History of the Junior League of Texarkana

In January 1926, a group of civic minded young women met at the home of Mrs. A. H. Whitmarsh and formed what was to become the Junior League of Texarkana. At the charter membership luncheon held on February 26, 926, the following officers were elected:

President, Mrs. John Ware Holmon (Marguerite Whitmarsh)
First Vice-President, Miss Lois Dale
Second Vice-President, Mrs. M. F. Morgan (Lottie Conway)
Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Charles N. Temple (Mary Watlington)
Recording Secretary, Mrs. James Dawson (Mary Eakin)
Treasurer, Mrs. George B. Stuart (Cornelia McElroy)

Other Charter Members were:

Mrs. James Hugh Anderson (Bennie Foreman)
Miss Anna Arthur (Mrs. Earl Buchanan)
Mrs. David Bruton (Harriet Mann)
Mrs. Benjamin Estes Carter (Hilda Arnoldson)
Miss Hazel Coley (Mrs. Morgan Fitzwilliams)
Miss Evelyn Estes
Mrs. Booker Ellis (Lucy Arnold)
Mrs. Talbot Field (Mrs. Iola Edwards Webber)
Mrs. T. E. Fuller (Emiline Grim)
Mrs. Leon Haydon (Mary Turner)
Mrs. William Hibbits (Katherine McCartney)
Miss Jean Logan (Mrs. Joe Elliott)
Miss Frances Mullins (Mrs. Frances Cannon)
Mrs. Josh Morriss (Marjorie Offenhauser)
Mrs. Henry Moore, Jr. (Olivia Smith)
Mrs. Andrew Rose (Lena Buford)
Mrs. Arthur Temple (Katherine Sage)
Miss Corrine Turner
Miss Betty Townsend (Mrs. Dilbeck)
Miss Eloine Wadley (Mrs. Eloine Mosley)
Miss Betty Whitmarsh (Mrs. Joseph C. Andrews)
Miss Carol Whitmarsh (Mrs. Brian Carpenter).

From the beginning, the Junior Service League patterned its constitution after that of the Association of Junior Leagues of America with the intention of becoming a part of the Association as soon as possible. In the years since its beginning, the League has furnished efficient and effective volunteer service and a great deal of financial aid to the community. The League has aided the Baptist Orphanage, Health Camps, Y. W. C. A., Girl and Boy Scouts, Bowie County Child Welfare Department, Miller County Health Unit, Temple Memorial Home for Crippled Children, Training for Retarded Children, Boys Club, Public Library, Salvation Army, Ben and Jane Collins Home for the Aged, Goodfellows, Tuberculosis, Heart, Cancer, Polio, Civic Music, and Community Chest Drives, as well as, assisting the Public School System with its first Cafeteria (Grim School) and with a program for academically talented students.

Early League meetings were held in the “Little White House” at Third and Hazel Streets. Selfservice luncheons, training courses, Bazaars, Children’s Plays directed by Katrina Offenhauser, and Shadowgraphs and Puppet Shows for children directed by Phyllis Hoffman were all held in the early headquarters.

Later League headquarters were located upstairs over Hack’s Jewelers. The Temple Home also allowed the League to use its top floor for meetings, storage, and puppets until the rooms were needed by the Home for an extended program.

The most important contribution of the League’s early years was the establishment of a Free Dental Clinic for underprivileged school children under the leadership of Dr. Rowe Smith and the local Dental Association. This modest one-day clinic with volunteer dentists grew to a four-day clinic with a paid full-time dentist. This service started in 1927, lasted until 1944 when the State took it over. However, the League was later asked to resume its dental program. Recently, the Government has asked the League to cooperate with the local dentists in a program of Prevention Education in the schools and homes.

From 1938 to 1945, Prenatal and Hospital Care was provided for indigent mothers through Welfare Agencies.

In 1944, a Social Service Exchange and Central Index was set up with Miss Marie Thompson as Executive Secretary. Under her expert guidance a strong Community Service Council, including all Health, Welfare, and Character Building Agencies, was developed. This later became an integral part of the Community Chest Organization.

A project along cultural lines was aiding the Library Board in the acquisition of the Public Library Building located in Bowie Park. Built in 1951, it was a point of pride.

During the early 50’s, the League worked with the Red Cross in operating a bloodmobile which answered a vital need for our community and nation.

Junior League members served as volunteers at both St. Michael’s and Wadley Hospitals. Katherine Hibbits and Marguerite Holman set up the Snack Bar at St. Michael’s, and Mina Fuqua was the organizing President of the Wadley Hospital Auxiliary in 1959. In 1965, the League made a substantial gift to the Wadley Hospital Research Laboratory to assist with a research project.

A Visual Screening program for preschool children was established in 1965.

When the Collins Memorial Building was opened in Ferguson Park, summer classes for school children were given in photography, bird studies, and nature.

Classes were started for the mentally retarded in the Carriage House at the Temple Home in 1960, and were supported by the Arkansas and Texas school systems. The Carriage House has now been turned over to the Texas School system, but is still given financial and volunteer aid from the League.

In 1962, academically talented students were given the opportunity to study under special teachers. Seminars in science, the humanities and creative writing were offered. These have now been incorporated in the school systems.

“Arts to the School” was the project in 1963. The League cooperated with the P.T.A. for two years in bringing the Artmobile to all school children from the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock.

Broadway Plays were presented at the Texarkana College Auditorium for two years as an adult cultural benefit to the community.

A Choral Group was formed of League members in 1963 and this talented group of Active and Sustaining Members was much in demand by various organizations in the community.

From the earliest years, Puppetry was of special interest to the League, and developed into one of its most outstanding projects. Every other year, all the schools are visited with a new Puppet Show, and hundreds of delighted children are invited into the wonderful “land of make believe.” In the Spring of 972, the Committee presented their original play entitled The Enemy Is Us, based on environmental education for the elementary school children.

The interest in Children’s Theater is also of long standing. Plays for children have been presented by the Children’s Theater of New York and Dallas. For several years, the League has joined with the Texarkana Little Theater in producing plays with local talent and outstanding ballets for children have been presented with the cooperation of local dancing instructors and their students.

