December General Membership Meeting

Members of the Junior League of Topeka came together Saturday, December 5, for their December General Membership Meeting. The morning was kicked off with a presentation by Mary Boland to show stress relieving yoga stretches and lead into brunch, a presentation by Becca Spielman about the YWCA’s work followed by trivia. During the meeting, Junior League members donated books, toys and art supplies for the children’s rooms at the Center for Safety & Empowerment.

Junior League of Topeka members at the December 2021 General Membership Meeting
Brie Engelken-Parks, President, Junior League of Topeka, presents Becca Spielman, Program Director at the YWCA’s Center for Safety & Empowerment (CSE), with books, art supplies and toys for the children’s rooms at the CSE.

YWCA Supply Drive

Members of the Junior League of Topeka are collecting Books, Art Supplies and Toys for the YWCA’s Center for Safety & Empowerment guests.
To donate contact the Junior League at

We’re Thankful for You!

This Thanksgiving we’re thankful for your support!  

Thanks to your continued encouragement and support for the Junior League of Topeka, we were able to continue our work of connecting women, cultivating leadership and working together to bring lasting community impact despite the challenges we’ve faced the past 18 months. Over the last year—despite being in a worldwide pandemic—we have successfully:

– Donated $5,000 and urgently needed supplies, to the YWCA which establish a children’s room at their shelters,
– Executed the Little Black Dress Poverty Awareness Campaign and a month long Child Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Campaign,
– Provided leadership training for 1500 students from area high schools through the Capital Impact Leadership Summit,
– Donated 460 pounds of food to Project Topeka,
– Donated 120 towels to Operation Clean and Healthy by the Topeka Rescue Mission,
– Donated 15,000 school supply items to The Boys & Girls Club of Topeka,
– Packaged 2,000 STEAM kits for Kansas Children’s Discovery Center
– Donated 120 winter care kits to the Topeka Rescue Mission
– Painted Florence Crittenton Services to prepare new spaces for independent at-risk teens, 
– Donated more than 2,000 period packs to help fight period poverty in Topeka, 
– Donated more than $7,000 to Community Action, Inc. designated for the Diaper Depot
– Donated snacks and fidget gear to SENT Topeka & Ross Elementary’s Trust Based Relational Intervention Program, 
– Commissioned a local artist to paint a mural at the Boys and Girls Club of Topeka’s Teen Center in support of positive mental health, 
– Donated baked goods for Silverbackks Silver Sundays program, 
– Filled all Blessing Boxes in Topeka with non-perishable foods and Community Resource Pamphlets, 
– Created and donated a years’ worth of training manuals for CASA advocates, and 
– Provided eight training opportunities including the 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge and the Day on the Hill Advocacy Training. 
Next week is Giving Tuesday!
On Tuesday, November 30, people all around the world will join together for a common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving back. It unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world – just like the women of the Junior League have been doing for the past 85 years. 

Please consider making a donation to the Junior League of Topeka to continue supporting women building better communities. 
Thank you, today and always, for your contributions with and support of the Junior League of Topeka

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

Little Black Dress Initiative Day 5

Today is the 5th and final day of the “Little Black Dress Initiative.” Today’s collage features advocates wearing their little black dresses to help illustrate how poverty can effect women’s access to opportunities and resources. The good news here is that with your help and with the support of our amazing community partners like the YWCA of NE Kansas we CAN make a difference!

Junior League of Topeka Honors Jenay Weekly as the 2021 Gold Rose Honoree

The Gold Rose Award honors a Sustaining Member of the Junior League of Topeka for their ongoing positive impact on our community. It is the most prestigious award given by The Junior League of Topeka, and honors someone who has used their league training to contribute to the betterment of the Topeka Community. This years recipient is Jenay Weekly. 

With a passion for education, Jenay has touched literally hundreds of students through the school and community organizations in which she has been involved for many years. She is tireless in her pursuit of educational opportunities for Topeka students as well as in the performing arts, enhancing the quality of life in our community. Jenay is an excellent communicator, sets high standards for herself and others and most importantly, provides tools for students to achieve their goals. She attributes JLT with providing her training and initial experiences in volunteerism.

Her important focus on children saw her direct plays and musicals at Robinson Middle School for 36 years. She has received recognition for her efforts by being named a Woman of Excellence in the Educator category by the YWCA, Outstanding Gifted Ed teacher in the State of Kansas, and awarded the Distinguished Staff Award for Secondary Education by USD#501. 

A most significant outcome of her passion and the training JLT provided is the Topeka Model United Nations. USD #501 cut the program, and Jenay led the efforts to find funding for continued growth to over 600 student delegates. She served as the director for 20 years, and there is now a student award in her name. 

Some of the organizations Jenay has been involved with include: 

President, Performing Arts for Children 

Director and Teacher, Melody Brown Fun Factory Summer Camp 

Board of Trustees, Topeka Civic Theatre 

Board of Directors, Topeka Festival Singers 

President, PEO Chapter FI 

President, Topeka PEO Cooperative Board 

Jenay joined JLT in 1979 and while an active member chaired and helped create the Children’s Discovery Room at the Kansas Museum of History. She was a teacher for a JLT school program working on self esteem and alcohol and drug education, served as the JayTalk editor and worked on Next to New.

As a sustaining member, Jenay has served on the Sustainer Relations Committee and is a contributing writer for the Capital Impact magazine.