Community Service Projects
Austin Junior Forum works with several local organizations serving the community, as well as hosting some community projects of its own, such as the Teddy Bear Program, which provides Teddy Bears and Dalmatians for local public safety agencies to give to children involved in traumatic events.
Community Service Projects With Local Organizations For This Year:
Austin Groups for the Elderly & AGE of Central Texas Adult Day Health Centers (formally known as Elderhaven) At AGE, Elderhaven Adult Day Health Care centers (Austin and Round Rock) provide engaging activities for seniors and individuals with disabilities, preventing premature nursing home placement and allowing caregivers respite during the day. AJF members help throw birthday parties, play games, assist with shopping and field trips, and support AGE staff create a fun and active place for seniors. AJF members also assist during AGE’s Caregiver Conferences, playing games and providing companionship to seniors while their families gain valuable information in the Caregiver Seminar.
BookSpring champions early literacy to empower children with a lifelong love of reading. AJF members support the Elementary Books for Ownership program, assist with literary events, and help distribute books to students. "Due to their low socio-economic levels, many of the participating students do not have books in their homes. When they receive the books provided by this program, their faces light up with excitement. They simply love books! If you only knew what joy these books bring, you would know how important this program is to them. Please continue to add this ray of sunshine into their lives.” AJF Members sort and label book donations, ensuring books are age-appropriate and good quality.
Foster Angels of Central Texas provides immediate assistance to foster children in the form of basic needs (clothing, food, beds, medical expenses, etc.) and life-enhancing experiences (birthday parties, camp, sports and the arts, etc.). Their simple, proven program and low administrative costs allow Foster Angels to operate efficiently and keep kids from waiting for crucial assistance. Their philosophy is that foster children must be exposed to positive influences, activities and experiences that help them to flourish and reach their full potential. Foster Angels has formed strategic alliances with Child Protective Services (CPS) which allows them to obtain information regarding the various needs of our community’s foster children. In addition to clothing, education, food, and medical needs, Foster Angels provide funds for events in the children’s lives which build self-esteem and community. AJF members assist Fosters Angels with Christmas gift wrapping and delivery.
Hospice Austin provides family-centered, quality end of life care that emphasizes compassion, independence, respect, and dignity. Established in 1979, Hospice Austin serves the five-county region of Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell, and Hays counties. It is Austin's only community-based, non-profit hospice service. Hospice Austin's inpatient facility, Christopher House, offers 15 patient rooms designed and equipped to provide patients and family members with the amenities of home. Twice a year AJF members host a luncheon for the patients and their families, employees, and volunteers of Christopher House.
Manos de Cristo empowers low-income individuals with a loving hand of assistance and welcomes all regardless of age, gender, race, or religious preference. Inspired by the Christian ideals of service and compassion, Manos promotes dignity and self-reliance by providing essential oral care, furthering educational development, and meeting basic needs with food and clothing. AJF members help with Manos' collection and distribution of school supplies to students in need.
Meals on Wheels and More nourishes and enriches the lives of the homebound and other people in need through programs that promote dignity and independent living. MoW has expanded into a multi-service organization of 5,000 volunteers serving 2,500 clients each day and offering programs designed to keep clients healthy and living in their own homes. MoW has a strong involvement in the community serving the elderly, the disabled, the homebound, and many children who face hardships. MoW is “compassion in action.” AJF’s MoW projects cover a broad range of activities. AJF members participate in the HOPE Grocery Delivery Program, delivering pre-packaged grocery sacks to MoW clients in need. At Christmastime, AJF members wrap holiday gifts for a joyful surprise to MoW clients. Throughout the year, we also help decorate Mike’s Place, MoW’s new Alzheimer’s respite care program, to create colorful themes based on the center’s planned activities.
The Mobile Art Program delivers art activities to seniors and disabled adults. MAP is not concerned with the finished piece of art; rather, it's about providing people with ways to cope with what is happening in their lives. Art becomes the vehicle for expression, developing relationships, as well as for integrating experiences that may be difficult to understand. AJF supports MAP in three venues: Summer Art Sessions at Mike’s Place (Meals on Wheels’ Alzheimer’s Care Program); a fall art exhibition at the Laura Bush Library; and Spring Art Sessions at Heritage Park Nursing Center.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas provide lodging and support services to families of critically ill and injured children in the 46 counties surrounding Austin. The House currently provides lodging and support services to over 700 families annually. The new Ronald McDonald House at Mueller Center provides 30 rooms for families. AJF contributes as meals providers, one of the House’s most popular programs. As meal providers, AJF members prepare healthy, nutritious dinners to Ronald McDonald families to enhance the "home-away-from-home" atmosphere during their stay. Ronald McDonald House’s goal is to provide hot, home-cooked lunches and dinners to families daily. Providing a meal to the families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House takes away the worry and hassle of food preparation so that the families can give all their energy and attention to their hospitalized child. Ronald McDonald House families frequently cite the donation of meals as a major aid during their stays.
The Settlement Home for Children is a charitable non-profit residential treatment center and therapeutic foster care program for emotionally troubled children. The Settlement Home serves approximately 50 girls, ages 7 to 18, providing on-site schooling and 24-hour therapeutic care. It also operates a handful of group homes, working with numerous foster and adoptive families facilitating the children's transition to their "forever families." During the school year, AJF hosts regular arts and crafts activities or game nights. Each August, volunteers host two back-to-school events giving the girls makeovers for the new school year, and each December, volunteers host a holiday party of food, games, and craft activities for the girls.