20 Apr About – History
Junior Service League of Independence (JSL) was founded in 1945 by four Independence women with a vision to create opportunities for women to contribute to their community through volunteer service and financial support. There had been several earlier attempts to create women’s service organizations in Independence MO, the hometown of Harry and Bess Truman but all had failed.
Ellen Bundschu, Natalie Wallace, Mary Bostian and Aimee Hatten, JSL founding members, were determined that their attempt would take hold. With the help of advisor Margaret Woodson, a former field representative for the Association of Junior Leagues, they began meeting and contributing both hours and dollars. The organization quickly blossomed into a major success and an important “doer” in the community.
Over the years, Junior Service League members have been part of shaping the fabric of Independence and the greater Eastern Jackson County community. From overseeing the volunteer docent program at the Truman Library to pushing for better women’s healthcare in our community, the hand of League has been a constant force making a difference for more than 70 years.
Here is a sampling of the projects we are proud to have been a part of:
- The first Kansas City Philharmonic performance in Independence for local school children.
- The first Story Hour and the Jackson County Library.
- Underwriting the first Visiting Teacher in Independence Public Schools.
- Working to obtain a branch of Family Service.
- Furnishing salaries for the Planned Parenthood Clinic.
- Helping establish a Voluntary Action Center.
- Participating with the Missouri Council for the Arts in establishing Artist in Residence in the Independence School System.
- Participating in the fight against child abuse.
- Initiating the Independence Historic Bus Tour and 1859 Jail Museum Tour.
- Presenting the “Kids on the Block” Puppet Show for area school children.
- Providing the majority of the volunteer staff for the Independence Preschool Screen Program.
- Establishing the Bess Wallace Truman memorial Fund to provide fresh flowers and plants for the Truman home.
- Helping fund the purchase of the Bingham-Waggoner home.