In keeping with the policy of A.J.L.A., namely “as each project becomes a reality and is selfsustaining, other unmet community needs are found,” the League initiated a City Beautification project. Rosie Kuhn Sanderson, a former League President, headed up the city-wide operation of B.I.T. (Beauty in Texarkana). In 1968, B.I.T. was turned over to the community in the form of a committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

In 1968, the League voted to accept the recommendation of the Project Finding Committee to establish a Volunteer Services Bureau in Texarkana.

Music has a language all its own with which to warm hearts and make friends, thus two of our Active members, Jean Wren and Betty McGee, started project, “Musical Therapy,” with which to brighten the lives of our Senior Citizens in the Spring of 1970. This project has been expanded to include the children of the Day Care Centers, the Temple Home and Texarkana Special Education Kindergarten.

In May, 1970, the League purchased a house at 6 Beech for Headquarters and Community Work.

“The Story Hour,” an outgrowth of the Children’s Books, has provided underprivileged children of working mothers with stories and books at the day care centers and has involved visits to the library also.

The film, “Drugs Are Like That,” and related educational material, a project of the Junior League of Miami, Inc., was purchased by the Texarkana Medical Society for presentation by our League members to elementary school children in the community.

In 1972, the Book and Author Luncheon, an outgrowth of League concern for a cultural contribution on a community level, featured the renowned author, Mr. Herman Wouk.

The League sponsored the Texarkana Annual Regional Art Show in April 973 to stimulate interest in the Arts, and give Artists in the area an opportunity to display their talent.

In 1973, the Book and Author Event, an outgrowth of League concern for a cultural contribution on a community level, featured the renowned humorist and author, Mr. Art Buchwald.

A Creative Art Project was developed in 1974 to supply volunteers in the Arkansas school system three days a week to aid in the teaching of art. The Creative Art Committee together with the Texarkana Historical Society and Museum were awarded two Federal Grants to fund this project in 1974-75.

In 1974, the third Book and Author Event featured George Plimpton. The League also created a new puppet show on dental hygiene. Other projects voted in the year: Teacher Effectiveness Training, TV Programming, Bicentennial Page and Public Art Study, and Children’s Activities Brochure.

In 1974-1975, the sponsorship of the bicentennial musical, “Yankee Doodle” offered Texarkana entertainment of outstanding quality. Task forces were established in the areas of Child Advocacy and Art Education.

In 1976, the fourth Book and Author Event brought Suzanne Morris, author of “Galveston,” to Texarkana. Music Enrichment, a highly motivating and educational experience for children, was presented in the lower grades of three elementary schools. We became involved with Community Blood Services by providing volunteers at the Center and speakers in the community.

Our goal “to provide children of this area with a new concept in playground design and construction in a highly visible area, maximizing safety, as well as, play experience,” was accomplished when Playscape was erected in Spring Lake Park and dedicated to all children in May 978.

After evaluating an assessment survey taken in Texarkana in the Fall of 976, the League realized the need for an Arts Council to coordinate and develop programs in the area of the arts. This need was met with the formation of the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council during 1977-78 League year.

Wanting to meet the needs of our community and state and realizing the importance of activities in both areas, the League became involved in the area of Public Affairs during 1978-79. With the unique opportunity to serve two states, the League joined the Arkansas and Texas State Public Affairs Committees. Also, an Education-Public Affairs Committee was established. In addition, a Child Advocacy Committee was formed, and programs were adopted in the areas of Volunteer Career Development and Parenting Education.

With an interest in Historical Preservation, the League saved the oldest house in the Texarkana area, the Moores-Watts-Pryor Home, circa 875. Aided by Sustainer Margaret Dickey and given generous monetary donations by Sustainer Mildred Cook and by the Del Taco Corporation, the house was rescued and moved to a site provided by the city of Texarkana, Arkansas. A combined effort on the part of many community members saved this house from destruction and established it in a new location.

The 1979-80 League year was one of becoming closer to the Association with visits from the President of the Association of Junior Leagues Alice Weber, Association Nominating Director Lynn Searcy and Area V Director Linda Custard.

The 1980-81 Junior League Thrift Shop opened its doors for business in November and has become a solid success. It serves two purposes — as a money-raiser for the Community Trust Fund and as a service to the community.

In 1981-82, the Junior League co-sponsored with the Arkansas and Texas Council of PTA organizations, a city-wide Drug Rally at the Perot Theater. The Junior League Thrift Shop completed its first full year of business very successfully.

In 1982-83, the Junior League provided funds for a security system for the Texarkana Public Library. Support continued for the Perot Theater and the Texarkana Historical Museum. The Junior League Thrift Shop moved to a new location with plans for increasing in the future.

In 1983-84, the Junior League’s sponsorship of Hallmark Cards’ Kaleidoscope offered a quality art experience for the children of Texarkana. A major area of interest of League members was the formation of a task force to study the feasibility of a Hospice program for our community. The Thrift Shop continued to be a success by showing its largest profit to date.

In 1984-85, the Junior League of Texarkana purchased the building which houses their Thrift Shop at 6 East Broad and began renovation of the building. The top floor will be offices and meeting rooms, while the Thrift Shop will remain on the first floor. Hospice of Texarkana, Inc., researched and instigated by the League, became a reality with the first Board of Directors meeting held in January, 1985. The League continued to support financially, and, in some cases, volunteerwise, Pediatric Angels, Prenatal Clinic, the Museum, SCAN, Latch-Key Children’s Hotline, and a drug abuse puppet show which educated area children about drug use and misuse. Paper Products acquired many more patrons this League year, while Sunnyside and Sunshine Singers entertained many nursing home residents and others on their monthly rounds and by singing messages for various holidays. This has been a very fruitful and successful year.

In 1985-86, the Junior League of Texarkana moved into its new headquarters, above the Junior League Thrift Shop. An Open House was held in January, 1986, to celebrate the grand opening of the building and to celebrate the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Junior League of Texarkana. With the funds raised from the continuingly successful Thrift Shop and the 986 “Razzle Dazzle” Follies, the Junior League was able to meet its commitments to Hospice of Texarkana, SCAN, Pediatric Angels, Prenatal Clinic, the Texarkana Historical Museum, and Phone Friend.

