10/5/13: JATC members begin extreme makeover of Women's Crisis Center cottage

 Cathy Brown, JATC President, presents a check to Becky Vermeire, Executive Director of the Women’s Crisis Center of Taney County, to help pay the utilities for Cottage #9.

Cathy Brown, JATC President, presents a check to Becky Vermeire, Executive Director of the Women’s Crisis Center of Taney County, to help pay the utilities for Cottage #9.

What a difference two days can make!  On September 7 and 8, 16 members from the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC), joined by some friends and family, devoted 16 hours to begin a major rehabilitation of Cottage #9 at the Women’s Crisis Center of Taney County.  This two-day event marked the beginning of JATC’s participation in the Adopt-a-Cottage Program.  The program is designed to get community assistance for refurbishing and maintaining the temporary living quarters for women and children fleeing domestic violence. 

 Clark Harris replaces rotten floorboards before new carpet is installed.

Clark Harris replaces rotten floorboards before new carpet is installed.

 Diane Staggs cleans the front door for painting.

Diane Staggs cleans the front door for painting.

During the two days, the JATC volunteers pulled out all the carpet and installed new carpet, deep cleaned the entire interior and some furniture, painted the interior walls, power washed the exterior, cleaned, caulked and painted windows and trim, painted interior and exterior doors and trim, trimmed trees, pulled weeds, mulched, installed new blinds and window treatments and replaced light bulbs with energy-efficient ones.  They also replaced kitchen utensils, bake ware, chairs, lighting, mirrors, sheets, blankets, towels, and some furniture.  The time and most of the materials, including carpet, paint, window treatments, chairs, bedding, and kitchen utensils were donated by JATC members.  Numerous hours were devoted to planning, organizing the volunteers, obtaining donations and purchasing necessary supplies prior to the event.   In addition, JATC donated $500 to the Women’s Crisis Center to help pay the monthly utilities for the cottage.

JATC members voted to participate in the Adopt-a-Cottage program as one of their 2013 service projects. Each year JATC assesses the community’s needs and establishes service projects to address those needs.  Many of their projects have been sustained for years, such as College Readiness programs and scholarships for seniors from all 4 Taney County high schools, prom dresses for girls in need, stuffed animals for children in the local hospitals, mid-year replenishment of school supplies and hygiene products for Taney County elementary schools, and support for the School Backpack Program. 

Several newer projects include Santa’s Gift House, which provides affordable holiday gift shopping for children, Journey, a mentoring project for young women, and Taneyhills Library Summer Reading Program, which encourages children to continue reading during the summer months.

The members raise money for these projects through one major event in March - a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, live entertainment and a Silent Auction.  The women also have social events that contribute to the fun and passion they demonstrate while helping the community.

JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi.  NAJA has more than 14,500 active, associate and life members in 101 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.  Their slogan is “Care Today-Character Tomorrow”.  The Taney County chapter, JATC, was established by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1997 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County.  Approximately 50 members annually contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours and thousands of dollars as they strive to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children in Taney County.  

More information on JATC can be found on their Facebook page, Junior Auxiliary of Taney County or via email at jatcmo@gmail.com.  More information on NAJA can be found at www.najanet.org

Source: Branson Tri-Lakes news, 10/5/13

Source: Branson Daily Independent, Oct 4-5, 2013