Vanessa Johnston, chief of security at the GEO Reentry Services at the Grossman Center – Residential Reentry Center, joined the Les Novelettes Club in the summer of 2017 because she liked the idea of helping young people in their quest for a higher education.
The club was organized in 1950 and members chose the motto “Unity for Progress.”

By RIMSIE McCONIGA
rmcconiga@leavenworthtimes.com


Vanessa Johnston, chief of security at the GEO Reentry Services at the Grossman Center – Residential Reentry Center, joined the Les Novelettes Club in the summer of 2017 because she liked the idea of helping young people in their quest for a higher education.   
The club was organized in 1950 and members chose the motto “Unity for Progress.”


The aims were to provide scholarships that would support the educational endeavors of local high school students heading to a higher institution of learning.


Besides awarding thousands in scholarship money to approximately 165 graduating seniors from Leavenworth High School, Lansing High School and the former Immaculata High School, the club also endeavors to lend charitable aid to the community. One of its proudest achievements was raising funds that resulted in the purchase of band uniforms for students at Warren Middle School.
This year the club, which has 16 members, will celebrate its 69th anniversary. One of the club’s favorite events, a fashion show, is coming up.

 
“The main fundraiser is the Fashion Show,” says Johnston. “We also  have a fundraiser celebrating  Martin Luther King Day.  We have local sponsors who help defray the cost of events.”
The theme is Trendsetters In Motion. It will be from 1-3 p.m. April 20 at the Heritage Center in downtown Leavenworth, with a light lunch at noon.


“Your $20 donation will be used to help a local high school student continue their education with a scholarship,” says Johnston.
Many of the club’s scholarship recipients have been able to pursue their dreams in some of the most coveted professions. And recipients have also adopted the club’s goal of “paying it forward,” repaying the generosity of others by giving something of value to someone else.
Les Novelettes’ scholarship recipients have gone on to become military leaders, doctors, nurses, teachers, etc.


Les Novelettes’ ability to ease the financial burdens of so many is directly related to the benevolence of the Leavenworth/Lansing community. Les Novelettes Club became more determined and committed to expand the scope of its fundraising abilities over the years. In order to reach out to broader funding opportunities, the club applied for and received a 501(c)3 charitable status.
As a result, local businesses and private donors are able to realize the advantages of a tax deduction.


“My favorite thing about being a member of Les Novelettes is being around a lot of professional women who have the same goals as I do,” says Johnston. “It’s the idea that we as a club are investing in the higher education that will benefit the community. For the past 69 years, the Les Novelettes Club has provided charitable aid to the community as well as providing scholarships to three high school graduates in the Lansing and Leavenworth area each year. The club is well known for charitable contributions.”  

 
Club members want to continue to invest their leadership and commitment to the youth in the community by modeling basic values and a personal responsibility for good deeds.
As the club’s motto indicates, they have been “united” for 69 years and their “progress” has become legend.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling Johnston at 936-544-0345.