Letter from Jen Barone, JLSC President

The Junior League of Stark County is transforming. To ensure the long-term health, vitality and viability of the Junior League of Stark County for generations of civic leaders to come, we have adopted two AJLI Transformation Rollouts: Membership Model and Issue Based Community Impact, as well as participating in the Small League Renewal Plan.

The new membership model focuses on transforming membership experiences for ALL members, Sustainers and Actives, throughout their League careers to foster lifelong satisfaction and engagement. We know women’s lives have changed dramatically over the last 80 plus years. According to research conducted in 2005 by AJLI, internal trends include: declining membership, eroding JL community impact, and inflexible, hierarchical membership structure. Externally, there is more competition with an explosive growth in nonprofits, increased demand for civic leaders, and an emphasis on women’s development. 

The outcome of the member transformation is that members will have more opportunities to develop skills and competencies through more valuable placement work. Each member will hold the decision making power in how much time she can give, her involvement and overall relationship with League. In turn, League meets her where she is, and provides members with multiple opportunities to make meaningful connections with other members and engage in more diverse stakeholder networks geared towards meaningful impact. The League will have the ability to drive organizational change and build the operations to influence culture.

The Junior League Community Impact Model stimulates deeper community impact, creates a more engaged Junior League network around community issues, and builds quality learning experiences for members. This issue-based approach intentionally and purposefully seeks to address pressing challenges or opportunities in the community as opposed to episodic projects.

JLSC is focusing our efforts on our new impact area within food insecurity. In a community where the food insecurity rate is 14.4 percent of the total population and 1 in 4 children is hungry, this is an issue that is closely aligned with our mission and that is experienced throughout our entire service area of Stark County. We continue to be committed to training our members to assess the needs of our community and to realize the opportunities in which we can contribute, such as educational programs for children on healthy eating and preparing meals for distribution. In addition, we are collaborating with many partners to provide and support hot meal service, backpack programs, and community gardens, as well as increase food access in our community. 

We are women of action. We step outside of our comfort zones by overcoming challenges and saying yes to opportunities. We lead projects, work in direct community service, and award grants to junior leaders in our community. We make a difference in the lives of many and I am honored to serve as your President.