The Junior League of Houston’s new executive committee

Junior League of Houston

The Junior League of Houston announced its new executive committee and theme for 2021-2022 at its headquarters at 1811 Briar Oaks Ln.

Jennifer Scheifley Roberts, president for 2021-2022, welcomed just-elected president Anne Sears and the executive committee in a ceremony that dates back to when 12 passionate, pioneering Houston women formed the league nearly a century ago.

Sears introduced the theme for the year, “Better Together,” which recognizes Junior League members who have remained dedicated to its mission and the community throughout the past two years of unprecedented challenges.

The following executive committee members join Sears:

  • President-elect: Amanda Hanks Bayles
  • Community vice president: Tamra Wilkerson
  • Development vice president: Megan Anson
  • Financial vice president: Sydney Goss
  • Membership vice president: Emily Shushtari
  • Recording Secretary: Courtney Durham

Founded in 1925, the Junior League of Houston has held a leading position in Houston’s charitable and social community as a pinnacle for volunteerism for influential women in Houston. 

With its Calendar of Annual Events like its Charity Ball, fashion shows, and social events, The Junior League raises awareness for the city and its critical needs.

Contact Us

The Junior League of Houston, Inc.
1811 Briar Oaks Lane
Houston, TX 77027
713.622.4191

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History

Founded in 1925 by 12 forward-thinking women, the Junior League of Houston has built an exemplary record of charitable achievement. The League’s reputation has been forged by its steadfast focus on service and community financial support through trained volunteers.

Contributions of Note

  • 1942 Texas Children’s Hospital Memorial Fund established
  • 1967 Junior League Outpatient Clinic first opened
  • 1976 Old Market Square Park revival through 50th Anniversary Gift
  • 1986 Houston Child Guidance Center Library funded through the 60th Anniversary Gift
  • 2000 SuperKids Pediatric Mobile Clinic
  • 2006 Neighborhood Centers Inc., Gulfton Project
  • 2009 Kandy Stripe Academy – Playscape Build

The 1920s

A well-baby clinic was established as the League’s first project when young League members, many mothers, recognized the lack of services available for disadvantaged children. Subsequently, the League has developed relationships with significant medical resources, including:

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Ben Taub Hospital
  • Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center
  • Texas Children’s Hospital
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

The prospect of adopting its first project required the League to generate a source of income for its support. Energetic League members formed a “Luncheon Club” that was the genesis of today’s Tea Room. Then, League members’ and Tea Room patron members’ dues were dedicated to supporting the League’s Community Program. Musicals, style shows, and – decades later – musical therapy are outgrowths of the creative contributions to the community.

The 1930s

Having addressed children’s basic health needs in prior years, the League sought to enrich their lives by introducing a cultural element. Children’s Theater, which entertained thousands of children over six decades, ultimately spawned an educational puppetry troupe and play production and design workshops. The inclusion of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, was a natural step in the succession of expanded League projects. By the following decade, Junior League docents began leading groups of public school children through the museum – a tradition that continued for many years through the storytime docent program.

The 1940s

The formation of the Museum of Natural History (now the Houston Museum of Natural Science) inspired the League to expand its community program again. From this early association with the natural world sprang later liaisons with environmental concerns such as Buffalo Bayou Coalition and the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary.

The Junior League held several fundraisers during the first 20 years of the League’s history, but none was to be more successful than the Charity Ball. The first ball, held in 1949, netted $17,700; on its 50th anniversary, the ball netted $750,000, all of which was returned to the community.

The 1950s and 1960s

In 1954, the Children’s Health Clinic – renamed “Junior League Outpatient Clinic” – was moved to its permanent location at Texas Children’s Hospital. In 1994, the hospital recognized the Junior League for countless hours of service and $1 million in contributions. The Junior League joined with the Houston Public Library to initiate a comprehensive summer reading program in its first community collaboration. Children who met their reading goal were rewarded by seeing a League-sponsored play. Later commitments to literacy education included Volunteers in Public Schools, Houston Read Commission, and Teach for America.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science acquired a Diplodocus dinosaur brain in 1962 with support from the League. It was unveiled by the museum in 1975 and became Houston’s first dinosaur citizen.

The 1970s and 1980s

The heightened reality of troubled teens drew the League into a powerful relationship with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, where League volunteers offered lifestyle counseling to probationers. League volunteers also provided emotional and practical guidance to at-risk adolescents at Baylor Teen Health Clinic and Covenant House.

Assisting abandoned and abused children was a natural calling for the League to fulfill through a partnership with Child Advocates, Inc. Similar projects included the Children’s Assessment Center, Casa de Esperanza de Los Niños, and DePelchin Children’s Center.

The life-saving techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) moved the League beyond conventional volunteer activities into broad-based community interaction. At one point, CPR volunteers were participating in four annual citywide CPR training events at the Astrodome. Today, the League continues to offer one of the few free CPR courses offered in the city.

In 1975, for the League’s bicentennial anniversary gift, the League gave $60,000 to help revive Market Square Park. This park is Houston’s original town center and where the Allen brothers first landed when they founded the city in 1836. The area initially housed three City Hall buildings before becoming a parking lot in the 1960s. The League campaigned to turn this space back into a beautiful park so all residents could enjoy it. The concrete parking lot was removed, terraced the garden was, and live oak and crepe myrtle trees were installed.

