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Trailblazing: Junior League of Wyandotte and Johnson Counties

Founded in 1934 as The Service League of Kansas City, Kansas, the organization later became the Junior League of Kansas City, Kansas, and now is finally known as the Junior League of Wyandotte and Johnson Counties. It is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. 

Cindy Ford and Lisa Quinlan worked with kids at Bethel Neighborhood Center to teach them about healthy living through the Kids in the Kitchen program.

This diverse group of women has spent the last 88 years working to improve the quality of life for those living in the Wyandotte and Johnson county areas. This includes the creation of the Wyandotte County Book Mobile (which became West Wyandotte County Library Branch), establishing the Wyandotte House (which became KVC Health Systems), and collaborating to establish both the Ronald McDonald House and Sunflower House. They have also created a food pantry for the Bethel Neighborhood Center, and provided more than 60 years worth of Children’s Theater productions. 

Partnering with the Bethel Neighborhood Center has been a very important part of serving the people living in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City, Kansas. With Bethel, JLWJC has provided food pantry assistance and worked with elementary-aged children in after-school programs. Another partnership with Care Beyond the Boulevard has primarily focused on free, compassionate medical care to the homeless and uninsured. They also create snack packs, hygiene care packages, collect blankets, and help with donation management. 

Presenting a check to Care Beyond the Boulevard were: (Front row) Sarah Cointment with her son, and Maddie Laughlin (middle row) Lisa Quinlan, Linda Riley, Angie Masloski, Rebekah Baughman, Sandra Olivas-Talavera, Jaynell “KK” Assmann, Mindy Rocha, Kiely Phelan, Allison Barth, Christina Carson, and Sara Willimon (back row) Shandin Duffer, Geralynn Baxter, Jessica Fraser, and Jennifer Siehndel. 


Natalie Thomas oversaw the Musical Pumpkin Patch Walk at the Bethel Fall Festival.

All of this good work requires volunteers, and as Jessica Fraser, president-elect said, “We provide opportunities for our members to grow and develop into the amazing leaders they are while also introducing them to many worthwhile causes in our area.” The JLWJC has 275 members who have gifted more than $3.2 million to area non profits, and 2.8 million service hours, as well. Interested women who want to help make a difference can assist with a donation, or they can contact Jessica regarding becoming a member. “Your support will ensure that we continue to strengthen our community impact and develop female civic leaders for years to come,” Jessica stated.

Featured in the March 19, 2022 issue of The Independent.
By Anne Potter Russ


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