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Past Projects

History of Past Projects

1915    LUNCH ROOM: The JLD’s first project was a decent lunchroom for working women located on Woodward Avenue between John R and Grand Circus Park.

1921    DETROIT LEAGUE FOR THE HANDICAPPED: This agency, now combined with Goodwill Industries, was founded by the JLD in 1921.  The League Shops, first downtown, then in Grosse Pointe, were supported and staffed by the JLD until 1953 to serve as an outlet for merchandise made by the Detroit League for the Handicapped.

1930    JUNIOR LEAGUE TRAINING COTTAGE FOR BLIND CHILDREN: Opened by Helen Keller in September, situated on Helen Ave. Later moved to 3799 Seneca Ave. (1937)

1946    PIONEER HOUSE: An experimental group therapy home for emotionally disturbed children was established by the JLD in 1945 under the direction of Dr. Fritz Redl. Although Pioneer House was closed two years later because of the prohibitive costs, it resulted in Dr. Redl’s book “Children Who Hate,” a basic text in the field. The project had world-wide effect on subsequent work with disturbed children.

1953    THE SENIOR CENTER: Located on East Grand Boulevard, it was established by the JLD in 1953 to provide recreation and rehabilitation for the elderly. In the 10 years before the Center was taken over by United Community Services, the JLD contributed more than $150,000 plus thousands of volunteer hours to its operation.

1964    POISON CONTROL PROJECT: This was co-sponsored with Children’s Hospital beginning in 1964 and turned over to the Hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary in 1969.   The JLD contributed $50,000 to establish and maintain an extensive poison prevention program. Volunteers did research for the center and developed an educational program which included slide talks for school children and adults and distribution of posters and pamphlets. In 1974, Provisionals arranged for the production of a film on accidental poisoning and prevention.

1967    PLAYROOM-CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: The JLD gave $20,000 in 1967 for a playroom at Children’s Hospital, a facility where many members have served as volunteers.

1968    J.O.Y. JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH: Co-founded in 1968 by the JLD and Neighborhood Club. For 14 years, this nonprofit employment service helped teenagers promote their skills and abilities and provided an opportunity for the community to take advantage of these skills by employing its youth.

1969    COMMUNICATIONS PROJECTS-CPT: In 1969, the JLD and Gilbert Maddox initiated the television series CPT on Channel 56, produced by and for the black community. More than 90 volunteers were involved in the research, promotion, and administration. The JLD provided the $20,000 seed money for the successful series.

1969    CHILDREN’S TELEVISION WORKSHOP: The JLD volunteered and helped promote the premiere season of “Sesame Street” in 1969, and provided $5,000 to defray air-time costs.

1971-1982    BELLE ISLE: The JLD has actively promoted and supported the preservation and development of Belle Isle since 1971. In 1972, a joint committee was formed with the Junior League of Birmingham to develop a Master Plan for Belle Isle. The Plan (developed by Dan Kiley, a nationally known landscape architect), was accepted by the City of Detroit in 1976. In February 1977, the JLD voted to construct a $ 100,000 Playscape designed by John Lesniak ($50,000 from the League was matched by $50,000 from the City of Detroit). Also in 1977, the Urban Nature Center was opened and JLD volunteers assisted the staff while also providing funds for nature displays.   In January 1981, the JLD provided $10,000 for the construction of a Sensory Trail at the Nature Center. The Trail is the first of its kind in educational recreation because it was designed with the special needs of the handicapped in mind and served as the JLD’s support of the “International Year of the Disabled” in 1981. The Trail was dedicated to the City of Detroit on June 3, 1982.

1971    OPERATION LINC: LINC is an acronym for Linking Individuals (as resources) to Needs in the Community and was launched in 1971. Acting as a. catalyst or as a channel, LINC finds human and material resources to meet specific community needs. LINC has helped community centers, drug prevention and treatment centers, schools, recreation programs, block clubs, hospitals and day care centers. Its resources include business and labor groups, civic groups, church groups and volunteer organizations.

1973    KERN BLOCK: In May 1973, 20 festive “Pavilions for People” were erected on the Kern Block in downtown Detroit, as a gift to the City of Detroit from the JLD. Since that time, the JLD has worked in cooperation with the Detroit Parks & Recreation to coordinate a program of community activities in the pavilions. The structures were designed by Alex Pollack and Joe Orloff of the Detroit Community Development Commission and cost the JLD $22,000 to build. City and federal funds were pledged to improve the site with lighting, trees, planter boxes, asphalt and sod. The pavilions and planting were so designed that they can be moved to another site if a permanent building is erected on the Kern Block.

