For over 90 years, the JLGP has been a leader in promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. This year, beginning with a new, broader range of community projects, our vision is to empower women and children, in direct response to immediate community needs as identified by our colleagues and partners working directly with New Jersey’s neediest families.
Recent studies by Advocates for the Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) and the Fund for Women and Girls of the Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF), identified a multitude of needs in Mercer and surrounding counties, including the dismal economic state of single-mother households in Trenton, where the median income for single mothers is $20,000 compared to all households in Mercer at $71,000. In fact, one-third of the children in New Jersey live in low-income families. “And the children in these families will suffer. This poverty infects all the areas of child well-being documented in this report. [Kids Count, ACNJ] Children in poor families are less likely to succeed in school. They are more likely to suffer from health problems….High school graduation is not a given for these children, nor is going to college and landing a decent job. It is also true that supports to these struggling families have been eroded at a time when they are needed most.”
As a result, in 2012-2013, the JLGP will continue to focus on the welfare and empowerment of women and children, through activities focused on childhood nutrition and quality of life, better employment outcomes for women in Mercer County, and literacy with an emphasis on science and math, an area of League expertise developed over the last ten years.
Specifically, our Children's Initiative works to improve the quality of life of Mercer county's at-risk children through food and clothing drives, nutrition education, and enrichment experiences (birthday celebrations, a trip to Terhune farm, Kindles to mentoring graduates at Trenton Central High, etc.) Our partner organizations this year are Family Services Association of Bucks County Teen Center, The United Way of Greater Mercer County (UWGMC) Mentor Link at Trenton Central High School and UWGMC Stuff the Bus initiative, Anchor House (Angel’s Wings), Better Beginnings Preschool, The Cherry Tree Nursery School (Homefront), Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Capital Health Hopewell Pediatric wing, and Children’s Futures Holiday Toy and Book Drive.
The Women's Initiative, in partnership with Dress For Success Mercer County, seeks to respond to the income data cited above by addressing the lack of education and job skills among women in the community. This Initiative will support local women in their employment transitions with mentoring and education programs to foster on-the-job success and improved job-search skills.
The ROCKETS (Raising our Children’s Knowledge by Education Through Science) Initiative encourages use of hands-on science activities in the pre-school classroom through teacher education and volunteer activities with young children at the Gateway CAP Head Start in Hamilton and other partner schools in Trenton. The JLGP fosters teacher science education by organizing and sponsoring the Teacher Launch Seminar each winter to provide materials, ideas and projects for teachers to use in the classroom. ROCKETS also holds a science fair in the spring at a preschool in Trenton to engage children and their families in science.
Through these initiatives, we developed new partnerships and programs, and further strengthened existing ones. By expanding the reach of our volunteer members, we continue to learn more about the communities we serve and identify significant needs to which we continue to respond with excitement, commitment, and leadership.
How We Help:
Children’s Initiative – Through partnerships with Anchor House, Terhune Orchards, and area preschools, our volunteers will educate, entertain and enrich the lives of at-risk children in the greater Princeton area.
ROCKETS Initiative – Continuing our efforts to improve the science and math literacy of children in our area, volunteers will create literacy kits for distribution in area schools, organize and sponsor a seminar for science teachers and host a science fair with a local school.
Women’s Initiative – Through a partnership with Dress for Success, JLGP volunteers will provide programming and mentoring to women in Mercer County seeking to improve their employment status.
90th Anniversary Projects
Capital Health – JLGP volunteers will return to Capital Health in Hopewell to decorate the pediatric wing and bring holiday cheer to pediatric patients. In 2011, the JLGP filled a new activity room on the pediatric floor with children books, games and decorations.
Princeton Hospital at Plainsboro – JLGP volunteers served as docents for the Hospital’s Arts in Healing display during the first public open houses.
Teacher Launch Seminar
Now in its 5th year, the Teacher Launch Seminar (TLS) provides area teachers with the opportunity to network, share experiences and gain insight and new ideas from speakers focusing on how to make science more accessible in the classroom to children in preschool through 3rd grade.
Each year, the incoming class of new JLGP volunteers chooses and designs its own community project to serve as a unifying class activity that also brings positive change to the community. Click here to read descriptions of the creative and inspiring projects of recent JLGP classes.
Community Grants Program
The JLGP provides grants to organizations in the community to support projects in our three areas of community focus:
- supporting women’s employment,
- providing for basic needs (clothing, healthy food, birthday celebrations) for at-risk children, and
- providing opportunities for improved science and math literacy through direct contact with students as well as seminars for teachers.
The Junior League of Greater Princeton awards scholarships to female high school seniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to community service and voluntarism. The two scholarships for which applicants may apply include a $1,000 Award for Excellence and Leadership in Ongoing Volunteer Activities and a $1,000 award for Demonstrated Leadership in a Single Community Service Volunteer Project.
SPAC - State Public Affairs Committee
The State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of New Jersey (SPAC) works toward the enactment of legislation and initiatives which would improve the quality of life for women and children in New Jersey, improve the quality of education, and improve the environment by taking action on select state and national public issues. The delegates convene regularly to discuss and research issues relevant to their task force’s scope. In an ongoing effort to educate them to become better advocates, SPAC members also travel to meet key legislators at the State Capitol in Trenton and Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
 Advocates for Children of New Jersey. “Introduction.” New Jersey Kids Count 2012: The State of Our Children. Advocates for Children of New Jersey, 2012