Junior League Denver

The Junior League was founded in 1901 by New York City debutantes aspiring to work in settlement houses. It soon had chapters in other cities including Denver as of 1918. The Junior League of Denver (JLD) has evolved from an exclusive group of Denver’s most elite women to an open membership organization that has responded positively to the civil rights and women’s movements. – Tom Noel

OUR MISSION;xNLx;The Junior League of Denver, Incorporated (founded in 1918), 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.;xNLx;;xNLx;WHO WE ARE;xNLx;An organization which reaches out to women of all races, religions and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to voluntarism. Women from every background giving their talent, energy, time and money to the educational and charitable activities of the Junior League to improve the quality of life in our community.;xNLx;;xNLx;WHAT WE DO;xNLx;The Community Program of the JLD contributes volunteers and dollars to direct service projects, collaborations, advocacy and training around our focus area of literacy. Public Policy is an integral part of our Community Program. In order to leverage volunteers and dollars, we advocate for change in existing systems around literacy. The JLD supports multiple Community Projects, providing financial support as well as volunteers in direct service, training, management, and board participation. Are you interested in becoming a Community Partner of the Junior League of Denver? Please email community@jld.org to learn how.

1918-01-15 19:08:38

JLD Established

In January 1918, the Junior League of Denver was established and quickly grew to include 85 socially prominent women. Bylaws were adopted, officers and a board of managers were elected and Denver was accepted as the nations's twenty-first Junior League in June 1919.

1918-08-26 19:08:38

Belgian Baby Day

Elizabeth Wilson, Helen Peale, and Clara Van Schnaack enlisted volunteers to sell flowers on downtown street corners. At the end of the afternoon, the women met at Louise Hill's mansion at Tenth Avenue and Sherman Street to have tea, conversation and consolidate their collections. The women raised roughly $8,325 and, not knowing what to do, sent to the Brown Palace for safe keeping until the banks opened on Monday. This was the first fundraiser of the Junior League of Denver.

1918-08-26 19:08:38

Fitzsimons Army Hospital

The JLD adopted a ward of the Fitzsimons Army Hospital and turned it in to a sunroom for recovering soldiers. Members decorated rooms and solariums, brought them gift packages, and in the first year, members sewed curtains to make them feel more comfortable. Additionally, the project included maintaining the sunroom, entertaining patients and preparing gift packages to relieve the monotony of hospital life. Total Programming Investment: $5,000 .

1919-01-15 19:08:38

Children’s Hospital

JLD’s first social event ever was hosted in April 1919 to raise money to refurnish a four-bed ward at Children’s Hospital and to establish an endowment. In addition, members hemmed, darned, and sewed hundreds of articles of clothing for babies. Total Program Investment: $18,000

1919-01-15 19:08:38

Visiting Nurse Association

Founded by JLD, League members helped the Visiting Nurse Association run “well baby” clinics by weighing 8,000 – 10,000 babies each year and acting as physician’s assistants in infant welfare stations.

1921-01-15 19:08:38

Needlework Guild

Each year the League made and collected items which were distributed by the Guild to charitable institutions. Between 100 and 250 items were created and distributed each year to places such as Booth Memorial Home, Colorado Prison Association, Craig Rehabilitation Center, Florence Crittenton Home, Little Sisters of the Poor, and Salvation Army Relief.

1921-01-15 19:08:38

Young Women's Christian Association

League members assisted the association in training unemployed women in Denver. Roughly 20 league members established a sewing room for women to make garments to sell.

1922-01-15 19:08:38

Junior League House/ Preventorium

The first big welfare project was established to care for children exposed to tuberculosis. The JLD purchased the home and it became known as the Junior League House or the Preventorium. In the first two years, 57 children stayed in the house. In the second year the League added a summer camp for 40 children to go for two weeks. Operated until 1931 when they donated it to the Episcopalian order of St. Anne’s. Later it became St. Anne’s School.

1928-01-15 19:08:38

The Children’s Theater

This was the longest running JLD project in the league’s history, spanning over 6 decades. The project focused on commitment to education, health and children. Plays were performed, staged, costumed, etc., by Junior League members which brought joy to children whose lives were lacking in culture and the arts. The Children’s Theater expanded its audience by performing live on United Cable Television of Denver. The theater came to an end in 1985 because more women were working outside of the home and they couldn’t spend the time rehearsing and performing.

