By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez
The Junior League of Monmouth County (JLMC) is all about volunteering and helping to make the lives of others a little easier.
So it was a well-deserved treat recently for three volunteers to have a pampering experience with the help of hair, nail, makeup and fashion stylists.
“We wanted to turn the tables on three women who have contributed so much to others through their work at the JLMC,” says Linda Bricker, JLMC’s Director of Fund Development.
The Junior League, a charitable organization made up of women committed to volunteering, improving the community and empowering women, has been in this area since 1939. With some 300 volunteer members in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, the JLMC prepares and trains members to serve and make positive changes in the community, offering volunteer and leadership training, and to develop new programs to answer the community’s needs.
Christianna Harvey recently relocated to the two river area and brings along her experience with Junior League chapters in Michigan and Ohio. The Junior League network includes chapters in four countries, and Christianna felt right at home with the JLMC. “I’m so grateful to be involved with great women who have the same core values as I do and want to help the community,” she says. “This gives me a chance to do something above and beyond my little world and help make changes for the better.”
As chair of the New Member program, Christianna treats her charges with loving care. “I take a lot of pride in how new members are trained,” says Christianna, who lives in Oceanport with her husband and two children, 12 and 9.
Christianna feels fortunate to be able to take advantage of the extensive training that the JLMC offers. “We learn how to be better leaders and that we’re part of a wide network of women,” she says. She is thrilled at living in this area especially with its proximity to New York City and Washington. “I’ve been able to be involved with the legislative body—an element not found in all Junior League chapters.”
Debbie Iapicco of Lincroft has been active in the JLMC for nearly 22 years, taking on many roles from serving on the membership committee to chairing the 65th anniversary gala committee to roasting several dozen turkeys for the JLMC’s Saturday Soup in November in Asbury Park every year. Currently she serves as the chair of Nominating and Placement, an important position, as well as president of the board of Monmouth Day Care Center, which was started by the JLMC and other organizations in 1969.
The Junior League’s commitment to volunteering and making a difference in the community is what Debbie finds so rewarding. She and her husband and three children, 20, 26 and 28, have made volunteering an important part of their lives. “It’s what I try to teach my children—to have proper values and give back to the community.”
And the Monmouth County Day Care Center, which Debbie has been involved with since for 25 years—longer than she’s been a JLMC member–is especially dear to her heart. “It’s a nonprofit and rates are on a sliding scale,” she says. “We make sure that we can be there for the kids and families who need the help.”
As executive director of Manna House, a JLMC community partner, Peggy Comfort does a lot of comforting and supporting other women. Manna House, located in the Aberdeen area, provides support, shelter and training to mothers and their young children. Residents stay for 12 months, working and/or studying, until they graduate and make the transition to their own apartments. “I like having the opportunity to work with women who, when they make the commitment, can really turn their lives around and break the cycle of being homeless and dependent on welfare.”
The JLMC offers support and life skills to homeless mothers coming through the Manna House’s transitional housing program. “The Junior League has focused on women in need and their Life Skills Program has been helpful and appreciated,” says Peggy.
With the help of hair, makeup, manicure and fashion stylists, who offered their time and professional expertise, the three volunteers revealed their refreshed and rejuvenated look at the JLMC’s Mix, Mingle and Jingle cocktail party, part of the Home for the Holidays fund raiser.
For more information on the Junior League of Monmouth County or its community partners, visit jlmc.org.