Member Spotlight

Tracy Tucker

Tracy Tucker
Junior League of Topeka
2021-2022 Project Coordinator

How long have you been involved with League?
I joined in the fall of 2015, at the urging of my manager at the time.

What have you been involved with since joining the Junior League of Topeka?
I’ve spent the strong majority of my League time on the Community Impact Council.  Two of those years, I was Project Co-Chair when we had Diaper Depot.  I’m now Project Coordinator and help manage our communications such as the weekly eblast!

Where did you grow up?
I grew up outside the itty-bitty town of Sylvan Grove, KS.  I moved to Topeka to attend Washburn University, and haven’t left!

What do you do for a living?
I’ve been in Marketing at Kansas Lottery for nearly five years.  Before that, I was at Prairie Band Casino & Resort for 12 years.

What do you love most about League?
I love being able to give back to the community in a tangible way.  It’s also been great meeting the lovely ladies of Junior League of Topeka, as well as people in the community.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to join Junior League of Topeka?
Do it! Whatever it is you may be looking for, it can surely be found in the Junior League of Topeka.  Just want some social time with the gals? It’s here.  Looking to network professionally?  Lots of contacts.  Seeking fulfillment by helping others?  Absolutely available.  

What are you involved in outside of League?
I’m currently on the board for USD 501 Parents As Teachers, and am looking forward to spending more time working with a couple groups at church.  Our daughters are surely going to be getting more active, so I’m sure the chauffer lifestyle will be reinvigorated soon. 

Tell me something else about you?
I grew up on a farm, and love getting back as often as I can, which is never enough.  Since our yard is not conducive to hoof stock, we did “allow” Santa to bring the girls each a rabbit last Christmas, in hopes to instill some life lessons.  Those two rabbits have multiplied, though.  If anyone would like one, just let me know!  

Junior League Members Fighting Food Insecurity

It was so great joining together last month with other Junior League of Topeka members to support our community by packing boxes of food at Harvesters!

Interested in learning more about membership with the Junior League of Topeka? Email membership@jltopeka.org

Junior League of Topeka donates $5,000 to the YWCA of Northeast Kansas

To close out the Junior League of Topeka’s 3rd Annual Little Black Dress Initiative we presented the YWCA of Northeast Kansas with a $5,000 donation to help establish a children’s space in their emergency shelters. In addition to the donation, members also collected urgently needed items for YWCA residents.

“This week, members and friends of the Junior League of Topeka have joined together as advocates by wearing one black dress – the same black dress – for five days in a row to illustrate how limited resources affect daily life, and to raise funds to support the Junior League of Topeka and their projects to address key factors of poverty and community instability,” says Brie Engelken-Parks, President of the Junior League of Topeka. “This social experience shines light on how a lack of resources limits a individuals’ opportunities.” 

By wearing a sticker or button that read “Ask me about my Dress,” LBDI advocates invited and welcomed dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers to raise awareness about generational poverty while they shared their journey’s on social media.

Click here for the full story! 

Photo courtesy of WIBW

Break the Cycle

Poverty and lack of education form a vicious cycle that can be impossible to escape without the means to get a good job and change your life. This week was our 3rd Annual Little Black Dress Initiative campaign. Advocates have worn the same black dress for 5 days in a row to illustrate the effects that poverty can have on a woman’s access to resources, her self-esteem, and professional opportunities. Help us raise support efforts to break the cycle of poverty in Topeka. Thank you to the numerous women and community partners in Topeka who are helping #JLTopeka raise money for and bring awareness on the issue of community instability in Topeka. With your support we hope to meet our goal for this year! Click here to help make this happen:https://www.gofundme.com/charity/junior-league-of-topeka

Little Black Dress Initiative 2021

Did you look in your closet full of clothes this morning and think I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!?

What if your closet only had one thing in it? Or what if your “closet” was a bag you lived out of at a hotel or homeless shelter?

Next week is our 3rd annual Little Black Dress Initiative. Junior League of Topeka members and community advocates will be wearing the same black dress every day Monday through Friday to raise awareness about the challenges facing those who live in poverty in the Topeka area and to raise money for Junior League of Topeka programs that provide food, health, and other services to the most vulnerable among us.

To Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/charity/junior-league-of-topeka

Diaper Depot and Beyond

How one community project inspired a transformed community
By Erin Aldridge & Tawny Stottlemire

Throughout our history, Junior League of Topeka (JLT) projects have been a catalyst for change in our community. Ideas spark and gaps in service are filled through these programs and initiatives. The Diaper Depot’s impact is no different.

In the 2018-2019 League year, Diaper Depot ownership was transferred to Community Action. As a distribution partner for the program, the fit was natural and complemented their existing social service assistance programs.

Today, Community Action continues to serve between 150 and 200 children each month, by providing a free pack of 50, size-appropriate, diapers to parents from low-income households. The program is supported solely through community donations and grants.

But, gaps in services go far beyond just diapers.

Through the partnership with the National Diaper Bank Network, Community Action sourced ways to further meet the needs of the community. This lead to a partnership that created “The Period Pantry”. “The foundation of the two programs is very similar,”
said Tawny Stottlemire, Community Action’s Executive Director. “Diaper Depot and Period Pantry allow us to address two very pressing needs for lower income mothers and menstruators.” According to data released by the Alliance for Period Supplies, an affiliate of the National Diaper Bank Network, one in four women have struggled to purchase period supplies in the past year. “Menstruation supplies are a need,” says Stottlemire, “not a luxury.”

In 2020, JLT members supported various projects, including Community Action, around the community through the creation of Period Packs.

Thanks to Community Action’s access to warehouse space, even more options became available. “Community Action rents space in a local warehouse to store and prepare our monthly diaper distribution and quarterly Period Pantry work,” Stottlemire told JLT representatives. “Because we have some available warehouse space, we are also able to participate in a product donation program with our local Bed, Bath and Beyond store.”

According to Stottlemire, Bed, Bath and Beyond provides a monthly donation of store products that range from bed sheets and pillows to curtains, clocks and candles. Community Action uses the products to help families transitioning from homelessness to furnish their homes. “Our customers have been so very appreciative, and surprised,” said Stottlemire, “by not only securing their own housing in a place they can afford and feel safe but to also have a few comforts to make it feel like a home.”

To learn more about how you can benefit from any of these services visit www.wefightpoverty.org.

Going beyond the surface needs of our community, the Junior League of Topeka is committed to continuing to find and the fill gaps to create a better Topeka for all.