For over 70 years, the members of Junior Auxiliary of Columbus have been active community participants. In 2016-2017, our active and provisional members will donate thousands of hours of direct community service to the children of Columbus.
Our 10 service projects target some of our community’s most critical issues including child welfare, health, and education. Additionally, our impact extends to public improvements for the benefit of the children of our community.
Crown Park: Junior Auxiliary of Columbus partnered with the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors in the building of a Playground at the Columbus Soccer Complex. JA of Columbus donated $75,000 to the building of the play area. The grand opening of “Crown Park” was held August 18, 2018.
Choose Your Path: Choose Your Path’s main objective is to find motivational and educational speakers who encourage students to make good decisions on their own and to stay on the right path. The goal is to help them realize that their actions and choices today have consequences which affect their future. Four schools will be served this school year including Columbus High School, Columbus Middle School, Caledonia, and Heritage Academy. The speakers are chosen each year with input from the school principals and counselors according to what they deem the most important current issues with their students. Past topics have included Cyber Bullying, Fitness & Nutrition, and Motivation for Education.
Project Chairman: Hope Welch Assistant Chairman: Elizabeth Jones
General Welfare/Clothing: Everyone feels better when they are wearing nice, clean, well-fitting clothes. We all perform better and are more confident when we are dressed appropriately. Children especially deserve to feel great in their school clothes. Junior Auxiliary of Columbus offers a project which provides clothing to children in our community who are in need. The clothing of children under the general welfare category is the oldest project in Junior Auxiliary of Columbus, having been in place since the organization was formed in the 1940s. Area school counselors, teachers and principals refer children who need assistance. JA members compile information on the families, interview the parent or guardian, and then determine if assistance is needed. Once a child has been found to be in need, a private clothing appointment is scheduled at The Hut for school clothing. The child receives a basic wardrobe consisting of shirts, pants, socks, undergarments, a coat and a belt. Many children of Lowndes County have been able to attend school feeling much more confident. For the during the 2014-2015 school year, Junior Auxiliary clothed approximately 400 children.
Another part of our clothing program provides assistance in times of tragedy. Junior Auxiliary’s In-Depth program meets the needs of families in extreme circumstances, usually due to house fires, floods, or tornadoes. 27 children were assisted through In-Depth last year. We have helped to make a difference in the lives of children who have been served by clothing projects this year. Their smiles and words of appreciation must be shared with those in our community whose generous donations assist in meeting their needs. Thanks for helping us to continue to help others.
Project Chairman: Adrienne Golden Assistant Chairman: Katie Heard
Clothing Room Chairman: Morgan Galjour Assistant Chairman: Haley Corder
Fit and Fabulous Forever: This Junior Auxiliary project, often referred to as F3, is designed to teach children how to make healthier food choices at restaurants, to balance a meal, to be informed about food content, to experience various ways to exercise that do not require a gym or special equipment, and to discuss exercise activities found at local parks. After researching the need and interest in a health and fitness program in Lowndes City and County schools, the 2010 Junior Auxiliary Provisional Chapter set out to create a way to teach 4th & 5th graders that getting fit for life can be simple and fun with the Fit and Fabulous Forever program.
Links to additional information: www.calorieking.com www.kidshealth.com www.livestrong.com www.fitwatch.com
Project Chairman: Whitney Brown Assistant Chairman: Cathryn Borer
Junior Auxiliary Mentors J.A.M.: Junior Auxiliary Mentors, was developed to address the academic needs of students who are functioning below grade level in the area of reading. A special relationship is established through one-on-one interaction between mentor and child on the school premises during 30-45 minute sessions. This relationship serves to enhance the child’s perception of himself, improve his academic and social skills, while providing a nurturing atmosphere to promote the child’s ability and desire to succeed. This program is conducted October through April on a weekly basis and involves approximately 20 volunteers. This year, J.A.M. is helping students at Cook Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Stokes Beard Elementary and Caledonia Elementary schools. This project averages approximately 500 hours per school year. There is also a summer component to J.A.M. which runs from June 1 through the end of July and is held at HEARTS Tutoring. We have also had the pleasure to add on another location for our J.A.M program, Palmer Home for Children. Junior Auxiliary is extremely excited to be partnering with this wonderful organization.
Links to additional information: www.alline.org/euro/ereading.html www.starfall.com www.palmerhome.org
Project Chairman: Sally Edwards Assistant Chairman-Summer JAM: Gayla Rye
In My Shoes: In My Shoes a disability awareness program designed for second grade children. For four days, a team of Junior Auxiliary members visits each classroom, reading them a story pertaining to four disabilities: Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, vision/hearing impaired, and autism. After the story, the children get to experience the challenges and frustrations of a disability in some way, for example working puzzles while blindfolded, touching Braille books, and doing fine motor tasks with limited use of their fingers. For several years, this program has been presented to the children at Joe Cook and New Hope Elementary Schools. We hope that by putting the children “in the shoes” of a child with a disability, they will be more understanding, accepting and inclusive of children with special needs.
