Juniorettes offers invitation to service

Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club junior board exposes girls to volunteer opportunities

Series: Battle of the boards | Story 6

Finding the right volunteer opportunity can be a challenge - especially for a seventh-grader.

Juniorettes - the junior board of the Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club - has helped Hinsdale's Laura Armstrong do just that.

"I've learned that I can help in different ways and Juniorettes has opened my eyes to different things I can do to be able to help," said Armstrong, whose in seventh grade at Hinsdale Middle School.

She has enjoyed dressing up to entertain pediatric cancer patients on a Zoom call and visiting the Hinsdale Humane Society.

"I never really thought about helping pets," she said. "It's opened my eyes to different opportunities and different places I can help."

Fellow HMS seventh-grader Maddie Henry agreed.

"I think that Juniorettes does a great job of showing us many different ways to volunteer," she said.

The woman making those volunteer opportunities happen this year is Denise Marron, who has been involved with HJWC for about six years. She said Juniorettes was started about four years ago when some of the moms in the club were thinking of ways to get their daughters involved.

The goal is to help the girls appreciate the importance of giving back, to highlight possible career opportunities and to introduce them to various nonprofit agencies.

Marrons said even with the pandemic, the girls had a great year. Hinsdale Central High School junior Fallon Limberg agreed.

"Contradicting what you would think, we've had more communication in pandemic times than before, just because the goal is so much higher, but we've risen to the occasion," the Hinsdale resident said.

Limberg, who has been in Juniorettes since eighth grade, said she enjoyed the career spotlight at the Hinsdale Humane Society.

"I have since joined that junior board as well," she said.

That's not the only agency she has been prompted to support outside of Juniorettes. She volunteers independent of the group at the HCS Family Services food pantry.

"Because I'm at this food pantry, I've also been volunteering at the PRC Westmont food pantry," she said. "I just love it so much because most of the people that are clients that come in are so appreciative and so thankful that you're there.

"I always come home in the best mood, according to my family. I just enjoy it," she added.

Henry said her volunteer work through Juniorettes has taught her to appreciate simple things in her life, like having a pair of gloves and a hat on a cold day.

"Juniorettes has made me very humble, and it really teaches you how lucky you really are to have the things you have on a daily basis at the touch of your finders," she said.

She, Henry and Armstrong like the ability to sign up for volunteer opportunities that most interest them. Henry especially enjoys that independence.

"We are on the email list. We sign up ourselves. We choose which events we want to participate in," Henry said, contrasting that with situations in which emails are sent to her parents.

"I like the freedom that you get to do things on your own to help the common cause," Limberg said, explaining that each Juniorette spearheaded their own food collection initiative for the Battle of the Boards food drive.

She reached out to neighbors, her mom's co-workers and her Central soccer teammates for help in the effort.

"People are welcome to do their own things that they put together. It's not like, 'Do this!' " she said.

Armstrong said she was surprised how much food her neighbors were willing to donate.

"I had a whole trunkload of food. I think I had at least 10 bags," he said. "I was just overjoyed to see how many people wanted to help the Juniorettes in the competition. I'm so excited to see what we get."

The group is inviting the community to drop off food Saturday afternoon in Clarendon Hills. See Page 27 for details.

Armstrong credits Marron for keeping members interested and entertained.

"She has made it really fun and really enjoyable for all of us girls to learn not only is it great to help others, but we can have fun doing it," she said.

Marron has thoroughly enjoyed helping the girls develop a stronger sense of altruism.

"Of all the things I've chaired through my years, this has been one of the best and most rewarding, because I get to help them help others, creating our future philanthropists," she said.

- Seven junior boards in Hinsdale are currently working in partnership with The Hinsdalean on a seven-week food drive to benefit HCS Family Services (see the ad on Page 27).

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean