One of the Leagues most distinguished contributions to the quality of life was born on February, 1980 with the opening of INSIGHTS, the worlds only “hands on” science and technology center, operated entirely by volunteers.
This decade also saw the Chamizal Fiesta of the Arts, a 10-day program held each summer at the Chamizal National Memorial to demonstrate and promote the arts in El Paso.
In 1980-1981, the JLEP joined with the El Paso Arts Alliance and Arts Resources Department in hosting Mural Week as part of the four Centuries 1981 Celebration. The St. Louis-based firm of On the Wall Productions spent a week in El Paso holding mural workshops, advocating the use of murals as a public art form to local businesses and organizations, and painting a cooperative Four Centuries mural at the Cordova Bridge.
In 1980-1981, under the leadership of JLEP president Mrs. Hughes Butterworth Jr., the membership adopted the following position statement:
The Junior League of El Paso, Texas, Inc. supports and promotes the following: Every child in Texas should have access to quality education. Therefore:
- Conditions conducive to recruiting and maintaining quality teachers must exist;
- Standards of Excellence for teachers must be required;
- Children should be educated according to their individual needs.
Letters were sent to all Texas legislators, our local school superintendents, school board members, and teachers’ organizations, requesting their support for the bills in the state legislature which would grant increases in teachers’ salaries, require teacher competency testing and additional funding for programs for the gifted and talented students.
In 1981-1982, our Headquarters was extensively remodeled and redecorated with a budget of $120,000.
In 1982-1983, the JLEP celebrated its 50th anniversary with a formal dinner-dance and community reception. Junior League Week was declared by the El Paso’s Mayor and two historical landmarks were dedicated to El Paso County. A Christmas Fair made a profit of $82,000.
In 1983-1984, portraits of the past presidents were displayed at Headquarters in honor of the 50th celebration.
In 1984-1985, in order to meet the needs of its members, a new placement option was offered wherein members who had completed at least seven years of active membership were permitted to choose Associate Status, wherein they were not placed on a committee but were required to fulfill other membership obligations. Community Research considered twenty potential project applications which resulted in eight new projects including: Adopt-a-Median, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Kids of El Paso, Woman to Woman (alcohol awareness), and Zarzuela Festival (Spanish Operetta). Internally, an Executive Liaison/Council System was implemented to provide additional leadership training and communication among committees.
In 1986-1987, Adopt-a-Median inaugurated a collaborative project with the El Paso Clean Community Systems. A year of research, planning, and bureaucratic trailblazing netted over $285,000 and sponsorship for planning 40 highway medians.
In 1989-1990, the Admissions Committee proposed a record 62 perspective members. Community Research studied a record 30 proposals for submission to the Project Review Committee, resulting in the adoption of seven new and seven continuing projects. Through these efforts and community projects, the JLEP continued to manifest its concern for children and the arts that began fifty years before.