In 1953 the Lufkin Service League was organized by a group of 23 women. Their purpose was to serve the citizens of Angelina County in community welfare.
During the 50’s, the main source of funding was the Bargain Box, a second hand clothing store. The League also helped establish the Crippled Children’s Center, which is known today as Wilson-McKewen Rehabilitation Center. The League provided office operations and hired a therapist for the Center. The League took part in a community health project and helped administer TB vaccines.
During the 60’s, volunteers were sent to work at the Kurth Memorial Library, Salvation Army, the Easter Seal Drive, Santa’s Toy Shop, and with the Council for Retarded Children. The League formed a Cultural Committee and organized a puppet show to present to all local elementary schools. Playground equipment was donated to the zoo, as well as help with dental and orthodontic care for needy children and hearing tests for first through ninth graders.
The 70’s marked the beginning of huge endeavors for the League. The League voted to rebuild the partially burned St. Cyprian’s Church downtown known today as the Museum of East Texas. The League was so involved in community welfare they found that indigent women had no way to pay for healthcare. The League, along with volunteer doctors and nurses opened the Family Planning Clinic. The League staffed the office operations and coordinated the services for women; the service grew quickly, showing how much it was needed in the community. The women also helped with eye testing, which we continue today. The League also focused on art education and began teaching CPR in Lufkin.
During the 80’s the League began an “Artist-in-Residence” program where an artist worked with children in the schools. The League also gave funds to help build the Exposition Center. Volunteers were staffed at the new Woodland Heights Hospital at the information desk. The women continued various volunteer works in different agencies and began their involvement in drug education. The League’s drug education committee expanded to “Operation Graduation,” which is known today as “Project Celebration.” The League published their first cookbook, “According to Taste.”
The 90’s found the League participating in a questionnaire to determine what direction to take to address concerns and find new volunteer placements. In 1996, the Service League began its affiliation with the Association of Junior League International and soon became known as the “Junior League of Lufkin.” The League shifted from volunteers who stayed at home to women who worked full-time outside the home. The League continued to raise money and distribute volunteers and funds to various agencies. They began long range planning and added many new jobs within the League. In 1993, the League received an award from the Angelina County Drug Education for 10 years of continuous service. The League also began “The Laments,” which is a publication sent to the community to inform them about the League. Today the publication is known as “Our View.” The League brought in a nationally acclaimed child safety expert, Dr. Kenneth Wooden of “Child Lures.” He conducted a community-wide seminar about child safety.
In the new millennium, the League continued to grow and new committees were formed. The Southern Living Cooking School began in 2000 and a marketable training video was taped about the League called “A Forest of Volunteers.” The League brought in two recognized speakers for the benefit of the community, Emory Austin and Dr. William Purkey. The League began research and development for a future signature project. The League restructured its leadership plan into the Council System format and developed a strategic plan to be revised every three years. The Helping Hands Annual Campaign launched, and the League implemented two new projects, Done in a Meeting and Family Nights.
Where do we go from here? The possibilities are endless…
The League continues to research, implement and evaluate.
The Junior League is a group of women who believe in their mission
to continue to meet the needs of the community.