Statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion from the NYJL Board of Directors

We recognize the heartbreaking and devastating effects of racism and inequity that are playing out in our City and country. For the past 120 years, New York Junior League (NYJL) volunteers have been community builders. At no other time in our history has this been more critical. We stand together with our NYC community, and in particular with the Black community, against exclusion, bias, structural and systemic racism and prejudice in all forms. Together, we find power and joy in working collaboratively to ensure that the Junior League of the City of New York is a place of ethical stance and substance, a place in which all members cultivate personal integrity in service to the collective values of respect and trust. The brutal events of the last several days have reinforced the importance of this, now more than ever. We will remember the names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others who have lost their lives to violence or who have been threatened as a result of structural and systemic racism.

In 1901, Mary Harriman and 80 other women broke barriers by actively going out into the community and improving the social conditions of New York City.  Today we face a defining moment, when we need to ensure our current NYJL culture is connected to the reality of our NYC community, and ensure that we continue to be catalysts for lasting, positive community change.

The NYJL Board of Directors and Management Council will continue to support and drive diversity, equity, and inclusion for the New York Junior League.  We are grounded in an authentic and abiding commitment to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations, and communities.  This commitment stems from a fundamental belief that truly diverse and inclusive organizations have a greater propensity for innovation, for attracting and retaining incredible members and for stronger relationships with the communities where we serve and are accountable to.

We understand this is a commitment that requires ongoing action. We welcome all women who value our mission and are guided by our shared values of respect, service and leadership, and recognize the need to expand leadership development opportunities to more diverse populations of women, ensuring a dynamic membership that reflects the city in which we live and serve.  We are investing in ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion training, and we will continue to look for ways to meaningfully advocate shoulder-to-shoulder with our community and advocacy partners on behalf of pressing issues in our community.

We are proud of the work that has come before us and want to make a difference today by focusing on how we will plan to stand together to move the needle on these critically important issues.

Expanding access to Regional Enrichment Centers to students who are homeless

Amid the COVID-19 situation, the New York Junior League is still identifying ways to serve our community. As New York City schools adjust to the new normal, educators settle into remote teaching, and students grapple with a new, ad hoc way of learning, more than 100,000 students who are homeless might not have the same opportunities to learn.

This week, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) opened up Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) to provide safe child care to students whose parents are first responders, health care workers, and key transit employees. Yesterday, the mayor added the children of grocery store and pharmacy workers to the list of children eligible to enroll in a REC.

However, the 114,000 children experiencing the daily trauma of housing instability are not eligible to enroll. The NYJL signed on to a letter, organized by Advocates for Children, urging the mayor and the DOE chancellor to open these enrollment centers to students who are homeless, so they may have access to reliable technology for remote learning and the space to focus on their lessons, with the help of a volunteer DOE educator. The letter also requests that the the DOE expand enrollment eligibility to the children of shelter workers.

Read the letter here, and follow NYJL on Twitter for more advocacy updates.

 

 

NYJL Updates During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Please check this page often for more updates. Last updated May 6, 2020.

During this time of crisis, the health and safety of the staff, members, and partners of the NYJL community are our highest priorities. Although we are making adjustments in real time as the COVID-19 situation evolves, we remain steadfast in our commitment to women and children in New York City, community partners, and our strong, passionate women volunteers.

We continue to monitor and follow the public health recommendations of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the directives of local and federal government officials.

Please check this web page, or NYJL’s InstagramFacebook, or Twitter for the latest updates.


NYJL Events and Meetings

Through May, all in-person events are cancelled, postponed, or moving online to a video platform.  

  • Fundraising events: Please visit our Events page for more information on the status of each fundraising event.
  • New membership orientations: We will continue to host new membership orientations through Zoom. Please check our new membership information page for upcoming dates.


How the NYJL continues to serve the community and partners on the front lines

Despite pausing our regular community committee work, the NYJL continues to stay in regular contact with partners, city agencies, and elected officials regarding live and remote needs. NYJL’s community committees recently provided critical, immediately needed supplies to partners, including:

  • Gloves and masks for Urban Outreach food pantry.
  • Masks and basic cell phones to the youth of Avenues for Justice courtesy of the Steps to Success committee.
  • The Rights of Passage committee donated critical supplies to their partner Covenant House, including basic clothing, toiletries, and linens for the youth in the crisis shelter.
  • CHEF donated nearly 100 healthy, individually packaged snacks to Covenant House.
  • Senior Friends continue to write cards to the residents and staff at The New Jewish Home. If you would like to participate, contact community@nyjl.org.


