Junior League Juniors is finishing up another successful year working with elementary school children to teach children about local issues and inspire them to be impactful volunteers in their community. The Junior League Juniors program launched in 2015 offering valuable learning opportunities for children and their parents. Since its commencement the program has offered nine events and have worked with hundreds of children from the community. This program aims to align with our community partners and show the Juniors how the league is also working to impact the community. This program offers the community a way to open the door for dialogue between youth and their parents and also plants the seed for future volunteer engagement.
Junior League Juniors is a program designed to inspire elementary school children (Kindergarten – 5th Grade) to be active members of their community, to promote volunteerism, and to expose children to local issues where they can make an impact both today and in the future. The goal is that our events will teach children about important issues facing Orange County and inspire them to continue to get involved and help better their communities throughout their lives.
The Junior League Juniors Program Series consists of five to seven events between the months of September and May. The events that have been offered all aim to educate the juniors on their community and the ways they can make a difference. Event opportunities have covered the following: adoption awareness, self-esteem, healthy eating, learning impairments, literacy, senior engagement, environmental awareness, and mental health.Volunteers are needed to assist with event setup, event activities and Junior engagement, and event clean-up.
Our events take a service learning approach, which means they will have a lesson portion followed by a volunteer portion that will allow them to directly apply what they have learned. Getting hands on experience with each issue and with community partners will allow the children to truly feel that they are contributing to change and making a difference.
Our goal in working with our Juniors is to cultivate their understanding of the community and the ways they can make a difference in a way that boosts their self esteem and confidence. We are able to do this through: praising appropriate behavior, reflecting appropriate talk, imitating appropriate play, describing appropriate behavior, and showing enthusiasm.
During 2015-2016, JLJ partnered with Orange Public Library to teach the Juniors about literacy; service dogs supported the Juniors in practicing reading skills. Juniors visited the Avante Senior Living Center where staff taught them how to meaningfully interact with seniors and be sensitive to their needs. Avante residents and Juniors played games and decorated desserts. At the Hunger Habits event, Juniors learned about hunger in Orange County and filled bags they decorated with food to deliver to a JLOCC project partner, Grandma’s House of Hope. In April, Juniors gathered at the Newport Sea Base to learn how to protect our earth and participated in interactive activities. To conclude the year, Juniors attended a special cooking event at Sur La Table to learn to cook a healthy meal.
In 2016-2017, JLJ has continued its momentum. The committee focused on being more inclusive with JLOCC project partners – furthering our relationship with projects and creating positive public exposure for the JLOCC. Juniors engaged in a learning styles event with our project partner Blind Children’s Learning Center (BCLC). Juniors moved through stations about sensory learning and made art pieces for BCLC students and to take home. At the second JLJ event, Juniors read a book on bullying. Student volunteers from the Samueli Academy (another JLOCC partner) talked about bullying at school.
Kids participated with the Samueli students in a facilitated activity. The students and Juniors signed a pledge against bullying. Upcoming events include an Adoption Awareness event and a Human Trafficking event focused on positive relationships and self-esteem. The Juniors will also host events on health and hunger, environmental volunteerism, and physical fitness.