While The Junior League of Memphis’ signature project G.R.O.W. Giving, Readiness, Opportunity, and Wellness focuses on families in the community throughout the year, the holiday season is a very special time to us. The season of giving really kicked off in full swing with the Grizzlies Day of Caring in October and hasn’t let up since. We started mobilizing for the year end and holidays with renewed focus the week following our special day with the Grizzlies. Cue the magic!
After five years of operations, G.R.O.W. is woven into the fabric of the JLM. Our members are always finding ways to incorporate G.R.O.W. into daily JLM life whether with General Membership Meetings, helping with shifts, or supporting project needs like supply drives. We were recently involved in a big way with The Junior League of Memphis General Membership Meeting & Holiday Party on November 24 held at The Community Resource Center (CRC). Ms. Harper (a volunteer from Binghampton who dedicates her time running the afterschool program at Lester) brought a group of the G.R.O.W. children to the party for caroling! They were amazing! Ms. Harper and The G.R.O.W. Carolers in action: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=767700029933111&set=vb.238545949515191&type=2&theater
The kick off for the necessities supply drive happened that night, too. Our members were asked to donate essential household items like toilet tissue, bar soap, footie socks for adults and children, laundry soap, kitchen garbage bags, and dish soap. The generosity of our members was overwhelming.
All of the planning came to fruition this last week! New Ballet Ensemble came to G.R.O.W. Thursday Night Supper Club on December 4 for a captivating holiday performance of NutRemix (a modern telling of the Nutcracker story) at our monthly family night. New Ballet is a great friend to Lester Community Center and to the Junior League of Memphis. They are an incredibly inclusive dance company and have regular weekly dance classes at The Community Center.
Next we celebrated students at William H. Brewster Elementary School by donating new embroidered uniform shirts to each student and teacher in four PreK and two kindergarden classrooms. Generous and gracious JLM members partnered with Regional One Health to sponsor Agape North shirts for the children. Uniform shirts are important and being able to provide them serves a tangible need.
We continued promoting a life long love of reading and learning at Cornerstone Prep. The JLM gifted each student in the tutoring program books from the Harry Potter series. What better way to spend the upcoming holiday break than reading Harry Potter?
GROW Thursday Night Supper Club on December 11 was the last supper club of 2014. The PreK children wrote letters to Santa.
The kids ages 6-12 partnered with another fabulous community project, The Forrest Spence Fund, to have our kids help out with another charity and teach them the importance of giving their time during this holiday season. Kristen Ellis, a JLM member who chairs our Forest Spence Fund Project, led the G.R.O.W. kids to help complete care packages that will be distributed to the families of LeBonheur.
G.R.O.W. teens made Christmas ornaments with G.R.O.W. volunteers Katy and Leah. Hayley and Lauren led the adults in making the always popular Christmas wreaths!
Marcie Maxwell, a talented professional photographer who is a member of Thursday Night Supper Club, took family holiday photos. Check out her blog post on G.R.O.W. family photos here: http://triplemphotos.blogspot.com/2014/12/christmas-at-grow.html
On the day before the grand finale (the December G.R.O.W. Saturday Special Event) a few members met at the CRC and packed out the mountain of supplies raised in the necessities drive! We then played Santa and transported everything to Lester for the big day.
The 2014 grand finale was a stunning success. Our Saturday Special Events team put on a great party and family celebration. We had cute craft and holiday card making stations. Families were able to use Marcie’s photos in their cards!
The G.R.O.W. Carolers back in action for a follow up on their JLM GMM performance:
We served lunch and passed out the necessities baskets to each of our G.R.O.W. families and G.R.O.W. teens!
Lester Community Center Director Casey and JLM President Carolyn Danley visiting at G.R.O.W.:
G.R.O.W is a very special project which highlights the importance of collaboration to build “infrastructure” for little minds. I am grateful to my team – the village – who help make it all possible.
I hope you will consider learning more about G.R.O.W. Check out our Facebook page for more info and photos.