The Naperville Junior Woman’s Club (NJWC) received its charter on February 22, 1967. Twenty four charter members founded the club on the principles of providing service, education and culture to the community.
The club is affiliated with the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs and the Illinois Federation of Women’s Clubs and its 5th District.
Mary Givler was the first president of the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club, and the Helping Hand Program was organized under her leadership. This project was to provide emergency assistance to school children and was supported by the Naperville Police Department and area school districts. This is a project that the NJWC still supports almost 40 years later.
Philanthropic donations for the first year were $280 to local projects and $100 to GFWC projects. The first meetings were held at the First Congregational Church on the fourth Wednesday of the month – which today, is still the meeting date for the club. At the end of the first year, membership stood at 68 members.
The first NJWC Fashion Show was held in 1969 and raised just over $1,700. The theme that year was “Holiday Happenings” and raffle tickets were only .25 each or 5 for a $1.00.
Throughout the next 39 years, the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club continued to grow and become a vital part of the Naperville community. Juniors got involved in everything from preparing boxes of personal use items for soldiers in Vietnam to sponsorship of a child from Northern Ireland who visited the U.S. to observe our culture and to experience people of different faiths living in harmony.
In 1976, then Officer George Pradel reached out to the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club for support of a children’s safety program. In the beginning, NJWC provided financial support to this program, which has evolved, today to Safety Town, a program that Mayor George Pradel is still very committed to.
In 1978, the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club introduced Naperville to this nationwide program called Safety Town and embarked on a very long and significant relationship. NJWC’s relationship with Safety Town continued to evolve and Juniors coordinated, supervised, and staffed this beneficial program at temporary locations for many years.
In 1993, the Naperville Safety Town Commission was formed to provide a permanent location for Safety Town programs. The Safety Town Commission, made up of members of NJWC and other community leaders, brought Naperville together to build Safety Town. The current Safety Town facility was opened in June of 1996 at the corners of Aurora Avenue and River Road in Naperville.
Today, Naperville Safety Town and NJWC are synonymous. NJWC continues to provide annual financial support to Safety Town, as well as, countless hours of volunteer support each year.
Since it’s inception in 1967, the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club has provided tens of thousands of hours of volunteer support to hundreds of organizations. From our fundraising efforts, we have donated an estimated one million dollars to local, state and national organizations in need.
Today the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club is more committed than ever in improving the quality of life in our community through it’s members sharing and giving of themselves.