As Holiday House Chairman Jessica Mitchell welcomes guests to the Junior League Little Rock’s shopping spectacular, she reflects on the organization’s continued mission fulfillment work in the community: improving the lives of women and children.
By Rebekah Hall | Photography by Meredith Melody | Hair by Caitlin Neumann with Face Your Day Salon | Makeup by Aaron Perkins with Face Your Day Salon
Celebrating nearly three decades of success, Junior League of Little Rock’s Holiday House features more than 180 merchants from across the country and welcomes approximately 14,000 shoppers each year. It’s considered “the shopping event of the season” and proceeds support the organization’s continued mission fulfillment work: improving the lives of women and children. Holiday House Chairman Jessica Mitchell guarantees this year is sure to be one for the books.
Jessica joined JLLR shortly after graduating college. The JLLR membership of women and the organization’s mission continue to motivate her – helping transform the lives of women and children in Central Arkansas. “To see everybody come together for a common goal to improve our community and develop ourselves, that was really inspirational to me,” Jessica notes. “I think that’s really what’s kept me there and kept me involved – I really love giving back to my community and being a part of a group of women like this.”
Jessica works at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as the Director of Medical Staff Services and is a mother of four. While juggling these responsibilities – in addition to her leadership role with JLLR – can feel like having three full time jobs, she feels compelled to affect real change in the lives of the women and children JLLR serves. “I look at the blessings that I have with my family, and I think seeing how blessed we are drives me to serve my community through the league and through my work at Children’s Hospital,” Jessica explains. “I want to have an impact on those that aren’t as fortunate as I am or my family is. That’s what makes me work so hard for somebody else – I want to have an impact.”
Congruent with the organization’s mission – training effective volunteers – Jessica works closely with Holiday House Chairman-Elect Lauren Hardy. Lauren expresses her gratitude for Jessica’s leadership + guidance. “She amazes me. When issues pop up, she faces them head on and she faces them with grace,” Lauren reflects. “She’s hands-on, and she motivates the whole committee.”
Holiday House Marketing Chairman Katherine Vasilos adds that Jessica approaches her role as committee chairman with determination to make this year’s event their best one yet. “Since Holiday House provides 80% of the funding for our projects, she does not take that lightly. She wants to break records, she wants to do better than last year, she wants everyone to work at their full potential so we can accomplish even more than the year before,” Katherine emphasizes. “She sets the bar high and certainly leads that example with everything she does, and it’s really awesome to watch someone so passionate about the league and the work that we’re doing here in Little Rock.”
Proceeds from Holiday House ticket sales and special events benefit the organization’s mission work in the community, supporting programs such as KOTA Camp, Boosters and Big Rigs, Little Readers Rock, Stuff The Bus and Lyfe.
Lauren loves that Holiday House patrons can shop with the assurance that they’re supporting an organization that is building a brighter future for all Arkansans. “Every dime we get goes into the budgets for our community projects,” she notes. “The more money we make, the more school supplies we’re able to get, the more books we’re able to give, the more kids we’re able to have at camp. Anything you see the Junior League of Little Rock doing, Holiday House is helping provide the money to do that.”
Jessica wants Holiday House shoppers to enjoy the special events and opportunities for fellowship + fun, but she also reminds attendees they’re making a valuable investment. “Holiday House has a huge impact on the community that we wouldn’t be able to do without the funds that we raise,” Jessica emphasizes. “I want people to remember that. I think people forget that the reason we’re doing this is to turn around and spend that money on our community, and really focus on women and children and their healthcare and literacy. We’re really trying to move the mark on our community in those areas.”