Our History

The Junior League of Rochester is dedicated to serving our community. Community projects are how we train our members. Currently we are training members through operating The Junior League of Rochester Diaper Bank, supplying thousands of diapers to our non-profit partners monthly. Our members are learning valuable skills from fundraising and grant writing to marketing and operations all while running this area’s only diaper bank.

Past Projects and Community Partners

The JLR is responsible for the creation and development of many well-known community agencies and projects over our history, that we have since rolled out for other organizations to run, such as:

  • Rochester Toy Library
  • YWCA Women’s Resource Center and Working Wardrobe
  • Home Start Hope
  • American Red Cross Bloodmobile
  • Discovery Room at the George Eastman Museum
  • CAP (Children Awaiting Parents)
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
  • The Community Wishbook

We’ve also supported local partners through major projects including:

  • Sojourner Home: The JLR partnered with Sojourner Home, a transitional residence for homeless women and children, providing housing, self-sufficiency skills, and education programs. The JLR hosted many events at the house for the residents, including multiple Dinner & Discussion events, a summer picnic, back to school celebration, Halloween party, and holiday parties. The JLR also planted and maintained a garden for the residents, donated trees, and assisted with yard cleanup. In addition to holding school supply drives and holiday gift drives, and accompanying the children in the Sojourner Home Dreamseeds program to the Sweet Creations exhibit at the George Eastman Museum.
  • Willow Domestic Violence Center: For several years, the JLR helped raise awareness for domestic violence through the “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” event, as well as provide Willow Center with banners for their Silent Witness Program. Willow Domestic Violence Center strives to prevent domestic violence and ensure every survivor has access to a wide range of services and support along the journey to a safe and empowered life.
  • Cameron Community Ministries: The JLR has supported Cameron Community with several events including: hosting an educational baby shower for new and expectant Mothers, updating the after school room and organizing the food pantry, and supporting their Saturday Academy- a program to help address inequalities in STEAM careers’
  • GIRLSrock!: For several years, the JLR positively impacted the lives of girls, through innovative programs focusing on self-esteem, nutrition, and personal safety.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: The JLR partnered with the Girl Scouts of Genesee Valley, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and the Eastside Family YMCA to address the urgent issues surrounding childhood obesity and poor nutrition: promoting health, nutrition and exercise.
  • Gilda’s Club: For three years the JLR partnered with Gilda’s Club to provide dinner, crafts, and entertainment to the members of Gilda’s Club and their family and friends. In 2005, Gilda’s Club Rochester & Cancer Action presented the Christie Simonetti Award for Outstanding Volunteer to the Junior League of Rochester for their outstanding volunteer work.
  • Treasured Memories: The JLR hosted an event at the YWCA of Rochester and Wilson Commencement Park, which gathered parents and their children, to provide them with an opportunity to take family portraits.
  • Community Assistant Grants: For over 30 years, the JLR gave annual grants to not-for-profit organizations focusing on women’s programs.
  • Youth Awards: This program awarded scholarships to outstanding local high school women for their academic achievement, exemplary volunteer service, and community involvement.
  • Children’s Theatre: The JLR collaborated with Nazareth College Theater Arts Department and the Rochester City School District to bring interactive theater to children. Elementary students enjoyed these interactive performances.

Done in a Day Projects

In addition to our major projects, the JLR has supported fellow non-profits by providing hands-on volunteer services such as:

  • Running a Back to School drive for the city school district
  • Supporting Habitat for Humanity with volunteers
  • Painting YWCA offices for Family Support Services
  • Participating in Project Homeless Count- volunteers participated in the Point in Time (PIT) count – a nationwide count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single day/night. Volunteers joined in street outreach efforts to interview and directly connect with the homeless persons of the Rochester area. The PIT count is crucial in measuring the extent of homelessness, determining our community’s eligibility for Continuum of Care funds from HUD, and for raising community and political awareness. The JLR also collected and organized essential goods that were handed out as part of the PIT count.
  • Holding a 24 HR Volunteerathon: In April 2018, the JLR held its first ever 24 hour volunteerathon, “JL Roc Around the Clock: 24 Hour Volunteerathon”, with volunteers donating 140 hours in one day. Activities included: improving the grounds and gardens at Sojourner Home; a wellness event, with yoga and meditation for formerly incarcerated women in a residency program run by Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach; procuring approximately 160 supplies and stocking shelves for Home Start Hope; a family movie night for formerly homeless residents at Tempro Development Co.; painting a private shelter residence for the residents at Tempro; sewing children’s surgical caps for Golisano Children’s Hospital; baking ~650 muffins and cookies to be distributed to Open Door Mission’s community food program; wrapping over 7,000 diapers for the Diaper Bank; and making welcome baskets full of toiletries for newly admitted Tempro residents.
  • Leading a “Paint Night” and “Game Night” at Center for Youth
  • Teaching a nutrition and cooking class for new and expectant Mothers at Chrysalis House
  • Donation Drive for Volunteers of America Camp Heroes
  • Toy donation drives for Toy Library at the Lincoln Branch Library and Pirate Toy Fund
  • Shopping and Stocking event in support of Home Start Hope
  • Painting rooms in Tempro’s emergency shelter house and cleaning and organizing their warehouse space
  • Participating in Turn the Towns Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness
  • Supporting Villa of Hope in their Holiday Wishes Program by managing gift drop-off locations

The JLR has a long legacy of training our members through programs while positively impacting our community. Want to help us do more? Join Us or Donate