Junior League, JLC, AJLI, Kids in the Kitchen, Recipe, Healthy Recipe, Junior League of Columbia

Halloween is sneaking up… and it’ll be here before you know it… it’s almost scary how quickly this hair raising holiday has arrived. Have you carved a paranormal pumpkin yet? Put out your Dracula decorations? Perhaps you’ve been stockpiling candy for the … Continue reading


Junior League, JLC, AJLI, Kids in the Kitchen, Recipe, Healthy Recipe, Junior League of Columbia

August kicks off apple season in South Carolina – the perfect transition to all things fall. Pretty soon we’ll be gearing up for tailgates, sweater weather, and the ever-popular pumpkin-spice lattes. But for now, let’s just enjoy freshly picked fruits (or … Continue reading


Junior League, JLC, AJLI, Kids in the Kitchen, Recipe, Healthy Recipe, Junior League of Columbia

Although we have more Palmettos than Palms around this city, we certainly have the heat to compete with that of a tropical island. There’s a reason Columbia has been dubbed Famously Hot! So, this month’s collection of recipes is designed … Continue reading


Junior League, JLC, AJLI, Kids in the Kitchen, Recipe, Healthy Recipe, Junior League of Columbia

Summer is in full swing here in Columbia – and picnics are the perfect way to relax and dine alfresco with friends and family. It must be our welcoming nature and southern hospitality, because it feels like there are more guests at our … Continue reading


Submitted by: Lorri Unumb, Autism Academy of South Carolina 

South Carolina Autism Academy JLC Community Enrichment GrantMany Major League News readers have worked with, served on boards of, run, or founded nonprofit organizations. Those of you who have known the thrill of winning a grant that can change the course of your organization or significantly enhance the overall delivery of your mission.

The Autism Academy of South Carolina  got to experience such a thrill when it learned that the Junior League of Columbia, as  part of celebrating its 90th year, had awarded the Academy a $90,000 grant! The Autism Academy is using those funds to renovate a  historic gymnasium at its new location in downtown Columbia.

The Autism Academy of South Carolina is a year-round center for children with autism spectrum disorder. The Academy employs an intervention known as Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA therapy. This evidence-based intervention is the best hope for children with autism and, if applied intensively and by properly-trained therapists, can change the trajectory of a child’s life.

Part of the ABA-based intervention program at the Autism Academy is a physical exercise program. Many children with disabilities get little, if any, exercise and become physically unhealthy on top of their disabilities. Studies have shown
that children with autism thrive when exercise is incorporated into their daily regimens.

The Autism Academy moved in January into the Eleanor Rice Building at the corner of Bull and Blanding. This building, a former YWCA, includes a wonderful, but totally dilapidated gymnasium/auditorium that is falling deeper into disrepair with each passing year.

The Academy obtained an estimate on renovating the gym of approximately $300,000 and subsequently applied to the JLC for help. The $90,000 grant from the JLC will pay for the first round of work (asbestos removal, roof repair, door replacement, etc.) and will serve as leverage to obtain the remainder of the funds necessary to create a functioning community gymnasium.

Upon completion, the Autism Academy plans to not only use the facility for its own children, but also to organize community basketball leagues involving children with and without disabilities playing together. The gym will also be available for other Columbia-area non-profits looking for auditorium or gymnasium space.

The Autism Academy is forever grateful to the members of the Junior League for helping us realize our dream. Please come visit us at any time during our open hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) and watch us revitalize this historic property!


   Submitted by Stacy Thompson


Over 400 kids and family members joined the JLC at Burton-Pack on September 16th for the first Health & Happy Kids family event of the year. With a focus on fitness, the event featured activities for the kids and a speaker for the parents, followed by a healthy meal for all attendees.


Students set fitness and nutrition goals for the coming year, with an opportunity to win prizes as they complete these goals. Thirty-six JLC volunteers, along with the Healthy & Happy Kids committee members, were on hand for an evening of fun and fitness for the entire family!


