In 1956 our league originated as the Newport Harbor Service League to create a training organization for women interested in volunteering for the community. The Newport Harbor Service League joined the Association of Junior Leagues in 1971 and adopted its name to represent the Orange County community.
JLOCC amassed a rich history in the Orange County non-profit community. Many non-profits evolved from partnerships formed with JLOCC and a few of them are led by JLOCC members. The League’s mission of “promoting voluntarism in the community, developing the potential of women and making an impact in the community” is evident throughout Orange County.
Historically, JLOCC supported organizations that address community needs such as foster youth, hunger, and family support. About two years ago, JLOCC members committed to devoting our league’s efforts to two community issues, foster youth and human trafficking.
Our League is dedicated to addressing foster youth within Orange County through our continued partnership with the Orangewood Foundation. We partner with Orangewood Foundation to assist and support foster and community youths by preparing them for adulthood through Orangewood’s emancipated youth program and through the Samueli Academy charter high school. JLOCC members will have the opportunity to participate in these programs that provide resources, life skills trainings, and scholarships for these young men and women.
We are excited that Orangewood has approached JLOCC to partner with Orangewood Foundation on their newest project, The Lighthouse, a program providing assistance to survivors of sex trafficking in Orange County. The Lighthouse is a residential program that helps sex trafficking victims return to a healthy and productive life. This innovative program is one of the first in the nation to address the life skill needs of sex trafficking victims and JLOCC is honored to have the opportunity to partner with The Lighthouse during its inception. Since this program is relatively new, launching in 2016, JLOCC is reviewing how our members can make a meaningful impact in this program before committing to a partnership with The Lighthouse.
JLOCC’s impact in the community is solely the result of its members. Over the past 61 years, our members have not only contributed their time to the league’s many endeavors, but they have also shared their skills and expertise. Our mission to “develop the potential of women” is integral to the growth of the league’s presence in Orange County and to the growth of each member’s skills.
JLOCC consists of women from different walks of life who have joined the league to make an impact in their community in a volunteer capacity. At the same time, these women learn new skills that they take to their own professional lives and meet other women who possess the same interests. Members are trained and gain experience in public speaking, fundraising, fiscal management, event planning, and public advocacy. More importantly, JLOCC provides an opportunity where each member can practice these new skills in a forgiving environment. The growth experienced by each member strengthens the league, and eventually, the Orange County community.
I am honored to serve as JLOCC President of an energetic and vibrant organization of women volunteers. I invite you to join us as a member, community partner, donor, or supporter of our league as we continue to make an impact in the lives of disenfranchised youth and women in Orange County.
Maria de Vera-Suárez
Junior League of Orange County, California, Inc.