In 1986-87, the Junior League of Texarkana initiated a new, very successful, fund-raising project, the Mistletoe Fair — a Christmas shopping extravaganza. Funds generated from Mistletoe Fair, with the Junior League Thrift Shop, and Paper Products, along with countless volunteer hours, were contributed to many community organizations. A new structure for the Executive Committee was implemented with the election of our first Community Vice-President, serving as liaison to all community placements. Sustainer involvement was at an all-time high with their publishing of a holiday cookbook “Under the Mistletoe” and their immeasurable support of the Mistletoe Fair. A Computer system was purchased for our office. Our newssheet got a new name, the Dialog. The new tag line selected by JLT is an apt description of our dedicated members, “Volunteers with a Vision.”

Reflecting the changing profile of the members in 1988-89, a new administrative system was initiated allowing members to serve on one committee, with an in-league or a fundraiser placement. To encourage organizational growth, a new sponsored admission system was implemented. Our community impact this year has truly been outstanding with the addition of Adult Literacy tutors, Battered Women’s Shelter, WHO, and Adolescent Pregnancy Education to our list of placements. With the vote to purchase Kids on the Block — Teen Pregnancy Puppets, groundwork was laid for a community coalition between JLT and AHS Home Economics Department.

Service to our community through volunteer commitment and project funding remained the primary focus of the JLT during the 1989-90 year. With continued cutbacks in funding from government entities, the League was proud to work with sixteen different agencies in committing 7,000 volunteer hours and over $50,000 to the betterment of Texarkana and its citizens. Our newest project, the “Kids on the Block” teen pregnancy awareness puppet show was successfully implemented in three public school districts and one private school system. To address needs within our administration, two new committees were formed. The Funding Committee Coordinating Council was created mid-year to coordinate the activities of all community-related committees. Thrift Shop and Mistletoe Fair continued to be our main fundraisers.

The Children’s Dental Clinic opened to the public in May for a preview of the services that will be available starting in the fall of 1990. The Dental Clinic committee has done an incredible job of covering every detail and working very effectively with the local dentists. The League is getting good feedback on this project from the community, so it can be an excellent example of how we can maximize our impact by collaborating with other community groups. We have also worked very closely this year with B.O.N.D., the new downtown revitalization group. The impact the downtown deterioration is having on our own Thrift Shop and office and the quality of life in our community is of great concern to our membership, and that relationship will continue next year.

During 1990-91, the JLT clarified its community program by describing its new and ongoing community investments in terms of four goal-defined focus areas, which were:

Up with Youth: to provide resources to children for coping with a complex world and to maximize self esteem (including the JLT’s “Kids on the Block” and a motivational speaker for all area middle school students)

Quality of Life: to ensure the continuing growth and vitality of Texarkana and to enhance the quality of life for its citizens (including ongoing support for Literacy and Museum programs)

Kids with Special Needs: to provide opportunities, services, and protection to children with special needs (including JLT’s new Dental Clinic)

People with Special Needs: to meet special physical and emotional needs of special citizens (including JLT’s Sunshine Singers)

Sixty-thousand dollars raised by JLT members through the Mistletoe Fair and Thrift Shop projects and hundreds of member hours were invested in these four areas during this year, enabling the JLT to make a positive difference in the lives of literally thousands of area citizens of all ages. Internally, the JLT also successfully implemented its “one-commitment” system for members.

While continuing with the Children’s Dental Clinic, the JLT brought “Giraffes to town.” These two teenagers told their individual stories of how they “stuck their necks out” to improve their communities.

The 1991-92 year saw an internal change in that the membership wanted to have a greater impact in and on the community. A Cross-Functional Team was set up to develop a plan to suit our members need and desires. The JLT is serving as facilitators of our first collaboration. Two members were sent to Washington D.C. to be trained by the Children’s Defense Fund. They brought back information and began working with members of our community to develop visitation sites for this program. The exterior

of the Thrift Shop was renovated with the assistance of a small loan program developed by B.O.N.D. A new display window and color scheme have enhanced the building. Once again, Mistletoe Fair was a tremendous success. Over sixty thousand dollars was raised and will be returned to the community through our new programs: Teen Court, Children’s Defense Fund, and a continuation of Teacher Take Wing.

In 1992-93 year, the Junior League of Texarkana continued to serve our community through volunteer commitment and project funding. Children’s Dental Clinic, Child Watch Program, Sunshine Singers, Kids on the Block, and Teacher’s Take Wing are still going strong and making a valuable impact on our community as well as all of our other placements. Once again Mistletoe Fair was a tremendous success. Over Forty Six Thousand Dollars was raised and will be returned to the community through our existing programs and our new programs: Done in a Day, School Supply Train, Host and TRAHC Spring Festival.

1995-96 was a great year for the Junior League of Texarkana. JLT continued its Teacher Take Wing, Done In a Day, Kids on the Block, and Children’s Dental Clinic projects, as well as placing volunteers in numerous other community placements. Our volunteers and the money we dedicated to community efforts made a real impact in improving the quality of life in our community. Our League brought to Texarkana the Hallmark Kaleidoscope, a traveling art exhibit for children. Over 5,000 children participated in the Kaleidoscope project. The 0th annual Mistletoe Fair exceeded all previous records and was a tremendous success. Mistletoe Fair and the Thrift Shop continue to be our main fund raisers. The membership voted to renovate the Discovery Place Children’s Museum and to that effort JLT gave $100,000. JLT will continue its existing programs for 1996-97 and pledged funding D.A.R.E., CASA, and Teen Court.