1974-1977    CALENDAR: In January 1974, an art contest was held to provide pictures for a 1975 calendar to boost Detroit’s image among its citizens and its young artists. Art students from colleges and Universities in Southeastern Michigan competed for the prize money by entering pictures depicting a special aspect of historic Detroit. 6,000 copies of the calendar were sold and it earned the official Bicentennial seal of the City of Detroit for the 1976 calendar. The 1976 calendar project was our contribution to the Bicentennial and also served as a fund-raiser. The 1977 calendar, again featuring winning pictures of the City of Detroit, was entitled “Rediscover Detroit-Get To Know Me Better.”

1977–1978   KERN CLOCK RESTORED: $16,000 raised by the JLD; the design for the new base was donated by Rosefti Associates, Architects,and materials by the city. The clock was relocated in the Woodward Avenue Mall in August 1978.

1978   DETROIT SCIENCE CENTER: The JLD committed $60,000 and hundreds of volunteer hours to secure and install a NASA Command Module Egress Trainer at the Detroit Science Center.

1978-1983    RESPITE CARE PROJECT: Working with Barat Human Services, t his five-year project (1978-1983) involved over 40 JLD volunteers and $60,000 to construct and open the Respite Care Center, a temporary shelter facility for children at risk from abusive parents.

1980-1981    PLATELET REGISTRY PROJECT: Over 25 JLD members worked in coalition with Harper-Grace Hospital and Southeast Michigan Red Cross to establish a registry bank of HLA platelet donors for use in treating cancer patients. The JLD gave $35,000 to the two year project.

1980-1983    ORCHESTRA HALL PROJECT: Detroit Orchestra Hall was built in 1919 and has been recently restored. Over 50 JLD volunteers worked for three years with Orchestra Hall boards to utilize the Hall during the daytime by providing artistic programs for the elderly, handicapped and school-age children. JLD members planned the concert calendar (including competitions with money awards for local artists) and encouraged the attendance and use of this beautifully restored Detroit landmark. The JLD contributed $52,000 over the three year period from 1980 to 1983 to this project.

1982-1983    PROJECT L.E.A.D.: A demonstration project initiated by AJL and Quest National Center, funded by a Kellogg Foundation grant. Project L.E.A.D. (Leadership Experience and Development) offered teenagers an opportunity to develop their potential for leadership and caring as they plan, organize, and deliver a volunteer program to the community. The JLD committed five volunteers and $1,500 in 1982 to work with students at L’Anse Creuse High School. Students organized a program to assist senior citizens with spring house cleaning. In 1983, Grosse Pointe South students developed a pre-kindergarten safety day with the help of a JLD volunteer and funding from the South Mother’s Club.

1983    WAITING CHILD DIRECTORY PROJECT: Recognizing that a permanent adoptive family offers each child the best opportunity for healthy growth and development. JLD volunteers worked for one year with Spaulding for Children and Ruth Carlton of the Detroit News to devise and produce a system to make each waiting child’s story available to families and area adoption workers. In 1983, the ten Kinship Adoption Agencies were presented with the Kinship Interagency Directory, known as the K.I.D. Book, a community resource to facilitate the prompt placement of Detroit’s waiting children. $7,000 was committed to this project.

1982    HOSPICE EDUCATION PROJECT: Recognizing the needs of the terminally ill and their families, the JLD provided $5,700 and 17 volunteers for a one-year project designed to educate the community about the hospice concept of care. In 1982, the JLD was instrumental in organizing the Community Hospice Education Committee, comprised of representatives from Bon Secours, Cottage, and St. John Hospitals, and the League, to facilitate communication and cooperation on hospice issues. The project culminated with the presentation of “Hospice: A Living Concept” by Dr. Josefina Magno, M.D., immediate past president of the National Hospice Organization and Karl Zeigler, president of the Michigan Hospice Organization, during National Hospice Week.

1983    CHENE PARK RIVER ARTS: In 1983, the JLD committed 14 volunteers and $10,000 over two years to promote the development of Cherie Park, the first of the city’s Linked Riverfront Parks as a showcase for the performing arts.

1984-1985    HELPLINE PROJECT: The JLD joined with Henry Ford Hospital to provide both volunteer and financial support to help the elderly or disabled maintain their independence, safety and security in their own homes. Seven volunteers and $11,250 were used to help plan and implement the volunteer’s role in the operation of Ford’s geriatric Outreach Program and Help Line Program. The project was completed in 1985.

1985    EMERGENCY CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE FUND (E.C.C.A.F.): A collaborative project with the Child Care Coordinating Council of Detroit/Wayne County, provided funding for short term day care in emergency situations to prevent child abuse and neglect. The JLD contributed $15,000 in matching funds to assist 256 families, and established the steering committee. JLD volunteers did the case work. The project was completed in December 1985.

