2011

Member Spotlight!

Welcome to Member Spotlight! This week get to know:

Amy Truel
Current Placement: Done in a Day Co-Chair 2010-11
2011-12 Placement: Content Chair - Communications Council
Most Memorable Placement
My first Active year I had the opportunity to sit on Community Council in a special project capacity. I learned so much about how our projects work as well as the internal structure of the league. It was great to be involved at a strategic level, and really helped me navigate within the league more proficiently in my current placement.

5 Things You Don't Know About Me
1. I had a beer can collection when I was growing up.
2. I now have a pop-up book collection-none with beer cans though :)
3. I love rollercoasters!
4. I am a perpetual organizer.
5. I love modern art!

Angie Klein
Current Placement: Provisional Committee 2010-11
2011-12 Placement: Provisional Co-Chair

5 Things You Don't Know About Me
1. I come from a long line of brewery workers. (Dad, Uncle and Grandfather all worked at Olympia Brewing Co.)
2. I met my husband via a wrong number.
3. I received the dubious honor of the Howdy Doody look-alike award in high school.
4. My best friend and I have known each other since the first grade.
5. I love mixing cocktails and drinking them (wine and beer too -- a direct influence from item #1)!