The Junior Women's Club of Fairfield has awarded $17,000 to the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport. The money represents proceeds from the club's December fundraiser, A Visit to Santa's House.

The money is earmarked for the Shehan Center's JWC Zone, an after-school program for girls ages 10 to 18, the club said in a news release.

A Visit to Santa's House, staged annually by the JWC at the Burr Homestead, attracts hundreds of families and is one of Fairfield's most popular holiday events. Each year, the club names a nonprofit organization as beneficiary of the fundraiser.

"This year's contribution is one of the top donations in JWC history, and we couldn't be happier to give it to such a wonderful organization," Cheryl Eustace, the club's co-president said in the news release. "It's been exciting seeing our hard work translated into a project that nurtures young women!"

The money was awarded during the club's Feb. 18 meeting.

The Shehan Center also was the recipient the previous year, when the club established the JWC Zone and conducted a variety of educational programs ranging from a healthy-cooking class to a reading challenge. The recent $17,000 grant will support more programs there, the club said.

"The Cardinal Shehan Center is truly grateful to be a two-year recipient to benefit the JWC Girls Zone Program," Lorraine Gibbons, the center's director of development said in the news release. "The partnership formed is invaluable. The lives of the girls have been enriched."