Project Chairman: Brooke Johnston Assistant Chairman: Kristen Jordan
Vision and Hearing Impairments: www.heartsandminds.org www.asha.org www.betterhearing.org www.afb.org www.guidedog.org www.blind.net www.preventblindness.org www.cfv.org www.cyh.com www.livestrong.com www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing
Reality Fair: The Reality Fair offers a hands-on, real life simulation, which gives 11th grade students an opportunity to glance into their future in a fun and exciting way. They are encouraged to make healthy and wise lifestyle choices similar to those adults face on a daily basis. In a mock reality drill, students are “paid” a monthly salary, after taxes, based on their GPA and given a checkbook style ledger to record and balance their monthly expenses. The students then circulate through 7 booths manned by members of the Junior Auxiliary: Housing & Insurance, Utilities, Gas & Groceries, Transportation & Insurance, Cell Phones & Technology, Chance, and the Bank. Students rotate from booth to booth, first paying for their basic needs, then if they budget wisely and make smart choices, indulge in some luxury items or add to their savings. The students must watch out for the Chance booth — every student must spin the wheel and, just like in reality, may wind up with a windfall or an unexpected expense! The last stop is the bank where they are counseled on their spending and savings habits and offered sensible financial advice on how to better manage their money. The true “reality” of this fair is the connection the students make between their high school performance and their future career potential and lifestyle expectations.
Project Chairman: Holly Hazard Assistant Chairman: Kay Regimbal
Scholarship: The Scholarship project, initiated in 1963, consists of a Junior Auxiliary committee who receives resumes from upcoming graduates. Winners are chosen and scholarships donated toward their education. Many of our scholarships reward students annually, up to four years in college. In 2015-2016, $30,000 of scholarship donations were given through Junior Auxiliary, both to our recipients from this year and those continuing to receive stipends through their four years of college.
See our News section for the latest scholarship recipients and our Home page to download a scholarship application.
In addition to our local Junior Auxiliary chapter scholarship program, additional scholarships are available through NAJA. Begun in 1962, the NAJA Scholarship Program has awarded more than 476 grants totaling over $1,038,000 for graduate study in fields which address the special needs of children and youth. The Betty W. Robbins Endowed Scholarship was established in 1995 by the Robbins family in memory of Betty Robbins of Ruston, Louisiana. For additional information: www.najanet.org/view/17
Project Chairman: Elizabeth Jones Assistant Chairman: Holly Hazard
Stand Up Speak Out: Stand Up Speak Out is an awareness program to teach students about bullying. This has become a very serious subject in our schools today. In the spring of 2013, Mr. John Halligan spoke to hundreds of students, parents, and teachers in our local schools and community. He lost his son to cyber bullying and was a very moving and motivational speaker. In the 2016-2017 school year, Junior Auxiliary of Columbus will work with the local schools to reach out to children who have been bullied or ones who are the bullies. Hopefully, through this program we will be able to touch the lives of our children. We hope this program will help students to become empowered and better prepared to meet the challenges of bullying in a proactive manner and make socially responsible decisions.
Project Chairman: Carrie Martin Assistant Chairman: Stephanie Woodard
Read to Succeed: Read to Succeed is an educational program designed specifically for Headstart preschool children in Lowndes County. Each year, Read to Succeed coincides with the National Educations Assciation’s Read Across America Day, a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2—Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books. During this week, Junior Auxiliary members read Dr. Seuss books with the children, do activities together throughout the week and conclude the event with skit. Read to Succeed has provided a fun reading environment encouraging the children to become lifelong learners.
Project Chairman: Darrie Price Assistant Chairman: Kathryn Carson
Link to additional information: www.nea.org
Choose Kindness: Choose Kindness is an anti-bullying project serving approximately 500 elementary students each year through a program presented in a small-group format. Choose Kindness gives children the opportunity to rotate through different stations which address the difference between bullying and conflict, the role of the bystander, cyberbullying, and strategies to combat bullying. In addition, the children are able to discuss the importance of choosing kindness over bullying, as well as forming a paper “kindness chain” with details of acts of kindness the children have given or received. At the conclusion of the presentation each child receives a “Choose Kindness” motivational wristband as a reminder of the project’s theme and how crucial choosing kindness is. This project equips children with a variety of tools to stand up to bullying and encourages them to seek help for victims of bullying. It is our hope that through this project children will gain confidence in knowing that no child should ever endure a bullying situation.
Project Chairman: Mary Tana Garner, Assistant Chairman: Anna Woodson