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Junior League of Kingsport: Working to build a better community

Katherine Scoggins • Updated Oct 29, 2016 at 3:16 AM

Junior League of Kingsport is excited to host the second annual Gangster Gala!

Dress in your 1920s finery and be at the Kingsport Farmers Market on Friday, Nov. 4, for the dinner, auction and party which runs from 7 to 11 p.m. , or arrive fashionably late for the auction and party from 9 to 11 p.m. Tickets for all the festivities (dinner, auction and party) are $60 each. Tickets for the auction and party only are $30 each. Tickets are available by phone (charge or reserve for pickup) at 423-245-1321; in person at the office, located at 418 Shelby St. in Kingsport, from 11a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; or from a member of JLK. Proceeds benefit a variety of programs and projects supported by Junior League of Kingsport that positively impact women and children across the Greater Kingsport area.

While the evening may be a lot of fun and laughs, the League’s mission is quite serious: The Junior League of Kingsport 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. The League’s vision is equally important: to create a community where families have the resources and support to succeed in personal, family, social, educational and occupational endeavors.

Kingsport’s League was formed in 1950 by the merger of two community service groups, the Junior Welfare League and the Junior Auxiliary. The members of these combined groups began the tradition of building a better community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers beginning in the early years with nursery schools and maternal and child health programs, and through the years with the formation of the fine arts center, Volunteer Kingsport and the Shepherd Center, on through to modern-day “bricks and mortar” signature projects such as Rascals Teen Center and Children’s Advocacy Center of Sullivan County.

Through the years, over $650,000 has been invested by Junior League of Kingsport in projects for the Kingsport area community. The Junior League of Kingsport continues to support many health and human services agencies and programs while fulfilling its mission. At almost any given time, a League member or members can be found leading a Board of Directors of a civic organization or human service agency; serving as a volunteer for her church, her child’s school or athletic team; cooking and serving food to the hungry in our community; or helping with strategic planning initiatives to help eradicate some of these situations.

The Junior League president for 2016 is Tina H. Pasquale. Although she has had this position only a short time, she has “hit the ground running.”

“I’m honored to lead an organization dedicated to training women to be effective volunteers and leaders of our region. The impact Junior League of Kingsport has had in the community is outstanding. To see our members become elected officials, business leaders, non-profit and philanthropic champions is a testament to the resources we provide to prepare women for effective leadership,” she adds.

To accomplish all this, one might think it’s tantamount to taking on a part-time job, with all the meetings and volunteer work. But you would be mistaken: it’s through the meetings, the volunteer work, the feelings of success, the “adventures” when traveling together for training and educational programs that friendships are made. Working on projects over time can solidify close bonds. That may be the most important benefit of all, Pasquale agrees.

“Beyond our track record of effective leadership, we also have a strong culture for women to develop relationships with like-minded, service-oriented women,” Pasquale said. “JLK is a place where you can develop those life-long relationships that can be difficult to establish as we enter adulthood or are new to the community. Many of our members are from other areas of the country so we do have a diverse and open culture. Being from South Carolina, I can attest to the friendships I’ve made as a Junior League member.”

If you are a woman, 21 years of age or older, and interested in JLK, visit their website, the JLK’s Facebook page or contact the Junior League office at 423-245-1321.