1930’s and 1940’s
In the beginning, the Junior Service League of Daytona focused its efforts on the health needs of children in the area. To that end, the JSLD began a Dental Clinic and Well-Baby Clinic to serve the children of Volusia County. The Well-Baby Clinic filled a void for many years until the Volusia County Health Unit was created in 1948-49, at which point the League turned over the administration of the clinic to the county.
Additionally, the Junior Service League of Daytona took a cue from other Leagues, and began to develop children’s theatre programs. They began with the show “Captive Maid,” in 1942, and continued with marionette shows and weekly children’s radio shows on WROD.
A major focus for the League during this decade was volunteer service in support of the war effort.
Fundraising in the 1950’s continued with used book sales, rummage sales, and fashion shows. The Junior Service League cookbook was published in 1957-58, and that same year the first Bundles Coffee was hosted by the Sustainers Group, which had been organized in 1956.
The children’s theatre produced such events as “Brigadoon,” in 1950-51, and many fairy tale productions which were performed in area schools.
In 1949-1950, the Junior Service League managed the Easter Seals Drive in the area, and thus was born a relationship between these two organizations that continues today.
The Junior Service League School for Speech Correction was founded on February 1, 1950, largely as the result of Junior League member Ellen Black. This clinic later expanded its services and was renamed the Junior Service League Orthopedic Center. By 1959, the Center had a full-time medical director.
In the 1960’s, the Thrift Shop was born, and hired it’s first employee in 1964-65. In 1968, it moved to a new downtown location. Other fundraising efforts included charity balls and sale of the cookbooks.
The children’s theatre was transformed from fairy tale productions to a new format emphasizing American Folklore. The production from 1967 was televised and broadcast under the title, “18th Century — The Age of Enlightenment.” This production was Second Prize for the best educational TV show in Florida that year!
The Orthopedic Center built a new facility, with a gala groundbreaking on April 11, 1965. The Community Services Council was organized and chartered in 1967, and became a U.F. agency in 1968.
The relationship between the Junior Service League and the Florida Music Festival began in 1966, when the Junior Service League sponsored a Champagne Gala for their benefit. That same year another long term relationship began, when the Junior Service League voted to support the development of the Planetarium at the Museum of Arts & Sciences.
In the 1970’s, the number and scope of the community services provided by the Junior Service League exploded!
The Children’s theater continued and expanded to include traveling puppet shows, known as the Bundles Tea, in 1979.
The Junior Service League also supported the development of the Planetarium, sponsored annual exhibits and summer science programs. They also funded the first Docent program, at the Museum of Arts & Sciences. In addition, the Junior Service League was involved in the funding, publicity, and hands-on work in developing the Giant Sloth exhibit at the Museum.
New anti-drug programs were developed and presented in schools throughout the county, along with programs designed to assist children with learning disabilities. School programs focusing on ecology were developed as well. The Junior Service League continued its commitment to serving the health needs of the community children, by continuing its support of the children’s’ dental programs and supporting the Pediatric Unit at Halifax Hospital.
The continued relationship with Easter Seals included, among other things, the Junior Service League’s funded the salary for an occupational therapist at the Easter Seals Center, and helped support the Easter Seals pre-school programs.
The Wilder-Irwin Building, located at 122 S. Palmetto Ave, Daytona Beach, Florida, was purchased as a home for the Thrift Shop and the League Office.
In the 1980’s, the children’s theatre productions continued and were expanded to include “Fractured Follies” presentations in nursing homes. Junior Service League services in area schools included anti-drug and alcohol programs, thousands of materials made available to the Volunteer Resource Bureau, Showcase Museums, “Kids on the Block” and other school-based services.
The long relationship with the Museum of Arts & Sciences continued via the Docent program, which was ultimately turned over to the Community Docent Program. The League’s relationship with the Florida Music Festival continued with the League providing thousands of free tickets to LSO events.
The League continued to support Easter Seals programs as well.
New areas of focus included services to the hearing impaired, which began in 1981. This began with the organization of the Deaf Services Center, which helped support its many services to the deaf. This included making TDD phones more widely available.
The League also funded and developed the Discovery Center at the Public Library. “Directions,” was founded as a resource center for persons with disabilities.
