Dear Friends and League Supporters:
Welcome to the Junior League of the Oranges & Short Hills (JLOSH) 2020-2021 League year! I am privileged to be serving as its President and am excited and hopeful for the year ahead. Since its founding in 1913, JLOSH has been dedicated to supporting families and their children residing in East Orange, Orange, West Orange, South Orange, Maplewood, Millburn, Livingston, Springfield and Short Hills. Our long history of service and our commitment to volunteerism has led to JLOSH being a critical partner to many community organizations in our service area. I am proud of our League and its many accomplishments and look forward to all that lies ahead.
And what a year it is that lies ahead! We are currently living in an unprecedented time; our world is in the midst of a public health pandemic and communities across our country and throughout our service area are experiencing a moral awakening. COVID-19’s impact has profoundly altered our lives and our economy, while the pain of systemic injustice is affecting the social and emotional health of our communities. In a time of such uncertainty and confusion, how can our League not only be responsive to the needs of our own members, but also emerge as a steady resource for our communities?
While we may not have immediate answers, we know that our League has faced many challenges since our founding in 1913. We have weathered World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement to name a few. We have advocated for policy reforms that support equal rights, voting rights for women, environmental justice, human trafficking, substance abuse and many other social justice issues. Today, with more than 200 League members, we continue to support and address the challenges that face our communities through our effective leadership, volunteerism and service. We also stand alongside a network of more than 140,000 women in 291 Junior Leagues within the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom who all share the same mission. Collectively, we constitute one of the largest and most effective volunteer organizations in the world.
Though the needs of our communities have changed with time, our commitment to improving them is unwavering. This year, we will continue our focus on addressing the basic needs of underserved children in our catchment area. We will work closely with our network of community partners to help close gaps in food insecurity, essential clothing needs, school supplies and basic hygiene needs of school-aged children living in poverty.
The constraints of COVID-19 will certainly impact how we volunteer and serve. We anticipate that much of our programming, fundraising, meetings and service will be more remote and virtual. But our strength is in our smarts! Who says our annual Kids for Kids event cannot be done virtually? Why can’t we successfully host trainings, guest speakers and community forums on web-based platforms. Of course we can! We are unstoppable. We will pivot as needed, develop creative solutions to address community issues and ensure that the health and safety of our members and our partners are of top priority.
We also continue to be enormously grateful to our sponsors, supporters and the many friends who align with our mission. Without this continued support, JLOSH could not provide community grants to organizations serving families in our communities or support the training and development interests of our members. I am also grateful and appreciative of the dynamic women serving on this year’s Board of Directors. The strength of our diversity, experiences and values will guide our governance and the strategic execution of our mission. Our history, legacy and staunch commitment to community motivates me. I invite you to join me and all of our members as we move towards a stronger League. We are better together!
Yours in service,