Our Legacy Projects

EARLY YEARS

The Jack & Jill Children’s Center is the Junior League’s oldest and longest running Legacy Project. It is also the oldest nonprofit provider of early childhood education in Broward County. Prior to its inception, former president Virginia Gamble, had a desire to focus on underprivileged children. As a Junior League advisor, Mrs. Frank Stranahan suggested that the organization try a summer project, during which members would help raise funds for clothes, food, toys, linens, and books for Mrs. Ruth Parson’s Day Nursery. This service project evolved into the Jack & Jill Children’s Center, a day-care for women who needed to enter the workforce and whose husbands went to war.

TODAY

Over the years, changes in family structure led to the center’s evolution to what it is today: a school for children of high-need working families, fighting to break the cycle of poverty in South Florida. The center strives to achieve its mission by focusing on both the child and the family unit, offering family strengthening programs so that the entire household, children and parents alike, have the tools they need to succeed in life.

jackandjillcenter.org

 

EARLY YEARS

In 1947, League members recognized the need for affordable psychiatric and casework services to families of Broward County. After conducting a needs assessment, the League asked Miss Ethel McLane, a professionally trained Social Worker and Director of the Community Service Council, to serve as their professional consultant. In 1951, a planning committee was formed to raise funds for the project. In 1953, their efforts culminated in the opening of The Family and Children’s Counseling Center. The Center operated for two years, providing clinical services with a staff that included a clinical psychologist, psychiatric social worker and a part time consulting psychiatrist.

 

TODAY

After 65 years, The Family and Children’s Counseling Center evolved into Henderson Behavioral Health (originally called Broward Mental Hygiene Clinic). The center now offers a full array of comprehensive behavioral health services. The staff of more than 700 members provide healthcare, housing, and hope for more than 30,000 people with behavioral conditions in Florida each year. They reach people of all ages, including 6,000 youth under the age of 18. They also assist and inspire those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse disorders, helping them reclaim their lives. The organization’s Crisis Center receives more than 170,000 calls each year, providing emergency assistance to those in need. Its programs and facilities are found throughout South Florida.

Hendersonbh.org

 

EARLY YEARS

 In 1958, the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale founded the Fort Lauderdale Art Center as a gathering place where the public could enjoy exhibitions and participate in art classes. In November of that year, the Art Center opened its doors. The Hortt Competition was one of the Art Center’s first major activities and one of the first major art competitions in Florida. It was named after M.A. Hortt, who bequeathed $5,000 to the League to start the Center. After a fire in 1967, it was necessary to move the center. Through the assistance of James Farqhar and Mary McCahill, the museum moved in 1969 to Nova University’s former Ocean Sciences Laboratory. In 1974, the American Association of Museums awarded accreditation to the museum. The museum broke ground in 1984 for the present building. Designed by American architect Edward Larabee Barnes, the museum opened its current facility to the public in 1986.

TODAY

At its 50th anniversary in 2008, the museum forged an association with Nova Southeastern University. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale provides exceptional opportunities to access, learn from and be inspired by the highest level of visual artistic expression. It offers diverse and innovative exhibitions, dynamic education and public programs, and an exceptional permanent collection. The museum also fosters original research and intellectual inquiry. This year, the museum marks its 60th Anniversary with exciting celebrations and spectacular exhibits.

Nsuartmuseum.org

 

EARLY YEARS

In 1971, the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale famously floated the King-Cromartie house down the New River to save it from demolition. The house was originally built in 1907 by Edwin T. King, the town’s first builder and an early citrus grower. It was a one-story house, designed in the four-square Georgian style, and constructed with Dade County pine. King built it on the south bank of the New River, near what is now US1. In 1911, a second floor was added. The house remained the King family home until 1968. King’s daughter, Louise, and her husband, Bloxum Cromartie, Ivy Cromartie Stranahan’s brother, resided there for most of their married life.

TODAY

The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society uses Old Fort Lauderdale Village to bring the stories of its diverse community to life through educational experiences, cultural exhibits, research, and preservation for future generations. The Society collects, preserves, and shares material from the community’s past, so that present and future generations can comprehend more fully their predecessors, their community, and themselves. The Society continues to maintain the King-Cromartie house as well as three other historic structures from 1905 and a museum of changing and permanent exhibits. It also operates a research center that has functioned, uninterrupted, for 51 years.

