Christmas 011.JPG

The festival of trees…

Ideas: The festival of trees…

Christmas 011.JPG

The festival of trees…

a season of change for the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana

Story: Bridget Broihahn

A new and exciting change will go along with the annual Festival of Trees that the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana has hosted for this its 22nd year.

“We made a decision to change our model to “Adopt a Non-Profit,”” Jenette Jurczyk, president of the league said.

For 85 years, the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana has been serving the needs of the greater community with charitable works, goods services.

“We are a service league. We have 150,000 members actively serving worldwide. The Junior League has absolutely recognized that we have to grow and evolve. We are flexible at our level, and we have shifted gears to stay relevant. We, at the local level, recognize the need for this,” she said.

Jurczyk said that the Junior League has always sought to help those in need. Whether it was helping Eastern Illinois Food Bank with its Food for Families and Backpack Buddies, the Kids in the Kitchen with the Don Moyers Boys and Girls Club, or the Junior League’s Bright Starts- a readiness for kindergarten program that helped Head Start with its wait listed families, they have sought to find a need and create a solution.

“With regards to Bright Starts, there was a wait-list of 150 families for readiness programming at Head Start. We created a program that ran at night, provided a hot meal, child care for siblings and a preschool held in the evenings, as well,” she said.

The Junior League’s “Adopt a Non-Profit” will be twofold: one part financially supportive and one part volunteer-based. For now, Jurczyk said everything is very fluid, since it is their pilot year for the program. She said that by early 2018, they should be ready to make their determination on what non-profit the Junior League will adopt for the year.

For the holiday season the Festival of Trees will go on like before, spreading holiday cheer and helping to earn funds for the needy in the area. The event will be on Nov. 17, 18 and 19 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign.

“Friday we will have our Daddy-Daughter Dance, Saturday morning our Breakfast with Santa and in the evening our gala dinner with live entertainment, food and a live auction. Sunday afternoon will be when we have our raffle-someone gets to take the trees home with them,” Jurczyk said.

For more information, go to:, or call 217-356-5880.