Community engagement is nothing new for Bradleyville Elementary School. But engagement with this small community on the eastern edge of Taney County is a new venture for members of Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC), revealing new opportunities for the group to make a difference in children’s lives.
JATC’s newest project, Learners Today/Leaders Tomorrow (or LT2 ) will provide K-6 pupils and teachers in this rural Bradleyville School with a multi-faceted program of tools, materials and technical assistance designed to enhance learning and improve skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Components of the program include the acquisition of STEM curriculum, along with state-of-the art tablets and educational applications. JATC also established a STEM Resource Center at the school designed to expand students’ engagement with and enjoyment of science and math. JATC volunteers will also work with students on STEM-related projects, participate in special school activities, and maintain "rainy day carts" stocked with materials for the children to use during recess in inclement weather. JA is delighted to be partnering with Principal Gina Norwine and the enthusiastic and dedicated teachers at Bradleyville.
This project was jump-started with a generous grant awarded to JATC by the Branson-Hollister Rotary Club. The Rotary Club has shown an on-going interest in the project above and beyond the grant award to JATC by providing toys and games for the "rainy-day carts" that were high on the Bradleyville teachers' wish list.
In addition to the material assistance, JATC volunteers are helping with special events at the school, getting to know and becoming a familiar presence to teachers and students. At the school’s Open House in August, JATC volunteers led tours of the STEM Resource Center and provided refreshments for the visiting parents and children. On Grandparents’ Day in September, eight JATC members were on hand to assist with the Book Fair and to offer assistance with craft activities in each of the classrooms. Several JATC members filled in as honorary grandparents for children whose own grandparents were unavailable. It was a heartwarming and satisfying time for all involved and illustrated Junior Auxiliary’s slogan of “Care Today-Character Tomorrow”.
JATC is especially excited about Learners Today/Leaders Tomorrow (LT2) because of the opportunity it represents to fulfill the organization's mission to provide services to children and families throughout Taney County. LT2 is one of fourteen JATC projects, designed, funded and operated by the 50+ women who comprise the Active, Associate and Life membership in the organization. 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.
JATC 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 throughout Taney County. Tax-deductible contributions come from the annual Trivia Night (scheduled for March 25, 2017!), corporate charitable giving (e.g., Belk’s Charity Days, Schwan’s Care and Amazon Smile), grants and individual donations. JATC has also been designated as the recipient organization for funds raised at Branson Women’s Expo on October 22nd and-23rd. Find out more about JATC and current projects and donation opportunities at the group’s website jatcmo.org.