The Junior League of South Brevard, Inc. (JLSB) is celebrating its ongoing legacy of developing community and civic leaders while making a tremendous difference in the community in recognition of its 50th anniversary. Since 1966, the organization has been a driving force in Brevard County through voluntarism, community support, partnerships and civic leadership training.
Throughout the JLSB’s 50 years, local members have focused on issues like bringing the arts, instrument instruction and history education to Brevard schools, assisted the county commission to develop Erna Nixon Hammock Park, provided aid to children with disabilities, drug education and prevention, literacy, assisting victims of domestic violence and providing parenting education to name a few. The league was also instrumental in the creation of The Haven and Club Esteem.
In 1986, The Haven, a shelter for abused, abandoned, and neglected children from birth to age six, began as a project of the Junior League of South Brevard. The nine-bed shelter opened in April 1987. In 1999, as the need for foster care continued to grow, The Haven board of directors proposed a project to build and furnish a second home which was accepted by the Junior League. The new home, Haven II, opened in October 2001—all nine beds were filled immediately. The league has continued to remain a close community partner over the years, donating goods and services for the children living in the shelter.
The building of the 3,500 square foot Club Esteem Youth and Family Center was a groundbreaking partnership between the JLSB, the City of Melbourne, Brevard County, and the private sector. The Club Esteem Youth and Family Center opened its doors in 2003.
Although civic and community leadership training may not be what first comes to mind when most people think about the Junior League, the organization has been on the forefront of social reform, identifying problems — like illiteracy, domestic violence, foster children without a safety net — and finding solutions.
Members learn the ability to identify the most pressing problem facing a community and how to craft a solution in collaboration with community partners. Along the way, women learn valuable leadership skills that are used throughout their lives and develop friends that last a lifetime.
JLSB’s current community impact statement is "Improving Children's Health Through Nutrition and Physical Activity." Projects like Fueling Kids and Kids in the Kitchen bring awareness and education to children about the importance of healthy living and supply children with healthy food options.
Lindsay Sanger, current president of the Junior League of South Brevard, says she is inspired by the legacy and impact of the league’s 50 year history in Brevard County. “As a member I’m proud to look at all that we have accomplished together as an organization and as a community,” explained Sanger. “I believe that we are not only impacting the community, but that the community is having a profound impact on us. We look forward to continuing our legacy of finding community need and solutions, as we train the next group of women leaders in Brevard.”
In recognition of its 50th anniversary serving the community, the Melbourne City Council presented a certificate to the Junior League at a council meeting in July. Additionally, County Commissioner Curt Smith will present a proclamation for the Junior League of South Brevard on August 9.