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History of JLL

The Junior League of Lynchburg has served our community since 1926.

Seeing the need of medical care for less fortunate children, the JLL opened the Preschool and Birth Clinic, known today as the Free Clinic of Central Virginia. The members also taught Braille at the School for the Blind. We formally joined the AJLI in February of 1929.

At the beginning of the decade, the JLL organized Preschool, Prenatal, and Birth Clinics, which were then moved to the Guggenheimer Memorial Hospital for Children. The Children’s Theatre production, first held in 1938, gave students in the Lynchburg City Schools an opportunity to see a play. These productions were originally performed by members of the JLL.

During World War II, the JLL purchased $3,500 worth of war bonds, and was awarded a Treasury Department Certificate for work on 6th War Bond Drive. The Children’s Theatre program continued, and the “Books Bring Adventure” radio series broadcast took place throughout the middle of the decade.

The JLL received approval to open the Department of Physical Therapy at Lynchburg General Hospital in 1952. The department was administered by League members until it was assumed by the hospital in 1957, where it continues today. The Children’s Clinic was also enlarged during this time.

Sheltered Industries and Bargain Mart both began in this decade. The Lynchburg Sheltered Industries provides a place of employment to the mentally and physically handicapped of the community. Today, over 85% of those participating learn new job skills and feel the pride of earning a paycheck.

Bargain Mart began in 1963 and has raised over $800,000 throughout its history. Also known as Lynchburg’s Largest Indoor Yard Sale, Bargain Mart offer everything from baby equipment and designer clothes, to computers, skies and linens. It is currently held biannually, with the next one set to be held in the fall of 2017.

The Kaleidoscope Festival was created by a joint effort of the JLL and the Chamber of Commerce. This yearly festival ran during the month of September and includes Art Shows, the Virginia Ten Miler and the JLL’s very own Day in the Park, a free family fun day with rides, games, exhibits and concessions which takes place the second Saturday each September.

The Central Virginia Speech and Hearing Center was also started as a project of the JLL.

Opportunity House was created to give teens an alternative to jail. It is now known as the Lynchburg Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

Adult Day Care Center and Battered Women’s Shelter were created during this decade. Adult Day Care gives families an alternative to nursing homes. It is a place for the elderly to come for the day and have onsight care and attention. Over 95% of the caregivers report decreased stress in their life because of their ability to use the center. This is now an independent agency with centers in Lynchburg.

The Battered Women’s Shelter provides a safe haven for women and children who have escaped an abusive family situation. Now it is part of the YWCA and more than 80% of the women there learn skills to help them escape violence.

Kids Haven was created as a center for grieving children. Professional counselors as well as League volunteers met with children ages 3-18 who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Kids Haven is now an independent agency and is located on 12th Street in downtown Lynchburg.

The JLL also researched the need for a Children’s Museum for Lynchburg. The many hours of research and development as well as a large monetary donation paid off and the museum is known today as Amazement Square, Central Virginia’s first multidisciplinary, hands-on children’s museum.

The JLL’s Smart Moves Public Education and Awareness Campaign partnered with Lynchburg Parks & Recreation to spearhead the Riverside Park Sprayground as a way to get children active and help combat childhood obesity.

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