Junior Club exists to serve community

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Walla Walla’s Junior Club offers its help and support to individuals and organizations. The club funds an annual scholarship and promotes enthusiasm in community service.

Its mission is to generate interest among its members in the social, economic, educational, cultural and civic conditions of their community and to make efficient use of their volunteer service.

“Do you like to volunteer? If you don’t it’s not a fun fit,” said Emily Tillotson, Scholarship Committee chair.

The popular local service organization has a long, productive history, she said. It was formed in 1929 by Mrs. Thomas Drumheller, Mrs. Harold Watson and Mrs. John Ankeny, as a way to help the community and provide service to help others.

It’s open to women who are residents of Walla Walla County, who are nominated by an existing club member and then voted in by the group. Membership currently stands at about 40, with a limit of 50. The ages of its members range from fairly young to those with grown children.

“It is a five-year commitment,” Tillotson said. But members can get a leave of absence if necessary.

The club functions as a service resource for the community.

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Courtesy photo

Participants enjoy playing bunco during the Junior Club’s annual Bunco Fundraiser in March 2013.

“Each year our active members nominate and vote for our core projects for the following year,” said club President Carol Allen. “This year’s core projects include Books for Babes, Children’s Home Society, Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, Herring House, Walla Walla Community Hospice and Carnegie Picture Lab. In addition, we have two fundraisers per year to raise money to give to these core projects as well as scholarships.”

“We are best at working with startup nonprofits,” said Tillotson. “Our current project is working with Books for Babes. Books for Babes provides new parents leaving the hospital with a bag of books.” The new parents have the resources to encourage reading and promote it as a fun family activity as their child grows.

Club members work on a variety of fundraisers, including the Festival of Mini-Trees in December and the Bunco Fundraiser, which took place last weekend. They also sell bulbs in the fall — Bulb-in-a-Can — which Tillotson said make great Christmas gifts.

The club provides Herring House with cookies weekly, and often assists the Blue Mountain Humane Society.

Scholarships

Junior Club of Walla Walla is awarding two $2,000 scholarships: One to a student enrolled in a nursing program and one to students in any field of study. To request an application, email juniorclubww@gmai.... Applications must be postmarked no later than March 31. Recipients will be notified on or before April 30.

Another focus is women’s education, offering two scholarships for women 24 and older in Walla Walla County who meet certain criteria, The club is currently offering two $2,000 scholarships to promote women’s education.

One of Junior Club’s goals is recruiting new members.

“It would be good to be close to full size, at 50. We want to get it built back up and grow our fundraisers and maybe offer more scholarships,” Tillotson said.

The club’s future plans include nurturing relationships between club members and charitable organizations in the community, said Allen.

“We also seek to build relationships to foster social connections among the women in our group,” she said.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “We form friendships with women we may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, while learning how to become more involved in the community.”

“It’s a fun organization,” agreed Tillotson. “It’s a great way to meet other like-minded women interested in service. We have a good time together.”

Karlene Ponti is the U-B specialty publications writer. She can be reached at 509-526-8324 or karleneponti@wwub.com.

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