The object of this organization shall be to promote the cultural, educational and environmental welfare of the region through service projects, outreach, and other charitable activities. The GFWC/BJWC is a member of both the Virginia Federation of Women's Clubs and the General Federation of Women's Clubs and as such will align their objectives with the objectives of these organizations.
The Blacksburg Junior Women’s Club was formed in November, 1935 by a small group of local ladies who wanted to give back to their community as well as strengthen social ties. The group originally had 13 members. The club became a member of the Virginia Federation of Women’s Clubs in February, 1936. The stated object of the organization was to “unite all loyal and progressive citizens in an intelligent effort toward a better Blacksburg, to promote good citizenship, public health, general culture and civic ideals.”
During its early days, the club raised money for the Blacksburg Library, published a “Discovering Blacksburg” booklet for those who were new to the area, sponsored a Girl Scout Brownie troop, started free “Mother and Baby Care” classes in partnership with the American Red Cross, and supported Camp Easter Seals. In 1949, BJWC founded the Blacksburg Newcomer’s Club, which is still in existence today. During this year, record membership is at 90. In 1967 and 1984, the club was honored with national GFWC awards for its service.
Today, the club has over 40 members and supports a variety of projects.
Jessi Preussner, President
This will be Jessi’s third year in the club. She is originally from Iowa but moved to the area about six years ago to work for Virginia Tech in the Office of Sponsored Programs. Her favorite service project is Cornerstone because it focuses on setting up apartments for women and their children who are leaving an abusive relationship. Catch her tailgating and cheering on the Hokie every football season!
Ashley Smith, Vice President of Reporting
Ashley is originally from Chesterfield, Virginia, and came to Blacksburg to attend Virginia Tech. After graduation, she stayed because she fell in love with the small-town feel, the mountains, and being able to attend football games each Fall. Ashley was looking for a way to make friends and serve her community when she found BJWC; she’s been a member since 2010. Her two favorite service projects are the Christmas Store and Last Minute Angels because “it’s truly a genuine show of neighbors helping neighbors.”
Sarah Ryan, Vice President of Membership
A former BHS Bruin and Virginia Tech Alum, Sarah grew up in Blacksburg and stayed because she loved the small-town feel, being able to experience all four seasons, the kind and caring people, and last but CERTAINLY not least, Hokie football season! Sarah was invited to attend a meeting by a former member of the club and loved having the opportunity to meet new people through service projects and giving back to the community. Sarah is a 2nd grade teacher at Price’s Fork Elementary School and especially loves being able to support her students inside and outside of the classroom. This will be her third year in the club.
Susan Thompson, Secretary
Susan has been a member of BJWC for 10 years and feels that having a shared goal of service to the NRV community is what keeps her coming back year after year. Susan grew up in Columbus, Ohio and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Ohio State (Go Bucks!) in Logistics and Marketing and a MBA in International Business from California Lutheran University. She also holds a Project Management Certification from Villanova. She and her family moved to Blacksburg in 2006 when her Product Management position at United Pet Group was relocated from Southern California. In late 2011, Susan left UPG and started consulting for a variety of clients in personal finance and project management. Susan’s family is happy to call Blacksburg home and Susan and Peter plan on retiring to Claytor Lake when the time is right.
Courtney Williams, Treasurer
As a recent addition to the BJWC family, Courtney has quickly joined her fellow members in giving back to the New River Valley community. She is looking forward to her second year of membership and is always eager to meet fellow women with a passion for leadership and service. Courtney moved from Chicago to join the 2008 graduating class of VT studying Health Promotion. She met her husband Brian bartending at Poor Billy's Restaurant in Blacksburg. She currently works at Invision Eye Care in Christiansburg. An avid movie quoter with a fierce love of books, cheese, dogs, and wine...in no particular order.
Emilie Pata, Service Coordinator
Emilie moved to Blacksburg in August 2016 and joined BJWC right away. It was a great opportunity for her to meet people while giving back to the community. Emilie says, "The diversity of services we provide make BJWC accessible to anyone. I have 2 young children and I am happy to see service opportunities suitable for them.
For my second year in the group I decided to join the service comity and be a bigger part of March of Ales, our fundraiser."