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Women's Day: All female non-profit's positive impact in Coastal Bend

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Posted at 9:14 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 13:26:01-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A non-profit organization founded by a woman and created to empower women is making a difference in more than 295 communities around the world. The group is no stranger to the Coastal Bend.

The Junior League of Corpus Christi (JLCC) is a chapter of the Association of Junior Leagues International.

For International Women's Day, KRIS 6 News is highlighting the positive impacts they have on our community and among each other.

At the beginning of March, JLCC successfully reached its goal of raising money for local children facing food insecurity. +

They embarked on a mission to fill 1,200 bags with nutritious food, costing about $17 per bag. This is part of JLCC and the Coastal Bend Food Bank's Spring Break Backpack Project. This project has been happening annually since 2017.

"A lot of children only eat at their school. And when they're not at school they don't have that nutrition," Yvette Montalvo a member of JLCC said "When we know we can provide that food and fight hunger in the community, it's just a great feeling."

The Backpack Project is just one of the group's many efforts.

They also host events and help people get through some of the toughest moments of their life.

In some instances, JLCC women have even supported some of their own. Current JLCC member, Misty Ash, said a couple of weeks after she started volunteering, she found herself in a time of need because of Hurricane Harvey. When it devastated the south, it destroyed her Coastal Bend home.

"We lost everything," she said.

It was hard for her to envision a future in South Texas after that incident and a more recent loss.

"At the beginning of this year, my mom passed away" Ash expressed.

However, she said she got through difficult times with JLCC members and their unwavering support.

The women stood by her when she was grieving for her mother, and they also offered help as she was rebuilding her life after the major hurricane.

A Junior League member also helped her circle back to her passion for working in education. Before moving to the Coastal Bend about nine years ago, Ash had a job experience with kids.

When she made the move to South Texas, she turned to real estate when there weren't opportunities in the education field.

However, after Hurricane Harvey, a member who was president of JLCC at the time led her to a job at a local school. She got back to it, with a clerical job at West Oso.

"After just a couple of months I realized I really miss working with kids," she explained.

Following West Oso, Ash worked with special education students at Oak Park for about four years. She's currently an instructional math coach at the school, and like other JLCC members, she's balancing her full-time job, volunteering, and motherhood.

"We have women who are realtors, nurses, pediatricians, homemakers, starting their own businesses,"another JLCC member, Heather Smith said.

Smith, a mother of two, works at Driscoll Children's Hospital and has eight years of experience as a pediatric nurse. She has a passion for helping people.

"Kids are just so resilient. It's so wonderful to be a part of their healing process," she said. "In pediatrics, we also help patients a lot."

Then when she's off the clock, Smith spends time helping even more people with her fellow Junior League members.

Smith and Misty Ash said JLCC is like a second family.

"How it impacted me is, I felt like I was a part of the town. I know Corpus has a lot of ex-pats if you will, that aren't originally from here. So it's a great way to get involved in the community and give back and reach your full potential as well." Smith added.

Currently, there are 80 local members in JLCC, who collectively volunteer thousands of hours a year.

To learn about joining JLCC or read more information about the non-profit click here.