Community support and volunteer opportunities

NYJL-sanctioned and direct community programs opportunities remain suspended, but there are several ways you can continue to serve our community. If you choose to volunteer in-person outside of the NYJL, please observe NYC’s recommended safety guidelines as well as CDC guidelines on physical distancing.

Thank you to the many NYJL volunteers who have participated in supporting our partners! 

Critical Supply Donations to Partners

With the city practicing social distancing, many of our partners need activities and supplies to help clients, particularly children who are homeless and confined to temporary living spaces, through this difficult time. If you would like to support our partners, here are several community partners’ lists of supplies needed. You may purchase and send items directly to the following organizations:

  • Win – Needs activities for children living in homeless shelters.
  • Isaacs Center – Needs school supplies for students.
  • The New Jewish Home – Needs activities for senior residents.
  • Covenant House – Needs snacks and activities for youth in the crisis shelter.
  • Department of Homeless Services – Needs toys and activities for children in shelter. Stay tuned for updates on this opportunity.
  • SCAN-Harbor – Accepting food donations (both non-perishable and perishable). Stay tuned for updates on this opportunity.

Help feed our heroes 

Our Crisis Intervention partner, NY Presbyterian, and others could use your support feeding frontline workers treating patients with COVID-19. Donate meals via our friends at Butterfield Market’s Feed Our Heroes fund, The Pixie and the Scout gift certificates for health heroes, or send pizzas via our Savor the Spring & PIP restaurant partner, Sauce.

Complete the 2020 Census!

The 2020 Census takes less than 10 minutes, but its impact will last 10 years! The federal government uses the census to determine NYC’s fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds for public education, affordable housing, infrastructure and much more. The Census also informs how many seats NY gets in the House of Representatives. 

Please contact community@nyjl.org and let us know if there are any organizations seeking volunteers for small group activities, virtual support, and/or supplies.

Together, we will get through this!

The Building Blocks of Parent-Child Relationships

One of the foundational “building blocks” of early child development is a secure attachment between child and parent. In partnership with the Single Parent Resource Center (SPRC), NYJL’s Building Blocks program aims to strengthen these bonds through interactive play. Volunteers organize activities where parents and their children (ages 6 months to 4 years) can tap into fun, imagination, movement, and health. At the end of each session, children and parents take home their projects, which serve as reminders of their time together at Building Blocks. 

Unlike other NYJL projects, volunteers’ children are part of the program. And as many NYJL volunteers are new parents themselves, Building Blocks fosters teaching and learning together and integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection. Some activities have included adorning planters for growing basil at home; decorating holiday cookies; playing soccer; and making lava lamps out of household items. Building Blocks has also partnered with another NYJL community committee, Cooking and Health Education for Families (CHEF), to focus on nutrition and making good food choices.

At the 68th Annual Winter Ball, the NYJL will honor two key leaders of the Building Blocks program: Outstanding Sustainer Rosemarie Dackerman and Outstanding Volunteer Olivia Leon. Rosemarie heads community partner SPRC, and Olivia helped launch, and now co-leads, the program.

“Being part of the Building Blocks committee and being able to have my son join our sessions and help volunteer has been a truly rewarding and unique volunteer experience,” says Olivia. “[…]Building Blocks is a great example of how the NYJL grows and evolves volunteer options to meet the needs and schedules of our membership.  But the best part has been working with the Single Parent Resource Center and their clients over the span of three years. It has been great to watch all our children grow together, learn from each other and form friendships.”

Celebrate Building Blocks with us at Golden Tree’s Spirit of the Season: A Spotlight on Community on Thursday evening, December 5. Building Blocks will be among five committees recognized for their important contributions to our community. 

Congratulations to the NYJL’s 2019 Outstanding Sustainers and Volunteers!

Please join the New York Junior League in congratulating our 2019 Outstanding Sustainers and Outstanding Volunteers! Toast to this year’s honorees and hear stories about them from their friends and family during the upcoming Outstanding Sustainer and Outstanding Volunteer Announcement Party, taking place on Friday, November 16, 2018 at the Astor House.

Our Outstanding Volunteers for 2019 are Beth Batiuchok-Colon, Shelby Spears Carroll, Dayna Cassidy, Leighanna Morbey and Allison Davis O’Keefe. Our Outstanding Sustainers are Robin Stratton Rivera and Dee Dee Scarborough. The awards represent the highest honor that a NYJL active or sustainer can receive. 

Join us at this year’s Announcement Party to make the evening an extra special event for this year’s honorees. All members, friends, and family are invited to attend.

Congratulations again to these extraordinary women who will be honored on February 23, 2019 during the 67th Annual Winter Ball at Pier Sixty.