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Lafayette Juniors: Philanthropy, Friendship, and Fun

Lafayette-JuniorsOf all my varied successes in a career that has proven to be more rewarding than I ever could have imagined, I continue to take great pride in my past involvement with Lafayette Juniors. As a former president of this great organization, I am forever impressed by the group’s longevity and dedication to philanthropy. Their quality annual events are always much anticipated and attended. The annual Kitchen Tour, now in its 18th year, has become particularly popular and is the Lafayette Juniors’ marquee event. This makes me especially proud, as I (and an awesome team – just like I have now) originated the Kitchen Tour. What started as a modest fundraiser has blossomed under the guidance of this dedicated group of women into a tailored and professional function attended by guests from throughout the East Bay, and beyond. The Kitchen Tour (held each spring), along with Juniors’ other annual events, raises much needed funds for non-profits that serve children, families, and seniors in Contra Costa County and neighboring counties. According to current co-president Christine Kelly, in the last 18 years alone, the group has raised and donated more than $700,000 to those in need.

And though philanthropy is Lafayette Juniors’ primary inspiration, the positive social aspects derived from membership are equally important. Many women (such as myself) have met some of their best friends through Juniors. Consisting largely of moms with younger children (though by no means a prerequisite!), the group provides a warm welcome – and often a much needed support system – to those seeking a sense of place in our community. Participation in Juniors can also foster leadership skills, to which two-term president Traci Reilly can attest. An active member for a decade, Traci went on to be elected to a seat on the Lafayette City Council. “Lafayette Juniors rooted me in the community,” says Traci. “From there I was able to grow by making wonderful connections and friendships, but it also helped me grow into a leader, by giving me the tools to be more effective and self confident.”

In addition to attending monthly meetings, Juniors’ members participate on various committees, and must work a shift at the Rummage Sale and Kitchen Tour – the term ‘work’ being used loosely. Juniors is the perfect mix of work and play, and as anyone who has ever participated in Juniors knows, membership was always fun and rewarding. I am grateful to have once been a member of Lafayette Juniors and to have played a role in something that has made (and continues to make) such a significant difference to those throughout Contra Costa County.

If you are interested in learning more about Lafayette Juniors, please email: membership@lafayettejuniors.org.

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