History of Community Service
Baytown Junior Forum (BJF) was organized in the summer of 1964 by thirteen women interested in devoting time to serve the community. Mrs. Betty Jameson, who had been a member of Pasadena Junior Forum before moving to Baytown, was the initiator of the group and served as its first president. The primary goal at that time was to identify needs in the community and to start addressing those needs. That spark to serve the community has grown into a service group that has devoted hundreds of thousands of hours to helping the people of Baytown and the surrounding communities.
Bay Area Rehabilitation Center (BARC, formerly known as Baytown Cerebral Palsy Center) became the first of many organizations and groups helped by BJF. That first year’s service was devoted to working with the kindergarten and nursery age class at the Center. Soon, other areas of BARC were added. Over the years help was given in the speech therapy department, assistance was given with water therapy, support was given to the Center’s business office. BJF also assisted with outings with the children to the Houston Zoo and other points of interest that were added along with teen and adult enrichment programs.
Over the nearly fifty years of service, BJF has been dedicated to serving the elderly, children and families in our community. The members have delivered Meals on Wheels and provided other assistance, such as transportation. We have also provided recreational services such as BINGO nights for the elderly at Edison Courts and Centennial Square Retirement Centers.
Other programs benefiting adults in the community have included language programs with the Mexican-American Assistance Program, assisting in the operation of a thrift shop benefiting two day care centers through the Church Women United, providing the bi-annual graduation services for women through the Christian Women’s Job Corps, and assisting New Horizon Family Center.
BJF has also participated in numerous services benefiting the youth in the community. A weekly reading to pre-schoolers was provided at the Sterling Municipal Library. Members also took classes and became certified teacher’s assistants at Burnet School. Our "Kids on the Block" puppet team demonstrated to the district’s children the acceptance of various disabilities and was later used at our booth with Baytown Special Rodeo. Our members have assisted the school district’s Dyslexic Program by highlighting textbooks. We have also been sponsors and team mates for teens and adults in the Special Olympics Volleyball program. Our hallmark program for the children has been providing toys to needy children in the community for Christmas through the Goodfellows program.
Our members dressed in costume as Les Litter and his Chicks to support Baytown Clean City and promote recycling. Our members have also provided funds and hands-on service with Habitat for Humanity service. We have also assisted with fundraisers for programs like American Cancer Association’s Relay for Life, Pink Heals that benefits breast cancer research, and Emma’s Hugs Bayou Bash.
Each service year an average of one to two thousand hours have been devoted to these projects. Our women dedicate themselves to the mission statement of the chapter, ‘Strength through Service.’