The Secret to Finding Gems at the Repeat Boutique

Thanks to all of the Junior League Members and the general public who generously donate their gently used items, the Repeat Boutique is a gem in Memphis. When you walk into the store, you are immediately greeted with warm smiles. You may feel overwhelmed with the number of items in the story but as you walk around, you will quickly come upon some great finds.

Like many businesses, the Repeat Boutique had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but once the Repeat Boutique opened its doors again, Melissa Brigman attended the reopening, and her attention was drawn to the carving lines of a beautiful piece of pottery. When she saw the signatures, she thought she was going to die from excitement. Brigman found McCarty vases at the Repeat Boutique. 

She started collecting McCarty pottery in 1998 and began making pottery because of her love for blue McCarty which she received as a wedding gift.

Now, thanks to the Repeat Boutique, she is able to enjoy these vases filled with summer flowers and foliage on her mantle.

This isn’t the first great find Brigman has lucked upon while shopping at RB. She has also found a vintage Burberry trench coat, antique English ironstone and transferware. She’s even seen some of her own pottery there.

Brigman doesn’t consider herself to be much of a shopper, but she enjoys shopping at the Repeat Boutique because she never knows what she might find!

So what’s the secret to finding gems at the Repeat Boutique? It is showing up to shop there! You never know what your friends in the JLM and within the city may have donated, but since the RB is a gem of its own, you are sure to find some nice items to add a special touch to your home.

To learn more about Melissa Brigman’s work, you can visit her website or follow her Instagram.

And as always don’t forget to support the Repeat Boutique, follow the Facebook page to stay up-to-date on store hours and new items!

JLM Answers the Call to Serve in the Midst of a Crisis

Food insecurity is not a new issue within our city; but as more businesses closed their doors due to the pandemic, the Mid-south Food Bank kept showing up to meet the needs of Memphians. The Junior of League of Memphis (JLM) proved to be no different.

On May 16, JLM answered the call to serve families by hosting a mobile food bank at the CRC. Thanks to many of you sharing the event on social media, the JLM was able to serve 300 families during this event.

Due to COVID-19, we could only have 20 members of our leadership team volunteer to help provide necessities to meet the hunger needs in our city. As the team pulled up to the CRC, they were greeted with a line of people waiting to receive food. This emphasized the great need for the event.

The team felt it was necessary to find a way to continue our mission of promoting volunteerism and improving our communities even during a crisis. Through the partnership with the Food Bank, the Junior League of Memphis was able to make a direct impact in our community by providing each family with meat, fruits, vegetables and more to help them during the difficult days ahead. This event and many others are the reason why JLM was formed – to give women an opportunity to be the change agents in their communities.

Girls at Memphis Athletic Ministries Participate in Kindness Brunch

Saturday, Nov. 9, was a special day at Memphis Athletic Ministries Ladies Lounge as we celebrated and learned about acts of kindness. The morning started out with brunch and spending quality time with the girls in attendance.

MAM volunteers then led an interactive lesson about different ways to show kindness to others. The girls were encouraged to give examples of recent acts of kindness that they have been shown or displayed to others and were given a “kindness calendar” which encourages the girls to complete an act of kindness every day. If the girls complete this kindness challenge, they will receive a special prize at the next MAM event. 

The girls were also given a list of 100 examples of acts of kindness they can show to others, which included ideas such as helping parents prepare dinner, bringing cookies to a teacher, and speaking to a new student at school. The girls also decorated kindness jars for a loved one and filled these jars with encouraging messages. 

The girls were very creative with their decorations and messages, filling their jars with compliments and kind words to their siblings, friends, or parents. They were excited about giving these jars to their family member or friend and told several volunteers they were looking forward to the next MAM activity. All of the girls, as well as the MAM volunteers, had a wonderful morning of spending time with and learning from one another.

About Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) Ladies Lounge

MAM Ladies Lounge is one of the Junior League of Memphis 2019-2020 community programs. We provide volunteers and resources to support the goals and mission of MAM.

Volunteers plan fun activities and educational demonstrations to assist young girls, ages 2nd to 5th grade, in the Highland Heights neighborhood and surrounding areas. The goal of our volunteers is to provide a positive influence on these young women in a safe and fun environment.

About Memphis Athletic Ministries

Memphis Athletic Ministries provides year-round mentoring programs with well-trained staff to youth, ages 8 to 18, at eight centers located in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This is done in partnership with families, schools and other community organizations. You can donate to the organization at https://mamsports.org/donate/ and find out more about volunteering at https://mamsports.org/volunteer/.