1986    PRENATAL AWARENESS THROUGH COMMUNITY EDUCATION PROJECT (P.A.C.E.): This fifty page “Prenatal Resources Guide” which lists low cost and free prenatal services in Detroit was developed and published by the JLD. The guides were distributed through a seminar and mailings to Detroit health care providers, social workers, school counselors. public health people, ministers and community groups. The JLD committed $7,500 to this project which was completed in June 1986.

1986    CABLE T.V. PROGRAM PROJECT: JLD volunteers video-taped, edited and produced two cable TV programs on issues relevant to senior concerns. The project was completed in 1986.

1986–1998    DETROIT RIVERFRONT COMMUNITY CENTER PROJECT:   SIBLEY HOUSE: The JLD researched the City of Detroit for potential building sites for a JLD Community Center. The committee identified Sibley House as the site, and hired an architect to prepare a building analysis of existing condition and systematic plan for continued restoration. Sibley House was developed for project presentation to membership for vote which passed in 1986.

1986-1987    HOSPICE VIDEO PROJECT: The JLD produced a video, “Hospice, a Shared Experience,” which won a Golden Cassette Award. Over 8,000 brochures describing the video were mailed. The JLD received a Gannett grant of $5,000 to further publicize the video. Within the first year, the JLD distributed a first run of 500 copies, and began its second run. The goal was to distribute nationally, anf public eductiaon and fundraising.

1986–1987    TUTORING T.R.E.E. (Teaching Recreation & Education Enrichment): This project was a collaborative effort with the Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church providing one-on-one tutoring and enrichment opportunities in the arts and physical education for one afternoon per week during the school year benefiting the students of Nichols Elementary School on Bums in Detroit. JLD provided funding and volunteers to help develop the program and to tutor students.

1986-1987    RIVERTOWN ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE PROJECT: Ten artists were sponsored to create their interpretation of Detroit’s Riverfront and waterways during several summer weekends. This was a collaborative effort of the City of Detroit Recreation Department, the Detroit Artists Market with support from the Michigan Council on the Arts, MichCon, and the Metro Times.

1987-1988    CORPORATE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT PROJECT: The Corporate Community Involvement Council was organized to assist employees, retirees and employers meet the community needs in Metropolitan Detroit. The council promoted voluntarism and helped corporations recognize the value of voluntarism by developing volunteer programs in the workplace.

1988-1989    CHILDREN AND YOUTH INITIATIVE: The Initiative produced an analysis of county-wide services, unmet needs, and administrative practices for programs affecting at risk youth and their families in Wayne County. The JLD also conducted a highly publicized select conference.

1988-1989    FOCUS HOPE CENTER FOR CHILDREN TRAINING PROJECT: JLD volunteers developed a Parent Training Program and published a Parenting Skills Trainer’s Manual to increase the family life skills of the Center’s clients so that children at the Center will have a home environment conducive for their optimal physical, mental and emotional development.

1988–1989    RETIREMENT LIFESTYLE EXPO: In collaboration with Henry Ford Health Care Corp., JLD volunteers organized a Retirement Lifestyle Expo in Detroit which provided twenty non-profit organizations the funding so that they can inform the community of their services.

1989-1990    ALCOHOL AND DRUG COMMUNITY EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY PROJECT: (in collaboration with Henry Ford Hospital Maplegrove): The JLD provided financial and volunteer assistance to Maplegrove’s Community Education Program to provide comprehensive, up-to-date alcohol and other drug educational training to JLD and community volunteers. The volunteers then presented community education programs throughout the metro Detroit area. Advocacy efforts were aimed at identifying people in “change-agent” positions so that appropriate programs could be developed within their systems, especially those affecting families. The project received AJLI recognition as a Model Project in 1988.

1990-1991    AIDS VOLUNTEER NETWORK COMMITTEE: Over I 00 volunteers were trained and placed at AIDS CONSORTIUM of Southeastern Michigan, Simon House, Henry Ford Hospital and C.I.D. Volunteer files were computerized job descriptions and policies were developed.

1990–1991    UPLIFT PROJECT: A project coordinated with PIFU (People in Faith United) to assist inner city after school enrichment and tutoring programs. Field trips and parties were organized and presented, as well as books donated by the Sustainer Committee.

1991-1992    FOCUS ON MICHIGAN FAMILIES: A project in conjunction with the Michigan State Council of Junior Leagues that generated a juried art show and a statewide publication on the status of families. The show and book traveled to all nine League cities and was used for advocacy and informational purposes regarding problems faced by Michigan families.