1929-01-15 19:08:38

The School Survey Committee and School Health Program

The School Health Program was formed as an outgrowth of the Junior League House as a way to monitor and determine how well-nourished elementary school children were. Under the aegis of the Denver School Board, JLD members measured and weighed children at three elementary schools. This lasted until 1940 when Works Progress Administration began providing school lunches. Total Program Costs: $31,924

1931-01-15 19:08:38

Relief Fund

The Relief Fund was a depression era project that helped poor and unemployed families. This was the only JLD welfare project that was not financed by the league. The AV Hunter Estate provided $5,000 per year along with others to finance the project. JLD volunteers acted as case workers for families until they no longer needed assistance. Total Program Costs: $50,000

1931-01-15 19:08:38

Denver Santa Claus Shop

Another depression era project that was started by the League was the Santa Claus Shop. The Shop was created to provide poor families a place to do their Christmas shopping so children would not go without toys and gifts at Christmas time. Every year 12,000-19,000 children received toys from the Denver Santa Claus Shop. The League turned it over to community volunteers in 1968, and continues to partner with today.

1932-01-15 19:08:38

Rude Park Community Center

The Rude Park Community Center began as a class for young moms to learn how to sew, but once league members realized very few moms could attend because of their lack of childcare, JLD members offered to provide childcare as well. The league soon transformed it into a preschool with paid employees. Additionally, the JLD provided free dental care to the children, as well as immunizations and a music library. They also held summer classes for Latino teenagers to better prepare them for business. The center was eventually handed over the Works Progress Administration. Since 1950 the school has received continued support from the Lions Foundation and Mile United Way.

1942-01-15 19:08:38

Colorado Military Hospital Center

The JLD refurnished a game room at a new Service Men’s Recreation Center that was part of the part of Colorado Military Hospitality Association and sponsored four “Come and Get It” Sunday night suppers to more than 4,000 men. The USO assumed responsibility for feeding and entertaining soldiers after 1943. Additionally, the JLD helped the WWII effort by registering men, participating in Army Day parades, raising money to support the purchase of defense bonds and stamps, and serving on the board of the Colorado Military Hospitality Association.

1942-01-15 19:08:38

Colorado General Hospital Preventive Medicine Clinic

JLD started the Colorado General Hospital Preventive Medicine Clinic that was aimed at keeping men healthy enough to work or to join the service by specifically working to prevent disease and thereby prevent absenteeism. In addition to providing volunteers to assist doctors with examinations, the League funded the initial three-year demonstration project. In 1945, the JLD turned over clinic to University of Colorado School of Medicine and Hospitals. Total Project Investment: $11,500

1943-04-21 20:36:29

Rationade: High Altitude Recipes with Low Number Ration Points

n the fall of 1943, during World War II, the Scribbler’s Club with the assistance of the then President, Mrs. Katharine Fuller, compiled, wrote and published the JLD’s first cookbook, Rationade. The JLD sold 750 cookbooks which raised $700. The funds raised were used to gift 1,500 books to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital for wounded soldiers and a subscription of TIME magazine to the U.S.O.

1945-01-15 19:08:38

Children's Museum

In an effort to interest youngsters in art, the League planned and installed exhibits and staffed programs on Saturdays. When they opened the museum, they expected 200-250 people to attend; instead 10,000 people showed up. The museum was so successful it became a pilot project for other organizations, including UNESCO. When the museum moved to Civic Center, the Denver Art Museum took over its supervision. Total Project Investment: $16,500

1946-01-15 19:08:38

Holland House

Holland House was founded around the turn of the century to provide shelter to homeless girls between eight and eighteen. It operated under the auspices of the Children’s Aid Society of Colorado. JLD members sponsored parties and picnics and taught the girls how to dance, boy-girl relationships, etiquette, charm, sewing, and music. Total Project Investment: $2,000

