Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg is celebrating National JA Week from April 5-11.
This annual week-long celebration highlights the community service impact of the service organization through its numerous projects with children and families.
National JA Week also offers a time to sincerely thank the community, sponsors and volunteer members whose dedication makes positive differences for families and children in need on a local and national level.
As part of its annual local impact, Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg’s community projects reach more than 2,000 people each year and provide more than $100,000 in funding to local community service initiatives.
"This is a very important week to us because it gives our chapter one more way to officially show our gratitude and appreciation to those that help make our community work possible. While our chapter’s projects offer educational, financial and services support, they also provide us with an avenue to share our time, our compassion and our love of community with local children and families in need," said Mary Clayton Dunn, president.
In 2019, JA of Hattiesburg’s active volunteer members donated more than 4,000 service hours to the chapter's local service projects. Signature JA of Hattiesburg service projects include Family Affair, Welfare, Crown Club, Roll and Read, Civitan Camp Carnival, Wardrobe Warehouse, Pennington’s Night Out at the Arc, Food for the Soul, Kids Culture and SmartArt.
Several new projects, including the Pine Belt Diaper Bank, offered additional avenues through community outreach within the district.
Each fall, JA of Hattiesburg hosts its annual charity ball as a fundraiser to raise needed funds to support its community-based projects for children and families in underserved areas.
“This past year, our chapter was tremendously blessed by an outpouring of support from our business community, our lifetime members, active members and numerous other individuals. On behalf of our entire chapter, we are grateful to be a part of this amazing community and for the opportunity to serve our region through our various outreach efforts. The numerous lives we reach through our acts of service are truly deserving of this assistance,” Dunn said.
With the shelter-in-place order and several other limitations on group gatherings now in effect from COVID-19, the chapter is still finding ways to support its various outreach efforts in the community.
“Even now, as our members are separated from hands-on service by the COVID-19 crisis, our organization continues to offer financial support to many of our partners in the community as they seek to maintain serving and meeting the needs of the children in their systems. Our volunteers eagerly await the opportunity to again go into the Pine Belt to offer hands of service,” Dunn said.
Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg is a part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, a nonprofit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville. NAJA has 15,621 active, associate and life members in 96 chapters in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
In 2018-2019, Junior Auxiliary members volunteered 238,242 hours in their communities and invested $2,747,171 in eight southeastern states.
The NAJA slogan is “Care Today – Character Tomorrow.”
For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation to JA of Hattiesburg, visit its website at www.hattiesburgjuniorauxiliary.org.