An organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities.
The Junior League of Riverside, Inc. (JLR) has an eight decade history of determining the needs of the community and creating projects to address those needs. JLR seeks to initiate projects where the need is great and where the participation of it's members can be effectively utilized. JLR provides administrative guidance, trained volunteers and financial support. Once a project has been successfully established, JLR often turns it over to an appropriate agency or aids in establishing the project as an independent agency.
Throughout the years, JLR has put on fundraisers such as bazaars, dinner dances, teas and fashions shows to maintain its support of worthy causes such as the Visiting Nurses Association, Volunteer Center, YWCA and Red Cross. JLR also seeks collaborative relationships to maximize community impact. Past partnerships with CASA, Family-to-Family, Riverside Arts Council and innumerable others have successfully shown that more can be done collectively than achieved alone.
In 2009, The Junior League of Riverside, Inc. launched a new community project to fight the childhood obesity epidemic in Riverside County. Known as fitRiverside, the project promises to address both fitness and nutrition by encouraging families to play, exercise and eat well together. Over the last decade, the community of Riverside has seen a substantial increase in children's Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and the numerous ailments related to high cholesterol. For the past five years, JLR has addressed children's health thorough our Kids in the Kitchen event that focused on nutrition education. The ongoing success of the event and the growing needs of our community prompted us to focus our entire effort on children's health. But, healthy families and a fit community must support healthy children so JLR has developed fitRiverside to be a multigenerational approach to fitness.
As a component of the fitRiverside project, this year the Junior League of Riverside has secured a community garden plot in an effort to bring healthy nutrition to the community. With this component of the project, we hope to educate the community on the benefits of community gardens, train the community on how to build a garden, and to distribute the fruits of our labor with healthy recipes attached to the attendees at the fitDays.
According to health professionals, childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being. The immediate health effects are that obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In addition, obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes. Further, children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
The long-term health effects of childhood obesity are that these children and adolescents are likely to be obese as adults, and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Moreover, overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
To avoid these immediate and long-term health effects, the fitRiverside project promotes healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, which have shown to lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.