December is always a time of reflection for me, and as I look back and reflect on how the members of the Junior League of Wichita Falls have been busy impacting and supporting our community I am overcome with pride. We kicked off our year by participating in the Texoma Gives Day of Giving with our campaign “Ask Me about My Uniform” where members brought awareness to the need of uniforms for children in our local schools. Not only were we honored to be part of Texoma Gives and help celebrate the over $1,000,000 raised for local non-profits on that day, but we are extremely proud to have been able to raise the money to give back 243 full uniforms to students.
In November we celebrated our 37th annual Christmas Magic at the Wichita Falls MPEC Exhibit Hall. The exhibit hall was transformed into a festive and bright celebration as our “Oh What Fun” theme helped kick off the gift-giving season. This event is our League’s largest fundraiser, raising more than $100,000 each year that goes right back into our community plan.
Our International Friendship Committee has been busy celebrating Oktoberfest with our friends from the German Air Force and hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We are honored to continue our 50+ years of friendship with the German Air Force and supporting the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) at Sheppard Air Force Base. We look forward to our upcoming events as the year progresses and making the German community feel at home during their time in Wichita Falls.
We have also been investing in the training of our membership in order to empower leaders. We have held trainings on voter registration and held a meeting for local candidates for office to come and inform our members on their platforms in order for our ladies to be educated at the polls. In November, we held satellite meetings in lieu of our monthly membership meeting in order to provide a small-group opportunity for discussion and fellowship. Our mentor groups are going strong with groups having a mix of active, sustainer, and provisional members in order to build networks, and our 2018 Fall Provisional Class has recently had 13 members complete the course to begin their active status starting in January 2019. The time and dedication that our members have given to this organization and our community is truly awe inspiring.
Our Partners in Education Committee has been busy impacting the lives in two local elementary schools and are getting ready to host Christmas parties at each location that will support 200 children. They have also been busy working with the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank where they have packed over 600 Power Paks 4 Kids for students to take food home with them in their backpacks on Fridays in order to have food for the weekend. Our HEART Committee has been busy mentoring female teens in two local junior high schools through hosting monthly events that focus on skill building and relationship forming skills. The Kids in the Kitchen Committee has also been busy teaching kids about healthy eating and exercise habits at local elementary schools.
Our Opportunity Knocks and Community Assistance Fund Committee has been busy reviewing applications and granting funds totaling $21,000 and numerous volunteer hours to area nonprofits that need our assistance. We are dedicated to our community and love the collaboration that goes into making a difference where we live!
As January is right around the corner, I’m getting excited about what our members have planned for the spring! Our League of Arts Committee has many events planned to take all forms of the arts to local youth centers and provide an opportunity for kids in our community to experience a wide range of possibilities surrounding the arts. Our Food Fight Committee will host the 4th annual Food Fight in March to support the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank and compete against other Junior League’s across Texas in a “Food Fight” to combat hunger. And we will also host our annual Give Light Awards in April to showcase our community volunteers and give back to the non-profits they serve.
As at all times of reflection, I am in awe of what has been accomplished and inspired by what is to come. With over 330 active, provisional, and sustaining members, the Junior League of Wichita Falls contributes over 17,000 volunteer hours and over $300,000 annually in training and project funding the Wichita Falls community. Thank you for supporting us as we are “Empowering Leaders” to impact our future!
Crystal Short JLWF President 2018-2019 firstname.lastname@example.org