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Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland, MS Chapter History 

History of Beginnings

In early 1946, just after the end of World War II, Mrs. Dugas (Elizabeth) Shands was told by Mrs. Bodie Crump about the Greenville chapter of Junior Auxiliary. Junior Auxiliary was first established in Greenville and was begun as a service group to work with "juniors" or children. Ms. Shands told some of her younger friends about the Junior Auxiliary and interested them in forming one in Cleveland. Some of these young women met at Mrs. Warwick (LePoint) Smith's home at 813 Avery on Sunday afternoon, October 19, 1946. It was from this initial meeting with a few people that the Cleveland Service Auxiliary was organized. 

Present at this meeting was Mrs. David M. Jackson, national representative for the Association of Junior Auxiliaries; Mrs. Brodie Crump, Greenville Junior Auxiliary; and Mrs. Lucia Thomson, Leland Junior Auxiliary. These ladies gave instructions and assistance in the formation of the Cleveland Auxiliary. The Greenville and Leland JA chapters served as sponsors for the new group. The visiting executives suggested that the group organized, select a project, and meet with civic leaders and other persons in the community interested in the general welfare of Cleveland. Mrs. George (Josephine) Webb, a public welfare worker and member of the newly organized group pointed out that the greatest need was with underprivileged children. It was suggested that the Service Auxiliary select as its project follow-up work in assisting other agencies, which carry their work to a certain point, but not to completion. It was felt that the Auxiliary could help to follow through and complete the assistance, where possible.

Chapter members were Mrs. S. C. (Estelle) Bedwell, Jr.; Mrs. Edmund L. (Evelyn) Brinkley; Mrs. Charles (Margaret) Capps; Mrs. B. R. (Dot) Carpenter; Mrs. Joe (Marion) Denton; Mrs. Herbert (Nell) Eustis; Mrs. Nan Murphy; Mrs. F. H. (Lee) Nance; Mrs. George (Wilna) Sanders; Mrs. J. C. (Augusta) Russel, Jr.; Mrs. Dugas (Elizabeth) Shands; Mrs. Warwick (LePoint) Smith; Miss Sue Thweatt (Mres. Martin King); Mrs. George (Josephine) Webb; and Mrs. Clayton (Carolyn) West.

First officers of the Service Auxiliary were President, Dot Carpenter; Vice-President, LePoint Smith; Secretary, Evelyn Brinkley; Treasurer, Augusta Russel; Welfare Chairman, Elizabeth Shands.

The first year was a busy one. The major project was the school health project. This work was done in cooperation with the PTA and included such things as dental work, tonsillectomies, and eye examinations. A minor project was a central filing system with cleared names and listed help as given by various agencies in Cleveland. The second minor project was a layette and clothes exchange. A rummage sale was held in order to raise funds needed in carrying out the projects.

In February, 1947, The Cleveland Service Auxiliary submitted a petition to the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries for membership. On October 16, 1947, the group was notified that their petition had been accepted. During the next year, the Service Auxiliary was considered a provisional chapter of NAJA. Full active status was granted on November 10, 1948, and the name was then changed to Cleveland Junior Auxiliary, Inc.

Mrs. C. W. Davis, NAJA President, from Monticello, Arkansas, presented the national charter at a luncheon at Michael's on Wednesday, April 20, 1948. Others in attendance from out of town were Mrs.  W.J. Carraway, President of the Leland JA; Mrs. Hodding Carter, Jr., President of the Greenville, JA; Mrs. Lucia Thompson of Leland who had assisted throughout the petitioning and provisional period; and Mrs. Howard Dyer, Jr. of Greenville. 

After many years, the Cleveland Junior Auxiliary moved its meeting space into the Ellis Theater in the fall of 2009. In September of 2010, the JA chapter opened its official office space in the Ellis Theater. 

****Note the name was again changed to Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland, Inc.****

Notes on the History of the Cleveland Junior Auxiliary

1. October 19, 1946: Cleveland Service Auxiliary organized in LePoint Smith's home, 813 Avery.

2. October 16, 1947: Granted provisional status in NAJA.

3. November 10, 1948: Granted full active status. Name became Cleveland Junior Auxiliary (a "helping agency" to "juniors"- children). 

4. Outstanding accomplishments over the years: a. establishment and staffing of the first public park on the east side of Cleveland; b. initial groundwork laid for annual Crosstie Arts Festival; c. initial groundwork laid for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce; d. establishment of the library at Pearman Elementary School, including mending and processing books and serving as volunteer librarians; e. establishment of the first class in Bolivar County for special needs children; f. ongoing program of assistance for needy families with special attention to children.

5. Five main areas of work: a. civic, b. cultural, c. educational, d. financial, e. social welfare

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