In honor of a past president of Junior Auxiliary, Ann Wesson, scholarships are awarded every year to selected high school seniors in their community. This scholarship project serves four students per year and costs JA $8000.
Buckets of Happiness/ Special Deliveries
This project supplies disadvantaged pediatric patients with personal hygiene and fun/educational items to assist them during their hospital stay. Recently, this project was combined with another project entitled "Special Deliveries". These young mothers are provided with baby items they will need for the child upon leaving the hospital. The projected cost for this project is $2500.
This project is JA's child welfare project. JA adopts a family and works with the family to break the cycle of dependancy. This project in the past has served only one family, but it is JA's goal to serve two families this year. The estimated expenses for this project are $5000.
Fit for Life
This projects's purpose is to work with local schools and businesses to encourage alternate forms of exercise for children, including kayaking, hiking, or running a road race. Members will work with area schools to intermittenly train the students to run in a local running race. This is this project's first year. The budget provided for this project is $500 per year.
This is a program for foster children in which our members facilitate events for them in a fun and nurturing environment outside of their foster home. It is also an opportunity to teach the older children life skills in a fun and enjoyable way. This is this year's first year. The budget provided for this project is $1000 per year.
Keep Me Safe
JA will provide a fun-filled, meaningful day for Pre K-$ children. Various stations will be set up to teach the children basic safety skills. The topics will include: near water, around town, at home and on the road. It will also include a portion on dog safety in which our members demonstrate to the groups how to handle various situations with dogs, including a first encounter with a strange dog, what to do when dogs fight and general care and responsiblities of pet ownership. They budget $1000 yearly for supplies.
Life After High School
This program helps high school seniors get prepped for the ACT, assistance with applying for financial aid, and looking at colleges.
This program helps high school students receive affordable formal wear.
Rooms of Hope
This is a fairly new project to Junior Auxiliary, where members work in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, where a family is selected by Habitat for a complete bedroom makeover for every child in the household. JA members go into the family’s home and decorate the children’s rooms according to the preference and interests of those particular children. While JA members are working in the house, other members of the committee take the family on an all day adventure, treating them to lunch and to a fun-filled day of activities, bringing them home for the big surprise when the makeover is complete. Usually four to six families are served each year and a budget of $15,000 is available for this project.
A committee is formed, which organizes the gift of giving during the holiday season. Each JA member is assigned a family from their area school, which they are responsible for all year. The members purchase presents for every child in the family, selected by the school counselor and teachers for the holiday. Members of this committee also collect gifts for various events and programs during the holidays for other families in need in our local communities. Santa’s Helpers also wraps gifts for an entire weekend at Minor’s Toy Store in downtown Ocean Springs for a local festival held during the Christmas Holidays every year. This project serves about 500 children and has a budget of $16,000 for the year.
Members of the Junior Auxiliary chapter have been on call to area schools for 40 years providing clothing, school supplies, medical, dental and financial assistance for children K-12 in partnership with the school counselors. Once a student in need is identified by the teacher or school nurse, the JA representative is called. These needs can be clothing, assistance in paying rent, emergency dental care, ADHD medication, or utility assistance. In 2008, we spent over $22,000 on our Biloxi and Ocean Springs School Aid project. This is by far our largest on-going project.
Senior Citizens Birthday Bash
Our senior citizens project has grown from a pot-luck lunch to a day out for the seniors. JA life members organize an activity-filled day each month to celebrate birthdays at the center. They play bingo and other games to win fruit baskets and goodies. The seniors look forward to the fun day where birthday honorees are recognized. This project cost $1200 annually.
JA offers afterschool tutoring and mentoring for elementary age children in the VanCleave area.
Someone to Talk To
This project involves a puppet show, which is presented to area elementary schools by JA members. The members of this committee put on a puppet show for first graders in which the characters in the show are children their age who are faced with some very difficult and sad situations. The skits in the puppet show focus on physical and sexual abuse, neglect and stranger danger. After the show, JA members discuss all of the situations with the group of students, stressing to the students how important it is to talk to a trusted adult about these bad situations if they are ever faced with something like that in their own lives. This is a very worthwhile project in which the teachers and school counselor are also present. This project serves between 300 and 500 children per year and costs the Junior Auxiliary $600 each year.
This program discusses issues such as bullying with ninth and tenth graders and addressing peer pressure head on.
This is a new project at the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Non-Violence in which the members of Junior Auxiliary provide positive interaction with the children residing at the shelter during a very confusing time of transition in their lives. It is estimated that it will take approximately $2,500 to run this project per year and the number of children it will serve is not known at this time.