Junior League of Tallahassee Kicks Off League Year

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Tallahassee, FL - September 27, 2012

The Junior League of Tallahassee celebrated the beginning of the 2012-2013 League year with a fun and excitement-filled event that included a $7,200 donation to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation to benefit Tallahassee Memorial Pediatric Services for COPE -- Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment -- a new program implemented within Pediatric Services which will provide over 2,000 hospitalized children and their families served at TMH an opportunity to learn how to reduce stress with activities and medical play therapy.

“The JLT is so excited about the fantastic year we have planned, including new community projects, partnerships — like this one with TMH to help launch an amazing new program — and the formation of our first-ever community Advisory Committee, ” said Jill Pope, JLT President. “These new endeavors will allow us to continue our focus on creating school success in Tallahassee and be the perfect complement to our signature community events.”

Tallahassee Memorial Pediatric Services will be the first Pediatric Unit in the United States to implement COPE to help provide positive outcomes for hospitalized children and their families. The COPE team will include the unit Nurse Manager, Assistant Managers, Pediatric Nurses, TMH Child Life Specialist and a trained intern. The team will use medical play kits, puppets, children’s books and pinwheels as a form of therapy for hospitalized children, as well as train parents on how to support their child with play post-hospitalization. Long-term benefits of fostering medical play include greater adaptability and fewer overall negative behaviors before, during and after treatment.

According to Paula Fortunas, TMH Foundation President/CEO, “The TMH Foundation is profoundly grateful to the Junior League of Tallahassee for its support and generosity in providing this wonderful gift to establish the COPE Program for the children and families served by Tallahassee Memorial Pediatric Services. The COPE Program will offer parents the education and tools needed to use medical play as a form of therapy resulting in reduced stress during their child’s hospital stay and at home.”

At the event, JLT also announced the members of its inaugural Community Advisory Council, comprised of well-respected individuals who live, work and serve in the Tallahassee community. These individuals have graciously agreed to serve a two-year term as advisors to advocate for the JLT, helping spread the word of the organization’s impact while providing feedback to identify ways the JLT can improve its efforts.

The 2012-2014 Community Advisory Council Members include:

• Nancy Miller, City Commissioner, City of Tallahassee
• Florida Representative Alan Williams
• Kelly Otte, Executive Director, PACE Center for Girls
• Sheila Costigan, Executive Director, Foundation for Leon County Schools
• Dr. Ben Kirbo, Physician and Owner, Southeastern Plastic Surgery Center
• Lauren Faison, Chief Executive Officer, Early Learning Coalition
• Beth Langford, JLT Past President and National President, Kappa Delta Sorority
• Gil Ziffer, Commissioner, City of Tallahassee
• Gloria Pugh, Owner, AMWAT
• Brian Rowland, President/Publisher, Rowland Publishing

"It is an honor to serve with so many esteemed members of the community, working together to advocate for an organization making a profound difference in Tallahassee," said Gil Ziffer, Tallahassee City Commissioner and member of the JLT Community Advisory Council. "I'm thrilled to work with this team of leaders and look forward to the seeing positive results as we further the League's focus on improving the lives of children and famillies through this year and beyond."

Earlier this month, JLT launched two new community projects — the Second Harvest BackPack Program and Boys and Girls Club Family Night. The Second Harvest BackPack Program aims to address childhood hunger in Tallahassee area by providing school children at risk of hunger with backpacks of nutritious, kid-friendly foods to take home over the weekends during the school year.

The JLT is also partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Bend to implement a monthly Family Night event at the Greg McCray Boys & Girls Club. The project is aimed at strengthening the family unit, while also providing basic nutritional, self-esteem and workforce education to the children and families served. JLT and its members will support both these projects throughout the year through financial and volunteer support.

In addition, JLT will continue to host its signature community events this year — Kids’ Boutique and Operation Prom Dress. In August, JLT provided more than 150 local students with the clothes and supplies needed for a successful school year at the 16th annual Kids’ Boutique Shopping Event. Each spring, JLT hosts Operation Prom Dress, where students from Gretchen Everhart School for Exceptional Students, along with other selected teens from Leon and neighboring counties, are able to “shop” for a prom dress, shoes and accessories — all at no charge.

JLT is able to continue its charitable mission thanks to the continued support of Tallahassee community. By attending our fundraisers, sponsoring events and supporting our membership, Tallahassee’s residents and local businesses play a vital role in helping JLT improve the lives of local children and families. JLT’s major fundraisers for the 2012-2013 year include Jingle Jubilee, Nov. 2-3, 2012, and the Whale of a Sale, March 1-2, 2013. Please see the attached Media Guide for more information on these and JLT’s other events and projects.

About the Junior League of Tallahassee
The Junior League of Tallahassee (JLT) is a nonprofit organization of women committed to improving the lives of children and families through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Learn more at www.jltallahassee.org.

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