On the dawn of our 54th year we find ourselves cautiously riding out a pandemic and experiencing the destructive consequences of structural and systemic racism and health inequities. While a somber start to our 2020-2021 year, we know our work is so important. Our theme this year is “Be Well. Do Good.” This takes on even more meaning as we navigate the ongoing effects of Covid-19 and social ills on ourselves, our members, our communities and our world.
Our 570+ members are motivated more than ever to continue developing the potential of women, promoting voluntarism and improving the community. We volunteer over 27,000 hours annually, and have raised over $5 million dollars since our inception to support our mission and the community. Our members may work inside or outside the home, or both. You will meet us on the campaign trail, on committees, in boardrooms, developing the newest technologies, teaching our youth, keeping the community healthy, leading initiatives, running organizations, and so much more, all while we empower women to do more, be more.
As part of the Association of Junior Leagues International, we are one of 293 Leagues across four countries. While we all share the same mission, our community programs are crafted locally to align with the most critical needs in each of our communities. We often use the phrase “like-minded women” when describing the benefits of becoming a member. I would encourage us to see new members as a culture add versus a culture “fit.” As we may all strive to empower women and positively change our community, we bring myriad qualities and gifts, as students or teachers, mentees or mentors.
Since 2016, when the Junior League of San Jose (JLSJ) implemented an issue-based community impact program with transitional age foster youth (TAY) as our community focus area, we have forged strategic partnerships with key organizations such as the Foster Youth Action Aligned Network (FYAAN), Pivotal, the Hub, Child Advocates of SIlicon Valley, First Place for Youth, Santa Clara County, and other foster-youth focused organizations. We are specifically committed to helping foster youth successfully transition out of foster care. In Santa Clara County, there are about 500 foster youth ages 16-21, who suffer extreme hardship and lack of resources leading to:
- 70% not earning a high school diploma
- more than 97% not graduating from college
- only 50% being employed at age 24
JLSJ is focused on “Fostering Pathways to Success” by supporting the education, employment, and successful transition to adulthood of foster youth. Through our work, we have helped make systematic changes to the way foster youth are supported in Santa Clara County to improve their outcomes, including support through internship funding, resume help, career mentoring, job placement support, local and state advocacy, and more. JLSJ aims to realize improved education and employment outcomes of Santa Clara County foster youth, with the ultimate goal of 50% of foster youth in Santa Clara County earning $50,000/year by the age of 26, beginning with the class of 2021.
There are many ways to support the Junior League including becoming a member, a non-profit partner, a donor or an event attendee. We hope you will join us at our annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and our Trivia Challenge fundraiser, in the spring of 2021.
Together we can continue to impact Santa Clara County as we have since 1967. We look forward to a year that will present new opportunities despite the unknowns. We are passionate. We are inspirational. We are remarkable. We are leaders. We are the Junior League.
“Your job is to fill your own cup, so it overflows.
Then you can serve others, joyfully, from your saucer.” -Lisa Nichols
Be Well ⁕ Do Good
President, Junior League of San Jose 2020-2021