The 50th Anniversary of the Junior Service League was celebrated in 1984. That same year the Junior Service League affiliated with the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI)! The League became their 256th member on April 1, 1984. At that time the League’s official name was changed to the Junior League of Daytona Beach, Inc.
The community acknowledged the Junior League’s spirit of service with awards almost too numerous to list. These included community service awards from: Volusia County Schools, Association of Retarded Citizens, Museum of Arts & Sciences, Easter Seals Society and the United Way.
During the 1990’s, the League continued its programs in local schools, in both the environmental and anti-drug and alcohol arenas. The League expanded in both areas, by sponsoring educational events on the impact of the mother’s drug addiction on their babies and sponsoring Project W.A.R.M. (Women Assisting Recovering Mothers), among many other such projects. The League’s environmental projects included the Halifax River Adopt-a-Shoreline program, “Living with the River”, and sponsoring prizes for the Tomoka Regional Science Fair.
The League produced ECOSPERIENCE in 1993-1994, which was attended by 1400 people and received an award for excellence from the Volusia Association of Science Teachers. The League worked with HRS to provide Christmas parties and other special events for community children. The Little League Nursery was turned over to the Unitarian Universalist Society. A home was donated by Roslyn and Alvin Saul which was renamed the Family Tree House and used as a comfortable, home-like environment in which families could have court ordered supervised visitation.
The League continued its relationship with the Florida International Festival, sponsoring the LSO Children’s Concert and making tickets available to needy children. The League continued to sponsor exhibits and purchase art for the Museum of Arts & Sciences, and continued in its relationship with Easter Seals.
The Thrift Shop continued to be a major and increasingly successful fundraiser, with the Bundles Sale being the annual highlight. For several years the League also participated in the SPRINT Golf Tournament. The Festival of Trees was begun in 1994-95 as a fundraiser, at the Ocean Center, generating tens of thousands of dollars for League projects and delighting festival goers with the beauty of the trees and the elegant special events that occurred each year.
During the course of the decade, the League undertook major restructuring of the League operations itself, implementing new computer systems for finance and membership and streamlining the operations of the Board to make the League itself operate more efficiently. An annual Holiday Tea honoring Past Presidents was held, beginning in 1996.
The Wilder-Irwin Building which had housed the Thrift Shop for so many years had become uninhabitable, requiring the Thrift Shop to move to 200 Orange Avenue. The League applied to the State Department of Historic Preservation for grants to restore the Wilder Irwin building, creating a home for the League Administrative offices and a Community Center for use by other organizations and groups in the community. The grants were received and construction commenced.
The Administrative Office was relocated to 122 South Palmetto in 1999, which is our current location.
In 2000, the Junior League continued working on our focus area of Domestic Violence and won the 2001 Governor’s Peace at Home Award for public awareness and education. The Festival of Trees was moved to the Museum of Arts and Science and we held a Spring Fling Golf Tournament. These two events, along with the Thrift Shop were highly successful fundraisers for our League. This year also marked the completion of the first floor of our beautiful building.
Within the Finance Council the thrift shop raised $77, 476.00 from their public daily sales, Back to School Sale, Bundles, Toy Sales, and Spring Cleaning sale while distributing $32,366.00 and serving 424 of the most needy members within our community. The Endowment fund received $3,450.00 (Mrs.Grace C. Beith). The 9thyear of the Festival of Trees hosted at the Museum of Arts and Sciences netted $62,658.00 despite the climate post September 11th, 2001.
Within the Communications Council the 7th Judicial Circuit State’s Attorney recognized the JLDB contribution to raising the public awareness about the truth and resources available to victims of domestic violence through our billboards, bus stop shelters, radio, television and our public forum on Domestic Violence with featured national speaker Denise Brown. Ms. Brown visited community women’s shelters and educational programs for women displaced because of domestic violence as well as speaking in a radio interview. Our members received Education and Training in budgeting, public speaking, community women’s projects, early childhood development, newsletter writing, breast cancer awareness, and parliamentary procedure. Our archivist created organized and designated a room for the JLDB historical treasures. Our public affairs maintained our strong ties with the statewide affiliation of the Junior Leagues.