The 50th Anniversary of the Junior League of Texarkana, Inc. as a member of AJLI proved to be the highlight of the 1996-97 year. Our wonderful Sustainers pooled their talents and financial resources to redecorate the League Office as part of the celebration. This momentous occasion was commemorated at a reception held at the newly renovated League Office on April 7th attended by members of the League and representatives of the community. During the year, our volunteer efforts remained a vital part of our operations, with members being placed at the Dental Clinic, CASA, Teen Court, the Texarkana Public Library, Opportunities, Inc. and throughout the various school districts via our Kids on the Block puppet show. The successes of past fundraisers enabled the League to award $12,000 in funds to the Teacher Take Wing grant recipients. Mistletoe Fair and the Thrift Shop produced great monetary successes for the year, leading to the award of almost $32,000 in grants to community agencies for the 1997-98 year. Additionally, two new exciting projects were voted in place for the 997-98 year: (1) Space Lab; and (2) the Environmental Classroom (a collaboration with Georgia-Pacific).

The 1997-98 year for the Junior League of Texarkana, Inc. was exciting and successful. One of the highlights of the year was the opening of the newly renovated Discovery Place, a project which the League had supported with a $ 00,000 grant in 996. The facility is a remarkable addition to this area and will brighten and expand the lives of our children for many years to come. Our volunteer commitment to the community remained strong with over 10,000 volunteer hours being contributed by our membership. In addition to Mistletoe Fair and the Thrift Shop, the League assigned members to community placements. New placements this year included Star Lab, the Discovery Place, the Ace of Clubs House, Literacy Council, and the Environmental Classroom. Teacher Take Wing awarded $9,767 in mini-grants to teachers in area schools. The 12th annual Mistletoe Fair produced a net income of almost $75,000, beating all records to date. The League’s Gourmet-To-Go booth was introduced for the first time at the Fair and proved to be a promising venture for the future. The funds raised by Mistletoe Fair and the Thrift Shop will support the League’s activities in the community in the future. Next year alone, the League will invest $32,400 in the community through the grants awarded by the membership in April. Also, the League will add Domestic Violence Prevention, Inc. and Watersprings Ranch, Inc. to the list of community agencies who will receive League volunteers next year. Additionally, the membership voted to add a new In-League Project to our list of placements. The new project is “Adopt-A-School”, a pen pal program to encourage “at risk” second and third grade students to pass the TAAS test.

The 1998-99 year for the Junior League brought new milestones in the League’s commitment to it’s mission statement. Not only did the League establish new placements for our members to give to the community, we began a new program for our own League members, “Helping Hands.” This program provided help in time of need with dinner, or just a friendly reminder of member’s support of each other. Over 25 League members were helped this year in some way. We also made a commitment as one of the lead sponsors of Race for the Cure, enabling more education to women about breast cancer. Our support of many community projects with volunteers and financial assistance continued with new and old projects. The year ended with Mistletoe Fair bring in over $95,000 and grants worth nearly $ 5,000 to projects for the next year.

1999-2000 marked the beginning of a new millennium and afforded the League opportunity to experience the start of new projects and ideas for its members and the community. A record-breaking

Mistletoe Fair, netting over $110,000, and the serving as Founding Presenting Sponsor of Texarkana’s first ever Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure gave a great start to the new year. The League established and hosted two “Meet the Candidates” breakfasts in time for the local elections in Texas and Arkansas to allow candidates to meet with voters in our community. The League year concluded at the annual meeting in May with the honor of receiving a 2000 Wilbur Award from the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Texarkana.

The 2000-2001 year for our League marked 75 years of service to our community. Highlights of this year included a major renovation of our 10 year old Children’s Dental Clinic which was made possible through grants received from Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Texarkana Community Foundation; 20th year celebration of our Thrift Shop; an overwhelming 5th anniversary Mistletoe Fair which broke all records with a profit of $124,000. A 75th Anniversary/Sustainer Dinner was held to celebrate the Junior League of Texarkana contributions of service and trained volunteers to the Texarkana area. We were very honored to have the AJLI Executive Director Jane Silverman as our guest speaker for the occasion. Volunteers were again placed in the community serving Teen Court, Temple Center, CASA, Opportunities Inc., Children’s Advocacy Center, Watersprings Ranch, Texarkana Museums, Texarkana Library, and Race for the Cure. New community placements this year were Junior Achievement, Domestic Violence, and Red Cross Babysitter Training Course. The League proudly funded the following projects during 2000-2001: Race For the Cure, a playground for handicapped children at Temple Memorial Rehabilitation Center, “The Whole Tooth and Nothing But the Tooth” exhibit at the Texarkana Museum Systems’ Discovery Place, addition to the CD library at the Texarkana Public Library, a computer classroom for the Literacy Council, program materials for Junior Achievement, and contributed to the cost of a new classroom at Opportunities, Inc. Along with funding these new projects, we also continued to fund

JLT projects including Children’s Dental Clinic, Star Lab, and Teacher Take Wing mini-grants. This exciting and successful year ended with the membership voting to change membership classifications to include a “Preferred Active” status, thus doing away with the old “Extended Active” and “Associate” classifications; becoming a Sustainer now requires simply 7 years of active service; and the upper age limit of 0 years for admission to our league was removed so that women may join our league at the right time in their lives. The membership also voted to grant $93,800 in funding of new community projects for the 200 -2002 league year.

The 2001-2002 year marked the 100-year celebration of the Association of Junior Leagues, International. The Junior League of Texarkana hosted the AJLI Centennial Traveling Exhibit which was housed in the Discovery Place Museum. This year the JLT continued to remain strong and stay true to our mission by:

* promoting volunteerism - we trained our largest class of provisionals to date (38).

* developing the potential of women - many unique training opportunities were offered throughout the year to all members, including community wide seminars for all non-profits in this area.

* improving the community - volunteers were placed to serve and funding was provided to the following community agencies: CASA, Watersprings Ranch, totaling $91,550 to the following community projects for the 2003-2004 year: Teacher Take Wing mini grants, Children’s Dental Clinic, Runnin’ WJ Ranch, Race for the Cure, American Red Cross, Girl Scouts In School Program, and CASA. The membership also voted to set aside another $25,000 for a future League initiated project fund.