1948-01-15 19:08:38

Colorado General Hospital

Throughout the years, the JLD has consistently participated in healthcare work, but its longest relationship in the health field was the Colorado General Hospital. This project had JLD volunteers worked with children and adults in occupational and physical therapy, performed clerical tasks, worked on crafts with patients and helped the hospital’s auxiliary organization gather needed equipment such as record players, radios, card tables and television sets. Total Project Investment: $6,640

1948-01-15 19:08:38

Red Rocks

Throughout the years, the JLD has consistently participated in healthcare work, but its longest relationship in the health field was the Colorado General Hospital. This project had JLD volunteers worked with children and adults in occupational and physical therapy, performed clerical tasks, worked on crafts with patients and helped the hospital’s auxiliary organization gather needed equipment such as record players, radios, card tables and television sets. Total Project Investment: $6,640

1950-03-23 14:35:31

Children’s Hospital Snack Bar and Gift Shop

JLD started the “little shop,” a snack bar and gift store at the Children’s Hospital. Each week sixty women staffed the shop. JLD members also made articles to sell at the shop. After three years and 700 days of volunteer work the JLD donated the shop and equipment to the hospital auxiliary. Total Project Investment $5,160

1953-03-23 14:35:31

Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IEE) is the nation’s largest agency involved in educational and cultural exchange. JLD volunteers served as staff volunteers for the Rocky Mountain regional office’s international visitor program, assisting foreign leaders while they were in Denver. Total Project Investment: $2,170

1954-03-23 14:35:31

Denver University Speech Clinic

JLD members worked at the clinic to provide occupational therapy to children for hearing, speech and psychiatry. The project served as a prototype throughout the nation. The JLD also granted funds to support a therapist, provide equipment and supplies, and scholarships for four girls studying occupational therapy. Over the three years the JLD was involved, they assisted 193 children. The project is now managed by the University of Denver. Total Project Investment: $12,672

1955-11-13 06:18:10

Traveler’s Aid

Working with the Stapleton Airport, the JLD assumed responsibility to fund and partially staff the fifth Traveler’s Aid program in the nation, which aimed to assist people with problems they encountered while traveling. Traveler’s Aid worked with hospitals, the Red Cross, social services and the airlines. JLD volunteers provided a range of services including finding lost friends and relatives, assisting the blind, securing lodging, relaying the latest weather report, and warming baby bottles. Today the program is known as the Ambassador Program at Denver International Airport. Total Project Investment: $9,000

1957-11-13 06:18:10

Arthritis Craft Shop

The JLD established and staffed the Arthritis Craft shop for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation to assist people with arthritis to become self-sufficient and return to work. The JLD pioneered the craft shop and contributed to every aspect of its operations. Total Project Investment: $3,000

1957-11-13 06:18:10

Preschool Hearing & Survey

he Preschool Hearing Project was started to test preschool children for hearing loss. Unfortunately, 4%-8% of children were found to have hearing loss, but there was no systematic way or rechecking them and many parents did not return with their children. When the JLD ended its involvement in 1968, the project was taken over by the University of Colorado Medical School, the Denver Hearing Society, and alumnae of Delta Zeta. Total Project Investment: $ 1,890

1958-11-13 06:18:10

Living Arts Center

The JLD provided funding and volunteers to Living Arts Center, which was a continuation of the Children’s Museum at the Denver Art Museum. All exhibits were coordinated closely with Denver Public Schools to supplement the curriculum for 4th-12th graders who were brought on museum tours. JLD members assisted the staff in research, construction and installation of each of the exhibits and served as guides. Total Project Investment: $ $11,551

1959-11-13 06:18:10

Metropolitan Opera Auditions

The regional Metropolitan Opera auditions gave forty talented young people per year the opportunity to advance their singing careers by giving the Metropolitan Opera’s national council a way to discover new talent for local opera companies and to educate and entertain the community. The JLD arranged to bring two respected music professionals to judge the auditions and sent notices to universities, colleagues and music schools in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Total Project Investment: $ 2,380

1959-11-13 06:18:10

KMGH Seminar

The League always worked with the media to use newspapers, radio and television to advertise community programs and fundraisers and to project a positive image of the organization. Eventually, the JLD partnered with KMGH-TV Channel 7 to create a workshop to teach nonprofits how to use the media.

