NEWARK, NJ – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored the Junior League of Montclair-Newark, the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, and Emerge NJ during its Annual Women’s History Month Celebration on Wednesday, March 25th, at the Hall of Records.  

Sponsored by the women members of the Board, Freeholders Lebby C. Jones of Irvington, Cynthia D. Toro of Bloomfield, Patricia Sebold of Livingston and Timberlake took a moment to acknowledge the efforts of individuals and organizations.

The organizations’ commendations were sponsored and presented by Freeholder President Britnee N. Timberlake of East Orange.  In addition to these organizations, the event’s other honorees were: Carol V. Alves-Ward of Bloomfield; Anna B. Scott of Irvington; and Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer of Newark. 

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Freeholder President Timberlake opened the program saying, “This is a celebration of all women from every background, occupation, status, religion and culture, because it is us who birthed the world and hold families together.” 

“My first presentations this evening are to two super organizations comprised of superwomen that are the epitome of civic-mindedness and service to others, especially the young and the less fortunate”, said Timberlake as she introduced the Junior League of Montclair-Newark and the Junior League of the Oranges & Short Hills. 

“Both organizations are dedicated to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving their communities through effective action, community projects and effective fundraising by their cadres of trained and compassionate volunteer members… members who are so effective that they often sit on the Boards of other non-profit organizations and become leaders in their communities.”  She went on to remark that the programs of the two organizations are varied, “but what they have in common is their obvious concern for children and families… concerns that are always in the forefront when it comes to women…. whether it be to gather toys, books, fund scholarships, feed the hungry, help foster children gather the supplies they will need in their new homes, or support children caught up in the court system because of neglect or abuse.”

The Junior League of Montclair-Newark (JLMN) was founded as the Junior League of Montclair in 1921 by Miss Sabra Bradlee.  The Glen Ridge Service League joined in 1943, followed by the Junior League of Newark in 1974 to form the present JLMN.  Since its founding it has been a leader in volunteer efforts in Montclair, Newark and the surrounding community, and its members are linked by the organization’s common goals of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  As a result many members can be found putting those skills to work not only in their professional lives but also as board members for other nonprofit organizations.

JLMN reaches a wide range of children through its projects, and has a distinguished history of serving the Essex County communities of Bloomfield, The Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Montclair, Newark and Verona.  It is also proud to have founded many nonprofit organizations serving the needs of the citizens in its area, including Newark Emergency Services for Families, the Essex County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and the COPE Center.

Members volunteer their time in a wide variety of community projects.  Done in a Day is a multi-faceted program of projects devoted to enhancing the community through a variety of short-term, hands-on volunteer opportunities that involve approximately 1,300 children and 700 adults annually, including such projects as: Chop n’ Chats, preparing and serving hot meals and distributing bagged lunches at the Montclair Salvation Army; a post-holiday toy drive benefiting the Newark YMCA and Wynona’s House; Read Across America, when members read and distribute new books to early education students in Glen Ridge, Montclair and Newark; LINK Community Charter School in Newark where members serve as event volunteers at its annual “Taste of Newark” event that raises funds for scholarships, and speak to students about career and life experiences; and an Easter Party with food, music, activities and new books for children from St. Clare’s Social Services of Newark.  JLMN is also proud of its Fostering Hope Community Service Project, through which its volunteers impact more than 550 children.  It partners with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to work with children in New Jersey’s foster care system, specifically with Adoption Day, the holiday party and the annual aging-out-of-foster-care event.  It also assembles essential kits containing toiletries and other necessities given to children first entering the foster care system.

“I want to say thank you for honoring us for the work we do in Essex County, and may we all continue to be the change that we want to see in the world”, said Charlene Davis-Williams, JLMN President.