May 28, 2021 - The Junior League of Savannah (JLS) recently hosted its annual membership meeting, where it celebrated a year of accomplishments and announced award winners.

“While this has been a challenging League year for all of our members and partners, we still had so much to celebrate,” said Jackie Schott, 2020–2021 JLS President. “Our membership adjusted quickly through their determination to continue serving our communities, even if it looked a bit different from previous years.”

Attendees were welcomed by Schott, who recognized sustaining members and past presidents in the audience.

Tosca Morgan, Community Outreach Chair, announced the winners of the 2021 Kids Who Care Scholarship. Each year, JLS awards local seniors from the Savannah and Lowcountry area in recognition of their outstanding volunteer service to their community. The five recipients of the $1,000 scholarships are:

  • Mara Cooper, Woodville Tompkins Career and Technical High School
  • Santos Cruz, Southeast Bulloch High School
  • Jack Hogan, The Habersham School
  • Ryan Merklinger, Calvary Day School
  • James Shin, Richmond Hill High School

Morgan also announced the recipients of the League’s annual community assistance funds. These funds allow JLS to grant assistance to area nonprofits with a commitment to voluntarism. Each nonprofit organization received $1,000. The four community assistance fund recipients are:

  • Georgia Historical Society
  • Royce Learning Center
  • The Salvation Army
  • S2S Facts, Inc.

Morgan also provided a recap of the work between JLS and its 2020–2021 community partners, Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club and Park Place Outreach. These partners were chosen because of their work in youth development, and League members spent the year enriching their current curriculums.

“It is an honor to provide financial assistance to local students and organizations with a drive for volunteering,” said Schott. “We hope this support will inspire the students to continue with their much-needed volunteer efforts and help sustain our partners for continued success in the future.”

Guests were also treated to a special keynote speaker. Brittany Young, the Certified Celebrator and author of Celebrate with Sprinkles, challenged the audience to find ways to celebrate and encourage themselves and each other.

Vice presidents of each branch of JLS gave a year in review, celebrating successful fundraising events, community initiatives, communications campaigns and membership highlights.

Provisional members were also recognized as new active members of JLS for the 2021–2022 League year. They also reviewed their accomplishments as a provisional class, providing the audience with the results of their community impact project. This year, the provisional class partnered with Savannah High School to update its living center: an area for students with special needs to learn life skills. Thanks to the donations of League members and community partners, the living center was completely furnished and outfitted with all of the tools needed to aid the success of the students.

Awards were also announced to outstanding members within the League membership:

  • Katelyn McCarthy, Provisional of the Year
  • Deja Stephenson, Community Member of the Year
  • Allie Ruggieri, In-League Member of the Year
  • Cari Phelps, Sustainer of the Year

Schott acknowledged the work of the many leaders and members within the organization. Special recognition was also given to Kathy Bellios, JLS Executive Vice President, for her work leading the management team and the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Closing the meeting was the traditional passing of the gavel from Schott to Rebecca Strawn, the 2021–2022 JLS President. Strawn will officially begin her presidential duties on June 1.

“It has truly been a privilege to serve as the 2020–2021 president and lead the women that make this community great,” said Schott. “While this was an untraditional year, I am so proud of the work we have accomplished and look forward to celebrating the League’s continued successes in the future.”

JLS is currently recruiting new members for the 2021–2022 League year. For more information, visit jrleaguesav.org.

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