Done In A Day & the Good+ Foundation Diaper Drive

Jessica Seinfeld founded the Good+ Foundation in 2001 with the intent to collect and distribute early childhood donations for families in need. In the last sixteen years, the foundation donated almost 20 million items including cribs, car seats, strollers, diapers, and clothing, and also expanded their network to include 155 antipoverty programs nationwide.

Diaper Drive

The New York Junior League has been a close partner with the Good+ Foundation since just about the beginning, providing volunteers to help sort and organize donations for distribution. With thousands of donations to sort, organize, and distribute, the Done in a Day (“DIAD”) committee has given Good+ an invaluable amount of woman-power over the years, to help get all donations to the families who need them the most.

In early 2017, DIAD was contacted by a transfer member from the Junior League of San Francisco and asked to team up with Good+ for their February Diaper Drive. DIAD jumped at the chance to be more involved with such a great cause. Diapers are a critical basic need for every family. However, approximately 1 in 3 families in the United States report having experienced diaper need over the course of their child’s infant and toddler years. With infants requiring up to 12 diapers per day, and toddlers about 8 – the cost of disposable diapers is approximately $70-$80 per month per baby, a staggering amount for families with both or often only one parent earning minimum wage.

DIAD hit the ground running and created a social media campaign for the drive to be shared on the NYJL Facebook and Instagram accounts, which were then re-posted to personal pages to help spread the word among our vast network. With a simple Amazon.com registry along with donation bins at the NYJL headquarters, the NYJL and Good+ raised over 2,600 diapers and 5,500 wipes, as well as bath sets, onesies, and more!

With the success of the drive, and the ease of integrating the NYJL network, Done in a Day is looking forward to expanding their partnership with Good+ in the future and continue to help support donation drives moving forward. Thank you to all of the NYJL women who donated, your contribution has invaluably helped those in need keep their families healthy and happy to start the New Year right.

Throwback Thursday Winter Ball

For our first Throwback Thursday post, we would like to reflect on a fabulous and glamorous event that occurs annually…Winter Ball! This year marked the 65th NYJL Winter Ball and brought together volunteers, family, and friends to honor recipients of the Outstanding Sustainer and Outstanding Volunteer awards, the NYJL’s highest honors.

These awards are longstanding traditions: since 1952, five Active volunteers — and beginning in 1962, one Sustainer, and in 2004, two Sustainers — have been selected each year to receive this prestigious honor.

An Outstanding Volunteer is defined as someone who leads by example, encourages, motivates, and mentors. She is a team player, respectful of others, and a role model. An Outstanding Volunteer has a passion for the NYJL, furthers the Mission of the organization, and has gone above and beyond the call of duty in her volunteer work.

Congratulations to our award recipients 20 years ago and to those today!

Winter Ball 1997: (L-R) Judith Jorgensen, Marion McNeely, Courtenay Hardy, President Peggy Anne Dineen, Joan Benham, Gale Kroeger and Ellen Cromack

Winter Ball 2017: (L-R) President Suzanne Manning, Anne Watters Westpheling, Hilary McNamara, Megan Hauck, Lucretia Gilbert, Pamela Robbins Arcilla, Anne Bahr Thompson, Zoe Stolbun, Mistress of Ceremonies Katia Beauchamp

Playground Improvement Project announces partnership with Jackie Robinson Park

The New York Junior League’s Playground Improvement Project (“PIP”) will begin its 26th project at Jackie Robinson Park this April. Located in Harlem, Jackie Robinson Park is one of four designated Historic Harlem Parks and provides local community members with ten city blocks of resources.

Playground Improvement Project Announces Partnership with Jackie Robinson Park - New York Junior League

Originally called Colonial Park, the park was acquired by the City of New York between 1894 and 1899 and was constructed as a neighborhood playground to encourage organized play for local children. It was renamed for legendary baseball player, Jackie Robinson in 1978.

PIP co-chairs Kristin Hagestad and Pam Gonzalez are looking forward to getting to work, stating “The Playground Improvement Project committee is very excited to begin work in Jackie Robinson Park this spring. Through a variety of horticultural and painting projects which we’ll complete over five weekends this spring, we will be able to make a substantial impact to this well-used Harlem park. We are looking forward to helping to restore the park to a condition that local residents deserve.”

With the help of volunteers, the committee will make some much-needed improvements to help make the space more welcoming to the community. If you want to join PIP as the committee continues its tradition of refurbishing New York City parks and playgrounds, sign-up to join the committee during one of its nine park days this spring!