1992-1995    GRATEFUL HOME DREAMWEAVER’S P.O.W.E.R. PROJECT (DWPP): Proud of Women Enjoying Recovery: A project that assisted in establishing a chemical dependency treatment program targeting women with children. The children were allowed to remain with their mothers during treatment at this residential facility which also provided for the critical needs of the children.

1992-1993    PROJECT E.A.R.T.H.: JLD volunteers educated Detroit area students about waste reduction and recycling.

1994-1995    PEDIATRIC MOBILE TEAM (PMT): A project, conducted with Children’s Hospital of Michigan, that provided on-site medical care to children in Detroit who did not have access to such care due to transportation and/or cost considerations. During the two years of the project, over 1,100 children visited the PMT sites with 780 receiving free physicals and 727 receiving free immunizations.   JLD volunteers assisted on-site and with promotional efforts.

1996-1997    TRAUMA AND LOSS IN CHILDREN (TLC): This was a special project for the 1996-1997 year which was made possible by the proceeds from the Nordstrom Opening Gala. JLD volunteers and community members were educated and trained to work with children between the ages of 4 to 18 years of age who had been traumatized by violent and non-violent events. A Trauma Response Kit was developed for national use by professionals dealing with children as a tool to assist children in leading happier lives.

1996-1998    POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE: This two year project from July, 1996 until June, 1998 was a project created to combine the efforts of the Police Athletic League and the Junior League of Detroit. The project was designed to improve grade level education skills of more than 720 students through a League sponsored tutorial program in reading and math at the Carl T. Rowen Elementary School and Hosmer Elementary School. Over the two-year period, approximately $ 120,000 was donated to support the tutoring program.

1998-2001    CORNERSTONE SCHOOL: This three year project from July, 1998 to June, 2001, provided financial assistance and adult partnerships to an entire classroom of students at the Cornerstone School’s – Nevada Campus. This was a prototype program, which through the JLD involvement inspired other community organizations to sponsor a Cornerstone classroom. This program enabled Cornerstone students, aside from financial assistance, to be enhanced through various activities sponsored by league members, such as field trips to cultural institutions in Detroit, storytellers in the classroom and an annual book fair and carnival. Over the three-years, approximately $165,000 was donated.

2001-2004    MONTEITH LIBRARY: July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2004. 14+ JLD and other volunteers worked this 3-year project to “adopt” the Monteith Branch of the Detroit Public Library, at the corner of Kercheval and Eastlawn. Donated $165,000 over three years to provide enrichment, educational services, facilities upgrades, and special programming to elementary-school age children on Detroit’s east side. We created a “Learning Center” for enrichment and tutoring programs; funded training programs for staff and community volunteers; and provided special cultural and enrichment events for the children. This “adoption” may serve as a model for other organizations to follow, upgrading community library services throughout the system.

2003-2008    BELLE ISLE NATURE ZOO: July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2008. From 1975 to 1982 the Junior League of Detroit was involved in the Belle Isle Nature Interpretive Center providing both financial and volunteer resources. In recent years, the Nature Center and the Belle Isle Zoo were closed. In 2003, the Nature Center and surrounding acreage was given to the Detroit Zoological Institute. The plan for the facility/grounds is to create the Belle Isle Nature Zoo. Donate $50,000 over two years. The BINZ will provide year-round educational, recreational, and environmental conservation opportunities for greater metropolitan Detroit teachers, schoolchildren, their parents, families and the community at large. This unique blend of a nature center and a zoo will help nurture their sense of place in nature, and lead to creating an ethic of respect, responsibility, and stewardship for the environment.  

2009- 2012   PROJECT LITERACYThe JLD Membership voted in 2007 to narrow the Junior League of Detroit’s focus to improving literacy rates for children in Detroit with an emphasis on pre-school – 3rd grade. This multi-layered project focused on developing and implementing literacy based programs within the 48215 school district to provide a variety of literacy programs in the local schools and library. Some of the activities included programming at the Detroit Public Montieth Library; the Carstens Elementary Reading Corner, Scholastic book fairs and book donations, along with educational assemblies provided by Progression and the Magic Carpet Theatre (Community Partners). Additionally we developed a partnership with Jefferson East Business Association and participated in the Annual Jazzin’ on Jefferson festival by providing activities and entertainment for the children in the neighborhood, along with handing out free books. 

2012-Present  BASIC NEEDS: Starting in the summer of 2012, the JLD focus is on “Basic Needs.” The Junior League of Detroit (JLD) Project EAT connects food Education, Access, and Tools to help families eat healthy meals togther. The JLD puts its resources into direct service and community partnerships to increase shopping, cooking, and food education programs in our community. Our Kitchen Kits help provide well-equipped kitchens to those in need so they can cook healthy food. We also particiapte with “Kids in the Kitchen”, a program teaching children how to select food and prepare a meal that is healthy.