Western Maryland Chapter
We have “The Power to Make the Difference”. This mission is possible because of the wonderful support of our families. Many thanks to our amazing executive board, founding members, members, committee chairs, grade group chairs, and dads for supporting our mission and vision of the Western Maryland Chapter.
The Western Maryland Chapter started with the interest of our first President, Dr. Stephanie Brown. On Oct 13, 2012, the Western Maryland Cultural Alliance of Moms, affectionately known as WMCAM, began at a Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Montgomery County chapter interest breakfast. The idea sparked Stephanie’s interest even more when the Montgomery County chapter Vice-President and Membership Chair, Allora Goode Cyrus, encouraged and supported the interest group through the preliminary processes.
The group was sponsored and mentored by the enduring and loving support of the Baltimore Chapter under the leadership of their thirty-seventh president, Angela Walker. The grace and eloquence of the Baltimore mothers guided the interest group through the breadth and depth of the Jack and Jill of America, Inc. experience. Many thanks to the Baltimore Chapter.
The course of the Cultural Alliance of Moms was charted. The first leadership and executive board included: Dr. Stephanie Brown, President; Dr. Sharnine Herbert-Amoah, Membership Chair and Vice President; Erica Gordon Hyman, Program Director; Yokechia Kenyatta, Recording Secretary; Tiffany Burnett, Corresponding Secretary; Tina Cheney, Treasurer; Niya Yeboah, Financial Secretary; Protean Gibril, Editor/Historian; and Andrea Dardello, Parliamentarian. Our Teens, known as the Ujoma Movement, was led by Lauryn Daniels as President, and Jar’en Kenyatta as Vice President.
Most of the WMCAM members lived in a wide range of lovely, small town communities from Mount Airy, Frederick, and Hagerstown, Maryland. Dr. Renee Thomas-Spencer, a well known physician and native Fredericktonian, began recruitment efforts to include a host of talented women in her personal and professional networks. The growth of our interest group and present chapter was largely due to the efforts of Dr. Thomas-Spencer. Many of WMCAM’s activities focused on strengthening friendships and bonds among the parents and children of grade groups. We all had a common objective of continued prayers to God for the wisdom the group needed to simply raise kind and respectful children.
Our commitment to teaching our children to be aware of who they are, the history of their people, and the beauty of living in a world where everyone is different - just the way the universe intended - has remained salient. Our children are encouraged to never make apologies to anyone for who they are, embrace themselves, hold their heads high, and never forget that what makes you different also makes you who you are – just as our ancestors strove and purported.
During our second year, effort and time were spent on organizing the course of WMCAM's chartering, our leadership, executive board, and restructuring of the Mothers’ Club in accordance with the national program guidelines of Jack and Jill of America. Inc. In summer 2014, two years after its inception, the Western Maryland Cultural Alliance of Moms became the Western Maryland Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. at the 42nd National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Our chapter, JJWMC, was installed in a beautiful ceremony on November 16, 2014 at Ceresville Mansion.
The JJWMC chartering 15 mothers are forever to be remembered for their dedication and sacrifices for our chapter. Our founding mothers are: Dr. Stephanie Brown, Dr. Sharnine S. Herbert-Amoah, Tiffany Burnett, Tina Cheney, Seslie Daniels, Andrea Dardello, Protean Gibril, Tracy Hilliard, Erica Gordon-Hyman, Dr. Tyra Kane, Yokechia Kenyatta, Toya Newman-Piermarini, Joanne Sweeney, Dr. Renee Thomas-Spencer, and Niya Yeboah.
In February 2015, three months after our installation, 4 mothers who helped tremendously with our Chapter and its installation became official members. We welcomed another mother in May 2015, and the Chapter has continued to grow significantly since then. Our membership currently includes over 30 families and more than 50 participating children and teens. We continue to nurture the efforts and talents of our members, the quality of our children’s programs, and broadening our commitment to the local community.
In addition to our mothers and chapter being installed in Nov 2014, our chapter fathers took an oath to support the mission of their wives and to remain committed to the journey that the chartering mothers set forth for their children. To date, our dads have lived up to their word and have continued to grow in their support of our chapter. Our Father’s Auxiliary was established in 2016.
Recognizing the royal ancestry of mothers (our founding local, regional, and national leaders), Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Western Maryland Chapter will continue the wonderful traditions established by our founders.
By sponsoring numerous educational projects, cultural programs, and social activities, we have provided a keen focus for increasing educational and mental awareness among our grade groups. We continue to nurture our children and teens' positive growth, and encourage an appreciation of our royal African culture.
Our mothers continue their commitment and attention to serving the needs of our community and instilling the value of service in our youth. Every year, we vote to select a "Distinguished Mother" from our chapter. Our recipients have included: Dr. Stephanie Brown, Dr. Sharnine Herbert-Amoah, Niya Yeboah, Erica Gordon-Hyman, Zolinka McCauley, Nekesha Williams, Carolyn Manley, and Kamilah Bunn. We thank these mothers dearly for their commitment to service.
With the legacy of the mothers before us, and our commitment to collective work, the mothers of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Western Maryland Chapter have garnered the power to change the lives of our own children and others in our community. Working together, we will continue to demonstrate “The Power to Make A Difference”.