What We Do

Since our inception in 1922, the Junior League of Portland, Maine (JLP) has committed volunteer leadership and funding to many worthwhile community projects. From addressing hunger and food insecurity, to preventing child abuse and neglect, to promoting environmental stewardship, the JLP is honored to have partnered with numerous groups and organizations on important issues impacting our community. Click here to learn about our past projects and partnerships. 

How We Work: Issue Based Community Impact 

JLP creates widespread, meaningful change using an issue-focused approach used by many Junior Leagues across the world called Issue Based Community Impact (IBCI), which is defined by the following core elements:

  • An outcomes-driven approach that defines the change the League seeks to make as a result of its effort in the community.

  • Multi-annual, in that program strategies and projects necessary to realize outcomes are longer term.

  • Partnership-based and built on collaboration, recognizing that no single entity or sector (government, business, nonprofit) alone can fully realize the challenges our communities face.

  • Comprised of well-considered strategies that are a combination of:

    • Direct service, to provide hands-on volunteer opportunities for members.

    • Advocacy and public education and awareness, to create an informed member base and wider community.

    • Capacity building and training, to create a sustainable leadership model.

    • Strategic grant-making aimed at sustaining impact.

Current Issue Focus Area: Positive Youth Development 

JLP seeks to support positive youth development for all children and adolescents in the Greater Portland area, with a particular focus on youth who have been impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). 

Experts and current research suggest that ACEs are linked to a wide range of long lasting negative effects, including chronic health problems, mental illness, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, violent or criminal behavior, and negative impacts on financial, educational, and employment opportunities. 

Research shows that there are several ways to mitigate the negative effects of ACEs. The JLP specifically focuses on building resilience in children and youth as a way to combat the effects.

Building children’s resilience is central to our volunteer opportunities for members and focuses on building relationships and teaching adaptive skills. 

Four Pillars of Positive Youth Development 

JLP currently promotes Positive Youth Development through four volunteer focus areas: 

Children and families must have their basic needs for food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, healthcare, safety, and sleep met before they can address their psychological needs and realize their full potential. 

Through various financial and in-kind donation drives, package assembly, and basic needs advocacy and delivery activities, JLP combats food insecurity, period poverty, and housing insecurity in the Greater Portland community. 

Children and families need healthy, trusted, supportive and community-based relationships to help prevent and mitigate the impacts of ACEs. Through collaboration with multiple partner organizations, JLP provides confidence boosting programming for children, youth, and families. 

The transition from ‘youth’ to ‘young adult’ can be a challenging time to navigate. JLP seeks to engage target youth in the community in order to increase their readiness and participation in post-high school education and employment. 

JLP seeks to raise awareness about the factors that contribute to making youth susceptible to sexual exploitation, with the goal of equipping youth and the community at large with the knowledge and resources needed to combat sexual exploitation in the Greater Portland area and beyond. 

Our Current Initiatives 

JLP delivers Positive Youth Development with the following initiatives: 

Providing Basic Needs 

The Junior League of Portland helps youth and their families meet their basic needs by donating essentials such as winter coats and accessories, toiletries, transportation passes, and gift cards for groceries, home goods and other supplies to partner organizations and local schools serving those in need.

   

 

Empowering Youth and Families 

 

Our volunteers design and host after-school programming at MPTC for middle- and high-school aged youth focused on promoting health and wellness, workforce readiness, and life skills through fun and inclusive activities.

 Through our collaboration with the Opportunity Alliance, we participate in and host family and youth-oriented programming in their Community Hubs in underserved communities in Portland, South Portland and Westbrook.

Combating Youth Sexual Exploitation 

We have held trainings and several movie nights in partnership with the Maine Freedom Project, Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, Survivor Speak and the University of New England, participated in National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month awareness campaigns and candlelight vigils in partnership with CourageLIVES, hosted book clubs, and held Red Sand Project events. Here's a great resource on the state of human trafficking in Maine, if you’d like to learn more.

 

   

 

Continuing Our Legacy 

Done in a Day (DIAD)

The JLP continues to support and maintain relationships with our past partners by providing volunteers for projects that can be completed in one day. Examples of past DIAD projects include preparing home-cooked meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House through the Guest Chef program and creating weighted stuffed animals to comfort youth served by the Center for Grieving Children

   

Community Resources

If you are involved in or witness to a true emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate help.

If you are in need of other help or communicating with someone who is, please call 2-1-1 to reach the proper resources. You could also text the zip code to 898-211, email info@211maine.org, or search the online 211 directory (https://211maine.org/).

211 is a comprehensive resource made by Opportunity Alliance, United Ways of Maine, and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 211 is accessible 24/7, available in all languages, and completely confidential.

An additional DHHS resource is: Get Help (http://www.maine.gov/gethelp).

Both sites include information for those who have issues related to: aging, basic needs, crisis, disability, education, family, food, health, housing, jobs, substance abuse, and transitions.