Seven Taney County students are heading off to college with a little help from Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC). Four seniors, one from each of the county’s high schools, received $500 scholarships based on their outstanding volunteer service to the community. Samantha Rogers graduated from Bradleyville High School and will be attending College of the Ozarks. Dustin Doerr, a graduate of Hollister High School, will attend Hickey College in St. Louis, MO. Also headed to College of the Ozarks is Kassadee Pingleton, Branson High School’s scholarship winner. Arthur (Trey) Hale of Forsyth High School will be attending Stanford University in California.
Three other students were selected for JATC’s ScholarCare program. Each will receive a $500 scholarship for this year, as well as regular treats and encouragement throughout the school year from JATC members. Ashley Schockey, a 2014 graduate of Branson High School who will be attending Truman State University in Kirksville, MO, was selected this year as the newest ScholarCare recipient. ScholarCare students have their scholarships (and support) renewed for up to four years as long as they continue in school and maintain an acceptable grade point average. Lexie Rick a Hollister High School graduate, recently accepted into the nursing program at Moberly Community College, will be completing her fourth year as a ScholarCare student. It is the second year of ScholarCare for Kelsie Thomas, who graduated from Bradleyville High School, attends College of the Ozarks.
These scholarships are just one of the many projects funded and carried out by JATC members. Periodically, JATC assesses the community’s needs and establishes service projects to address those needs. Many projects have been sustained for years, such as these scholarships, a College Readiness program, prom dresses for girls in need, stuffed animals for children in the local hospital, mid-year replenishment of school supplies and hygiene products for Taney County elementary schools, and support for the School Backpack (nutrition)Program.
Newer projects include support for the Women’s Crisis Center Cottage #9 in Rockaway Beach; Santa’s Gift House, which provides affordable holiday gift shopping for children; Journey, a mentoring project for young women; and Book Swap, providing age-appropriate reading materials and a weekly craft and social time for children living at one of several Branson area residential motels. JATC members raise money for these projects primarily through one major event held annually in March: a lively and entertaining Trivia Challenge which includes dinner, live entertainment and a Silent Auction
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 email@example.com. More information on NAJA can be found at www.najanet.org.
Published: Branson Daily Independent, Jul 30-31, 2014; Branson Tri-Lakes News, 8/2/14; Springfield NewsLeader, 8/13/14