Fortlauderdalehistoricalsociety.org

 

EARLY YEARS

In 1971, the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale founded Family Central in partnership with United Way, as a way to administer subsidized child care dollars.

TODAY

Family Central promotes children’s success by providing quality early care and education as well as family support. Initiatives include providing food to family child care homes, professional development training and coaching, home instruction for parents of preschool children, and more. Family Central is accredited by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training.

Familycentral.org

 

EARLY YEARS

For several years, Doug Endsley, Director of the Community Services Council talked to civic leaders about the idea of forming a Volunteer Placement Center. In the spring of 1968, he received a favorable response from the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale, and a steering committee was established. In October 1968, the Volunteer Center opened. League members committed themselves as volunteers for 1968-69 and 1969-70. In the first year, the Volunteer Center placed 78 volunteers in the community, in collaboration with 45 agencies. The Volunteer Center evolved into Hands on Broward.

TODAY

Hands on Broward inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to effect positive change. It offers a flexible volunteer calendar and sign-up platform, mobilizing thousands of people each year to revitalize schools, parks, playgrounds, nonprofits, and neighborhoods. There are year-round, daily opportunities for people of all ages. The organization refers individuals and groups to more than 600 nonprofit agencies in Broward County. There are typically more than 6,000 different opportunities waiting for a volunteer.

handsonbroward.org

 

EARLY YEARS

 In 1973, the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale proposed to establish “a center to offer a program for the stimulation and development of children’s interests and talents in the sciences, the arts, and history.” The New River Exploratorium, later named the Discovery Center, opened in 1977 as a hands-on museum of art, science, and history, in the historic New River Inn. Over the course of the next few years, other historic buildings became part of the museum’s complex. With broad-based community support, $13.6 million in philanthropy and $11 million in state funding, the new Museum of Discovery and Science opened in 1992. Attendance topped the one million mark in less than two years.

TODAY

The Museum of Discovery and Science has contributed significantly to the revitalization of the Arts and Science District in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The museum regularly serves over 400,000 visitors each year and is the primary destination for school field trips in Broward County. It provides experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults through exhibits, programs, and films.

Mods.org

EARLY YEARS

Kids in Distress of Broward and Palm Beach counties (KID) began as a small shelter in 1979. Over the years, KID expanded its scope of services and built a campus thanks to a growing network of partnerships with corporations, organizations, municipalities, schools, and individuals throughout South Florida.

TODAY

Today, KID is a licensed, nationally accredited agency that boasts the five-acre Leo Goodwin Foundation Campus in Broward County and a satellite office in Palm Beach County. KID programs have grown into a comprehensive continuum of care that fills the gaps and meets the needs of at-risk children and families in the community. Its programs work for the prevention of child abuse, preservation of the family, and the treatment of abused and neglected children. KID programs are routinely recognized and serve as best practice models of care by bringing innovative ideas to life, strengthening relationships with partner organizations, and expanding services through collaborative efforts. KID foster care programs are the largest in both Broward and Palm Beach counties. The KID Dental Clinic and Eye Care Institute conduct more than 9,000 visits annually for families in South Florida.

Kidinc.org

 

 

EARLY YEARS

Partners In Education (PIE) was founded in collaboration with the Broward County School Board and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. It was one of the first business-education partnerships created in the U.S. The program provides students with access to business leaders, best practice case studies, and technologies. In the mid 90’s, the Broward County School Board agreed to provide funding for all operating costs and free office space.

TODAY

PIE has had a substantial impact on the community and every school proudly touts its “partners.” These organizations play an important role in providing kids with an entry into business, through job shadowing, internships, and more.

browardschools.com

EARLY YEARS

SOS Children’s Village - Florida first opened to help abused, abandoned, and severely neglected foster children who were unlikely to be adopted or reunited with their birth parents. Because of the unfortunate circumstances and situations from their childhood, special help in dealing with emotions, deficiencies in school, social skills and behavior, and independent living preparation is needed. SOS’ program is unique in that all support services are offered on-site. In this safe space, many siblings could also be reunited at least.

