For almost all of her adult life, Juanita James was the neighborhood babysitter in the Melrose Projects in the South Bronx. She stressed the imporatnce of education to her own children and to the many young people for whom she cared. After Juanita's untimely passing in 1985, her two daughters began the scholarship fund with monies they received in sympathy cards. Subsequently, the generous support of contributors has enabled the JJMSF to continuously provide financial assistance to college students who reside in Bronx housing projects.
More than two decades after her passing, Juanita James continues to positively influence young people from the projects.