Ball provides funds for JA programs
by Courtney Warren
Jan 02, 2014 | 1774 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland is preparing for its annual Children's Benefit Ball on Feb. 21 at Bolivar County Expo.

In light of the new Grammy Museum coming to Cleveland this year's theme is A Night at the Grammys.

The ball is JA's only fundraiser, a staple tradition for about 50 years, providing program funding that has impacted thousands of Bolivar County children.

"It's our only fundraiser of the year to raise money for the children of our community," said Presley Lee, chair of the Children's Benefit Ball.

Tickets have sold out the past two years.

The benefit ball is not invitation only and any member of the community can attend.

"We mail out invitations to people that come regularly but we'll send one to anybody. Tickets are $50 per person," said Lee.

According to JA's Website, "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."

"We have a silent/live auction and presentation of the court, sixth grade, ninth grade, and seniors of Junior Auxiliary past members," she added.

Lee said the money raised at the ball goes towards programs for the community.

"We do a lot with the special education classes in the Cleveland School District. They go to BPAC performances and classroom activities.

“We also do special sport activities and a lot of times the DSU men and women's basketball team help us with that," said Lee.

One of the highlight projects made possible by the ball is the production of "A Child's Dream," an adaptation of the Nutcracker Ballet that is performed every three years at the BPAC in Cleveland.

"Anyone with or without dance experience can participate in that," said Lee.

Lee also said the funds are used for JA's child welfare program.

"We go into the school that month and kids that have good behavior that week can come to a party. We also have what we call backpack buddies and the teachers decide who gets a backpack and we send them home the third week of the month with children who don’t have enough money who have lunches for the week," she said.

These backpacks are full of nonperishable items that the children can eat for lunch the next week.

A tradition of the ball will be the presentation of a royal court, consisting of outstanding high school seniors, and the surprise announcement of the king and queen.

The king and queen are community leaders whose selection is kept secret until the night of the ball.

For more information about Junior Auxiliary or on the Children's Benefit Ball email jaofcleveland@yahoo.com.