Who We Serve
Who We Serve
The heart of Junior Auxiliary can be seen through what we do in our community service projects. We currently have 12 service projects reaching out to children, youth and families in Gulfport, Long Beach & Pass Christian. Each year, our members put in hundreds of hours volunteering on the projects and giving our hearts to the children that we serve.
General Welfare Projects
Junior Auxiliary members provide meals and snacks to children who may not otherwise get them during non-school hours, such as weekends. Backpacks including 3 meals a day, snacks, and drinks are sent home with the child each weekend. Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport utilizes the guidance counselors at each school to identify needy families. Multiple families are chosen at various local schools each semester to be served throughout the semester.
Ladies Who Lunch
Middle school aged girls are paired with a Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport member, who spends an hour of one-on-one time with them each month during lunch. JA members form close bonds while mentoring young girls throughout the course of the school year. The undivided attention the young girls receive each week is invaluable and gives them an outlet to voice their feelings without fear of judgment and receive support and advice. Members focus on fostering their self-esteem and confidence.
Operation Christmas Cheer
Junior Auxiliary provides a special Christmas celebration for children and their families in need during the holiday season. This event allows families to receive Christmas gifts and the opportunity to meet Santa. The 2021 event titled “Cookies and Cocoa with Santa” was held at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Clothes Requests- Children in need are identified by school personnel. When a child in need is referred to the Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport, we fulfill these requests within at least 24 hours, providing new, basic garments that fit properly and are appropriate for school. The goal is to allow these students to concentrate on their school work, and not be encumbered by shoes that are painfully too small for their feet, face the elements without a warm coat, or feel ashamed or suffer ridicule because of torn, stained, outgrown clothing.
Medical/Vision/Dental- Junior Auxiliary is able to provide medical, dental, and optical care through a network of local providers who work with our organization. Through this program, we are able to provide basic care, including prescription drugs, usually free of charge to uninsured children.
Special Requests- If a need not falling under one of the aforementioned categories is reported to JA by a guidance counselor/nurse at a school in the service area, a special one-time dispensation may be approved by the board to fulfill the student’s need.
The Healthy Living Project
JA members solicit donations from the community to assemble hygiene kits for distribution in local schools to assist children who may be in need of supplies. Past kits have included shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. In addition to hygiene kits, this project works to educate the children in our service area about living healthy lifestyles.
Social Welfare Projects
The College Bound program grants scholarships to outstanding senior high school students each year. Students are selected based on superior academic achievement and merit, leadership potential, community involvement, and financial need.
Any new projects or other projects that do not fall under their own committee. This committee is encouraged to generate a new project to benefit the children in our service area quarterly. Other past “retired” projects may also be brought back based upon the needs in the community.
The Crown Club is a pilot project being undertaken focusing on creating service opportunities for high school girls in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. This project encourages the concept of teaching our youth how to give back to their community.
Fill the Bus
In partnership with United Way of South MS and area Walmart Super Centers, we equip teachers and students with the supplies they need to have a successful school year. Supplies collected are distributed to Gulfport, Harrison County, Long Beach & Pass Christian schools.
The Kindness Project
Based upon the 2020-21 Provisional project, the committee will partner with local classrooms and schools to plan a “Kindness Week” with activities geared towards encouraging children to show kindness to themselves and one another.
Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
JA members assist LMDC throughout the year by helping through various volunteer hours to include sponsoring a LMDC exhibit, in addition to providing general support through volunteer hours and scholarship funds.
In partnership with local schools in Junior Auxiliary’s service area, Junior Auxiliary members are assigned a Pen Pal. Throughout the year, JA members mentor and correspond with their Pen Pals. There are opportunities for members to meet their Pen Pal for pizza parties or classroom events.
University of Southern Mississippi Children’s Center Project
Following the success of Let’s Play with JA, an inclusive play event, and Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport’s continued partnership with the Children’s Center, JA will work with the center to host events for the children.