Time to hit the pavement for the kids

Published 9:51 am Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Good morning Miss-Lou! Would you like to have a fun family weekend or just some plain healthy fun? If your answer is yes, come join the Junior Auxiliary of Natchez this Saturday for our “Run for the Kids.”

The Junior Auxiliary Run for the Kids and the River City Classic will be combined this year to become the JA River City Classic “Run for the Kids”

The run will take its mark, get set and go from Memorial Park this Saturday with a route winding through downtown Natchez. It is still the same great race, benefiting all the projects JA takes on for the kids in our community.

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Over the past 57 years, Junior Auxiliary, an all-volunteer organization, has hosted many events for our children. In the early days, Junior Auxiliary members volunteered their time to staff a nursery for underprivileged children.

Members picked up these children each morning from an area called “Little Mexico” Under-the-Hill and other places in town.

In a small dependency at Auburn, Junior Auxiliary members served the children breakfast in the mornings and held a playschool where they taught the children about basic hygiene and self-esteem and provided clothes and toys like tricycles.

Later, the small Auburn dependency was expanded to what we now know as the “canteen.” It was here that Junior Auxiliary hosted the “teen canteen” for many years providing a safe place for area teens to dance and have fun. The chapter supported a Crown Club at the local high school, instilling a spirit of volunteerism and pride in young ladies.

Over the years JA members have hosted dances and charity balls, helped with parades, provided services to local schools including courses in “Meology,” hearing and vision screenings and more.

Some of our projects have lasted decades and are cherished by members, such as Camp Sunshine, a week-long summer day camp for the students of Pleasant Acre Day School.

More recent projects include being a Partner in Education with West Primary; helping out at the Sunshine Shelter; providing assistance to individual families in need; Pack the Bus, which provides back-to-school supplies to area public schools; hosting an angel tree benefiting Catholic Charities, DHS and CASA; a book drive for schools on the coast; and scholarships for area seniors.

JA of Natchez is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries and our projects are designed to keep with our national slogan of Care Today, Character Tomorrow.

All of these projects require not only the volunteer time and energy from our members, but also require strong community support. Please help us continue these services

The 10K Run and 5KWalk start at 8:30 a.m. and the Fun Run starts at approximately 9:30 a.m. If you plan to register the day of the race, registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The cost of the 10K Run and the 5K Walk is $15 if you pre-register and $20 on race day.

The 10K Run and 5K Walk use the standard 10-year age categories. Awards will be presented in each race to the overall male and female winners, masters, grand master and senior master, as well as the top three in each category.

Children 12 and under can run the One Mile Run for $5. Parents are welcome to escort the children but must exit as the children cross the finish line. Every person entering the race will receive a free T-shirt and a medal.

JA’s annual shrimp boil will be held downtown this year at the Marketplace Café immediately following the run/walk.

You can register at Mainstream Fitness or Natchez Rehab and Sports Specialists in the Tracetown Shopping Center. For more information, call or e-mail Cara Moody at 601-304-1602 or caramoody@bellsouth.net.

Please join us and help support the women and children of our community.

Cara Moody is race director for Junior Auxiliary of Natchez.