2002-2003 marked the 77th year for the Junior League of Texarkana. An all-time record of over $150,000 was set by the 7th Annual Mistletoe Fair. The League helped build a better community by placing our funds and our volunteers at the following projects: Children’s Dental Clinic, Thrift Shop, Opportunities’ Special Friends, Teen Court, Watersprings Ranch Tutoring, Runnin’ WJ Therapeutic Riding Ranch, Teacher Take Wing mini-grants, Star Lab, Domestic Violence Prevention, Done In a Day, CASA, Junior Achievement, Girl Scouts Ropes Course, Literacy Council, Wadley Take Charge, and Race for the Cure. The membership voted to provide volunteers and funding totaling $91,550.00 to the following community projects for the 2003-200 year: Teacher Take Wing mini-grants, Children’s Dental Clinic, Runnin’ WJ Ranch, Race for the Cure®, American Red Cross, Girl Scouts In-School Program, and CASA. The membership also voted to set aside another $25,000 for a future League initiated project.

The 2003-2004 year was very exciting and successful. The Junior League of Texarkana began work on the “Healthy League Initiative” through AJLI. This endeavor will enable the League to ensure its health and strength for the present as well as the future. The 8th annual Mistletoe Fair set another record breaking year with over $174,000.00 raised. The membership voted to provide volunteers and funding totaling $101,375.00 to the following community projects for the 2004-2005 year: Teacher Take Wing mini grants, Children’s Dental Clinic, Runnin’ WJ Ranch, Race for the Cure, CASA, Teen Court, and YWCA Kids’ Exchange. The membership also voted to set aside another $25,000.00 into the Future League-initiated Project Fund.

2004-2005 was a great year of starting new community projects. We added Holiday from the Heart, Patient Rescue, and the Provisional Project Bags of Hope became a project for the league to continue. We also had a very successful year at MTF raising $154,000.00 and awarding $118,000.00 back to the community. The projects and agencies awarded grants to CASA, Harvest Texarkana, Runnin' WJ Therapeutic Riding Ranch, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Watersprings Ranch, YWCA Kids Exchange, Holiday from the Heart, Bags of Hope, Dental Clinic, and Teacher Take Wing Grants.

2005-2006 marked our 80th anniversary for the Junior League of Texarkana. We celebrated our anniversary by giving gift to the community. The Texarkana Symphony Orchestra was the recipient of this gift. The league became founding sponsors and committed $100,000.00 to the start of the symphony and junior symphony of Texarkana. Mistletoe Fair raised $162,000.00 and of that money we placed $99,000.00 back to the community for projects. They are Teacher Take Wing, Dental Clinic, Bags of Hope, Patient Rescue, AHEC, Girl Scouts, Shoes for the Soul, Homework Helpers, Holiday from the Heart, Harvest Texarkana, and the YWCA. We also teamed up with Heloise, the Texarkana Gazette, and TRAHC to raise over $3000.00 for Domestic Violence. The Thrift Shop closed at the end of May this year after many great years of service to the Texarkana area. We ended the year with a great 80th celebration for our annual meeting.

The 2006-2007 year was very successful and rewarding. We had a great group of provisionals whose project idea "Spring into Reading" was such a success that the membership voted to have it as a community placement for the 2007-2008 year. The membership voted to go to a council system of governance for the 2007-2008 year, and voted to put the Junior League building for sale. The Mistletoe Fair committee worked very hard this year and along with the support of our members and community we were able to raise $168,000.00 this year. The membership voted to provide funding and volunteers to the following agencies for 2007-2008: Junior Achievement, Domestic Violence, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Teen Court, UAMS-AHEC, Harvest Texarkana, Teacher Take Wing, Holiday from the Heart, Shoes for the Soul, Kids in the Kitchen, Bags of Hope, Dental Clinic, and Spring into Reading.

In 2007-2008, while continuing our tradition of significant community impact, we also focused on making a transition to the council form of governance for our internal functioning. We believe that this change will allow more women to gain a shared vision for the League by participating in leadership from an earlier stage in their League commitment, thus allowing us to provide the community with even better trained volunteers. We continued to develop the potential of our members and to train our volunteers by sending 27 women to local, regional, or national seminars. We began a mentoring program whereby seasoned members were matched with new actives and one transfer to help guide them during the year and answer questions they may have about League operations. Some highlights of our community involvement this year include: shoes were provided to 561 children during Shoes for the Soul; 62 children received a better Christmas through Holiday from the Heart; 48 teachers received Teacher Take Wing grants totaling $19,999.96; and 243 children received bags of food through the Harvest Texarkana Summer Feeding Program. We also began a process of diversifying our fundraising attempts even though Mistletoe Fair is still our only fundraiser. In response to community input, we began to seek contributions of donations to the League as a whole and to particular projects rather than focusing our solicitation efforts on only Mistletoe Fair. This transition, while ongoing, started strong, with a combined effort between Mistletoe Fair proceeds and other contributions of $136,750.00 this year. Using these funds, we will be able to train volunteers and improve our community, particularly through the financial and/or volunteer support of the following projects in the 2008-2009 League year: Bags of Hope, Dental Clinic, Holiday from the Heart, Kids in the Kitchen, Shoes for the Soul, Spring into Reading, Teacher Take Wing, CASA, Domestic Violence Prevention, Randy Sams Outreach Center, and Texarkana Boys & Girls Club.

2008-2009 started out great with the cleaning up of the JLT building. The thrift shop racks, cash register, mannequins and everything else from the JLT Thrift Shop were donated to Domestic Violence so they could open a thrift store of their own in New Boston, Texas. The BOD continued to transition from a working board to a governing board with the new council system in place. The provisional project “Grab-a-Grand” focused on an area that we had not served in recent years – the elderly. They went into assisted living facilities with gifts and entertained the residents for the day.

This year’s projects were a great success with 59 students receiving Christmas gifts at Holiday from the Heart, 956 pairs of shoes given to 505 children at Shoes for the Soul, and 610 children receiving a “reading” pep-rally, their own backpacks and 3 new books to take home at Spring into Reading. Over 100 kids at Red Lick School learned healthy eating habits and ran a ½ marathon with Kids in the Kitchen, Bags of Hope were distributed to victims of domestic violence, and $19,974 in mini grants went to area teachers through Teacher Take Wing. Star Lab was back in the schools this year and Dental Clinic added a program called “Teeth to Treasure” which was taken into the classroom to teach students the importance of good dental hygiene.

