Helping women experience ‘the power of the volunteer’ for more than 11 decades
New York, NY – April 19, 2013 – Recognizing the impact of voluntarism in both Canada and the U.S., The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) would like to take the opportunity of National Volunteer Week in both countries (April 21-27; for information go here for the U.S. and here for Canada) to recognize the millions who volunteer their time to help create better communities, address critical social issues and experience the “power of the volunteer.”
For more than 11 decades, The Junior League has been dedicated to voluntarism and today, with 155,000 volunteer members worldwide, is recognized as one of the largest and most effective women’s volunteer organizations.
“Our 193 independent Junior Leagues in four countries are thriving because women, despite the many demands on their time, are drawn to volunteer work in their communities. Their countless hours of dedication to working to address health and social issues that affect women and children demonstrate the spirit of National Volunteer Week,” said Susan Danish, AJLI’s Executive Director. “At the same time, we also salute the millions of other men and women who embrace voluntarism in a wide variety of organizations, schools and religious groups. Our only regret is that every week is not recognized as a National Volunteer Week!”
Volunteering and Civic Life in America, a report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, shows that Americans significantly increased their commitment to volunteering and civic engagement in 2011, with the national volunteer rate reaching a five-year high. Overall, 64.3 million Americans (more than one in four adults) volunteered through a formal organization in 2011, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010. The 7.9 billion hours these individuals volunteered is valued at $171 billion.
Statistics Canada indicates that the number of volunteers in Canada is growing faster than Canada’s population, with over 47% of Canadians aged 15 and over (13.3 million people) doing volunteer work and devoting almost 2.07 billion hours to their volunteer activities in 2010.
Harking back to its earliest days in working with poor immigrant families on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Junior League volunteers today are involved in important issues that affect women and children, including:
- Inspired by the Junior League of Calgary’s Junior Chefs program, more than 200 Junior Leagues and their members participate in AJLI’s pioneering Kids in the Kitchen program in the fight against childhood obesity.
- Human trafficking – particularly sexual trafficking of women and children – is a key focus for several individual Leagues as well as statewide League advocacy groups like the Junior Leagues of New Jersey State Public Affairs Committee. For their work in this area, AJLI was honored by the United Nations Association of New York 2011.
- Domestic violence remains a focus issue for many Junior Leagues; the Junior League of Miami’s Inn Transition, the Junior League of Plano’s Teen Awareness Program, and the Junior League of Birmingham’s Children in Crisis programs are just a few outstanding examples.
- Children’s literacy has long been an area of concern for many Leagues; in honor of its Centennial year Junior League of Washington volunteers have committed to purchasing and distributing 100,000 new books to students in schools in the greater Washington, D.C. area, focusing on children through 5th grade who may not otherwise have access to books outside of their school lives.
About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.
Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is comprised of more than 155,000 women in 293 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world.
Tracy Van Buskirk
Main: (212) 537-5177 Ext. 8
Mobile: (203) 246-6165