Junior League of Chattanooga celebrates 100th anniversary

Authored By ahuntergrah

The Junior League of Chattanooga is looking back on its history of community engagement and charity work as the organization reaches its 100th anniversary.

The organization began in 1917 under Elise Chapin Moon, making it the second-oldest chapter of the Junior League in the South. The organization spent the first few years fundraising in order to be able to pay for its projects and has since been involved with several major initiatives in the area.

The organization served as a catalyst for the Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center construction project. Members of the Junior League helped conceive the idea, raise money, write bylaws, and man steering and building committees.

In 2007, the Junior League also helped bring Baby Basics, a program that teaches low-income mothers how to advocate for themselves and their unborn children, to Chattanooga. The program lasted until 2012.

The organization has also worked to push boundaries with programs that focused on birth control, sex trafficking, drug abuse and eating disorders.

According to its website, in 1992, the Junior League provided six months of therapy to children who had family members with drug addictions to help the children work through any problems associated with their situations. More recently, the organization developed a program that provides volunteers who act as advocates for girls going through the court system.

According to a news release, the Junior League of Chattanooga has donated more than $2 million to community partners and local initiatives.

President Caroline Walker said that it’s remarkable to see how many lives the Junior League has touched.

“Women like Mai Bell Hurley, Ruth Holmberg and Elise Chapin Moon are just a few of the women that have made incredible contributions to our city,” Walker said. “What they did and learned in the Junior League took them into being lifelong community leaders and mentors. The impact the league has had on the community has and will outlast all of us.”

Moving forward, the Junior League of Chattanooga wants to continue promoting volunteerism that adapts with the world around it.

“We want to stay active in the community, promoting volunteerism and helping train lifelong volunteers and servant leaders,” Walker said. “As technology and the world continue to change and grow, it is more important than ever to come together with like-minded people and work for a cause greater than yourself.”

For more information about the Junior League, click here.

Alina Hunter-Grah is a contributing writer. She is also currently attending UTC, where she is the news editor for the school newspaper, The University Echo. Alina is also the Chattanooga correspondent for 2nd & Church, a literary magazine based out of Nashville.