We had another successful Mistletoe Fair and the funding committee continued to work on receiving contributions which were given directly to League initiated projects as well. The membership voted to add a new fundraiser that will begin in the spring of 2010 called “Touch a Truck”. This fundraiser is currently being held by two Arkansas leagues and all Arkansas Leagues are hoping to have the fundraiser on the same day and time beginning in 2010. The JLT board has been diligent in making sure that the JLT remains financially strong.

The membership voted to provide funding and volunteers in 2009-2010 to the following non-profit agencies: TRAHC, Domestic Violence and Teen Court. We are going to continue to provide funding for our league initiated projects: Shoes for the Soul, Dental Clinic, Holiday from the Heart, Bags of Hope, Spring into Reading and Teacher Take Wing.

This year we sent 18 ladies to Junior League training conferences and partnered with Leadership Texarkana to provide board training to the non-profit organizations in this area.

In 2009-2010 the 24th Annual Mistletoe Fair was once again a huge success and a big thanks to all the committee members that worked so hard in helping to raise funds to further the mission of the League.  The Preview Party was hosted by the Sustainers with rave reviews while merchants were ready to sign contracts for the next year's fair.  With all that our members do, we could not be as successful as we are if not for our many generous sponsors.  The League added a new fundraiser, Touch A Truck, held in April that brought out many different vehicles; ATVs, fire trucks, an ambulance, school bus, a car that parked itself, a helicpoter, for kids as well as adults to touch, sit in, and sound the siren.  Mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual Touch A Truck in April 2011.

This year's community projects included 600 children receiving 1200 pairs of shoes at Shoes for the Soul, 61 children receiving Christmas at Holiday from the Heart, and 700 children receiving a "reading" pep rally and going home with a bag containing 3 new books and information on the library at Spring into Reading.  The students at Watersprings Ranch participated in Kids in the Kitchen running a 1/2-mile marathon to finish out a week of healthy eating.  Bags were distributed to Domestic Violence Prevention, $19,934 in mini grants were awarded to area teachers at Teacher Take Wing, and Starlab hosted 125 kids at Touch A Truck and was used at Redlick Elementary, Morriss Elementary, Hooks Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, and Spring Lake Park Elementary.  The dental program brought back "Teeth to Treasure" at LEISD CK Bender Elemtnary teaching 204 kids dental care.  The Community Assistance Fund provided just under $5,000 to area non-profits for emergency needs.

The 2010-2011 in-league projects voted on by the membership include Holiday from the Heart, Shoes for the Soul, Dental Clinic, Star Lab, Spring into Reading, Kids in the Kitchen, Teacher Take Wing, Bags of Hope, and Rockin' the NICU.  Fund and volunteers were voted for Teen Court and Texarkana Symphony Orchestra's "TSO Youth Concerto Competition".

In 2010-2011 the Junior League of Texarkana marked several milestones in our service to Texarkana's children.  Our 85th year began with Texarkana hosting the All-Arkansas Leadership conference for the first time.  Sixty women from all six Arkansas Leagues benefitted from excellent leadership workshops facilitated by several Sustainers and Actives.  We continued to meet the training element of our mission by sending eighteen members to the Organizational Development Institute in Houston, and our President, President-Elect, and President-Elect-Elect to national AJLI conferences in Portland, Oregon, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

Our members volunteered in many capacities this year, including fitting 458 children for new shoes in our Shoes for the Soul partnership with Payless Shoe Source, organizaing a pep rally and providing books to 271 children at Union Elementary School through Spring into Reading, teaching dental hygiene with Kool Smiles dentristry to 169 children at CK Bender Elementary School, Christmas shopping with over 60 children for our Holiday from the Heart program with Wal-Mart, and stuffing 230 comfort bags for domestice violence families in the Bags of Hope project.  Teacher Take Wing awarded $19,633 in mini-grants to 46 teachers in seven school districts.  Our Kids in the Kitchen committee spent the year with Watersprings Ranch children, teaching nutrition through cooking classes and encouraging exercise through a running program that culminated in a final mile celebration.  Five area schools and preschools utilized our Star Lab planetarium, which also offered astronomy exploration during our Touch a Truck fundraiser in April.  JLT also co-sponsored the Youth Concerto Competition with the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, helping to organize auditions and host a reception following the competition.

Our provisional members also worked hard this year in their training course, and chose to support Faith, Love and Hope Youth Corporation by providing $3,200 worth of educational materials to its afterschool program.  These funds were raised through a generous donation from the Sustaining members as well as raffles.

Our two fundraisers, which provide much of the support for our community projects, were both successful due to the hard work of our members.  The 25th anniversary of the Mistletoe Fair turned out fantastic crowds and happy merchants in November, and our first anual Running under the Mistletoe 5K Race was a hit.  The second annual Touch a Truck event at Central Mall in April offered both fun and educational activities for hundreds of children and their parents.

Reflective of AJLI's proposal that all Leaguse consider new strategic plans, JLT offered membership trainings about redirecting our community impact from project-focused to issue-based impact.  A membership survey indicated strong support in favor of researching a new focus area and making a more sustainable impact inthe community.  The membership voted to approve the following in-League projects for 2011-12:  Holiday from the Heart, Shoes for the Soul, Spring into Reading, Teacher Take Wing, and to providing funding and volunteer to Teen Court.

The 2011-2012 League year ushered in several significant events in JLT history.  Our headquarters at 118 E. Broad Street were sold, and the League created a temporary office at 409 Hazel St.  For the first time in decades, members voted to suspend fund for outside, community projects while dedicating the next two ears to the research and the narrowing of our focus area.  To this end, the New Member Class (formerly known as Provisionals) assisted the Community Research/Project Development Committee in lieu of creating a project of their own.  The CR/PD Committee conducted community surveys, met with Sustainers, and provided training for the members on issues and possible focus areas.  New NICHE groups were created in order to facilitate more socialization among members, and JLT partnered wtih Dillard's to host the first annual Spring Fling VIP event.