Our Community Council through the crisis fund distributed $7,473.00 and served 36 women and their families in need. Shelter support volunteers purchased, delivered and provided a myriad of goods to the Domestic Abuse Shelter, Rape Crisis Center, Pace Center for Girls and the Visitation Center valued at $11,907.00 as well as providing service. Members participated in Done in a Day projects, Pampering Day, Girls’ Valentine friendship day, served dinners at the visitation center, and delivered Christmas trees to the shelters. Back on Track served 102 women progressing from the welfare rolls and returning to gainful employment. Members assisted in the selection of career ware and appropriate wardrobes for the work environment. The League also co-sponsored, for the 7th season, the LSO Youth concert distributing 200 tickets and coloring books to the disabled and disadvantaged youth in our community. As awards sponsors, we distributed academic achievement awards to competing students of Volusia County in the Tomoka Regional Science Fair. The Museum of Arts and Science awarded the community service award to the JLDB for its commitment to the enhancement and enrichment of the community in the arts and sciences.
2003 – 2004 was an exciting year for the Junior League. We adopted the AJLI logo and tagline “Women Building Better Communities”. We implemented our very successful community project, “Best Foot Forward,” a unique shopping experience for underprivileged children in our community. We continued our successful fundraising practices: The Thrift Shop, Sweethearts Ball, Ladies Luncheon and League for Literacy Gala. We created a “Community Grant” project. This project allowed us to dispense $15,000 to worthy community partners in our community. In 2004, the League received the Humanitarian Award at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Grand Banquet.
During the 2004-2005 League year we continued to demonstrate our commitment to our community with events such as Best Foot Forward and Touch a Truck, a new fundraiser/community service where area safety organizations and service providers offered interactive education for families. We expanded our community partnerships to include the Homeless Assistance Center, and we were honored with the Children’s Home Society Volunteer Organization of the Year award at their annual Puttin’ on the Ritz gala.
The 2005-2006 League year presented two new fundraising events, Casino Night and participation in the News Journal’s Holiday Market. We continued Community Projects such as Best Foot Forward and Community Grants, and expanded our role with the Homeless Assistance Center by giving a significant donation towards its new campus. We also sustained our financial support to Easter Seals by funding the opening of an after-school program for ADD/ADHD children, the Junior League POP Academy. Project Development evolved into Project and Fundraising Development so that membership would have a vote for all major projects and events.
Over 3,000 volunteer hours were logged during the 2006-2007 League year. Camp BeginAgain, a weekend retreat for young people who have recently lost a loved one, was co-sponsored with The Hospice of Volusia/Flagler as a new Community Project. Best Foot Forward expanded to over 150 Title 1 children and outreach projects with PACE, the Homeless Coalition/Star Shelter, Head Start, Family Treehouse and Project WARM continued. Tornado damage in Western Volusia County provided an opportunity to donate over $8,000 to needy families, and an additional $20,000 was awarded at the Annual Dinner. Casino Night, Sweetheart Ball and the Thrift Shop continued to increase their profits over previous years. Membership continued to grow and off-site meetings were a popular theme.
In the 2010’s, the Junior League of Daytona created the first (and still only) Diaper Bank in Volusia and Flagler Counties, working with community partners to identify families in need and provide diapers and wipes. The League continued its work in providing school-aged children with clothing for school through Best Foot Forward. An annual fundraiser, the Sweetheart Ball, began to grow and profits increased, allowing for additional projects and donations to the community. The League also began its work in the human trafficking space, working with other leagues across the I-4 corridor to bring awareness to this issue. The JLDB was also instrumental in developing a training course for local law enforcement on identifying at-risk individuals as well as implementing safeguards, and they stuffed and provided backpacks for survivors. They also began their Little Black Dress Initiative, wearing the same black dress (or shirt) for an entire week to emulate the complete lack of possessions a human trafficking survivor has when rescued and to raise awareness about this issue. The Thrift Store continued to provide a service to the community as well as a funding source for the League’s community projects.
This decade began with a worldwide pandemic, but that challenge only meant that our community needed even more support. The Junior League of Daytona beach continued to operate throughout the pandemic, building an outdoor classroom for the PACE Center for Girls and growing its Diaper Bank to meet growing demand. Unfortunately, our Thrift Store did not survive this shift in the marketplace, and the store was closed in October 2021 after over 50 years of serving the community. In 2022, Daytona was impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, and the Junior League offices were flooded, resulting in a complete renovation of the office space. The newly improved offices now house a dedicated area for the Diaper Bank.