At the 2013 Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) Annual Conference, held in Washington D.C., the Junior League of Napa-Sonoma (JNLS) was awarded the Community Impact Award for their collaboration with VOICES Sonoma. The Junior League of Napa-Sonoma is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Through the strong support of JNLS, VOICES Sonoma was launched in 2009 and has served over 1,500 youth since opening its doors. VOICES (Voice Our Independent Choices for Emancipation Support) is a program which serves transition-aged youth in Sonoma County emancipating from systems of care by providing internal programs and co-located services with a team of partner agencies to meet a wide variety of issues identified by and for youth.
JLNS was selected from 293 leagues in the association to receive the 2013 Junior League Community Impact Award, the largest at the conference, which includes a check for $10,000 to further the organization’s work. The award recognizes league projects that concretely illustrate the Junior League tradition of achieving significant community impact through collaboration. The program must achieve long-lasting measurable results that are significantly the result of the skilled work of trained volunteers working in partnership with community agencies. Past winners include: the Junior League of New Orleans LA for their “Get On Board” program in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Junior League of Boca Raton, FL for “In the Pines”, a program to improve the lives of low income farm workers, and the Junior League of Springfield for “Isabel’s House” a crisis Nursery for children.
Collaboration between JLNS and VOICES Sonoma has allowed the best practices of both programs to be shared seamlessly, while providing youth members (VOICES) and League members (JLNS) tremendous opportunity to develop individual potential while creating lasting community impact. Through their partnership, they have established a Homeless Youth Task Force in Sonoma County, mentored former foster youth to become valuable members of state-wide coalitions and committees that impact foster care systems, engaged several California Representatives -- raising political awareness of foster care issues at the state level, and presented their work at numerous state-wide and national conferences.
"I have had the honor of working with the staff and youth at VOICES Sonoma since we opened the center. I believe together we have made a difference in our community and was honored to receive this amazing award." said Patti Bradley incoming Junior League President. Patti also served as President from 2008-2009 when the Junior League initially began working with the program.
“We were honored and surprised to be chosen to receive this incredible award. This is just proof once again that a few determined people can accomplish great things.” said Susan Dickson, current Junior League President.For more information about the Junior League or if you are interested in joining, please call 707-545-5567 or go to www.jlns.org. For more information about VOICES, visit www.voicesyouthcenter.org.