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.

August 16, 2011

Member Spotlight: What's in Your Bag, Group 3

This week get to know...

Allison Felder
2011-12 Placement: Project Development

What’s in your bag? Apple, wallet, keys and cosmetic bag.

What has been one of your favorite league events? All of the Shelter Network trainings are my favorite events.

Describe the League in 3 words: Hard-working, fun, commitment.

Darice Koo
2011-12 Placement: Project READ

What’s in your bag? Wallet, money, chapstick, comb, hair ties, purse hanger, pens, pencil, Kleenex, photos, glasses, nail clipper, keys, business cards, stamps, phone, ear buds, gum, mints and two folding shopping bags.

Describe the League in 3 words: Friendship, powerful, amazing.

Name a fear you’ve overcome: Speaking in front of crowds.

Kirtina Burns
2011-12 Placement: Leave of absence

What’s in your bag? Sunglasses, medication, Excedrin, PMS Excedrin, wallet, cell phone, camera, cough drops, paycheck stub, powder, powder brush, mints, gum, pen, Tums, JL nametag, lip gloss, lipstick and keys.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Home Tour has been one of my favorite league events. I even got to share the event with my mom and my aunt who really enjoyed it.

Describe the League in 3 words: fun, philanthropy, friendship.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: I’ve always been a dependent person but this year I finally decided to go to Europe by myself.

Did you meet any new league members last year? The people I got to know were mostly in the Enrichment Committee.

August 12, 2011

Member Spotlight: What's in Your Bag, Group 2

This week get to know...

Shannon Blote

2011-12 Placement: Fund Development

What’s in your bag? A half-eaten day-old wheat bagel, Nordstrom bill, wallet, keys, notepad and business cards.

What has been one of your favorite league events? The Gold Party at The Shop because there were free lattes!

Describe the league in 3 words: Philanthropic, organized, social.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Solicitation. I started with groups I was comfortable with and went from there.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Kelly Dayton transferred to the Palo Alto Mid Peninsula league and was on The Shop committee with me.

Alyse Benham

2011-12 Placement: Home Tour

What’s in your bag? Phone, wallet, sunglasses, lipgloss, keys and a pen.

What has been one of your favorite league events? The Pancake Breakfast! It was my first Junior League event and by far my favorite. It set a great scene for all future league events.

Describe the league in 3 words: Fun, inspiring, rewarding.

Name a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it: Running has always been a fear of mine, but I am in the process of training for a marathon and conquering my fear!

Did you meet any new league members last year? Yes! I met Summer Tokash, Jen Baker, Lauren Wald and many more.


Christyn Tannenbaum
2011-12 Placement: Communication Team

What’s in your bag? New google t-shirt, umbrella and android.

What has been one of your favorite league events? Home Tour Opening Night Celebration

Describe the League in 3 words: Community, friends, fun.

Did you meet any new league members last year? Yes, Ashley Roussel. I met her through another league member and we all went out for cocktails.

August 10, 2011

Fostering Families Committee Summer Social

By Maret Mitchell, Fostering Families Committee

On Wednesday evening, the Fostering Families Committee met in Atherton to enjoy some wine and cheese for a summer social hosted by co-chairs, Caitlin Darke and Kyla Eller. This is the third year that the Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula has supported Help One Child through our Fostering Families community project.

Fostering Families helps foster children, many of whom are the victims of abuse and abandonment, along with their families, with coping mechanisms. The sessions are held at Union Presbyterian Church in Los Altos, where we will host a dinner for the children, and then hold workshops that deal with a variety of topics including anger management, bullying, and gossip.

Co-chairs Caitlin Darke and Kyla Eller
As a special surprise, we were treated to the always-delightful Suzi Tinsley as a guest speaker. She motivated the committee with her personal experiences volunteering in various community projects in the past, particularly a poignant experience at East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring early in her League service. Suzi reminded us that while there is uncertainty in the lives of these children, we, in the League, can be a constant that they rely on throughout the year. The Fostering Families Committee is eager to work with these children and make a difference in their lives... And maybe, just maybe, we will learn even more from them.

Back Row: Kristin Hayes, Angela Ragni, Genevieve Ovalle, Sara Einhorn, Jennifer Rickard, Ashlie Emmett, Megan Olesek, Michelle Melen
Front Row: Kristina Alvarez, Maret Mitchell, Monica Khurana, Katie Riggs, Casey Ellis, Heidi Walas

August 05, 2011

Communications 2.0: Photo Storing and Sharing

By Summer Brill, Communications VP

Time for another installment of Communications 2.0!

Today we are going to answer the question: How do I submit photos for my social media/blog/Piper submissions? This year we are asking for your help in gathering, centralizing and storing the great photos you take of our League events and social. We have a League Smug Mug account and we’ve already set up galleries for the 2011-12 League year by committee name.

Please upload the photos you take at League events and socials directly to your committee’s gallery as soon as you can after each event and please be sure to add your captions. Why are we asking you to upload your own photos? We as a committee simply do not have the personnel resources to upload the photos of the entire League. By using a central storage site, we can be sure our photos are not lost or spread out among various member’s computers. It is more efficient and this also ensures the correct caption is added to each photo as you are the one who took the photo and have the best knowledge of the event and people in the photo.

Another big plus, this also gives all of our committees the ability to use the photos for various League uses and each committee can just go into Smug Mug and grab the photos they want. No more emailing various committees to see if anyone has a photo of XYZ event or person!

Please be sure to only upload the photos you want to be used for all public League uses. And please do not upload any photos of children if you did not get a signed photo release form: (

Here’s how to upload your photos:

Login: jlpamp
Password: Available Here

Find and click on your appropriate gallery, click Upload in the top menu bar, click "to this gallery" and follow the instructions. Please be sure to add a caption to each photo you upload (Event Name/Date, Names L-R).

When you submit your Web Form, in the box "Photo description/caption in Smug Mug:" include the description of the photo you uploaded to Smug Mug and want to have us include, we will go into Smug Mug to grab the photo you want us to use.

Stay tuned for more Communications 2.0!

August 03, 2011

Done In A Day Kicks Things Off With My New Red Shoes

By Beth Ann Brown, Communications Team

Done In A Day started the year early by participating in My New Red Shoes' annual "Pack for Pride" event. This year around a hundred and fifty volunteers came to stuff back-to-school bags for 3566 homeless children over the course of the day. It was amazing to see so many people eager to help and so many new shoes for those who need them most.

Regine Nelson & Melonie Martinez

The League, which participated in two shifts, had eighteen adults and six kids participating overall. The two Done in a Day co-chairs were in charge of this event on the League side and were enthusiastic about the turnout and the upcoming year. In fact, everyone was cheerful as they participated; it felt good knowing that something so simple was likely going to make a difference in a child's life.

Volunteers took handmade bags and stuffed them with hand written notes, crayons or gel pens and brand new Converse shoes. Each child's name, age and gender was written on a card and they were stacked by shelter (My New Red Shoes services multiple shelters throughout the Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties-- including Haven House).

Brenna Preston, DIAD Co-Chair

At the end of the afternoon, we were left with the amazing sight of thousands of colorful bags lined up for children in dozens of shelters. It was hot and many of us were parched but the overall good vibes were practically palpable-- everyone seemed to have a wonderful time doing their part. The best part was seeing the kids getting involved and learning about service. It gave a lot of hope.

For more information on My New Red Shoes and what they do in the community, visit their website: