JACSY mascot makes a comeback


Last year, the Jackson County United Way started a campaign to bring back its longtime JACSY mascot.

The little knight is now back in full force, and the official program kickoff began March 6 at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School in Seymour.

“We are bringing JACSY back into the schools,” said Emily Engelking, director of engagement and development for United Way. “It used to just be a poster contest but stopped in the early 2000s.”

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This month, Engelking, JACSY and Tonja Couch, executive director of United Way, have been introducing the program to local fourth-graders.

“I will be teaching the lesson, and it has been a very long time since I’ve worked with fourth-graders,” Engelking said. “So it’s going to be something completely different for me.”

She said for those who don’t know who he is, JACSY is a little knight who fights for health, education and financial stability in Jackson County.

Engelking said they are trying something a little different this time. Instead of a poster contest, they’ve made it into a lesson about community service following Indiana standards.

“The kids will still draw a picture for old times’ sake but will also write a short story about JACSY,” Engelking said. “Whatever the fourth-graders title their stories we’re going to look at and consider for the campaign slogan for this coming year.”

A curriculum-based language arts/social studies lesson about community service, United Way and JACSY will be taught. Then one story will be chosen from each school, and from those, one will be selected for this year’s campaign slogan.

“We’re going to be talking about what it takes to make a community project, and it doesn’t have to be anything big to be involved in your community,” Engelking said. “It can be waving at someone, sharing a smile, holding the door open for someone, planting a community garden or maybe doing your chores without being asked. There’s nothing too small or too big to help your community.”

She told the Brown Elementary fourth grade students they could even help their community by telling a joke and making someone’s day brighter.

One of the students volunteered to tell a joke that he thought was funny.

“What do you call a magic owl?” he asked. “It’s a Whodini.”

Ethan Williams, a student in Jennifer Regruth’s class, said seeing JACSY at school was pretty fun.

“What Emily was talking about, I like where she said JACSY helps out and picks up stuff,” Williams said. “He holds doors open for people, and that’s like the golden rule.”

Fourth-grader Keegan Neidige, in Kim Crane’s class, thought Engelking’s lesson and meeting JACSY was pretty cool.

“I might have some ideas what to write about, like maybe doing something downtown to get more stores because there aren’t many stores open downtown,” Neidige said.

Then showing the students a slideshow, Engelking went through the 10 steps of planning out a service project.

“We’ve had JACSY out and making a lot of appearances downtown lately,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of parents come up and say to their kids, ‘This is JACSY.’”

She said it’s so great to hear there is still so much recognition of him, and they are excited to bring him back to a new generation because the kids might not know who JACSY is, but maybe their parents do.

“When we’ve been out, some parents have a stopped to say, ‘Oh, I won the JACSY contest when I was in school,’” Engelking said. “That’s really exciting for them to remember that, and maybe we can pass that along to the kids, as well.”

Becky Davis, assistant principal at Brown, said she remembers winning the JACSY contest one year when she was in school.

At that time, the contest was open to all grades, and there was a winning poster from each grade.

“I think the theme that year was ‘Make JACSY Shine,’ but it has been years ago,” Davis said. “JACSY is probably not a term you’re familiar with unless you grew up in Jackson County.”

Davis said many after-school hours were spent trying to come up with a slogan, “JACSY makes me HAPPY, ONLY you can HELP JACSY.”

“After the posters were judged, the winner in each classroom received a pen, and of course, our pictures were taken and published in The Tribune,” Davis said.

According to jacsy.org/history, Jackson County United Fund was founded in 1962, and JACSY was introduced at the first fund drive and stood for the slogan “Jackson County Serving You.”

An annual school contest for first through sixth grades produced a new slogan for the following year’s drive.

Although JACSY served the United Fund well, the year 2000 brought a new look and slogan, “You Give…You Get,” accompanied by a new logo, helping start the new millennium for the Jackson County United Fund.

JACSY and Engelking plan to visit all of the public elementary schools in Jackson County and St. Ambrose Catholic School. They will be making school visits through Thursday.

“We reached out and everybody has been really excited letting us come in and bring JACSY to see the kids, and it’s going to be really great,” Engelking said. “We are thrilled to be introducing JACSY to the next generation, and as the weather warms up, especially in the summer, we have big plans coming up for JACSY.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”10 steps of doing a service project” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

1. Choose a project.

2. Ask if the project is OK.

3. Request help with the project.

4. Make a list of what supplies are needed.

5. Create a budget.

6. Choose a good day to start.

7. Remind your volunteers.

8. Be the first person there on the project day.

9. Complete the project.

10. Be proud of your work.


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