Just as we start getting excited to kick off the 2017-2018 League year, we are sobered by the widespread devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey (now Tropical Depression Harvey) and the trauma experienced by our friends and families along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Most of us have seen the horrifying images of destroyed buildings and stranded residents as well as the heartwarming images of neighbors rescuing neighbors. Situations such as these remind me why I joined the Junior League in the first place.
Many of our own JLDOC members have close ties to Southeast Texas and Louisiana. I myself left my hometown for college in Houston and loved it so much I stayed for more than a decade. It is where I first came into contact with the League, when I joined the Junior League of Houston (JLH). It was difficult to leave the wonderful friends I met through the JLH, and being able to stay connected through the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) has been wonderful.
Just as our own JLDOC works with communities in Durham and Orange Counties, the JLH works with and supports dozens of organizations in Houston that provide medical care, transitional housing, food and other services to area residents. They are currently mobilizing their trained volunteers to provide hands-on support to their partners during this time of crisis. For example, the Junior League of Victoria, Texas (JLVTX) is housing out-of-town first responders. The Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) is organizing a diaper and feminine products drive. A more complete list can be found on the AJLI website. Our own JLDOC is working with the AJLI to determine the best way we can support our sister Leagues along the Gulf Coast.
None of us is immune to natural disasters, no matter where we live. The floods in South Asia and Niger and the impending Hurricane Irma serve as constant reminders of this. If anything can be gleaned from this latest storm, it is that we are resilient when we band together. The Junior League was founded on building this resilience and continues to bolster every community in which it is housed. Nature continues to remain unpredictable, as we in North Carolina know well. I am comforted to know that our JLDOC has prepared with hundreds of trained volunteers who will make sure the communities in Durham and Orange Counties remain strong in times of need.
Update 9/4/2017: For League members and supporters who wish to help, the JLDOC and AJLI recommend supporting the Texas Diaper Bank by fulfilling items from its Amazon wishlist.
A special thank you to Liz Swift, JLH Active Member, for permission to use her photos.