As a 109-year-old organization dedicated to civic leadership and developing the potential of individual women as leaders in their communities, the Junior Leagues are usually the ones giving out the awards. So the decision by Action for Children North Carolina to honor all 11 Junior Leagues in North Carolina with the prestigious 2010 N.C. Children’s Lifetime Legacy Award was a pleasant surprise.

Delly Beekman, President of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., said, “We are humbled to be honored by Action for Children North Carolina, which is one of the most effective state-wide, non-profit advocates for children’s issues in the U.S. Over the years North Carolina Junior League members have tackled some of the state’s toughest and most urgent problems and, as a result, have made profound and lasting impact on the communities in which they live. Together with their 160,000 sister members across The Junior League Movement, they comprise one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world.”

The Junior Leagues of North Carolina – Asheville, Charlotte, Durham and Orange Counties, Fayetteville, Gaston County, Greensboro, High Point, Moore County, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem – have donated millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to programs in their respective communities that benefit children and families. Highlights of current programs include: the Junior League of Charlotte’s “Healthy Child Initiative,” which aims to raise awareness of the physical, dental and mental health issues particular to children from infancy to the age of 17 and by connecting parents and their children to appropriate service providers; the Junior League of Raleigh’s SAFEchild, an agency founded to fill in the gap in human services offerings between their county’s social services and other public and private organizations; and the Junior League of Winston-Salem’s Read to Me program, which uses reading and literacy activities to prepare children aged three to five to enter school ready to succeed.

The North Carolina Leagues will be honored at a luncheon to be held on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus on June 18. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina, herself a longtime Junior League member.

The N.C. Children’s Lifetime Legacy Award is presented each year by Action for Children North Carolina. Sponsors of this year’s event include GlaxoSmithKline, Golden Corral, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, N.C. Pediatric Society, WakeMed, Capitol Broadcasting, CapTrust, CenturyLink, N.C. Community Foundation and Asheboro Elastics.