Sweet Cheeks Receives Community Grant

Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry was the grateful recipient of a Junior League of Memphis (JLM) Community Grant in the spring of 2019. They shared photos and updates of what they have achieved with this financial assistance.

The JLM sets aside funds for grants to nonprofit organizations that are deemed to have a significant positive impact on the Memphis-area community but do not fit into one of our community programs. This allows flexibility in appropriating funds to community agencies and organizations whose projects and activities are consistent with the JLM mission and focus. Local community agencies and organizations must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They are encouraged to apply and find more information on that process can be found here: https://www.jlmemphis.org/communityassistancefund/.

The mission of the Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry organization is to meet the basic needs of families by providing diapers, wipes and other necessities for their babies and improving their quality of life. The vision of the organization is to create a community that is passionate, aware and dedicated to happy and healthy babies. The organization is dedicated to providing diapers to families in need. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Sweet Cheeks is one of only two diaper banks servicing the state of Tennessee. They have donated over 200,000 diapers to 2,000 families in need since 2014. You can read more about Sweet Cheeks here:https://www.sweetcheeksdiaperministry.org/.

In March 2019, the JLM granted Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry $4,000 to purchase diapers for low-income families in Memphis and Shelby County. With these funds, the organization was able to purchase 27,644 diapers for the community.

“Through our purchasing agreement with JetCares, we were able to double what we would normally be able to purchase,” explained Cori Smith, Sweet Cheeks Executive Director.

(Nonprofit organizations that are accepted into the JetCares Program receive preferred pricing on diapers, baby wipes, and other select basic essentials through Jet.com.) You can read more about the JetCare Program here: https://jet.com/product/JetCares-Diapers/0c2248a4f97a456ba8ef1fb6eeb6cd26?experienceId=21. —> in italics

“With the diapers purchased, and what we had on hand, we were able to distribute 37,996 diapers to over 380 families in Memphis between March and June 2019,” Smith continued.

Because they were distributing such a large amount of diapers at one time, Sweet Cheeks hosted two diaper wrapping parties and invited people to come help wrap and learn more about the organization and more ways the community could help. In this way, the JLM grant had an even greater impact by contributing to educating the Memphis community on the mission of the work of Sweet Cheeks.

Said Smith, “By recruiting help to wrap and package the diapers purchased with the funds from Junior League of Memphis, we were able to get the community involved and get new supporters to our ministry.”

Sweet Cheeks meticulously kept statistics to show how the support of JLM helps small non-profits like Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry continue to do what they love, which is helping families. Sweet Cheeks partnered with even more community organizations: MIFA, Dorothy Day House, and KIPP Schools to distribute the diapers to families most in need.

MAM Annual Tea Party

The Junior League of Memphis (JLM) hosted its 2nd Annual Tea Party for MAM – Ladies Lounge on May 4th, 2019. JLM member Demetrius Lovette suggested and implemented this event last year while serving on the committee and has since turned it into an annual event as this year’s Program Chair. Participants enjoyed an evening filled with fun activities and delicious food all while practicing their table manners. Needless to say, it was an event fit for a queen!

To learn more about this Community Program and others, visit https://www.jlmemphis.org/community-partnerships-and-programs.

Member Spotlight

Kela Jones

Meet our featured member, Kela!

 

What is your favorite placement?

I need to pick two. Sorry! My favorite placements thus far would have to be the one I have served in the longest, League Photographer, as well as my other current placement, Innovative Teaching Grants Chair. I have enjoyed capturing the various events and members over the past four years. There is nothing like the feeling you receive when you deliver grants to teachers in the presence of their students.

 

Why did you get involved in the JLM?

I got involved with JLM due to a request by my former boss at Peer Power, Bill Sehnert. While I joined because I was voluntold by Bill, I have stayed and taken on various leadership roles because of the relationships and development opportunities I have been afforded through my service in the League.

 

What have you learned from being a member of the JLM?

As a member of JLM, I have learned to put in to the League as much as I want to get out and to be the change that I want to see.

 

What advice do you have for other members about choosing a meaningful placement?

Being in a meaningful placement is one of those things that can make or break your JLM experience. First, choose a placement that works well with your personal and professional schedule. If you don’t know the ins and outs or time commitment, find someone currently or previously in the placement and ask them about the time commitment. Second, choose a placement that does not reflect what you do at work daily. This allows for you to step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself in an area you may have been wanting to see growth or an area you least expected to ever see yourself. Lastly, choose a placement you can be or are passionate about. Being passionate about your placement will always make it that much easier to lend your time, talent and you will see that your level of commitment is unparalleled.

