Our Little Black Dress Initiative

Our Junior League of Knoxville's (JLK) Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) is localized to raise awareness on our vision to serve the immediate needs of the community with a focus on domestic violence and its relationship to women’s safety. LBDI Ambassadors will wear one black dress (or outfit) October 15 - 19, 2018 to illustrate the effects of leaving one’s home due to domestic violence with “nothing but the clothes on her back.” They’ll also have a button that reads “Ask Me About My Dress”, which will invite dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers regarding this important community topic. 

Our goal is to raise $25,000! Each Ambassador (or team) has committed to raising $300. Proceeds from this initiative will contribute significantly to our ability to meet our mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and transforming communities. They also allow JLK the opportunity to continue to support our community placements at Helen Ross McNabb, the Joy D. Baker Center and the Family Justice Center.   

What Does JLK do for the Issue?

During the 2014-2015 JLK League year, our IBCI Task Force held meetings and a Domestic Violence Forum at the Family Justice Center with important community leaders. IBCI Participants included Hugh Nystrom, Amanda Tillman (Youth Villages), Marigail Mullins (YWCA), Martha Buchannan (Knox Co Health Dept), Rebecca Kelly Carbona (HRM), Amy Canfield (HRM DV Director), Emily Scheunaman (former HRM, now with DA office), Carol Wilson (Florence Crittenton) and Chief Rausch (Knoxville Police). Many of the same participated in the forum panel, with the addition of DA Charme Allen.

When asked, "What does JLK do well for the domestic violence issue in the community?" the answer from our forum was: "Keeping the issue out front by making a commitment to continue the discussion in the community." Per Chief Rausch – JLK has good, quality volunteers at every level who are hands on and work well with these issues. JLK made a long-lasting commitment with the Personal Development Center and developed the Find Your Voice committee with the Joy D. Baker Center.

These local Knoxville facts came from JLK's IBCI Task Force meetings and the Domestic Violence Forum hosted by JLK at the Family Justice Center in September 2015.

  • Per Chief Rausch, 600 out of 1000 calls per day are domestic related
  • Will affect 1 in 4 nationally and in Knoxville (no socio-economic boundary)
    • Higher income is a harder group. More of a power play, control of balance, control of
      finances, embarrassment
  •  26% of homicides in 2014 were domestic related (intimate partner) in Knox Co (5 of 19)
  • The FJC 24hr hotline received 3600 calls in 2014 turned away over 200 women needing
    housing that year – Prior to building new Domestic Violence Shelter, can house more, but still
    not enough
  • YWCA was unable to house 1200 women in 2014
  • Domestic Violence is one of the top causes of homelessness for women
  • There were 2,002 cases of non-intimate partner violence in 2014 – Elder abuse, Children/Parent, Siblings

What does Knoxville do well for the issue? Per Chief Rausch – Excellent Coordinated Response. The Family Justice Center is made up of 65 community partners and was one of the first of its kind in the nation. There are only 15 coordinated agencies like this in the country.

Areas of Opportunity: Prevention, better screening and tools, and keeping the issue out front

How Does JLK Make a Difference with Our Community Placements?

Helen Ross McNabb (JLK Personal Development Center): Considered a signature project (long term commitment of 10 years with us).  Focus is to provide an on-site center and group room for women and families in crisis to use on their road to independence. Women will have the opportunity to apply for jobs online, initiate and/or continue educational classes, and obtain vocational and life skills training. We also helped build a Boutique at this center.

  Joy D Baker Collaboration (Empowering Women Project): Women live at this center and children often live with them. Classes we hold there are focused on empowerment, helping women experience and learn new ways to obtain personal control within their own lives. Classes may include but not be limited to: parenting, family activity planning, inner and outer beauty, nourishment, budgeting, resume writing, building relationships and boundary setting in a workplace, interview skills and wardrobe.
Note: The Joy D Baker Center is a domestic violence shelter for women with and without children as well as a shelter for homeless women without children.

Family Justice Center Collaboration (Finding Your Voice): Women are “further along the journey” at this facility. JLK members provide monthly classes for women who have received services from the Family Justice Center and its’ partner agencies. These classes are focused on empowerment, helping women experience and learn new ways to obtain personal control within their own lives, to find their voices and utilize them. Classes may include but not be limited to: parenting, budgeting, resume writing, building relationships and boundary setting in a workplace, and interview skills and wardrobe.

Junior League of Knoxville's Mission & Vision

Our Mission

The Junior League of Knoxville is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Our Vision

The Junior League of Knoxville will significantly improve the quality of life in our community by focusing our resources on critical needs of women and families, providing a legacy of trained volunteers, and building community partnerships to inspire shared solutions. In an effort to better serve the immediate needs of the community, JLK is focusing on women's education and safety, with a current concentration on domestic violence and self development of women.


Meet some of the Ambassadors (fundraisers) that are part of this campaign

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