For over 75 years, the members of Junior Auxiliary of Columbus have been active community participants. In the upcoming 2019-2020 year, our Active, Provisional, and Associate/Life Members will devote thousands of service hours to benefit the deserving children of Lowndes County.
Our 10 service projects target some of our community’s most critical issues including child welfare, health, and education. Additionally, our impact extends to local improvements for the benefit of children.
Crown Park: Junior Auxiliary of Columbus partnered with the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors in the building of an inclusive playground at the Columbus Soccer Complex. JA of Columbus donated $75,000 towards the building of the play area which was open to the public in August 2018.
General Welfare/Clothing: One cannot deny the power of wearing nice, clean, well-fitting clothes and its direct correlation to a more positive self-image. 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 this project which provides clothing to children within our community. The clothing of children, under the general welfare category, is the longest running project within the history of our Chapter having been established since the organization was first formed in the 1940s. Area school counselors, teachers and principals refer children who are in need of assistance. After the referral process, JA members contact the parent or guardian to complete an interview process during which information is gathered to determine if assistance is warranted. After a child has been found to be a candidate for this project, a private clothing appointment is scheduled at the Junior Auxiliary Hut. There, members meet with the child and parent and become a personal shopper for the child providing them with a basic wardrobe consisting of shirts, pants, socks, undergarments, coat, belt and hygiene bag. During 2018-2019 academic year, Junior Auxiliary clothed more than 400 children through this project.
Another part of our clothing project provides much needed assistance in times of unforeseeable tragedy. Also known as In-Depth, the project provides immediate assistance with clothing for families in extreme circumstances usually due to natural disasters such as house fires, floods, or tornados. Members meet with families often times within 24 hours of the tragedy. Last year 107 children were assisted through In-Depth. The Junior Auxiliary of Columbus strives to make a difference in the lives of the children who give the brightest of smiles and words of appreciation that are not just solely intended for our members, but also shared with those in our community whose generous donations allow us to continue serving their needs.
Project Chairman: Katie Heard
Assistant Chairman: Ashli Dunn
Clothing Room Chairman: Hayley Corder
Assistant Chairman: Morgan Shipp
Fit and Fabulous Forever: This Junior Auxiliary project, often referred to as F3, is designed to teach children how to make healthier choices in regards to eating, helpful ways to balance a meal, information about food content, experience various forms of exercise with no requirement of a gym or special equipment, and to discuss other healthy activities that can be 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 class set out to create a way to teach 4th & 5th graders 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: Anna Woodson
Assistant Chairman: Melinda Duffie
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-to-one interaction between mentor and child on school premises during 30-45 minute weekly 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 25 members. 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.
Links to additional information: www.alline.org/euro/ereading.html www.starfall.com
Project Chairman: Gayla Rye
Assistant Chairman: Brooke Johnston
In My Shoes: In My Shoes is a disability awareness program designed for second grade children. This project was created to help students better understand their friends with disabilities. With more special needs children participating in the general education classroom bringing awareness, tolerance, and acceptance into discussion were the main objectives in providing this project to the students. For two days, a team of Junior Auxiliary members visits each classroom, reading them a story pertaining to four main disabilities: Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Vision/Hearing impaired, and Autism. After the story is read aloud, hands-on activities are provided for the students to experience how people with disabilities accomplish everyday tasks and responsibilities.
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. Recently, our Chapter has had the opportunity of partnering with the Allied Health students at McKellar Tech Center. We are fortunate to be partnering with this amazing group of passionate students.
Project Chairman: Kristen Jordan
Assistant Chairman: Hannah Nail
Vision and Hearing Impairments: www.heartsandminds.org www.asha.org www.betterhearing.org www.afb.org www.guidedog.org www.blind.netwww.preventblindness.org www.cfv.org www.cyh.com www.livestrong.com www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing
Reality Fair: The Reality Fair project 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, Wheel of 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 contribute to their savings. However, watch out for the Wheel of 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, their future career earnings potential, and how it can alter lifestyle expectations.
Project Chairman: Kay Regimbal
Assistant Chairman: Emily Wheeler
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 2018-2019, $31,000 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.
Visit our ‘News’ page for the latest scholarship recipients and our ‘Scholarship’ 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 since awarded more than 552 grants totaling over $1,308,504 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: Holly Hazard
Assistant Chairman: Alison Alexander
Stand Up Speak Out: Stand Up Speak Out is an awareness program designed to educate 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 within our community. He lost his son to cyber bullying in 2003 and was compiled to not only honor his son by telling his story but to also impart knowledge on the powerful and wide range effect bullying has. In the 2019-2020 school year Junior Auxiliary of Columbus will work with the local schools to reach children who have been bullied, the ones who are the bullies, and the most significant and often times more common role of the bystanders. It is our goal that this program will help students to become empowered and better prepared to meet the challenges of bullying in a proactive manner by making socially responsible decisions.
Project Chairman: Stephanie Woodard
Assistant Chairman: Marla Fisher
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 Association’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 a Dr. Seuss’s skit. Read to Succeed has provided a fun reading environment to non-school age children encouraging them to become avid lifelong learning.
Project Chairman: Adrienne Golden
Assistant Chairman: Kathryn Carson
Link to additional information: www.nea.org
Choose Kindness: Choose Kindness is an anti-bullying project intended to educate an elementary audience through 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 scenarios. 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: Rachel Hurt
Assistant Chairman: Lindsey Frazure