The Junior League of Toronto (JLT) has been serving the Toronto community since 1926. Our Junior League members have contributed millions of volunteer hours in expertise, enthusiasm and hard work. The league has raised over $4 million to support and/or initiate over 400 community projects.
Projects that the JLT has supported and developed in the past include:
Tea to Help Teens
From 2004 to 2018, the Junior League of Toronto ran a holiday tea and gift market as a community fundraiser, raising over $200,000 in gifts for over 4,000 teens living in shelters throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Attendees made donations as the price of admission to the tea. These donations were used to buy gift cards which were distributed to shelters for their residents, as well as to fund JLT programs and projects. In return, attendees enjoyed tea and treats while shopping the holiday gift stalls, bidding on silent auction items and listening to live music. The Tea not only provided gifts for marginalized young people during the holidays, it created awareness in the community about youth homelessness.
Family Resource Centre at the Health Station: The JLT researched and developed a Family Resource Centre to help to meet the needs of parents of teens in North Toronto. This is a model for building healthy families that can be implemented in other communities.
Women’s Health Centre – St. Michael’s Hospital: JLT volunteers assisted in the planning and development of this innovative facility to meet the specialized health needs of women.
Eating Disorders Video: The JLT supported the production of a documentary video “Perfection and Control” and its accompanying Facilitator’s Guide and Bibliography to raise public awareness of anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Hospital for Sick Children: The JLT’s early work focused on the Hospital for Sick Children’s Well Baby Clinics. Volunteers organized a pick-up service for breast milk, which was fed to premature babies at the hospital. The JLT paid for the hospital’s first occupational therapist, donated a therapeutic pool and for 20 years paid the annual bill for eyeglasses distributed through the hospital.
Child Development and Life Skills
Tiaras and Ties in York Region:
Spring 2010 marked the 4th year the Junior League of Toronto helping to remove social barriers and promote inclusiveness among high school graduates by providing graduating high school students in York Region, who are in financial need, with formal attire so that they can attend their graduation proms with pride. The JLT has partnered with the Maple’s Closet program at Maple High School to assist with the execution of their “Diva Ball”. Without such assistance, these students could not afford to participate in the celebration of the milestone of high school graduation.
“I would like all of the Junior League ladies to know that you are very appreciated, and your hard work is very recognized. I do hope that the Junior League ladies continue to run this event for many years to follow. I want to see more students like me, who express financial need, to get the benefit that I got today.”
-excerpt from a student thank-you note, May 4, 2008
“Our students were thrilled with their outfits and commented on how well they were treated at the Boutique Day. Tiaras and Ties makes a very worthwhile contribution to the students ‘special evening’. Our thanks go out to all of the volunteers and corporate sponsors.”
-Beth Ashley – Guidance Department, Sutton High School, York Region
Pathways to Education: The JLT supported Pathways to Education by contributing $360,000 to a bursary program and additional funds for mentoring and other projects.
Halton Sexual Abuse Program: The JLT provided a trained volunteer to facilitate groups of survivors of child abuse. Additional JLT members developed, conducted and then collated a survey to determine the effectiveness of the Halton Sexual Abuse Program.
Armagh House: The JLT developed and presented weekly sessions on personal development and children’s time to abused women and their children.
Robertson House: The JLT provided funding to supply books and conduct a weekly reading circle program at Robertson House, an emergency shelter for abused women and their children.
Canadian Mental Health Association: The JLT sponsored a two-year study project on “The Troubled Child” in co-operation with the Ontario Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
C.M. Hinks Treatment Centre: As part of its Centennial Project, the JLT provided volunteer, administrative and financial support to a new child and adolescent psychiatric centre, the C.M. Hincks Treatment Centre.
Ontario Society for Crippled Children: The JLT established a Cerebral Palsy Nursery and Clinic which was later absorbed into the Crippled Children’s Centre.
Developing Opportunities for All
New Directions: The JLT established New Directions as an agency to support women who are separated, divorced or widowed and not eligible for government assistance. Since it was founded in 1983, New Directions has provided more than 20,000 women with critical support services that helped them deal with the loss of a partner. New Directions continues to operate today as part of Family Services Toronto.
Toronto with Ease: The JLT developed and published “Toronto with Ease” a guide to assist seniors and people with physical limitations in finding accessible recreational and leisure facilities in and around Metropolitan Toronto. First published in 1967-69, the fourth edition of the guide was launched in the fall of 1990.
New Canadian Services Association: The post-war years brought a tremendous influx of new Canadians to Toronto. The JLT gave financial and volunteer support to the New Canadian Services Association where JLT members taught English to new Canadians. The New Canadian Services Association was amalgamated into the International Institute of Metropolitan Toronto in 1956.
Study: Predictability of Success or Failure of Adult Men and Women Placed on Probation: The JLT funded a study under the direction of Dr. Tadeusz Grygier.
Lectureship in Corrections: The JLT sponsored a lectureship in corrections at the University of Toronto. This lectureship led to a course in corrections becoming a permanent part of the curriculum at the School of Social Work.
Elizabeth Fry House: The JLT worked with the Elizabeth Fry Society to co-sponsor the establishment of the Elizabeth Fry House.
Community & Culture
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: The JLT supported the development of a catalogue of historic first gallery exhibition of Academy artists since 1907 in a new gallery. The JLT also organized the Academy Ball and lecture series in October 1987.
Black Creek Pioneer Village: The JLT contributed funding over three years to support the development of the Pioneer Village craft project at Black Creek Conservation area.
The Hour Company: The JLT co-sponsored, with the Crest Theatre, the formation of The Hour Company to dramatize literature on the curriculum of high schools.
National Ballet of Canada: The JLT supported the introduction of the children’s matinee performance in 1957. This program was taken over by the Junior Women’s Committee of the National Ballet Guild after 1960.
Sounds Fun: League members wrote and performed in a live public service children’s radio program called “Sounds Fun”. This program was taken over by the CBC in 1955.