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A Royal Race of Crowns and Canines
by Cody Moore, photo submitted

For the third consecutive year, Junior Auxiliary’s Crown Club of Jonesboro will hold a 5K race to benefit local organizations and help foster a charitable spirit in the young ladies who participate in the service club. Proceeds from the Crowns & Canines 5K will again benefit the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society, and as an addition to the 2018 race, Crown Club will also share event proceeds with Jonesboro Public School’s Cane Academy.

Since being established by Junior Auxiliary (JA) of Jonesboro in 2013, Crown Club’s mission has been to help the Jonesboro community through service projects, specifically by working with children. The 53 members of Crown Club are students at Nettleton, Jonesboro and Valley View high schools. Though all members are in high school with plenty of responsibilities of their own, they still continue to find time to help the community and plan all of the club’s events.

JA Crown Club Chair Kim French believes that Crown Club not only helps the girls develop leadership skills and character, but much more.

“The objective of Crown Club is to prepare for good citizenship and to demonstrate care, compassion, respect and service to others, while showing responsibility for themselves,” said French. “Together, we can all play a part in fostering a heart of service in these young ladies.”

The members are responsible for developing their own projects and raising their own funds, with the assistance and oversight of their JA advisors. In addition to planning their own events, the girls volunteer with many happenings throughout the year such as Touch a Truck, Blessed Sacrament Fall Festival, Hay Days at The Silos, Santa at The Silos, Charity Ball, Feed My Starving Children MobilePack with Tacos 4 Life and events with the Women’s Crisis Center. The girls also have the opportunity to help with the Northeast Arkansas Race for the Cure.

“We also enjoy hosting events like earn-a-badge day with the Girl Scouts, volunteering with Miracle League, providing tutoring service and adopting a Christmas family in December,” said Crown Club President Macy McDaniel, who has been serving as a member of Crown Club since August 2015.

Some of Crown Club’s bigger events include their main fundraiser, Tiara Time, and the Crowns & Canines 5K, which will be held this year on April 21. McDaniel says that planning the Crowns & Canines 5K is something that the members of Crown Club look forward to each year.

“Crowns & Canines was constructed when our members were thinking of a new service project that would benefit our community and raise money for more service projects the next year,” said McDaniel. “We thought a 5K would be a good way to do this, and we added the connection to the NEA Humane Society to benefit the community and make our 5K different from others.”

Being surrounded by many adorable dogs on the day of the event isn’t the only exciting part of the day; for the members of Crown Club, being able to give back to the NEA Humane Society is the most rewarding part. Starting this year, Crown Club will divide the proceeds three ways. The money raised from the event will continue to benefit NEAHS and help fund the club’s other service projects, but Jonesboro Public School’s Cane Academy will also benefit from the proceeds this year.

“We obviously love the sweet dogs that we get to hang out with all day, but the best part about hosting the event is getting to give our raised money to organizations that could benefit from it,” said McDaniel. “At the end of the day, one-third of our proceeds from the race will go to their organization (NEAHS) to help the animals in need, and for the first time, we will also be giving one-third of our proceeds to Jonesboro Public School’s Cane Academy to tie into our services to children.”

In 2017, the Crowns & Canines 5K brought out 60 runners, raising $2,400 for the NEA Humane Society and the other service projects of Crown Club. For the 2018 race, the members have a personal goal of raising $3,000, but say they will be happy with anything that they are able to contribute to these organizations.

“This year, we have more Crown Club members, so we are hoping to have more participants and raise more money for the Humane Society and Cane Academy,” said McDaniel. “We want the public to know that this event is such a fun and active way to spend your Saturday and that anyone is allowed to participate, not just those who own dogs.”

Though attendees do not have to have a dog to enjoy the fun, there will be several contests for the canines participating in this year’s event, including a costume contest, owner look-alike, best tail wagging and best in show. As for the humans that attend, there will be a raffle for an exquisite piece of jewelry donated by Sissy’s Log Cabin.

“The Crown Club girls hold the NEA Humane Society near and dear to their heart,” said French. “We want the public to come out and see what a great job the Crown Club girls do, as well as participate in the joy of helping the (NEA) Humane Society and the Cane Academy.”

The third annual Crowns & Canines 5K will take place on April 21 and will begin in the Valley View High School Gymnasium parking lot. The event will begin at 2 p.m., with check-in and early registration beginning at 1:30. The registration fee for the 5K is $25. Participants may register online at raceroster.com/events/2018/16123/crowns-canines- 5K.