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Auxiliary to host '20s-theme drive

by Cary Jenkins | January 9, 2022 at 3:10 a.m.
Dr. Jessica Cannon on 12/16/2021 at the Hamp Williams Building in Hot Springs for a High Profile volunteer story (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)


HOT SPRINGS -- Partygoers will step back 100 years into a 1922 speakeasy Jan. 22 at Hot Springs Junior Auxiliary's fundraiser Prohibition where guys and dolls are invited to put on their glad rags and enjoy a night of eats, drinks and charity gambling.

This will be the seventh year for the popular event with a 1920s theme and is the only fundraiser for the auxiliary, says Dr. Jessica Cannon, president of the auxiliary.

"Prohibition is our single fundraiser and we have managed to fund all of our projects and all of our yearly expenses from this one event," she says.

Junior Auxiliary is a volunteer organization based mostly in the South. When members join, they have a six-year commitment with required service hours. Cannon, who is a pediatrician, has been a member for four years.

"It's all in the service of children. So the project has to be a child welfare project or something in service of kids. Most of us want to get involved in the community and help out with the kids here," she says about the members. "It's a great way to have an organized force of volunteers that isn't tied to just one project. We can do so many different things."

In the fall, the auxiliary hosts JA Fun Day.

"It's a field trip for special-needs kids. We get in touch with all of the school districts in our area, get in touch with our special education coordinators, and make arrangements for them to have a field day." This past year, the Fun Day was a trip to the Mid-America Science Museum.

Their spring project is called HeArt for Art. Art teachers in the local schools have students do an art project about the heart or heart health. The top projects get to be in an art show held at Emergent Arts and open to the public. The winners get art supplies and gift certificates.

The auxiliary also gives more than $10,000 worth of scholarships every year to "high schoolers, people in college or even older adults who are going back to college. We preference people who are going into a child-centric field, like education, the medical field or therapy," she says.

"Our latest project that we've taken on is The Call," says Cannon explaining it is an organization that helps to train future foster families. "So we have partnered with them, and we adopt families and we are like their personal assistants. We get in contact with the foster family and ask, 'What do you need? What can we do?' I've got a bag full of pajamas that I'm dropping off for my foster family today, because they needed pajamas."

In addition to these projects the auxiliary serves as a ready pool of volunteers for local organizations.

"Throughout the year, people contact us and say, 'Hey, I need some help with this,' and we just kind of blast the request out to the membership." She says they've volunteered to help pass out turkeys, participate in clothing drives and bought presents for children not selected from an Angel Tree in December.

The Prohibition fundraiser usually sells out, Cannon says. It will take place in two large rooms of the 1920s-era Hamp Williams Building, the Great Warehouse and Room 504. One of the event highlights of the evening will be the games of chance with partygoers trying their luck at gambling.

"You actually gamble for tickets," Cannon explains. "Then you can divide the tickets into different buckets for prize packages. The prize packages roughly have a $1,000 to $1,500 value and we usually have six or seven of those. So you put your tickets that you have earned throughout the night into the buckets, and then we do a drawing at the end of the night and you can win one of these fabulous prize packages."

The event will also feature live and silent auctions which include jewelry from Laurays, Oaklawn box, a Botox filler package, Chef Andrew Disney dinner package and more.

"The list just keeps getting bigger," she says.

Music will include a set by Brooke Martin and a set by Sylvia Stems as well as dance music with a DJ.

Prohibition will be 7-11 p.m., Jan. 22 at the Hamp Williams Building, 510 Ouachita Ave. in Hot Springs. Tickets are $75 and include $300 in charity gaming chips, along with a buffet and drinks. For more information or to purchase tickets visit hotspringsprohibition.com.


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