JA Provisionals Plan Monthly Palmer Night Out

August 25, 2017

photo courtesy of JA of Desoto County

Volunteers who make the biggest impact at Palmer Home for Children are those who feel a connection with the children on our campus. For seventeen years, the Junior Auxiliary of Desoto County (JADC) has made these connections a priority for its organization.

Sixty-five women in Desoto County founded JADC in 2000 and almost immediately took up Palmer Home as a nonprofit of choice for one of their major service projects. While the projects may have changed over the years, Palmer Home continues to be a priority.

Each June JADC brings in a new group of women titled “Provisionals” who spend one year learning what Junior Auxiliary is all about before they become active members. Provisionals are able to participate in their own service projects, including Palmer Night Out.

Once a month starting in September and stretching into the spring, Provisionals plan an evening of fun for Palmer Home children, leaving the houseparents free to have a night to themselves.

“All the available children go with us,” said Rachel Epps, JADC President. “Some kids have sports games or other events,” but everyone who can gets in on the evening of fun.

Past activities have included ice skating, swimming at the YMCA, and a fall event at Cedar Hills Farm. In addition to the Provisional who planned the event, 8-10 other Provisionals volunteer to chaperone the trip.

One of the most challenging parts of the service project is finding activities for children in a wide range of age groups. Epps recalls when, as a Provisional, she connected with two teenage sisters. They were visibly excited every month when she arrived, and disappointed if she had to miss an event. They talked to her about their lives and invited her to their sporting events.  Their relationship grew beyond a one-time event.

“It was an actual connection,” said Epps. “It’s wonderful to see how happy the children at Palmer Home are and what positive attitudes they have.”

Connections with members of JADC and other community members offer children at Palmer Home valuable networks outside of school and the Palmer Home campus. Our partnership with JADC is just one example of how volunteers can make a difference in the lives of children on our campus. Business, organizations, churches or individuals interested in volunteering at Palmer Home for Children can contact us through our website for more information on structuring your volunteer experience.