Hi, friends! I wanted to take some time today to write about a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.
Junior Auxiliary of the Eastern Shore is an impactive, dedicated volunteer group that sees and serves the needs of children throughout Baldwin County, and that was a very large part of my life for five years. Even if you have heard of JAES, perhaps you are not as familiar with the group’s mission, history, or achievements. So, hopefully, something of what I write today will educate or spark inspiration!
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The Baldwin County location of JAES was established in 1986, when a group of women felt compelled to improve the lives of the children in the area. Specifically, the focus was on educational success along with physical and emotional health. As the JAES website discusses (go check it out!?), programs over the years have included “Child Lures,” a program for children’s safety; Puppets for health and safety education; and “You for Real,” which encourages self-esteem, health and wellness in girls. Some of the organization’s more recent endeavors have included collecting and distributing prom dresses & accessories to those who need them, spearheading donation efforts for families affected by Hurricane Sally, and stocking bags of food as part of the Snack Pack program for delivering to school children at lunchtime.
I had the honor to serve on the JAES board for three years, for a time as Vice President, and then for two years as President. The women I was privileged to work alongside of, as well as the precious people of this community whom I had the opportunity to serve, both had a great impact on my life. It is so important to me that those who are blessed keep our gaze outward instead of inward, to always be looking for ways to give, serve, and love. So even though I no longer carry an active leadership position within JAES, I am still very involved as a Life Member, in order to remain engaged with the needs of this community. That’s right…every year you’ll find me – among a host of other things? – selling ferns for our annual spring Fern Fundraiser! (Ask anyone who’s ever made the purchase…those ferns are GORGEOUS!?)