Members continued to meet the mission of the organization while impacting children and families through League-developed projects.  Shoes for the Soul, in collaboration with Payless Shoe Source, provided over $8,000 in shoes for local school children.  The Teacher Take Wing program awarded $9,919 in 23 mini-grants to area school teachers.  Sixty-three children from the Texarkana, Arkansas school district enjoyed a special morning of shopping with New, Active, and Sustaining members of the League at the annual Holiday from the Heart.  A generous grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation provided support for this event.  The Spring Into Reading Committee, with help from the Texarkana Area Community Foundation and Capital One, hosted a pep rally and provided books and backpacks to 415 children at Spring Lake Park Elementary School.  League volunteers volunteered at Teen Court throughout the year, scheduling judges and working during the Monday-night-sessions.  Additionally, two organizations received grants through theCommunity Assistance Fund:  Harvest Texarkana and M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death).

The League's two fundraisers provided critical financial support, as well as strong community awareness of our mission and programs.  Both Mistletoe Fair and Touch a Truck saw an increase in revenue thanks to the hard work and dedication of League members and sponsors.  The Running Under the Mistletoe moved to the campus of Texas A&M University-Texarkana and increased in participation.

League members attended numerous trainings throughout the year, including:  All-Arkansas Conference in August; AJLI Fall Leadership Conference (Baltimore) in September; AJLI Winter Leadership Conference (Houston) in January; Organization Development Institute (ODI) In February; and AJLI Annual Conference (San Francisco) in April.

The Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan for the League and worked to strengthen the financial foundation of the organization.

The 2012-2013 year welcomed another 31 new members into the League, and logged more than 20,000 volunteer service hours in the Texarkana area.

The Community Research/Project Development Committee in lieu of creating new league programs, spend time researching a new focus area.  At our annual meeting, the new focus area was determined.  After refinement and adoption, the focus area is as follows:  Children's Literacy/Hunger/Poverty.  Also, the following in-League projects were accepted for next year:  Holiday from the Heart, Shoes for the Soul, Teacher Take Wing, Spring into Reading and Star Lab.

Members continued to meet the mission while impactig children and families through league-developed projects.  Shoes for the Soul, in partnership with Payless Shoe Source, provided over 1100 pairs of shoes to local school children.  The Teacher Take Wing program reached a broad range of teachers with the introduction of the on-line application process.  The JLT funded $9876.00 in mini-grants to 22 teachers in 5 school districts to impact the education of 5,100 children.  Spring into Reading was held at LEISD CK Bender Elementary School to help promote literacy.  in partnership with Capital One and the Texarkana Area Foundation, backpacks, snacks, and public library information were distributed to over 600 children.  Seventy-five children received a brighter Christmas through the Holiday from the Heart program in partnership is the Wal-Mart of Texarkana, Texas.

Children's health and wellness have been a key issue.  The New Members revitalized a long-time AJLI and JLT initiative, Kids in the Kitchen.  A critical element of our ongoing commitment is teaching kids and their parents about the importance of eating healthy foods and involving them in the fight against childhood obesity.  New Members conducted their Kids in the Kitchen program during Touch a Truck and reached over 120 children.

Mistletoe Fair continued to be our largest and most successful fundraiser.  Vendor booths were filled to capacity and there was standing-room only for holiday entertainment on stage.  Mistletoe Fair and Touch a Truck provided significant financial support, and strong community awareness of our mission.

Reflective of AJLI's ongoing commitment to developing the potential of women, members attended a multitude of training and networking opportunities.  The following is a list of the training attended this year:  Kids at Hope (TISD Texarkana) in June; All-Arkansas Conference and SPAC Committee meeting in August; Fall Leadership Conference (Chicago) in September; Community Cinema Half the Sky (Texarkana) in January; AJLI Winter Leadership Conference and Organizational Development Institute (Dallas), in February, and AJLI Annual Conference (Washington, DC) in May.  Many members took advantage of the newly released on-line webinars and Digital Cheetah web-conferencing training.  Once again, JLT partnered with Dillard's to present the community social event of the year, Spring Fling VIP.

Trained Junior League volunteers continue to make an enormous impact on our community.  Their accomplishments are possible because of the commitment and generosity of our members, community partners and donors.

In 2013-2014, JLT continued to provide our community with successful projects--Shoes for the Soul, Teacher Take Wing, Holiday from the Heart and Spring into Reading.  The New Member class chose to work with the Boys & Girls Club to establish a library for the Club's new location.  The Sustainers were again generous in supporting this project, thank you!

Mistletoe Fair continues to be a huge success and Touch a Truck continues to grow.  Through our Community Assistance Fund, we awarded grants to Randy Sam's Shelter, M.E.N.D., Hospice and Special Health Resource of Texarkana.   We participated in Painting with a Purpose raising funds for JLT and partnered wtih Dillard's to host our Spring Fling VIP event. 

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our community partners and sponsors as well as our JLT volunteers who tirelessly contribute their time and talent to improving our community.

2014-2015 was an exciting year, the new members had a wonderful new project and CRPD worked hard to expand on Shoes for the soul. 

The New Member project was very well received and left over funds were set aside the JLT can try the project again in the upcoming year.  The project, once upon a prom, Helped young women select a prom dress donated from the community.  We were even able to help a young man rent a tux!

CRPD worked tirelessly trying to form partnerships so we could expand shoes for the soul.  The JL would like to make Shoes for the Soul a full head to toe look, as opposed to just shoes. 

MTF, a red carpet event, was a great success raising 112,000.  The decorations were revamped recreating Texarkanas downtown and the public loved them!  There was a wide variety of merchants that provided great shopping!

Touch a truck moved their location downtown and had a great turnout!  The downtown area offers a lot of grassy space for the larger vehicles along with concrete space for vendors and games.  The stage was set for entertainment all day and kids loved dancing with our members and chucky cheese!