TODAY

 SOS Children’s Villages is a foster care neighborhood in Coconut Creek. The neighborhood is comprised of 12 houses, with the capacity to serve up to 75 boys and girls. SOS provides a nurturing and vibrant environment with an array of services to help children overcome their past traumas and build a successful future. The average stay at SOS is approximately two years. During this time, ChildNet, the agency overseeing foster care in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, explores longer-term options for each child. The village allows for siblings, who are typically separated while in foster care, to maintain a family connection. SOS also provides Next Steps services to its young adults transitioning out of foster care and living out on their own for the first time.

Sosflorida.com

O.U.R. House

EARLY YEARS

In November of 1994, the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale opened O.U.R. House. O.U.R. is an acronym for Offering Unique Reunifications. It was created with the goal of creating a safe environment for supervised visits between parents and their children.

TODAY

The O.U.R. House facility is a step toward reuniting families. The facility provides a cozy haven complete with home furnishings, a back yard, and plenty of toys. Children that come to O.U.R. House have been separated from their families due to abuse or neglect and placed in foster care homes. Parents are required to take parenting classes before they are reunited with their children, while children receive counseling to understand that abuse and neglect is not their fault. O.U.R. house has helped thousands of grieving children, teens, and adults as they embark upon their journeys of hope and healing

 

EARLY YEARS

In 1992, the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale began preliminary research in the community to assess the needs of women who are substance abusers. They found that, of the 572 beds available for detox and residential treatment in Broward County, only 80 beds were available to women and that over 50 percent of the women who sought treatment were deterred due to lack of in-house childcare. In 1995, the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center opened as a one group home, housing five mothers and six children.

TODAY

The center’s mission is to “transform families by providing help, hope and healing for mothers and their children to live responsible drug-free lives.” Today, the center is located on a 5.5-acre campus in Pembroke Pines and has the capacity to serve over 60 families. This capacity is increasing through the development of satellite campuses. The recovery center is the only one of its kind in South Florida. Families are kept together in residential units as both mother and children receive much needed treatment and support. Since its beginning, the center has helped reunify over 850 families and provided intensive services for over 1,500 children.

susanbanthonycenter.org

Play Station at Holiday Park

EARLY YEARS

 When League members approached Parks Director Tom Tapp with a proposal to build a playground in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Tapp directed them to focus their energies and resources to building a large, state of the art playground in Holiday Park. The Junior League rose to the occasion and raised $200,000 to build the train themed playground. The Junior League Play Station was opened and dedicated in October of 2001. Playground Chair Laura Voet worked with Edward D. Stone Junior and Associates to create its signature logo and to choose appropriately themed playground equipment.

TODAY

The 1.2- acre Junior League Play Station includes a refurbished and asbestos free train engine; Toddler Town U.S.A., a play area for 2-5-year old children; Junior Junction and Kids Crossing U.S.A., play areas for 5-12-year-old children; the Train Yard with swings and equipment for all ages; a picnic pavilion; drinking fountains; and nature stations. The Junior League Play Station is a regular stop for children, families, and youth groups looking to enjoy some exercise, fresh air, and fun.

 

 

EARLY YEARS

In 2003, the Community Foundation of Broward and the United Way of Broward County commissioned a strategic planning effort to develop a systemic approach to providing foster care youth with a support system to help them become productive adults. The resulting plan recommended a “single-point-of-contact” position. This was created in 2006, housed at the United Way, and jointly funded by the Community Foundation. During that time, League members were also working with the community to research what the greatest needs were and where the League could assist. A “One-Stop Resource Center” was selected as their next project, with the vision of increasing youth access to critical services. On July 1, 2008, the Junior League assumed the role as the “single-point-of-contact” for the community, making way for the birth of the Fort Lauderdale Independence Training & Education (FLITE) Center.

TODAY

Through the FLITE Center and community agencies, teens learn the practical skills needed to succeed as they set out on their own. Topics of concentration include, but are not limited to, the importance of completion of education, government benefits, budgeting and banking, job and vocational training; housing options and other essential skills to live independently.

flitecenter.org