1960-06-01 14:21:13

Library Aides

Denver’s library system was one of the first in the country to use volunteers – a program initiated by the JLD. While the Friends of the Library project had previously done clerical work, the Library Aides project brought volunteers into every aspect of library functions to relieve pressure on library staff.

1960-06-01 15:45:44

Craig Rehabilitation Center

Originally known as the Brotherly Relief Colony Ministry of Love for Destitute Consumptives, the Craig Hospital was a tuberculosis center. When the center turned into a treatment center for spinal injuries from accidents and illness the JLD began working with rehabilitation patients. Its first goal was to help the center become a well-established center for rehabilitation and to organize a corps of volunteers to become the basis of its auxiliary organization. JLD members arranged volunteer orientation, undertook, clerical tasks, and worked with patients in the hospital. In 1964, the JLD contributed $10,000 toward a new therapy wing and helped build an auxiliary that eventually took over volunteer responsibilities. Total Project Investment: $10,000

1960-06-01 15:45:44

Puppetry

The JLD partnered with the Denver Public Library to create a puppet show in conjunction with National Library week. The program was later taken to Head Start Centers and schools. In the final two years, the puppet show was performed at the Children’s Hospital as the pre-admittance orientation on hospital procedures for young patients. The program was turned over to an auxiliary of Children’s Hospital.

1962-06-01 14:21:13

Children’s Reference Library

The JLD established the Children’s Reference Library at the Cherry Creek branch of the Denver Public Library. Many of the books that were donated are still in circulation today. Total Project Investment: $7,000

1962-06-01 14:21:13

United Fund Training Course

The JLD expanded the Children’s Zoo and provided volunteers for the Zoological Foundation. The money was used to construct a party area, pavilion and sheltered recreation area. At the time this was the JLD’s largest single project expenditure to date. Volunteers guided school children around the zoo and performed office tasks. They also compiled information on animals for the Zoo’s resource base. In 1970, the JLD relinquished responsibility to the Zoological Foundation. Total Project Investment: $30,823

1962-06-01 14:21:13

City Park Zoo – Children’s Pavilion and Party House

The JLD expanded the Children’s Zoo and provided volunteers for the Zoological Foundation. The money was used to construct a party area, pavilion and sheltered recreation area. At the time this was the JLD’s largest single project expenditure to date. Volunteers guided school children around the zoo and performed office tasks. They also compiled information on animals for the Zoo’s resource base. In 1970, the JLD relinquished responsibility to the Zoological Foundation. Total Project Investment: $30,823

1964-06-01 14:21:13

Community Homemakers

Community Homemakers provided care for the old, chronically ill, and for families whose primary homemaker was sick. The goal was to keep families together in times of crisis and to keep people in their own homes longer. JLD volunteers worked alongside Homemaker Service staff to help in homes where they cooked, did laundry, helped children with homework and ran errands. JLD paid for the director’s salary and for office supplies, as well as interviewed potential homemakers, taught homemaking skills, did office work, and publicized the program. Over the three years, 750 families were aided by the JLD. Responsibilities were turned over to paid staff in 1967. Total Project Investment: $28,367

1964-06-01 14:21:13

Newborn Testing

As many as 70 JLD members per year worked at Colorado General, Porter Memorial, Presbyterian, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s and Swedish hospitals to screen newborn infants for hearing problems. Audiologists trained JLD members with procedures developed in the audiology service, within the Division of Otolaryngology, at the University of Colorado Medical Center.

1965-06-01 14:21:13

Educational Aides

Between 1965 and 1967 the JLD paid for half the salary ($6,000) of a Curator of Education at the Denver Art Museum. The curator supervised the Educational Aide Program in which League volunteers have been involved. After intensive instruction in art, history, volunteers served as tour guides and members of the Speakers Bureau in radio, TV and other areas of education. The project was renewed in 1967 without financial support. Total Project Investment: $12,000

1965-06-01 14:21:13

KRMA-TV

JLD volunteers produced dramatizations for children’s literature programs. The JLD also helped with the purchase of an Arriflex 16mm camera. Total Project Investment: $5,000

1966-06-01 14:21:13

Denver Museum of Natural History

Under the direction of professional staff at the museum, the JLD helped in exhibit preparation. When the project ended, some JLD members opted to become museum volunteers.

