History

The first Junior League

The first Junior League, the Junior League for the Promotion of the Settlement Movement (now the Junior League of the City of New York, Inc. also called the New York Junior League) was founded in 1901 in New York City by Mary Harriman Rumsey, daughter of railroad executive Edward H. Harriman.

Junior League of Eugene

Our League began as the Eugene Welfare League (EWL) when a small bridge club of 12 women realized the work needing to be done in our community. These same women gave volunteer service and financial aid to the Lane County Poor Farm, made school children clothes, and started the first well baby clinic and the Children’s Hospital School.
Our volunteers also worked with the Red Cross to make surgical dressings during the war and manned observation posts.

Our History in the Community

Skipworth / John Serbu Youth Center

Skipworth was founded in the 1940s. Our volunteers in the Eugene Welfare League and Junior Social League taught troubled teens life skills like pattern making, cooking, and sewing while mentoring one on one.


Maude Kerns Art Center

Founded in 1950 as a nonprofit community center for visual arts the JLE assisted with relocation and expansion to its current location. It is the oldest standing church in Lane County.

YMCA

In 1952 the Junior Service League pledged $10,000 to the Y building fund. To meet this obligation, the first Follies show was presented in 1953. We went on to start a support group for single parents and eventually started the Y-Singles Association.


Relief Nursery

Started in 1976 as a collaboration between Junior League and Child Protective Services, the Relief Nursery provides support services to keep children safe from abuse and neglect, and serves more than 1,000 children and families each year. The Relief Nursery has been replicated nationwide for its efforts as a leader in child abuse prevention.

Thrift and Gift Shop

The Thrift and Gift Shop consignment shop opened in 1954 thanks to the Eugene Welfare League, and was a major part of JLE not only as a fundraiser, but as a social hub for members as well as a training ground. It was run by JLE volunteers, with 10 – 12 members working daily at its peak to process consignments in a labor-intensive environment without computers. As times changed and many young JLE women joined the workforce, volunteer hours were reduced, and the Thrift and Gift Shop closed in 2006.


Birth to Three / Parenting Now

Started in 1976 as a collaboration between Junior League and Child Protective Services, the Relief Nursery provides support services to keep children safe from abuse and neglect, and serves more than 1,000 children and families each year. The Relief Nursery has been replicated nationwide for its efforts as a leader in child abuse prevention.

Womenspace

JLE volunteers came to create the Transitions program in collaboration with
Kid’s FIRST (Forensic Intervention Response and Support Team) provides intervention and advocacy for children who are victims of, or witnesses to crime. JLE volunteers offered support and served as trained advocates and assisted abused children and their families in their time of need, obtaining services and information.


A Caring Place

Started as a collaboration between JLE, Relief Nursey, DHS, and First Congregational Church, A Caring Place was in operation from 2004-2012 and provided respite care for foster children. With the expansion of Head Start, these families transitioned into the Early Head Start Program.
Womenspace, which provides domestic violence support services. They worked closely with women leaving abusive relationships, and gathered household items, furniture, clothing, and kitchen items to provide them with an apartment that was fully stocked, allowing these women to start a new chapter in their lives. Mentors were also provided to make sure these women were successful.

Lane County Foster And Adoptive Parent’s Association

Junior League partnered with the Lane County Foster and Adoptive Parents Association to strengthen, support, and educate relative and non-relative foster and adoptive parents who enrich the lives of the children they serve. The Junior League provided respite care during monthly meetings that provided information, quality trainings and educational opportunities to parents. Other activities included providing Thanksgiving baskets to families and organizing the annual pumpkin patch activities for children in foster care. The women of Junior League hosted a sibling reconnection activity day so that children in foster care who were separated from their siblings could enjoy a day spent together, playing games, and reconnecting with one another.


Movie Nights

In 2015, the Community Enrichment Committee began hosting in-home and public movie events to show the Junior League of Portland’s video documentary of human sex trafficking entitled, Waiting for the Light. JLE ensured that topic experts were available at these events to answer questions and provide community resources.  The public outlet was a great way for the Junior League of Eugene to not only educate its community population about human trafficking, but also to build and maintain community partnerships, as the video detailed just how close to home these dangers really are, how to recognize them, and what our community can do to help. A strong, united, well-educated community can drastically reduce the risk of our youth falling victim to human trafficking. While we are no longer hosting movie nights, you can still watch the video, Waiting for the Light online.

Community and School Presentations

Community Enrichment Committee is committed to increasing community awareness and education of human trafficking in Lane County. Educating our educators is critical. JLE began presenting a power point presentation to as many people that had daily contact with school aged children as possible. Our list included, but was not limited to, teachers, administrators, councilors, facilitators, maintenance workers, bus drivers, PTO’s, hotel managers, mall or retail store managers, hospital employees, foster parents, etc. Our hope was that the more community members become aware of the human trafficking dangers our youth face in our very own community the more outreach, education, support and ultimately prevention would occur.