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.