11/7/15: Junior Auxiliary of Taney County Puts Smiles on Children's Faces in the Emergency Room

Imagine being an injured child waiting in the Emergency Room or being admitted to the hospital.  Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) members understand that a small stuffed animal can help alleviate a child’s fear and anxiety in this situation and Tender Critters is one of their longest running service project. 

 JATC is grateful to the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 913 who recently donated approximately 75 stuffed animals for the Tender Critters project.  They have partnered with JATC for several years and their contributions are added to the members’ own donations to supply Cox Hospital with new stuffed animal deliveries several times a year. 

 According to a volunteer in the ER, the stuffed animals really work with the kids.  When a little girl came in with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder and she was taken back for treatment, he got her a stuffed animal.  He said her face lit up with a smile and she said “thank you”. 

 Tender Critters is a year-round service project because the need never ends.  JATC invites the community to help brighten a child’s day by donating a new stuffed animal.  It’s a small effort that can make a big impact on a child’s time in the hospital.

 Tender Critters is one of many service projects that JATC members provide to the community.  Others include School Supplies in January; Santa’s Gift House; College Readiness programs and scholarships; prom dresses for girls in need; Journey, a mentoring project for young women; support for the Women’s Crisis Center, in which they provide home improvement and monetary support for one of the cottages; Book Swap Stop/Homework Helpers, in which they provide snacks, enrichment programs, reading and homework help for children who live in extended-stay hotels/motels; and Heart of Arts, in which members donate art & craft materials and/or work on projects with adults with disabilities at Developmental Connections.

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. 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.   Check out the organization’s website, JATCMO.org, or call Membership Chair, Linda Lewis, at (417) 527-3963, to find out more or to get involved.

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 16th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Branson on April 2, 2016.   Also, JATC was selected as the sole beneficiary of the first annual Branson Women’s Expo that was held held Oct. 10 – 11 at the West Wing Conference Center on Gretna Road.

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”.

 Published: Branson Tri-Lakes News, November 7, 2015