JA ball attendees max out Expo
by Rory Doyle
Feb 14, 2013 | 2666 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Auction Committee of the JA, Heather Walker, Robin McKnight, Leigh Anne Gant and Lacey Chacon, shows off some of items available for bidding Friday night.
The Auction Committee of the JA, Heather Walker, Robin McKnight, Leigh Anne Gant and Lacey Chacon, shows off some of items available for bidding Friday night.
The Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland has successfully sold all of its tickets to Friday's Children's Benefit Ball.

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

Tickets for the ball sold out for the first time in 2012 and JA President Presley Lee was thrilled with this year's repeat performance.

"It feels fabulous to receive all the support from Cleveland and Bolivar County," said Lee. "After hours of preparation, I know that everyone will be able to celebrate on Friday."

No matter what economic challenges people face, Lee said the local backing is always awe-inspiring.

"We are very thankful for the overwhelming generosity of the city of Cleveland and Bolivar County — no matter what the conditions," she said. "Our donations come from so many businesses and community members."

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.

This year's event opens with a silent auction beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The presentation of the court and royalty will be at 7:45 p.m., followed by a live auction at 8:30 p.m. and then by a dance, featuring Party Jammers.

Tickets to the event were $50 per person and tax deductible.

Attendees are invited to donate to three special causes, which will be used to focus on the needs of the children of Bolivar County:

• A WISH – A donation up to $20 can purchase school supplies for a mentor child.

• A MEMORY – A donation of $50 can send children on a field trip or to a performance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

• A DREAM – A donation of $100 can provide a foster child's entire Christmas or provide costumes for the performance of "A Child's Dream."

For those less familiar with JA's overall approach, the local club 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.

The organization offers a number of youth programs to highlight their mission "to render charitable services which are beneficial to the general public, with particular emphasis on children."

"Through the ball we are able to provide projects and opportunities the children otherwise might not get," said Lee.

Platforms cover a variety of issues, from college preparation, character building, civic and cultural activities, art and writing projects, health and wellness, recreation and sports, academic mentoring and more.

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.

More than 200 local children participated in all aspects of 2012's play.

JA's goal through the production is to provide all young people, regardless of economic or cultural background, the opportunity to experience the arts through their participation.