Connecting in the Classroom and at the Ball

May 19, 2017

Webster’s dictionary defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide.”  For several youth at Palmer Home for Children, that guidance has come in the form of the Junior Auxiliary Mentors program (JAM). During the 2016-17 school year, ten members of the Junior Auxiliary of Columbus became mentors for a group of students at the Palmer School on the campus of Palmer Home for Children.

JAM was created to help students who are behind grade level, specifically in the area of reading. JA mentors develop a one-on-one relationship with a child through regular meetings at their school, in order to help build confidence, develop a student’s academic and social skills, and provide a nurturing environment for a student to learn and improve. Each year, mentors dedicate over 500 hours to connect with students at four area schools throughout the bulk of the school year, dedicating their time and efforts to helping students grow. This year, Palmer School was added to the program.

At Palmer Home, seven students were selected to participate in the JAM program by houseparents and teachers who believed they would benefit from the extra influence and aid of a caring adult. Mentors met weekly with students to provide help with homework and study tools, and to act as a reliable, positive role model in the lives of the children.  Meredith Griffin, JA Member, oversaw the program.

“All of us who have participated in Palmer JAM have loved the project,” she says.  “We have formed meaningful relationships with the children and look forward to seeing them excel in their classrooms and beyond.”

In fact, participating members of JAM felt such a strong connection to the youth at Palmer Home, they invited Palmer Home’s TrebleMakers choir to perform during their annual Charity Ball.  The TrebleMakers were welcomed as the entertainment for the 2017 event, and were widely regarded as a hit.

“I believe you could have heard a pin drop during the last song, when one little girl stepped up to the mic for a solo,” recalls Carrie Baucom, Event Chair.  “I get teary eyed thinking about it. It was so touching!”

The Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball acts as the only fundraiser for the Columbus organization who provides funding for projects like JAM and facilitating partnerships with other organizations like Palmer Home for Children.

Baucom says, “All of the children did a wonderful job, and having them there to entertain our sponsors and patrons as well as our King and Queen and their families, was so refreshing.”

If you’re interested in having the TrebleMakers or Palmer Praise choirs perform for your church, organization or event, contact us at jmanning@palmerhome.org.