Story by Emily Robertson
You may have seen their collection boxes around town for winter coats each fall or enjoyed an afternoon at the Duncan Hines Festival during the summer, but you probably don’t not know all that the Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club has to offer to both its members or the community of Bowling Green.
The club, which has been around Bowling Green since 1968, is currently made up of 41 women ages 21 to 45 who are interested and engaged in helping the community and investing time in non-profit causes. Their main goal is to help better the lives of those in the southern Kentucky area, and although not limited to this demographic, they give particular focus to women and children.
“The club continues to grow and adapt with changing times,” current BGJWC President Amanda Golden says. “We have a great mixture of both women from the professional world, stay-at-home mothers and everything in between.”
After suffering the sudden passing of 2017 Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club President Brittney Gorman Parrish last year, the club created a new scholarship, in her honor, that will benefit local students.
“This scholarship will be awarded to a graduating Bowling Green High School senior who excels in the area of community service,” 2018 BGJWC President Brandy Zackery says. “Brittney’s love for her community was just as strong as her community’s love for her. We were blessed to have her in our lives and honored that we will be able to carry on her legacy through this scholarship.”
We spoke with 2018 BGJWC President Brandy Zackery to learn a bit more about the Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club.
What are the requirements for membership? What attributes make for a great potential member for the group?
Women ages 21 to 45 are welcome to join the Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club. After attending two monthly general meetings, new members are voted into the group. The club requirements are minimal and include annual dues and a few participation requirements. Women who are motivated to volunteer, raise money for those in need and help with other non-profits in our community are ideal potential members.
What are your biggest events each year?
We have three major events each year. The first is the Duncan Hines Festival on the 2nd Saturday in July at Chaney’s Dairy Barn. Duncan Hines was a Bowling Green native and we are blessed to honor his legacy each year. The beneficiary for this event changes from year to year. The 2017 Beneficiary was Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky. Our second event we help to coordinate each year involves the Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club partnering with the Bowling Green Police Department each fall for Coats For Kids. More than 2,000 new and used winter coats are donated and distributed throughout the community each year. Coats For Kids sponsorships are available, and along with cash donations, new coats are purchased to distribute through Warren County and Bowling Green City school system. There is also a community distribution day open to the public each December. Lastly, the club hosts a 5K on New Year’s Day that benefits our Community Improvement Project. This project changes every two years. The New Year’s Day 5K typically has around 200 runners and takes place at the Loops Trail at Lovers Lane.
What non-profits do you help to support each year?
We are happy to help any local non-profit that holds a 501(c)3 status. Our main focus is typically on non-profits that work with women and children, but we are definitely not limited to that.
How is the organization funded?
Our funds that are distributed throughout the year come from a mixture of our two annual monetary fundraisers and other small fundraisers throughout the year.
Why is the BGJWC such an important organization in the Bowling Green community?
The Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club is an 100% volunteer organization. We have no payroll and no overhead costs, so all the money we raise can go back to those in need in Southern Kentucky.
Tell us a bit about your role with the Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club.
In 2018, I am the club president. I have been a member of the club a little more than five years. The BGJWC is important to me for many reasons. We have a great group of ladies who offer their time to give back to the community on a 100% volunteer basis. Just being able to meet these ladies and call them my friends is reason enough to join the club, but being able to volunteer alongside them trying to make our community a better place is a true blessing.
Personally, what do you love about Bowling Green and what are the reasons that make you proud to call the area home?
I believe our community is great because there are so many people and organizations that are willing to step up and help others. As a club, we try our best to have volunteers present to help out the other non-profit organizations during their big events throughout the year.
Anything else you’d like people to know about Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club?
If anyone is interested in joining we would love to have them as a guest at one of our meetings. Also, everyone can follow us on Facebook to keep up with what we’re working on at the time. We keep our page updated with meeting date information and all of our latest events and/or volunteer efforts.
President: Brandy Zackery
Vice President: Magen Estep
1st Vice President: Jen Frye
2nd Vice President: April Suiters
Recording Secretary: Chelsea Houchins
Corresponding Secretary: Amy Whittinghill
Treasurer: Rebecca Cohen