 

What’s been your favorite GMM location and/or speaker?

My favorite GMM speaker is by far Bill Courtney. Mr. Courtney’s speech was one that was uncomfortable for some and past due for others. Through his words, I recognized that you can’t truly effect change if you are not truly serving and are living within a vacuum. In serving, you have to do more than just show up and give your time, talent and treasure. You actually have to engage, connect, learn, empathize, be consistent and be cognizant of all of those you are serving and serving alongside. If you are giving your time, talent and treasure to organizations and the people they serve, get to know those people, at the very least learn their names and the names of staff. If you can’t do this small thing, you are simply existing and not truly serving. Being truly involved in an organization, in a volunteer capacity, means taking the time to get the know the people in the organization and served by the organization who do not live or did not grow up in the same zip code, are not in the same income bracket and who do not look like you. Ultimately, it means serving at the most human and humane level.

 

What is your occupation?

I am the director of development for CodeCrew. CodeCrew trains and empowers underrepresented communities to be tech innovators and leaders through practical, hands-on computer science training.

 

Who has inspired you in your career/field?

My inspiration in my career comes from the young people I have had the honor to serve, raise funds for and work alongside. Their stories make going to work daily easy. They are my why.

 

What is your favorite Memphis restaurant?

I love food so it is hard to pick one! Sorry, again! Cozy Corner, Pho 64, Osaka, and Gus’s in no particular order.

 

Who’s your favorite sports team?

Memphis Tigers

 

What is your favorite quote?

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

What is the last book you read and would recommend?

Becoming by Michelle Obama.

 

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience as a member of Junior League?

I would like to thank Jennifer Taylor for her unwavering support and belief in me. Her act of kindness will forever be ingrained in my heart.

Community Program Spotlight on MAM

Recently a couple Junior League of Memphis members reflected on their placement with Memphis Athletic Ministries: Ladies Lounge (MAM), and shared how they spent their day impacting young girls. The article below was written by MAM Historian of the Day, Tameka H. Nelson and MAM Program Chair, Dee Lovette.

MAM: Activity Impact

With all the rain we’ve experienced for several days, I must say hanging out with the girls from MAM was quite refreshing. These young ladies are very energetic and blazing with unique personality! As members of the league, it was our pleasure sharing words of encouragement and expressing gestures of love and most of all “kindness” which happened to be the word shared with the girls for the day.

 

 

We began the morning with introductions and getting to know the girls. We explained the first project they would be working for the day: creating “kindness” jars. After the girls and the JLM mentors shared their definition of kindness, the crafting and creativity begin. The girls, with the assistance of the JLM mentors, created their masterpieces! The girls were encouraged let their minds soar with creativity. They used materials such as mason jars, paint, colored pencils and markers to bring their masterpieces to life.

 

The second project for the morning involved each girl partnering up with a JLM mentor to make colored bracelet cords. Now this project was a bit of a challenge for our mentors but not the MAM girls. These young ladies jumped in full speed. The girls took charge and completed the bracelets without a second thought. Needless to say, it was no challenge for the girls!  After completing the bracelets, it was time to call it a day. We ate more healthy treat, took pictures of our day to remember and said our goodbyes. We hope the girls enjoyed spending their morning with the JLM as much as we enjoyed spending ours with them!

 

To learn more about this Community Program and others, visit https://www.jlmemphis.org/community-partnerships-and-programs.

Member Spotlight

Jennifer Culotta

 

 

Meet our featured member, Jennifer!

What is your proudest moment in your League experience?

Every year we have an opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the JLM and the communities we serve. I am most proud of the work the Membership Taskforce did in 2016-17 and 2017-18 that led to the introduction of our new membership model. When Jenny Taylor was President-Elect she was already thinking of ways to improve our member experience and asked if I was interested in helping. It really is amazing how much you can get done when you have a focused team working on a simple goal to help every member have her best year ever!

Why did you get involved in the JLM?

I joined the JLM when I was new to Memphis. I grew up in a small town and really missed the sense of community I felt there. I also wanted the sense of fellowship that comes from serving with others toward a common mission.

What do you love about being  a member of the JLM?

What’s not to love! I enjoy working with women who are passionate about making Memphis a better place. I love getting to meet amazing women who inspire me to grow personally and professionally. I am thankful for the great friends I have made and the real conversations that happen amongst our members. I stay in the League because our organization offers so many opportunities to challenge myself while helping accomplish a mission that speaks to my heart.

