By Denise Ortuno Neil
The desert has many charities that help a variety of different causes. But with the demand that these organizations have to fulfill the need of those that they help, they at times need help of their own. The Junior League of Palm Springs is there to help these organizations help others by providing them with trained volunteers ready and able to assist in a variety of capacities.
The Junior League started in 1901 and is the oldest woman’s volunteer organization in the world. It is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, spans 4 countries (Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Mexico) and has 292 leagues with over 150,000 woman involved. The members of the Junior League are an impressive group. From Eleanor Roosevelt to Sandra Day O’Connor, Junior League members have been leaders not only in the league itself, but in their own realms.
In talking to the president of the Junior League of Palm Springs, Candice Knox, it is clear that she is proud to be part of such an iconic organization, “ We have trained volunteers that will work at developing the potential of women and will therefore improve their communities,” said Knox. Knox has been involved with the Junior League of Palm Springs for 5 years. Besides her duties with the organization, she also is the Director of Sales and Marketing for David Knox Productions…..yes, her husband.
Junior League members are dedicated volunteers, but it is much more than that. Active members range in age from 21 to 35 and are not volunteers in name only; they are required to participate in league activities and go through training. They pay annual dues, attend meetings and have community obligations. If it sounds like they are soldiers, in a way they are. The dedication that these women have to helping their communities is commendable, making their communities stronger and themselves stronger as well.
Knox explained that each Junior League has their own agenda…projects that they focus on. It was in fact a member of the Junior League that came up with the idea for schools to provide school lunches for their students, after she saw that kids were going without food while in school. That idea took fire and helped establish a national requirement for schools. Another example of projects that they focus on is the Junior League in Portland, Oregon. They are directed in combating human trafficking, which is vastly becoming a nationwide issue no longer being swept aside. The Junior League of Palm Springs is also getting involved in fighting human trafficking here in the desert by helping out the Safe House of the Desert in Thousand Palms.
Knox points out that the Junior League of Palm Springs is working on coming up with their own project. But in the meantime, they are in high gear helping other charities around the Coachella Valley, serving the community the best way possible.
The Junior League of Palm Springs lends a helping hand to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Boys and Girls Club, and Martha’s Village and Kitchen among others. They are also working diligently with the Ophelia Project. The Ophelia Project helps girls from 8th to 12th grade, mentoring them to increase their self-worth, impacting their lives in a positive way to increase their potential.
The Junior League of Palm Springs next big event will be their Sustainers Holiday Luncheon at the Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells on December 15th. The event will serve as a Toy Drive and Fundraiser benefiting the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. After the event, the toys will be immediately delivered to the CVRM.
Knox points out that they are always looking for new volunteers, but that it is a commitment that must be made whole heartily. There are a group of women who will be starting their training this month. The next group will not start again until next October.
With over 100 charities in the Coachella Valley, the need for volunteers is a constant demand. Our community is fortunate to have the Junior League of Palm Springs not only assist the charities that help so many, but also to have them enrich our community with civic minded women who are committed to make a difference in this world.