Jonesboro, Arkansas Chapter
In Junior Auxiliary of Jonesboro, Arkansas, our mission is to meet the needs of children, youth and families throughout Craighead County to help ensure that the future will be bright. We look for ways to improve the lives of Craighead County children by developing and implementing programs that instill self-esteem and challenge minds.
We work community service projects in the health, welfare, civic and educational field and work closely with local school districts and other organizations to identify children with unmet and special needs such as clothing, school supplies and medical/dental care. Being a member of Junior Auxiliary requires a high level of commitment, dedication and, above all else, a heart of service.
The Jonesboro chapter was founded in 1950 with 3 service projects. Those projects were funded by the first Charity Ball, which raised $217.36 and a fashion show, which raised $307.31. Our first president was Mrs. Bryant Wall and the membership was 31. Today our chapter has 12 working service projects, over 90 active and provisional members and over 300 life and associate members. Our only fundraiser is Charity Ball, which is now routinely raising over $100,000 a year to fund our projects. We are passionate about serving the children in our community and are constantly looking for ways to grow.
National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA)
The National Association of Junior Auxiliaries is made up of 98 Chapters in AR, AL, FL, KY, LA, MS, MO, and TN. Junior Auxiliary represents a serious endeavor on the part of women to be active and constructive community participants and to assume leadership roles in meeting community needs. Junior Auxiliary provides the member with the opportunity to serve and to be a vital part of the community. The objectives of the Association are to unite in one body all Junior Auxiliary Chapters and members to promote National and individual Chapter purposes; to encourage members to render charitable services which are beneficial to the general public, with particular emphasis on children; to cooperate with other 501 (c) (3) organizations. Junior Auxiliary was founded on the principles of helping children and making a difference in their lives. The work unit of the Junior Auxiliary Chapter is the project. A project is a planned undertaking in the fields of Welfare, Health, Recreation, Culture, or Education for which the Chapter has some part of financial or administrative responsibility. Junior Auxiliary members each give at least 5 ½ years of service to their community through their Chapter. Annually, each member serves at least 24 hours and receives a minimum of 12 hours in education with the goal of being a better volunteer.
History of NAJA
In 1935, two doctors in Greenville, MS, Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Gamble, contacted the society editor of the Delta Democrat Times, Louise Crump, for help. These doctors saw daily the plight of Greenville’s underprivileged children that were living in back alleys and on shanty boats on the river. They asked Ms. Crump to solicit the aid of her friends in providing food, clothing, and toys, along with transportation to the doctors’ and dentists’ offices. She contacted nine women who met with her in her home. As it has been written….they laid down their bridge cards and golf clubs and hugged their own well-fed and well-cared- for children…went to meetings and began to go about the business of deciding how to best help these people. They assessed themselves $5 each to begin their work. They got businesses and other individuals in Greenville to provide services and goods. Local dentist and doctors donated their time. Membership grew…and most of the time the members were chosen because of what they had to offer…so doctor’s wives were many of the earliest members. And as the membership grew, more services could be provided. Members made clothes for children, took them to the doctor…and as one story goes, one of the members stayed overnight on a shanty boat…maybe to take care of a child while the parents worked…and repapered the walls while she was there. Now this is where NAJA history begins.
The Greenville women began to realize that there were other groups of women similar to theirs in other towns….and by 1940 they began to meet with some of them around the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta. They decided to join forces…and using the Junior League (which had already been started) as a model, they drew up a constitution on November 14, 1941 with Mrs. Crump as the first President of NAJA. The Charter Chapters were: McComb, Greenville, Greenwood, Leland, Laurel, Meridian, Vicksburg and West Point, MS and Pine Bluff and Russellville, AR. During its first year of life, NAJA met the full force of World War II; and, necessarily, emphasis was shifted for a time from care of children to home defense measures and war work. Members contributed many tireless hours to help save democracy for their own and their Junior Auxiliary children. In the face of total war, the slogan of the Second Annual Convention in 1942 was “Children, The Last Line of Defense.” During that second year of existence, they managed to add two new Chapters and secured the services of a Field Secretary. The bank balance reached the astronomical figure of $721.91 in 1943; and by pooling ration coupons, the Third Annual Convention was held in Laurel, MS with the determined convention slogan “There Must Be No Idle Women”. By the end of the war, total membership had increased to 640. With renewed determination, the organization returned its energies and talents once more to work with children, selecting for the 1945 convention slogan “The Way of Peace.” Clinics were established, handicapped children were given special care, nursery schools and hospital wards were supported and children were fed and clothed and cared for. Today there are 94 Chapters with over 15,000 members in six states in the South. Chapters find needs that are not being met in their communities and develop projects to meet those needs. Because the welfare of children is why Junior Auxiliary started, every Chapter is required to have at least one Child Welfare Project. This project must provide one of the basic necessities of life and there must be an ongoing relationship between the chapter and the recipient. However the objective is always to help break the cycle of dependency, whether physical or emotional.
The Five Point Crown
The national symbol for all Junior Auxiliaries is the five point crown. Each of the points on the crown are equal and represent a different aspect of Junior Auxiliary: Charity, Youth, Health, Service and Leadership. As members we strive to uphold all of those ideals in everything we do. And through upholding those ideals and our Care Today, we hope to be building Character Tomorrow.
Each of our monthly Junior Auxiliary chapter meetings are began with the unison recital of our prayer. This is not just a ceremonial gesture on our part. It is something that we take to heart as we sincerely ask for blessings to guide us in our endeavors.
Send us, O’ God, as Thy messengers to the hearts without a home, to lives without love, to the crowds without a guide. Send us to the children whom none have blessed, to the famished whom none have visited, to the fallen whom none have lifted; to the bereaved whom none have comforted.
Kindle Thy flame on the altars of our hearts, that others may be warmed thereby; cause Thy light to shine in our souls, that others may see the way; keep our sympathies and insight ready, our wills keen, our hands quick to help others in their need.
Grant us clear vision, true judgement, with great daring as we seek to right the wrong; and so endow us with cheerful love that we may minister to the suffering and forlorn even as Thou wouldst. May the blessings of God, Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, rest upon us and upon all our work. May he give us light to guide us, courage to support us and love to unite us, now and forever more.