What advice do you have for other members about choosing a meaningful placement?

When it comes to placement, I believe there are multiple factors that lead to meaningful experience. First and foremost is your attitude. If you go into a placement ready to make an impact and develop your potential, you will–even if there are growing pains from time to time. I encourage members to talk to other members about the placements they are in, to attend placement shifts for placements they are considering, and to ask more senior members in the League where they think you would excel. Some of my favorite placements have been those I was encouraged to pursue but would have never considered on my own.

What’s been your favorite GMM location and/or speaker?

I love our May GMMs when our provisional classes complete their first year of services and out long-time actives become sustainers. I always get choked up during this meeting, thinking about the lifelong journey of our members and the impact our members make on each other and Memphis.

What is your occupation?

Vice President of Sales and Market, Lokion

What is your favorite quote?

“I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” – Winston Churchill

What is the last book you read and would recommend?

A few months ago I listened to The Hate U Give on Audible. I suggest listening to the book because I think the characters’ voices ring truer in audio and the story is that much more real. It’s a really powerful book. A few other good reads from 2018 are The Bear and the Nightgale, Little Fires Everywhere and Sourdough.

Member Spotlight

Ruby Powell – Dennis

ruby powell-dennis

Meet our featured member, Ruby!

 

Congratulations on being honored as one of MBJ’s Top 40 under Forty!  How has your membership in the Junior League of Memphis contributed to your career success?

Thank you so much for your kind words.  The JLM contributed to my career success by giving members the space to launch affinity groups. As a result, I launched our Women of Color Affinity group. Through this incredible group of 100 women, we have formed a strong network of leaders that regularly convene to discuss everything from leadership challenges to life success.

Also, through the JLM, I have increased my professional connections across the city.

 

What is your favorite placement?

Nominations Committee!  My chairwoman was wonderful and the committee consisted of so many women with so much knowledge and leadership. I am really proud of the work we did to give the organization the best leadership slate possible.

 

Why did you get involved in the JLM?

To make friends and to volunteer. I relocated to Memphis from Denver, Colorado. Being in the Junior League was something I knew I wanted to do eventually, but prior to moving here, my work schedule was just too busy to fit it in. Memphis was the perfect place for me to join.

 

What have you learned from being a member of the JLM?

That you can elevate your leadership “brand” in the organization and in our city by stepping up when there is a need, having high expectations for the work you do on behalf of the organization internally and in the community, and that how well you treat other women in the JLM can open doors for you outside the JLM.

 

What advice do you have for other members about choosing a meaningful placement?

Ask around about the experiences other women have had serving in that placement so you know what it takes to be successful. Just because something is challenging doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. You might be exactly the right person to help make things go from good to great! If it is not right for you, that is okay. Talk to the Placement Chair because there are so many ways a woman can serve.

 

What’s been your favorite GMM location and/or speaker?

I really like the Levitt Shell. Something about being outdoors, the women, the food trucks, and just being able to sit on your favorite blanket or lawn chair and listen to a great speaker.

 

What is your occupation?

Director of Outreach

 

Who has inspired you in your career/field?

My mother. She loves to reach out, connect people with each other, and volunteer in the community. I inherited her passion for service.

 

What is your favorite Memphis restaurant?

Maciel’s Tacos Downtown. They know me. They are my peeps.

 

Who’s your favorite sports team?

Florida Gators. Always.

 

What is your favorite quote?

I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.~ Audre Lorde

 

What is the last book you read and would recommend?

If Audio-Books count….Jenifer Lewis’s “The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir”.   If not, Neil DeGrasse Tyson “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”.

More than a Placement: A Closer Look at Camp Good Grief

Camp Good Grief

CGG - logoTo help children who have lost loved ones, Camp Good Grief (CGG) started in 1999 as the first bereavement camp in the Mid-South area.  The goal of the free annual camp is to give area children ages six to 12 an enjoyable, accepting and supportive environment, in which they can freely express their feelings about the loss of a loved one. The camp is made possible through a grant from Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation, partnerships with local businesses, private donations and fundraisers. The two major fundraisers consist of “The Art of Caring” auction and the CGG 5K and 1-mile walk. The 19th annual Art of Caring was held on September 13, at the Grand Carousel Pavilion & Ballroom at the Children’s Museum of Memphis.  The 5K, which was held on September 30 at Memorial Park cemetery, is a family-fun event that also offers food and things such as moon bounces, face painting, and games for the kids.

