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Junior League of Williamsport Celebrates 90 Years

Since 1929 the Junior League of Williamsport has been a driving force behind initiatives that have significantly contributed to the health of our community. The members of the League reflect a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and professional pursuits that work together to identify unmet needs and create bridges to facilitate change. For 90 years, the League trains its members to become active civic leaders who make a lasting impact on the community.

The Beginning

In 1926 the Junior Charity Guild was organized in Williamsport through the efforts of Mrs. Edgar Munson and Mrs. Kathryn Mosser, with twelve charter members. By 1928, the Guild had established the Protective Home to house juveniles committed by court order. The Guild provided all financial aid except maintenance allowed by the court.

In 1929, the Guild was accepted into the Association of Junior Leagues of America, Inc. — sponsored by the Pittsburgh League — becoming the Junior League of Williamsport. The League organized braille classes and raised funds for glasses for blind Lycoming County residents. The first prenatal clinic was started at Williamsport Hospital with the League providing complete financial support and volunteer aid. The League members who rolled bandages for the Visiting Nurses Association also started a sewing group for the Williamsport Hospital. League members assisted the Crippled ’Children’s Society with the transportation of patients.

Since 1929 the Junior League of Williamsport has partnered with dozens of organizations to address community needs and make a positive impact. Some of these partners include: American Red Cross, Williamsport Hospital, Visiting Nurses’ Association, Crippled Children’s Society, U.S.O., Civil Defense, Historical Society Museum, Pennsylvania Welfare Society, YMCA, Williamsport Hospital Auxiliary, Golden Age Club, Divine Providence Hospital, Family and Children’s Service Agency, James V. Brown Library, School of Hope, Lycoming College, Mental Health Association, Lycoming County Association for the Blind, Williamsport Home, Florence Crittenton Home, Bethune-Douglass Community Center, Day Care Center, STEP, Meals-on-Wheels, SELF, Lycoming County Youth Home, Williamsport Area School District, West Branch Child Abuse Council, Susquehanna Valley Symphony, Millionaire’s Row Historic Homes, Inc., Wise Options for Women, Penn College, American Rescue Workers, Children’s Discovery Workshop, Community Arts Center, Little League Baseball, Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Hope Enterprise, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Loyalsock View Nursing Home, Organization United for the Environment, Muncy Prison, SPCA, St. Anthony’s Center, Lycoming County Foster Care Program, Evangelical Community Hospital, Lycoming County Literacy Project, The Campbell Street Family, Youth & Children Association, Ltd., Sun Gazette, Victorian Christmas, Expectation’s Women’s Center, Animal Care Sanctuary and Shepherds of the Streets.

League members have come together through the decades to bring art exhibitions and professional theatre to the community, start a children’s theatre program, run a housing survey of Williamsport, host a public forum on socialized medicine, build a playground in Williamsport, man the rolling library at the hospital, guide tours for Historical Society Museum, run Toys for Tots drive, buy and run a Bloodmobile, run a mental health clinic, run a pre-school vision screening program, start the first community arts festival, support the School of Hope, produce the League Follies, host a glaucoma day, run Tour of Homes event, provide family life and sex education, fund the Community Youth Home, run the exchange mart, support Project Finding, promote awareness of specific learning disabilities, host social dances, publish three books, purchase disaster vans, plant trees, sponsor TV commercials, run a breast health walk, establish Born to Read, provide in-home visits to elderly, volunteer for the AIDS speakers bureau, share responsible alcohol consumption awareness with students at Penn College, give assistance to 1996 flood victims, adopt families for the holidays, start Cinderella’s Closet, train teenagers and young adults for employment (job interviews and resume writing), host an Easter Bunny Breakfast, and run various item-drives including diapers, car seats, shoes and canned foods for those in need.

In addition to the countless volunteer hours, in 90 years, the Junior League of Williamsport has donated over $270,000 to support the efforts of local organizations. The most notable of those donations include $25,000 for Youth Home in 1968, $15,000 Millionaire’s Row Historic Homes in 1978, $10,000 to Wise Options for Women in 1980, $95,000 to the Children’s Discovery Workshop in 1985-1987, $50,000 Capitol Theatre renovation and $15,000 James V. Brown library children’s room renovation in 1990.

Junior League of Williamsport President, Marisa Rau, shares, “We are an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving our community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. It is our vision that the Junior League of Williamsport is a regional resource and advocate committed to improving the quality of life for children and their families.” To aid in fulfilling that mission, she adds, “We are at an exciting time in our organizational history. The Junior League of Williamsport’s greatest strength has been to continuously reevaluate the needs of our community and adapt our efforts to meet those needs. With 46 active members and 110 sustaining and emeritus members heading into our 90th year, we are focusing our efforts on addressing the challenges of food security and mental health.”

For more information on how you can partner with the Junior League of Williamsport to address these needs in Lycoming County, contact or (570) 360-9884.

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