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Group celebrates milestone in community service

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Christina Ragone, left, and Lauren Lumley, right, talk afer the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Junior League Association Wednesday, Sep. 13, 2017.


By Holly West
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A group of Greenville women is looking to do even more good in the community by becoming part of a national organization. 

The Junior League of Greenville celebrated its joining of the Association of Junior Leagues International Wednesday with a ribbon cutting at the Hilton Greenville. The organization started in 2010 as the Junior Women’s Association of Greenville. In March, the association voted to install the Greenville chapter as the 292nd Junior League. 

Chapter President Betsy Criscitiello said the ribbon cutting ceremony marked the end of a three-year affiliation process. She said being part of the association gives the local group access to support and materials from across the world. 

“We’ve always felt it can broaden our network, not only for training and leadership opportunities, but also help us in our programs locally,” she said.

The Junior League of Greenville has already started participating in some Junior League activities, including the Kids in the Kitchen program, in which members go out in the community and teach kids how to make simple, healthy snacks.

The program ties in with the group’s stated goal of decreasing hunger and food insecurity in the Greenville area and fostering healthy eating habits.

It also has a Backpack Buddies program, which provides monthly backpacks full of food, hygiene products and school supplies to low-income high school students. This year, the program is doubling in impact, from 10 students to 20. 

One of its most popular events is the annual Touch-A-Truck, which features a variety of public safety and work vehicles for children to explore. 

“It provides a great way for kids in our community to interact with law enforcement and first responders and the people who keep the lights on in our community,” said founding member Stephanie Bunn. 

The Junior League of Greenville has 151 members, many of whom were at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting. Also present were Greenville Mayor Kandie Smith and Councilman P.J. Connelly. 

Smith proclaimed Sept. 13 Junior League of Greenville Day. After a round of applause, she told the audience they should really be clapping for themselves. 

“You’re leaders teaching others how they should give back. We appreciate all that you’re doing,” she said. “We wish you Godspeed. We know it’s not easy work, but you have a heart for it.” 

Connelly, whose wife is a member of the Junior League, said he has seen firsthand how the group takes action when the community needs them. 

“I remember when Hurricane Matthew hit how you guys all came together ... and seeing how many bottles of water, how many non-perishable items you guys got for people who were affected by this,” he said. “I just want to let you know it doesn’t go unnoticed, what you do, and it’s wonderful for our community.” 

Contact Holly West at hwest@reflector.com or 252-329-9585.