Kitchen Connections: Junior League of Omaha’s signature program

Kitchen Connections is back for year two as the Junior League of Omaha’s signature program.

Through the program, JLO volunteers like you help transform Omaha, one young adult at a time.

The program in a nutshell

Kitchen Connections pairs a JLO mentor with a young adult mentee who’s recently aged out of the foster care system. Together, each pair will create healthy cuisine, community and a love of home cooking.

Each quarter, JLO volunteers are paired with a cohort of young adults through Project Everlast. Each month, the teams gather to:

·         Learn a healthy new recipe and nutrition basics

·         Cook together in a safe, fun and friendly environment

·         Share a meal and create community

At the end of each quarter, the young adults participating receive a complete kitchen kit including:

·         Mini-indoor grill

·         Pots and pans

·         Silverware, plates & cups

·         Knives and cutting boards

·         Food storage

·         Turners, spatulas, cooking spoons

·         Oven mitts

·         Kitchen towels and cloths

·         Mixing bowls

·         Measuring cups & spoons

“All of us involved in Community Impact placements are thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with young community members in such a fun, casual way. Cooking and eating together is one of the most powerful community building tools we have to offer!”—Ashley Quarles

What a typical meet up looks like

League volunteers assist program participants to make a recipe. During bake time and throughout the evening, the group also discusses tips on grocery planning, especially how to save money on quality ingredients, and everyone gets to taste test the creations.

Did you know?  All mentees receive access to a mobile app called “Affordable Flavors.” With their account, they get a 30-day menu, suggested shopping lists and over 100 pages of recipes – all at no cost.

Past successes

The recent sessions held earlier this Fall pushed mentees in attendance to try more challenging recipes, such as enchiladas, and the experience gave participants new skills in how to use knives to cut particular vegetables and how to shred rotisserie chicken.  

League volunteers also share a relevant lesson each session, such as “My Plate.” The “My Plate” framework shows visual examples of what a well-balanced, nutrient-rich plate should look like, in order to ensure the mentees get the vitamins and protein that they need.

“It has been a lot of fun seeing the mentees light up and get excited that the meal they had put together and prepped comes out delicious. They get to take any leftovers home with them as well.” – Ashley Quarles

You can make an impact

A new cohort will begin its three-month program in October.

If you want to share in the experience of connecting and community building, check out Digital Cheetah for the upcoming volunteer shifts on October 20 and November 17, held at Completely Kids.

The Junior League of Omaha is proud of its Kitchen Connections health food mentorship program to support Food Access in Omaha. We partner with young adults building a life after child welfare and help them establish healthy eating habits, learn lifelong home-cooking skills and equip their new homes with everything they need to prepare nutritious meals for themselves and their families.  

Junior League New Member Year: What to Expect

Thinking about joining the Junior League of Omaha? 

It can be scary to try new things, we get it, and we’re here to help!

Here’s a rundown of what to expect when you join Junior League of Omaha:

First things first – Before you join:

  1. Get acquainted with the League: Current members meet with prospective members online and in person at various events to get to know each other. 
  2. Complete a Membership Application 
  3. Pay Dues: Membership Dues support the League’s overall programmatic, training and administrative needs, including our physical headquarters, event facility rentals and food and beverage at in-person meetings. 

Enrollment opens up for new members every year between late May – June. 

Membership is open to all women, at least 21 years old, who have an interest in voluntarism, a commitment to community service and an interest in developing her potential for voluntary community participation. The Junior League welcomes all women who value our mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations and communities. 

group of women posted
2021-2022 New Member Committee Members

New Member Requirements and Commitments

Your New Member year is typically a commitment of approximately 50-60 total hours between the months of August through May.  

It might sound like a lot, but it’s not!

 You will participate in monthly meetings for 1-2 hours that include:

  • Training Sessions on the Junior League of Omaha and its history in our community.
    • Did you know that members of the Junior League of Omaha began the Gift Shop at Children’s Hospital in 1948, which still operates today and serves as income to assist with many of the hospital’s programs and services?! Children’s Hospital is one of many local organizations impacted by the service and talents of our League. 
  • Social Time to Get Connected with Junior League of Omaha members – both new and active.

You will be assigned a cohort of new members who live in nearby geographic areas so that you can continue the conversation between new meetings. Each group is kept intentionally small with about 10 members, with an active member who mentors and helps guide the group in questions and activities. 

group of girls posting at a social event
2021-2022 New Member Music Bingo Night

New members also get to attend:

  • General Meetings with all other active members (held monthly, with members asked to attend 5 per year)
  • Fundraising activities and events, such as the JLO Classic at Top Golf and more
  • Community service shifts, experiencing the ability to immediately and directly make an impact on the community especially related to food access and hunger in Omaha.
    • New members always report they love the immediate impact they can make in just a few hours time, through shifts at area non-profits like Together, Inc., etc. 

Then what:

After completion of the new member year, you enter Active Member status. As an active member, you serve a placement on one of many committees. Each placement lasts one year (August-June).  After seven years as an active member, you can become a League Sustainer. 

You will learn all about what active service looks like as part of your new member year. 

New Member Q&A

Read what one new member, Jazmyn Brown, had to say about her experience: 

Jazymn recently completed her new member year and is currently in her first active year placement as Shift Coordinator for the Food Access Committee.  

Q: Why did you join JLO? 

A:  I joined to meet like-minded women, to network and to volunteer, helping the community I care about.

Q: How would you describe your new member year?

A: It was so much fun. I built friendships that will last years and learned a lot about the league.

Q: Did you find it easier or harder than you expected to fulfill the responsibilities of new members?

A: It was easier because I learned the expectations upfront. I was able to complete all my shifts by Fall simply because I signed up for any of them that I was interested in.

Q: What would you say to someone considering JLO?

A: It’ll be the best decision you’ll make. You’ll meet amazing women who want to make a difference in the community. What other organization can say that?

Learn more about joining:  Email

Support the Junior League of Omaha Annual Fund.

One month away: Second annual JLO Classic at Top Golf!

Tickets are on sale now for the fundraiser Sunday, September 11, 2022. 

Individual tickets are available, or you can purchase an entire bay for six total golfers. 

The Classic is one of the Junior League of Omaha’s newest fundraising events that took place at Omaha’s Topgolf, which supports JLO’s Kitchen Connections program. The 2021 event included a silent auction, including two VIP concert tickets donated by Centris Federal Credit Union and multiple men’s and women’s season ticket packages donated by Creighton University Athletics. We still can’t say thank you enough to all of our 2021 sponsors, including Centris Federal Credit Union who sponsored our hole in one challenge. 

“We had a blast at the first annual JLO Classic! TopGolf is always a great time, and it was such a fun, unique opportunity to give back. We’re looking forward to going again and many more years to come!” – 2021 Attendee

We have even bigger plans for this year’s event. Non-golfers alike will enjoy the drinks, buffet and door prizes. 

“I loved attending last year’s event. JLO Classic is an all around good time and you don’t have to have experience on a course to have fun! Between the drinks, food, and atmosphere it’s the kind of Sunday afternoon good time I want to have every week. And you can’t beat doing it all for a wonderful cause!” – JLO Member

Don’t miss out! Learn more and purchase tickets

Go ahead…

“Give it a little tap, tap, taperoo.” ← Name that movie. Golfers know. 😉

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a sponsor or donating any silent auction items for this year’s event, please contact or visit our website at