Taney County, MO – During the summer months, members of the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) collaborated with two Branson elementary school teachers, Jacki Lee and Sara Pardeck, to operate a summer school class and weekly “book swap” at one of the extended-stay hotels. The members also helped with weekly craft sessions and provided snacks for the children.
Once school started and the children and teachers went back to school, JATC members realized that they could continue to make a contribution to the children’s development and learning by initiating a new project - Homework Helpers. They began offering after-school homework help and the project continues to evolve to meet the children’s needs. Each Wednesday afternoon, JATC members meet approximately 10 – 15 children coming off the school buses and have snacks and drinks available for them. In addition, they replenish the books in the library that was set up during the summer Book Swap Stop program and help the children who request assistance with their homework.
As the women learned more about the children’s needs, they incorporated enrichment and fun activities suitable to the children, ages 4 – 17. This includes games that require reading and math, drawing and craft projects that require eye-hand coordination, and parties that celebrate birthdays and holidays.
Halloween Decorations children made for the lobby.
The Homework Helpers project joins other Junior Auxiliary projects providing services and support to children and families in Taney County. These include Santa’s Gift House, Journey, Prom Dress, Tender Critters, Scholarships, ScholarCare, College Readiness and support for the Women’s Crisis Center. Members raise money for these projects through one major event - a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, live entertainment and a Silent Auction. This year the 15th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Branson on March 28th, 2015. The women also have social events that contribute to the fun and passion they demonstrate while helping the community.
JATC is more than a nonprofit organization, it’s a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney County. That’s the magic of JATC. More information on JA and these projects can be found at the Junior Auxiliary website, JATCMO.ORG.
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 15,500 active, associate and life members in 98 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. 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 contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours and raise thousands of dollars annually as they strive to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children in Taney County.
Published: Branson Daily Independent, Nov. 2, 2014; Branson Tri-Lakes, Nov. 8, 2014; Hometown Daily News Website, Nov. 30, 2014