Junior League of Lafayette celebrated more than six decades of community service on Wednesday, November 2 by doing what it does best – helping meet the needs of women and children in Acadiana.
The League presented Lourdes Foundation with a $65,000 donation during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
The donation is the centerpiece of the League’s 65th anniversary project and will ensure many families receive the comforting care of a home away from home.
Located on the first floor of the hospital, the Ronald McDonald Family Room provides a place for families to rest and regroup while their child receives treatment. The suite includes three private bedrooms, each with their own bathroom and shower, and a shared living room with a kitchenette, stocked snacks and beverages, and laundry facilities.
Members – clad in various shades of blue to mark the League’s sapphire anniversary – celebrated the occasion with a champagne toast before touring the Family Room.
“This is so important because it celebrates the amazing impact and lasting community change that we’ve had on the community for the past 65 years and sets the tone for the next 65 years,” said Monica Zuschlag, Junior League of Lafayette’s President. "We want that lasting impact. We want people to know that our brand is that we’re meeting the needs of our community.”
Jeigh Stipe, senior director of Lourdes Foundation, said the Ronald McDonald Family Room will mean the world to families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to stay with their child.
"For those families with very limited resources that don’t have the ability to travel back and forth, or don’t have a support system, this gives them an opportunity to have some sense of normalcy while they’re in our hospital,” Stipe said. “This has been a conversation, a dream, a vision we’ve had for many, many years. For it to be happening now is amazing.”
And for Stipe, a League member serving as Sustaining Advisor to the League’s Board of Directors, it was a day where her two worlds collided.
She originally joined Junior League of Lafayette to make friends and volunteer, but quickly learned it would mean so much more to her over the years.
“Junior League is such a huge part of my life. I had no idea it would become such a significant part of my soul,” she said.
“It teaches young women – all women – a way of doing things that’s not only efficient and good, but it teaches us grace under pressure, it gives us an opportunity to grow in our relationships, in our skill set, in our friendships – if you’re meant to be a Junior Leaguer, I think it becomes a part of who you are.”