Our wonderful tradition of service carried over into the 90’s. The Discovery Center and Kidscape at the National Science Center, and the Child Life Program (therapeutic play for children hospitalized at MCG) were voted in as new projects. Other successfully-funded projects included Child Advocacy (children’s needs), Family Connection (positive experiences and healthcare at chosen schools), A Hand Up (advocates for the rights of the homeless), The Augusta Tree Project (preservation), and Kids Café (hot meals for under-privileged children). Project S.E.R.V.E. (Students Empowered To Reduce Violence by Education) and the Shiloh Community Center (enhanced day-care/summer school for inner city children), were also signature projects. The League volunteers continued work at the Berry Children’s Center (daycare for handicapped children and adults) and in the Arts Reading Program in conjunction with the Greater Augusta Arts Council and public schools through the 90’s. We also continued to award Mini Grants as well as Community Enabling Funds to deserving teachers and community organizations respectively. The Kids Care Club (promotes volunteerism in children) and Service Saturdays and Weeknights (provides assistance to specific CSRA agencies as volunteerism advocates) reinforce our dedication to providing community assistance. The newest project of the 90’s, the Day Shelter for Homeless Children, opened in October at the Salvation Army. This year-round shelter provides food, clothing and healthcare for homeless children in a safe and caring environment.
The 2000s showed incredible growth in the Junior League of Augusta. Large provisional classes filled with amazing and talented women ready to make a difference have joined us each year. Our membership has shifted and we now find that the majority of our members are working professionals.
A record of 56 provisionals were presented as actives in 2002 at the end of President Mary Anne Plunkett’s term. While the JLA brought so many wonderful projects to fruition, the tragedy of September 11, 2001 weighed heavily on our hearts and minds.
Karin Calloway’s presidential year brought training opportunities and speakers to our meetings and a new fundraiser, Celebrity Waiter. She initiated a 5 year plan that Beth Huggins’ Leadership team would continue in 2004-2005. Two new playgrounds were built and sponsored by the Junior League. Tricia Nixon’s year as President featured a lot of technology integration such as membership info only accessible online. We began a partnership with Heritage Academy and our focus area, the Healthy Child Initiative. This year also marked the launch of Par 3, Tea-Time at the Masters® and our annual golf tournament. Shannon Lanier took us into year two of the Healthy Child initiative and we built phase 2 of Pendleton King Playground. Our Attic Sale was voted best fundraiser by Augusta Magazine. During Lisa Whatley’s year, the JLA was invited by Cobbs Nixon and Tom Robertson to participate in the inaugural Westabou festival. Our fundraisers netted a $66,127 and our Tea-Time cookbooks earned $51,654 in sales. The Mrs. Claus event was added as an additional fundraiser for Tea-Time.
During the presidential year of Ann Beth Strelec in 2008 – 2009, we celebrated our 80th Anniversary with a wonderful event at the Morris Museum of Art. Neurobalstoma, childhood obesity, women’s heart health, breast cancer and “going green” were addressed throughout the year. A provisional class of 40 women was presented. We continued with our Golf Tournament, Attic Sale and Mrs. Claus events which did very well even with the worst economic turndown since the great depression. Tea-Time continued to sell cookbooks, with over 2,000 books this year!
In 2009, April King led us in the Junior League of Georgia Million Minute Read initiative with 12 other Leagues across the state in an effort to read a million minutes to children throughout the year in celebration of Bright from the Start’s program. We welcomed 54 new provisionals into membership and handed out $13,148 in grants to our community, including $2,000 in League loot. We introduced Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen and the Done in a Day program to replace Service Weekends and Weeknights, which allowed our entire membership to get involved hands-on in the community. We were also received $11,500 in grant money and began using our new member friendly Junior League website with the implementation of Closerware. Additionally, Attic Sale and Golf Tournament raised $76,000!