1966-06-01 14:21:13

Survey of Historical Homes

In the 1960s there was a lot of interest in preserving historic structures as many cities were transformed through postwar urban redevelopment. JLD volunteers were trained to prepare a historical and an architectural survey of Denver landmarks, working with the Denver Planning Office Colorado Historical Society and American Institute of Architects. The JLD’s work led to the publishing of the Historic Denver Building Inventory: City and County of Denver, which has been a basic tool for the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission to use in identifying and designating landmarks and historic districts throughout the county.

1968-06-01 14:21:13

Special Education Library

he Special Education Library was staffed by JLD volunteers before it was turned over to the Cerebral Palsy auxiliary, which also supported and staffed the library. JLD volunteers read stories to children and assisted the librarians, who also donated their time. Lastly, the JLD donated $5,000 to purchase books with easy-to-understand vocabulary. Total Project Investment: $5,000

1968-06-01 14:21:13

Special Education Programs: Tutorial Reading, Aids to Educationally Handicapped Children* and Teacher’s Aid Program (TAP)

JLD members could sign up for a number of school programs to fulfill their placement obligations. Three of these included Tutorial Reading, Aids to Educationally Handicapped Children and Teacher’s Aid Program (TAP). Tasks consisted of working with small groups of young students for academic development, special projects and clerical work. The JLD helped establish Aides to the Educationally Handicapped Children in 1969 for students with learning problems. Total Project Investment: $5,000

1969-06-01 14:21:13

Denver Girl’s Inc.

The JLD joined with Zonta, a professional women’s club to establish Denver Girl’s, Inc. as a counterpart to Denver Boys which was sponsored by DPS and the Rotary Club. Denver Girls was a specialized individual counseling program for girls between 5th grade and high school with a particular emphasis on junior high years. The program focused on girls who came from dysfunctional families but did not have severe problems. The JLD helped publicize Denver Girls and arranged activities such as seasonal parties, outings to the symphony, ski programs, free dental care, and eye examinations. In 1973, the Rotary Club of Denver signed on as a sponsor along with Zonta and Denver Public Schools in providing support for the program. Today Denver Girl’s Inc. is known today as Denver Kids. Total Project Investment: $21,400

1969-06-01 14:21:13

Denver Children’s Home

1969-1970 The Denver Children’s Home was a residential home for children aged nine through nineteen with emotional problems that made it difficult for them to cope with family life and school. The JLD remodeled one room in the house into a library-study room. As part of their placement, evening members built bookcases, which they filled with books collected throughout the year and provided tutoring for the residents two nights a week. Total Project Investment: $2,000

1970-06-01 14:21:13

Denver General Hospital Gift Shop

The JLD established a gift shop at the Denver General Hospital and made boutique items to sell at the shop. Additionally, members served as tour guides of the new hospital building. JLD turned over the gift shop to hospital volunteers in 1971. Total Project Investment: $1,250

1970-06-01 14:21:13

Music Magic

The JLD worked with the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra to create programing to stimulate and enrich the musical interests of children through their active participation in the arts. The JLD volunteers and the Philharmonic director, Walter Charles, created programs in which children would hear professional musicians describe how their instruments were made, watched puppet shows and were able to play instruments themselves. Total Project Investment: $7,265

1970-09-15 19:08:38

The League held Daisy Day at Elitch’s

Family fun for an all day ticket price. The League raised approximately $60,000 over the three years.

1971-06-01 14:21:13

Historic Denver, Inc.

In a movement to save Denver’s Molly Brown House from being knocked down and destroyed, the JLD contributed funds towards purchasing the home and creating Historic Denver, Inc. to save the city’s architectural heritage. Between 1978 and 1988, league volunteers collected artifacts and conducted tours of the home. Total Project Investment: $5,000

1971-07-07 20:49:10

Importance of Policy & Advocacy

Public Affairs Committee chaired by Stuie Froelicher. The League began researching the important role of policy and advocacy in 1971 with a focus on educating our members of the current issues facing our community.

Junior League Denver

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