Spring into reading served Pleasant Grove Elementary this year giving books to over 500 students!  Every child received a backpack and 3 books.

The JL has been blessed with wonderful members that all came together to make an impact on our community. 

The 2015-2016 year was extraordinary and impactful for JLT.  The Board of Directors began the year by reworking the Strategic Plan at their retreat over the summer.  This newly-adopted plan was quickly implemented and strides were made to progress the League into the future.  
            Many long-term goals were finally met with the highlight of the year being the expansion of the Shoes for the Soul community project.  For the first time, this much-beloved League project was expanded.  In addition to children receiving a new pair of shoes from Payless Shoe Source, we were able to provide a new outfit through our recent partnership with Target.  This expanded project will now be known as Shoes for the Soul and Clothes for a Cause.  The League also continued our other community projects which include Teacher Take Wing, Holiday from the Heart, Star Lab, and Spring into Reading. 
            Last year, the membership voted to continue the 2014-2015 New Member project as a permanent placement for the League.  Once Upon a Prom reached out to a new demographic of high school-aged young women.  Gently-used prom dresses were made available at no cost to selected students.  We were able to provide hair and shoe vouchers for these girls as well.  What a wonderful way to broaden our impact on women!
            Mistletoe Fair proved in its 30th year that it continues to be a very successful fundraiser for the League, achieving a profit of over $105,000.  The League’s spring fundraiser, Touch a Truck, was also immensely successful.  The committee exceeded their goal by achieving a profit reaching into double digits for the first time in its seven-year history. 
            Membership satisfaction played a central role in this year’s success with our focus on open-door communication between Board members, Committee chairs, and the general membership.  With an increase in membership satisfaction, we saw our numbers begin to grow by welcoming a new incoming class of 26 members.  The year was a successful one for the league, setting the stage for many more successful years yet to come!

4. Honors

Sustainer of the Year

1972 Mrs. Kenneth H. Dickey (Margaret Stuart Wilson)
1973 Mrs. Carroll Wheeler (Nancy Hill)
1974 Mrs. Josh Morriss (Martha Williams)
1975 Mrs. Alex Sanderson, Jr. (Rose Ann Kuhn)
1976 Mrs. Searcy Atkinson (Edna Mae Andrews)
1977 Mrs. Frances Forehand (Ann Tillman)
1978 Mrs. William Hibbits (Katherine McCartney)
1979 Mrs. Reuel Vammen (Lynn Dickens)
1980 Miss Nancy Gail Reagan
1981 Mrs. Tony Meredith (Marty Sapp)
1982 Mrs. Howard Fuqua (Mina Allday)
1983 Mrs. W. Temple Webber (Zita Collins)
1984 Mrs. Ben Sandefur (Nancy Dill)
1985 Mrs. James Hubbard (Frances Watlington)
1986 Mrs. John O. Moore (Zelle Holman)
1987 Mrs. Jack Trigg (Carol Greenwood)
1988 Mrs. P. L. McGee (Betty Wells)
1989 Mrs. William F. Cockerell (Pat Maisel)
1990 Mrs. George Poulos (Pat Witherspoon)
1991 Mrs. Charles Bruce (Margaret Head)
1992 Mrs. Hayes McClerkin (Lillian Riggs)
1993 Ms. Mary Buchanan &
         Mrs. Willis Smith, Jr. (Patty Fulbright)
1994 Mrs. Jack Carter (Joan Varley)
1995 Mrs. Stephen Oden (Mary Ann Moser)
1996 Mrs. Joe Owen (June Wilson)
1997 Mrs. Eddie Robbins (Janis Powell)
1998 Mrs. Danny Gray (Remica Crank)
1999 Mrs. James Morgan (Judy Kelly)
2000 Mrs. Jerry Rochelle (Jane “Puddin” James)
2001 Mrs. David Whitt (Ruth Ellen Calhoun)
2002 Mrs. Paul Hardy (Rosemary Smith)
2003 Mrs. B. Stan Cook (Lucille Trotter)
2004 Mrs. Michael Davis (Debbie Holland)
2005 Mrs. Scott Bruner (Jane Forehand)
2006 Mrs. Dennis Chambers (Molly MacDonald)
2007 Mrs. David Haak (Debbie Reese)
2008 Mrs. Cary Patterson (Lois Addison)
2009 Mrs. Leon Sanderson (Julie Dean)
2010 Mrs. John Dalby (Carol Cannedy)
2011 Mrs. Robert McGinnis, Jr. (Camille Crank)
2012 Mrs. David Vammen (Melinda Uran)
2013 Mrs. Fred Norton (Martha Cargile)
2014 Ms. Mary O'Farrell
2015 Mrs. William Varner (Sandy Burnett)
2016 Mrs. Carl Culpepper (Nona Eagle)
2017 Ms. Pam Beck

Marguerite Whitmarsh Holman Award (Outstanding Active)

1983-84 D. D. Schnipper
1984-85 Susan Landreaux
1985-86 Meri Smith
1986-87 Dottie Wattinger
1987-88 Sue Harvey
1988-89 Remica Gray
1989-90 Kathleen Martin
1990-91 Rosemary Hardy
1991-92 Jan Murphy
1992-93 Camille McGinnis
1993-94 Jane Phillips
1994-95 Debra Lee
1995-96 Kathy Coker
1996-97 Debbie Davis
1997-98 Bonnie Miller
1998-99 Elaine Milhorn
1999-00 Cathy Tidwell
2000-01 Kellie Early
2001-02 Ann Tarwater
2002-03 Julie Sanderson
2003-04 Earlena Butler
2004-05 Lisa McDermott
2005-06 Pam Beck
2006-07 Jennifer Jordan
2007-08 Cheryl Clem
2008-09 Cindy Porter
2009-10 Melanie Gloster
2010-11 Melinda Henry
2011-12 Lacy White
2012-13 Amy Freedman
2013-14 Danielle Patterson
2014-15 Bridget Contreras
2015-16 Cammie Moody
2016-17 Alex White

 

The Junior League of Texarkana, Inc. (JLT) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.