JLA Gives Back: A Weekend of Service to the Atlanta Community
By: Jamilah Stephens, JLA Serves Chair
The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. (JLA) recently completed its annual JLA Serves weekend, deploying hundreds of trained volunteers into service with local nonprofit organizations. Started in 2013 under the leadership of Past President Camille Kesler, JLA Serves is a bi-annual 3-day volunteer event that brings league members together for an impactful weekend of direct service. Additionally, JLA Serves provides members with a fun volunteer experience and an opportunity to help brighten the lives of many in the community. The event also gives members with a chance to become acquainted with others in a setting outside of their assigned volunteer roles within the organization. More than 300 volunteer opportunities were created for our league members through JLA Serves in the month of October.
In the 2017-2018 league year, JLA Serves provided over 700 hours of service across 15 different community partners. This year, we increased our impact by partnering with a total of 17 community partners in service projects across the metro Atlanta area. Our new community partners included: Atlanta Public Schools, Jerusalem House, Serenity’s Steps, and Trees Atlanta. JLA members came out in large numbers to volunteer their time, and in some cases donated supplies or materials, for projects varying in nature from engaging young scholars in a reading day at Deerwood Academy to providing companionship to seniors at A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab nursing home. Our volunteers also rolled up their sleeves to renovate and decorate a bedroom/bathroom for deserving youth, as part of a 2-day Extreme Bedroom Makeover project through our partnership with Agape Youth and Family Center.
The weekend ties back into JLA’s mission and serves a critical piece within the league’s strategic plan goals for 2018-2023. The first goal, to impact the metro Atlanta community through a pipeline of trained community and civic volunteer leaders, will be primarily achieved through an objective of engaging members in community service. The planned strategy to accomplish this goal and objective is to promote external community opportunities through both placements and short-term service projects such as JLA Serves.
Our next JLA Serves weekend will take place during Spring 2019 and the committee is currently researching projects and organizations to work with during the event. If you know of an agency interested in participating during JLA Serves weekend, email [email protected] Our goal is to add more community partners, resulting in the creation of more volunteer opportunities and additional measurable impact made across the city.