A few Junior League Members took time to reflect on their placement with Camp Good Grief and how being involved with the camp has been a life-changing experience.

“As I reflect on my Provisional year, I think about the various placements I was exposed to. Although, there are many great placements in the JLM,  it was after viewing the documentary on Camp Good Grief that I decided I really wanted to be a part of the Camp Good Grief placement.  I felt like this would be a good fit for me, as I love working with children and to be able to help kids that have experienced a loss made it more appealing to me. We began preparing for camp in early spring, making the arts and crafts for the children’s various camp projects.  The closer it got to June the more excited I was!  Camp was everything I imagined it would be and more! My only wish is that Camp Good Grief would one day receive funding that would increase the camp from three days to a full week. After camp, I couldn’t stop thinking about my “buddy” and the entire camp experience.  I went on and on about it with a few of my coworkers who happened to be Provisionals last year and as a result, they selected Camp Good Grief as one of their placement choices and actually got it!! Camp Good Grief 5kDuring the summer, I received a call from someone within the Junior League who asked me if I would be I interested in being the chair of Camp Good Grief. Me? Needless to say, I was shocked and surprised and after much thought accepted the position. For me, this was a great opportunity to utilize the skills and knowledge I obtained through the LEAD program and I get to spend another year in a placement I enjoy so much.  Working with Angela Hamblen- Kelly and Melissa Surles from Baptist Hospital and the ladies in the placement has been such an honor and pleasure.  In getting to know the ladies, I discovered several have experienced the great works offered through the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief. I thought this would be a great opportunity for them to share.”Jameta Young

GMM

art of caring

“My history as a volunteer started while in college as a member of my sorority.  After several years of focusing on career I began looking for a way to get involved in the community again.  During my search, two of my friends spoke highly of the JLM and the opportunities it provides to get involved.  They were right!  From my Provisional year to my now first active year I have had ample opportunities to meet new people and be of service to others.   Camp Good Grief was my placement choice for personal reasons.  On April 29, 2016 my family suffered an unexpected tragedy and in the blink of an eye my nieces were without their mother.  While we as a family stepped in to try to aid them in their hurt, we could never fully understand their grief and quite frankly just did not have all the skills and tools to give them all they needed in their healing process.  I think being a part an awesome ray of hope such as CGG will allow me to develop skills to aid not only my nieces, but so many other youth who are going through similar situations.” –Metrica Spears

Camp Good Grief

“Flashback to April 2013 and I lost my mom. It wasn’t expected, she hadn’t been sick for an extended period of time. It was sudden and it left me in a lost and numb place. My mom’s nurse told me the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief and that was the beginning of navigating my new normal. After months of attending counseling sessions, I was invited to attend an adult Grief Camp. I was nervous and scared and didn’t know what to think. How was a camp, an adult camp mind you, going to help me? Skip ahead and in March 2014 I am at Ducks Unlimited on a Friday night with a bunch of strangers to be with my grief. We had dinner that first night and discussed what was to come the next day. All the work began Saturday morning. We talked in smaller groups throughout the day and I started to feel more at home. There were people that were in my same shoes. Throughout Saturday we would have heavy moments and then the next activity would be outside or making our way “down a path.” This was to help us see that grief can be sad and happy and full of heavy and light moments. We had several activities that included creating concrete garden pavers in memory of our loved one, a collage about our loved one, writing a letter to our loved one, and several group activities.

CourtneysCollage

Courtney’s Collage

 Some of these activities seem elementary, and in the moment they sometimes felt that way, but the healing that came through the small, simple things was amazing. The camp ended Saturday evening when we were able to attach the letter we wrote to a balloon. I remember standing there, about to release my balloon, and feeling sadness but at the same time a weight was being lifted off my shoulders. My grief didn’t disappear with that balloon but, some of my anger and things I was holding on to did. I can never thank the staff of the center enough for what they did for me. For the first time in almost a year, I woke up on Sunday morning a bit lighter and a bit happier. I definitely moved a few steps forward that weekend. The staff and the camp gave me more than I can ever express in words. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. The Camp really helped me move forward. It allowed me dedicated time to work on myself and my grief without the noise from normal life. I still have my grief journal and the collage I made. When I need it I can pull it out of my “grief toolbox” that I keep around. When I learned that Camp Good Grief was a placement I knew it was for me. It spoke to my heart. I wanted to give back to something that gave everything to me. I wanted to help someone walk through a lonely and hard journey if even for a short time. I am so blessed I have that opportunity through the Junior League. Grief is a constant journey and this is just another step in mine.”  –Courtney Ray