Junior Auxiliary of Taney County Encourages Local Teens to Continue Their Learning by Awarding Six Scholarships

Four deserving seniors were honored recently with college scholarships from Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC).  JATC provided a $750 non-renewable scholarship to a graduating senior at each of the four Taney County high schools.  This year’s recipients were: Grace Shipley, Bradleyville; Emile Gephart, Branson; Morgan Burkitt, Forsyth; and Joshua Willis, Hollister.  Selection of these recipients was based primarily on volunteer service to their communities, above and beyond any school requirements, in addition to academic accomplishments and personal recommendations.

 The other two scholarships are $750 Scholarcare renewable scholarships.  This award is available for up to four years and is presented to a graduating senior who can benefit from the money as well as a little extra personal encouragement and care packages that JATC members provide monthly throughout the year.  This year Evander Gonzalez, Branson and Brooklyne Romine, Forsyth were selected to receive this award based on personal essays and recommendations accompanying their applications.   We are also proud to announce that Shana Topka, a graduate of Branson High School, has completed her four years with us as a Scholarcare student.  Shana has only nine hours left to complete her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO.  She will graduate in December, 2019.

 JATC is proud to be able to provide support and encouragement to these students as they pursue their education and move into adulthood.  These Scholarships and Scholarcare Awards are just one of the many projects and services offered in Taney County by the members of JATC.  More information about the organization and its projects is available on the website, JATCMO.org. 

 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.  It was chartered by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1998 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County.  Approximately 50 members annually contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours as they strive to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children in Taney County.

 JATC projects include: Book Swap where JA members exchange books once a month at three different extended stay motels to give children a chance to improve their reading skills; Tender Critters for children in trauma; Santa’s Gift House; College Scholarships for a senior at all four Taney County public high schools; Scholar Care provides financial and monthly support for a college student each year; Prom Dresses for girls in need; financial and labor support for the Crisis Center of Taney County including birthday parties and kid therapy so that moms may attend counseling sessions; and School Supplies “refreshment” in January for elementary schools in Easter Taney County.

 Members raise money for these projects through one major event - a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, live entertainment, a raffle and a Silent Auction held in the spring each year. This year the 19th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction was held at the Radisson Hotel in Branson on April 14, 2019, and raised over $20,000, all of which was reinvested in our community.   This year the theme was “Down by the Sea”.

 JATC is sponsoring a JATC Market Day this year on Saturday, June 15, from 9 am to 2 pm at the Branson United Methodist Church.  Spaces are available to rent for $25.  You will find crafts, yard sale items, art, and vendors of small businesses at this event.  There is no charge to attend.  For more information contact Shanna at jatcmarketday@gmail.com

 JATC also raises money from other events such as Belk’s Charity Days, AmazonSmile, Mr. G’s Annual JATC Days, Paddle Party Quarter Mania, grants and individual donations.  Generous local businesses and individuals also donate to JATC’s various events including Doug Baker State Farm Insurance, Ozark Mountain Ear Nose & Throat, Binswanger Glass, State Park Marina, Central Bank of Branson, First Community Bank of Branson, Branson Bank, Lowe’s, Sir Speedy Printing, Edward Jones-Mitch Holmes, Ollis/Akers/& Arnney, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Edward Jones-MacMcGregor, and many more.  Recently, Palmerton & Parrish, Inc., Treat Architects, P.C., the city of Hollister, and an anonymous donor provided assistance for our “Playground Project” at the Women’s Crisis Center.

 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 96 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.  Their slogan is “Care Today-Character Tomorrow”.

Published by: Branson Register, Wednesday, June 5, 2019; Branson Tri-Lakes News, Wednesday, June 12, 2019