Each quarter, Happy & Healthy Kids will host an event at Burton-Pack to include focus areas of healthy eating, dental health/hygiene and literacy. Healthy and Happy Kids seeks to motivate children through hands-on activities while providing education and support to the parents. By including the entire family as well as Burton-Pack teachers, the program hopes to encourage healthy lifestyle choices that will continue well beyond the school year.


Committee Co-Chairs Ashley Jaillette and Brooke Fonder would like to thank all committee members and volunteers that helped make the evening such a success!


Submitted by Kate Whetstone Usry Join the Junior League of Columbia for the annual Leadership Training morning on Saturday, August 23. President Ginny Hairston, along with the Education and Development Committee, wants to kick-off the upcoming League year with our … Continue reading


Our Happy & Healthy Kids committee of the Junior League of Columbia recently partnered with Bradley Elementary school to host a Fall Into Reading event! This literacy-focused event was a success, drawing a crowd of nearly 400 students and parents!

Junior League Provisional members organized and ran an activity fair to entertain students during registration. Prizes were given out and activities included Jenga, a story corner, a photo booth and an obstacle course! While these ladies truly enjoyed brainstorming creative ideas to make this year’s event stand out, they said the best part was seeing the kids and their families laughing and having fun together.

Check out some of the great photos from the October 10th event!

Ashley Jordan, Catherine James & Monica Alston at HHK’s Literacy Event at Bradley Elementary on 10/10/17.

Kisha Johnson & Kaitlyn Salak ran the photo booth during their Provisional Project at Bradley Elementary on 10/10/17

Jescelyn Spitz & Julie Coleman in the “Story Corner” at HHK’s Literacy Event at Bradley Elementary on 10/10/17

Erin Essman & Tamara Denson played Jenga with kids at Bradley Elementary during their Provisional Project at Bradley Elementary on 10/10/17.

The Happy & Healthy Kids Activity Fair was this years provisional project for this Provisional Small Group. (Back row: Jescelyn Spitz, Julie Coleman, Erin Essman, Tamara Denson. Front row: Kisha Johnson, Kaitlyn Salak, Catherine James, Monica Alston, Ashley Jordan.)


JLC Pic2.jpegHayden Ellison has been an active member of the Junior League of Columbia for five years. She is a 2009 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a Paralegal degree from Midlands Tech. She is from Greenville, SC and a strong supporter of the Gamecocks… most of the time. Hayden is a Client Associate for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Why did you join the League?

I grew up in Greenville but have family in Columbia and have always been involved with League events and people that are/have been in the League. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of and a great way to meet new people.

What was your favorite placement in the Junior League of Columbia?

I have done Holiday Market committees the past four years and absolutely love it because of the holiday spirit and the girls I have become so close with! However, I have to say my most memorable was being involved with Winston’s Wish for my Provisional Project. I learned things that year and met people who help with Autism that impacted me in a major way and I will always be interested in helping children with Autism because of it.

What’s your favorite League memory?JLC Pic6.jpeg

Every year starting off the holiday season with Holiday Market. It gets me in the spirit and is such a fun time.

What is something important life has taught you?

Don’t waste time worrying about what others will think of you, do what makes you feel good about yourself.

Who has been a role model for you?

My mom. She has always been there for me, led me in the right direction and given me the confidence I needed to accomplish my goals.

What quality do you admire in others? Why?

Confidence. It takes a lot in this society to be fully confident in yourself and I admire those who continue to keep their confidence throughout.

JLC Pic5.jpegWhen you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A lawyer. Hands down knew I was going to be and always wanted to be. It’s so funny how much you change after college!

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Dance recitals. Even though I never made it to the front row, I couldn’t wait to get on that stage!

What are your hobbies?

Barre3 Columbia, happy hour with girlfriends, cooking

What is your favorite quote? JLC Pic3.jpeg

“Glamour is something more than what you put on your body. It has to do with the way you carry yourself and the impact you have on others.” –Tom Ford

How do you think the JLC has changed most since you joined as a member? Is there anything else you want to say to your League members and the community?

Since I joined, the League has continued to grow and grow and I think that’s great. The more women we have involved in the League means more lives in the community we have changed and I don’t think there could ever be too much of that!