JLFW Learning Journey

JLFW Learning JourneyThe Junior League of Fort Wayne began the 2014-2015 year in August with great excitement as members voted last year to make Readiness for Elementary School the main focus of the Fort Wayne League.

The Junior League of Fort Wayne is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

This year, the Junior League of Fort Wayne will concentrate on elementary school readiness for the Fort Wayne community, and incorporate the new focus into volunteering opportunities, fundraising efforts, and community projects.

Many students start elementary school physically, emotionally, and academically behind. As students struggle to learn, the education achievement gap widens. As research shows, education is the most effective way to end the cycle of poverty. The Junior League of Fort Wayne members are committed to help the Fort Wayne community by ensuring children are ready to learn when they head off to elementary school, granting them opportunity for success.

On August 27, the Junior League of Fort Wayne kicked off the new League year with a Learning Journey bus tour and visited three potential collaborators and organizations in the Fort Wayne community that are currently working towards readiness for elementary school: Early Childhood Alliance, CANI, and the Urban League. By collaborating with organizations who are already making strides in elementary readiness, the Junior League of Fort Wayne hopes to close the education achievement gap.

The bus tour was not only fun for members, it was also informational and beneficial as members had the opportunity to meet with the directors and staffs of these vital community partners. A future collaboration with a successful organization in Fort Wayne could take existing programs to the next level for greater community impact.


Early Childhood Alliance’s mission is to build better futures for young children. Since 1953, Early Childhood Alliance has provided services in Northern Indiana for thousands of children, families, child care professionals, and the community. EAC strongly believes quality early childhood experiences in safe, healthy, nurturing environments are the foundation for school readiness. Success in school is an early indicator of success in life, and quality early education is one of the key drivers for economic sustainability. Early Child Alliance offers many services to families and child care and early education professionals, including Childcare Resource and Referral Services, parenting skills programs, professional development, and state-licensed and nationally accredited early education and care centers. The Junior League of Fort Wayne members who toured ECA were not only impressed with the facility, but also with ECA’s passion and commitment to preparing children and parents for school.



Community Action of Northeast Indiana (CANI) is a private, non-profit agency that promotes economic and community development by providing resources, helping people gain access to opportunities, and teaching them the skills they need to become self-sufficient. CANI provides programs and services in not only Allen County, but several surrounding counties as well. They provide families access to quality child care, preschool education, emergency food and utility assistance, affordable and livable housing, and medical and dental care. The Junior League members in attendance enjoyed learning about Head Start and saw its benefit towards the effort of elementary school readiness. CANI Head Start influences the lives of some 800 children per year with a preschool-like program. It provides help with educational and social service needs of the families of the children.


For more than 90 years, the Fort Wayne Urban League has provided a wide variety of services to help thousands of diverse Fort Wayne residents reach their potential, and achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. The Fort Wayne Urban League fulfills its mission through programs that address contemporary needs, including youth education and youth services. Junior League members learned about the Urban League’s Read & Rise program on the tour. It is a family literacy program designed to help parents support their young child’s early development. The program includes activities that stimulate brain development, mentoring to parents, and books to build home libraries. All of which is aimed at preparing students to enter Kindergarten ready to learn. The focus of Read & Rise is to mentor parents to be the first and most important teachers of their children, and that families develop routines and behaviors that support literacy development.