Saturday, April 22 Register Now Sunday, April 23 Register Now
Saturday, April 29 Register Now Sunday, April 30 Register Now
Saturday, May 6 Register Now Sunday, May 7 Register Now
Saturday, May 13 Register Now Saturday, May 20 Register Now
Sunday, May 21 Register Now

Spotlight on G.O.A.L. with volunteer Emily Kostic

In its inaugural year, the Girls Opportunity Advancement & Leadership (G.O.A.L.) committee seeks to empower at-risk young women to explore higher education opportunities, including college and vocational education, and to delay pregnancy. G.O.A.L.’s partnership with Union Settlement includes monthly workshops and field trips that explore leadership, team building, goal setting, potential careers, dressing professionally and appropriately, creating healthy relationships, anti-bullying and building self-esteem. The partnership events include hands on activities and interactive dialogues among the Union Settlement participants, G.O.A.L. volunteers and guest speakers; the field trips inspire Union Settlement participants to fulfill their dreams and delay teenage pregnancy. One G.O.A.L. volunteer, Emily Kostic, highlights her experience.

Why did you choose to volunteer on G.O.A.L.?

  • More than anything else, I was immediately drawn to the mission of G.O.A.L. The preteen years are generally difficult. However, our participants have a far more challenging experience than most. I thought G.O.A.L. would be a meaningful way to help arm these young women with tools for success for the more challenging roads they may walk down in the future.

What kind of events does G.O.A.L. host for Union Settlement participants?

  • We host events that cater to disparate passions and career interests. For example, we recently hosted an event at Google, where participants learned about the different types of jobs available under one company. Not only does Google offer a wide array of technology jobs, but it also needs employees in the public relations, research and development, marketing and sales functions. Personally, my favorite event thus far has been touring the Apollo Theater. At the Apollo, historian Billy Mitchell gave us a tour of the landmark building and inspired the girls to be kind and carry themselves well. He discussed the importance of mentorship and how our participants should open their hearts to our volunteers. It was a great way to bond with the girls at the beginning of the year.

What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had so far?

  • The most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far are the one-on-one conversations I’ve had with the girls. Not surprisingly, it has taken some time to get to know the group of girls we’re mentoring and build trust. I love witnessing the building of trust and their opening up to us. I’m fascinated to see how each girl lights up and becomes energized by a different aspect of our conversations and lessons. Drawing that out as been so rewarding and fun.

What has been your favorite G.O.A.L. moment?

  • At the beginning of the year, one of our participants was extremely shy. She rarely spoke to any of the volunteers. One day, I walked up to her and told her that I liked her lip-gloss color. Her face immediately lit up as she opened up her backpack to show me the litany of shades she had inside. We were then able to converse naturally about beauty products and the fun array of colors, which led us to eventually develop a deeper connection that has been truly inspiring.

Volunteer Education & Training: Heart Health

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women, taking a life every 80 seconds?

In honor of Heart Health month, on Wednesday, February 22 the NYJL teamed up with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Movement and Northwell Health system to raise awareness about how we can all protect ourselves from this deadly disease.

Dr. Stacey Rosen, a practicing cardiologist and the Vice President for the Katz Institute for Women’s Health oversees the development and coordination of a comprehensive and integrated approach to women’s services at Northwell Health. She recognizes that when it comes to staying healthy, women are very different from men. Dr. Rosen navigated volunteers through the risk, signs and symptoms; addressing ways to combat heart disease through simple lifestyle changes. Among her suggestions, Dr. Rosen recommends physical exercise every day, eating heart smart, sleeping more, stressing less and savoring life.  She also encourages partnering with your doctors, family, and friends to practice heart healthy living.

Rosemary Ennis, Assistant Vice President of Community Health and Education at Northwell Health Systems Center for Equity Care, demonstrated valuable lifesaving skills by showing attending volunteers how to administer “hands only” CPR.  Ms. Ennis is a NYS emergency medical technician and American Heart Association basic life support instructor trainer.

Heart disease touches so many lives and does not discriminate based on age. Melissa Ennis, a young twenty-something shared her emotional personal story of waking up one summer morning with a feeling “like someone was sitting on her chest.” After several months of testing, Melissa learned she had a rare congenital heart condition in which blood flowed more to one side of her heart than the other. Fortunately, Melissa’s life was saved through open heart surgery, but her story serves as a reminder that that heart disease is not selective and can affect anyone.

Thank you to these speakers for sharing their stories and recommendations on protecting your heart. We know this training ignited a passion in the volunteers who attended and we hope this encourages you to practice “heart smart” habits too!