For the League’s 60th anniversary in 1985, the League generously gave $100,000 to the Houston Child Guidance Center to build a library at its new Day Treatment Center. The Library funded by the League would serve between 800 and 1,000 people per year through mental health resources and just a general place to read, study and reflect. The Houston Child Guidance Center was founded in 1929 by Ima Hogg, focusing on children’s mental health issues and treatment.

The 1990s

Building hope by building homes through Habitat for Humanity reinforced the League’s commitment to the city’s indigent. The League’s initiative in adopting and sustaining this project earned it a Silver Hammer Award in 1998 from the Local Habitat Chapter.

Abused women, rape victims, and homeless mothers and children were counseled by trained volunteers at Houston Area Women’s Center, initiating a renewed commitment to the plight of unprotected women and their families.

In 1999, a $10,000,000 campaign, Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future, was kicked off to raise funds for the newly created Community Endowment. Within just twelve months, the League had received gifts and pledges totaling $2,370,284. The purpose of the Community Endowment is to sustain, expand and initiate League-designated community programs in perpetuity.

The 2000s

In observance of its traditional commitment to children and celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Junior League gifted the city of Houston with the well-baby health facility of the future: the Superkids Pediatric Mobile Clinic. Collaborative partners in this effort include Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Houston Independent School District, and Harris County Hospital District. The League committed $1 million over three years to underwrite the mobile clinic and its personnel. The League continues its support of the SuperKids clinic by providing financial support and trained volunteers.

In 2001, the League began its work at Houston’s Ronald McDonald House. League volunteers provide a needed respite for families residing at RMH by bringing them together for a League-prepared dinner and fun activities like Bingo and crafts. The break from the routine gives the children, both patients, and their non-patient siblings, an opportunity to receive equal attention and to take their minds off the patients’ illnesses. This also offers an opportunity for the families to share their experiences and support one another.

In 2002, the League’s first children’s book, Sweet Dreams Douglas, was printed with over 20,000 copies. The release in September 2002 was celebrated with a children’s party. By May 31, 2003, Douglas’s sales exceeded 8,000 copies. Later that year, Sweet Dreams Douglas won the “Best Children’s Book” award presented by Writer’s Digest.

The League formed the Junior League Collaborative to participate in Habitat for Humanity’s superbuild XXXVIII – helping build one of 38 homes in 38 days for the 38th Super Bowl held in Houston in February 2004. The home was made for a family living with HIV/AIDS. Participants in the Junior League Collaborative were AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc., the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital, the Hobby Family Foundation, The Payne Foundation, and Vaughn Construction. Volunteers from each of the collaborative partners participated in the build. The Payne Foundation donated $15,000, and Vaughn Construction donated $5,000 to the League for the SuperBUILD.

In 2005, the Community Initiatives Committee was charged with identifying a neighborhood upon which the League could focus its attention by identifying new initiatives and expanding current outreach efforts. The committee concluded that the Gulfton area, where the League already has a presence through various programs, would be ideal for this new endeavor. An immediate commitment to improving literacy in this community was made through a partnership with Neighborhood Centers, Inc., whose new multi-service center the League made a $50,000 commitment to underwrite a library in a children’s charter school.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, the Junior League of Houston responded by establishing the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund by donating an initial $10,000. The Sustaining Club of the Junior League of Houston donated an additional $5,000 to support the organization’s efforts to immediately and tangibly support the evacuees arriving in Houston and the community agencies that assumed other responsibilities to our city’s newest residents.

In 2009, the League established a new project at Chinquapin Preparatory School. This project was modeled after the Pen Pals program and allowed volunteers to serve as mentors to seventh and eighth-grade girls at Chinquapin Preparatory School through written correspondence and book clubs.

Board of Directors

Jennifer Roberts 2021-2022 President
President
Jennifer Scheifley Roberts
[email protected]
713.871.6645

President-Elect
Anne Sears
[email protected]
713.871.6637

Budget Director
Jenny Childers 

Communications Director
Elizabeth Roath Garcia
[email protected]
713.871.6669

Community Impact
Director – Culture
and Enrichment

Tonyel Edwards

Community Impact
Director – Education
and Mentorship

Megan N. Anson

Community Impact
Director – Family Support

Kate Hays

Community Impact
Director – Health and Well-Being

Tamra Wilkerson

Community Impact
Director –
Neighborhood Outreach

Jennifer Stewart

Community Vice President
Sameka Wood
[email protected]
713.871.6635

Director-at-Large
Diana Martinez

Director-at-Large
Jennifer Williams

Director-at-Large –Development
Emily Shushtari

Director-at-Large –Finance
Sydney Goss

Development Vice President
Jennifer Weinstock
[email protected]
713.871.6651

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director
Wendy Armstrong

Financial Vice President
Megan Ryan
[email protected]
713.871.6638

Membership Vice President
Sara-Nell Van Lant
[email protected]
713.871.6632

Recording Secretary
Shems “Mimi” Blomberg
[email protected]
713.871.6647

Strategic Planning Director
Amanda Hanks Bayles

Sustainer Advisor
Ana Schick

Tea Room Director
Elizabeth Kendrick
[email protected]
713.871.6633