The Junior League of Lancaster (JLL) seeks to improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The JLL pursues a wide spectrum of strategies and partnerships for long-term solutions beyond relieving the immediate needs that communities might have. This long-view mindset allows us to fulfill our mission of “improving communities” in a meaningful and systemic way.
We listen to the community and respond with well-designed strategies for change. Based on a full understanding of a community’s needs and assets, as well as an assessment of internal capacity, we identify the niche where we can be most impactful within our community’s ecosystem. We also focus on developing members’ community and civic leadership potential. Our members are engaged in every step of the process; their voices and passion are front and center, and their capabilities are utilized in creative and effective ways. In doing so, the JLL is able to offer members opportunities to build their community and civic leadership skills in ways that also enhance the JLL’s community impact initiatives.
In 2014, the JLL began adopting issue areas as the primary focus of our service projects and initiatives. The current JLL focus area is STEM education. Our strategic mission in this area is to increase educational and career opportunities for girls and other youth who have been historically underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Our recent STEM projects include the following:
- Helping to establish Girls Code Club at Lancaster Science Factory (LSF), which has introduced over 250 girls to computer science.
- Established rain gardens at the North Museum, Pineapple Manor (in partnership with Penn Manor) and Stone Independent School. Created curriculum and instructions for groups to establish rain gardens at their own properties.
- Screened the movie Hidden Figures for 350 Girl Scouts at Penn Cinemas.
- Established an Aquaponics program to place these tanks in Lancaster County classrooms and at LSF.
- Sponsored 20 summer camp scholarships at LSF, with half designated for Girls Code Club members and the other half as need-based scholarships to any deserving student.
- Sponsored Water Week classes and activities at LSF, in conjunction with the Lancaster Conservancy and PCAD.
- Sponsored and providing volunteer support for the LSF “To-Go” Van to visit the Lancaster Library for free Saturday morning STEM workshops for K-3 students.
Our STEM Rain Garden Project earned 2nd place at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce #impactlancaster event, as well as the Vision Award from the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI).
Other recent service projects and initiatives include:
- Cleaning the Memory Garden at Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development.
- Making and donating blankets to Off The Streets to help individuals experiencing housing instability.
- Hosting a Conversation with Child Advocates for Child Abuse Prevention Month, with presenters Mary Halye of Lancaster County Children’s Alliance, Dan Dye Esq. of the State Attorney General’s Office and Robin Boyer of Children & Youth.
- Collecting nearly 1,000 Thanksgiving food items for Power Packs Project and assisting with the sorting and packing of these items for donation to food insecure families.
- Collecting cards, baked goods, food pantry items and PPE items for COVID frontline workers at Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health.
- Hosting a Panel Discussion on Community Need, with panelists Sam Bressi, President and CEO of the Lancaster County Community Foundation, Kevin Ressler, President and CEO of the United Way of Lancaster County and Alice Yoder, Director of Community Health at Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health.