We have “The Power to make the Difference”, has all been 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 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 experience. Many thanks to the Baltimore Chapter.
The course of the Cultural Alliance of Moms was charted; the first leadership and executive board includes, 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 as Editor/Historian; Andrea Dardello, Parliamentarian. Our Teens, known as the Ujoma Movement was lead 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 the strengthening friendship and bonding 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 children who are kind and respectful.
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, never forgetting that what makes you different also makes you who you are – just as our ancestors strove and purported.
Our second year, effort and time was spent organizing.
The course of the Cultural Alliance of Moms was charted; the rst leadership and executive board and restructuring the Mothers’ Club in accordance with the national program guidelines of Jack and Jill of America. Inc. On November 16, 2014, two years after its inception, the Western Maryland Cultural Alliance of Moms became the Western Maryland Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated with fifteen Charter Members at the 42nd National Convention in Charlotte, NC.
The JJWMC chartering 15 mothers are forever to remembered for their dedication and sacrifices for our chapter: Our founding mothers are: Dr. Sharnine S. Herbert-Amoah, Dr. Stephanie Brown, 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 addition to our mothers and chapter being installed on this day, our chapter fathers took an oath to support the mission of their wives and to remain committed to the journey that these chartering mothers set forth for their children. To date, our dads have lived up their word and have continued to grow in their support of our chapter. Our Father’s Auxiliary was established in 2016.
The following year, we welcomed five new families and since that time the Chapter has grown significantly. Our membership currently includes over 28 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.
Recognizing the royal ancestry of mothers, our founding leaders locally, regionally, and nationally, the Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Western Maryland Chapter present and future will continue in the wonderful traditions established by our founders.
By sponsoring numerous educational projects, cultural programs, and social activities over the last four years, 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 instill the value of service in our youth. In our four year legacy, we have three “Mother of the Year” recipients: our first year, Dr. Stephanie Brown, second year, Dr. Sharnine Herbert-Amoah and third year, Niya Yeboah. We thank them dearly for their commitment to service.
With the legacy of the mothers before us, and our commitment to collective work, the mothers of the 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”.
Eastern Regional History
The idea that Marion Stubbs Thomas espoused at the gathering of friends at the initial meeting concerning the development of a club that would bring their children together in a close social and cultural relationship was met with great enthusiasm. Because there were more children than a home could comfortably accommodate, the children met once a month at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). It soon became necessary to plan specially for each gathering; therefore, the mothers deemed it wise to have a “Mothers” Meeting for this purpose. Such was the humble beginning in the East- Philadelphia.
1939-1940, 1944 (New York and Washington, D.C.)
The second Jack and Jill group to organize was the New York Chapter in 1939. The Washington, DC Chapter was started by Marguerite Green in March 1940. Four years later, the success of Jack and Jill programs in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York picked up momentum. The enthusiasm and interest in the concept of such an organization began to spread.
1944 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Toki Schalk Johnson, presented to a group of Pittsburgh mothers the idea of forming a similar club. Marjorie Butler became Pittsburgh’s first president. Under her capable guidance began one of the most successful chapters of Jack and Jill.
1945 (Buffalo, New York)
Following the shadows of Pittsburgh, a group of mothers of Buffalo, New York were nurturing the same idea. The first group of prospective Jack and Jill members met in September 1945 to organize. The charter membership of twelve elected Edna Seay as their first Chapter President.
The Eastern Region tentacles were in a continuous growth pattern during this three year period with the chartering of chapters in Baltimore, Maryland and Boston, Massachusetts. A national organization committee was mobilized representing these seven Eastern Region chapters and three additional chapters in the Mid-Atlantic, Central and Mid-Western Regions. The committee met in Philadelphia on June, 1946 to make plans for bringing these groups together as one body.
The Eastern Region expansion had been phenomenal from the beginning and now Atlantic City, New Jersey and Springfield, Massachusetts were being added to the roster. Nathalie Johnson initiated the move to organize the North Jersey Chapter. The North Jersey Chapter officially joined the National Organization in June 1950. Because of the rural aspects of North Jersey, it was impossible to limit membership to a particular town; instead it was limited to a mileage radius.
The Eastern region resurfaced with the addition of the Lincoln University, Pennsylvania Chapter.
To Dorothy Wright of Philadelphia, the first National President, we owe our appreciation for guiding us through the difficult period of organization. Further, under the leadership of Emile Pickens of New York, Second National President, marked progress was made toward the realization of Jack and Jill objectives. Edna Seay of Buffalo, our Third National President served in the capacity of national officer since its inception and guided and directed the group wisely and efficiently to the place we assume in our communities today. The Eastern Region owes gratitude to Ida Murphy Smith of Baltimore for her high standards as Editor of the first edition of UP THE HILL; Helen Prattis of Pittsburgh and Vernice Wynn of Baltimore for the wonderful and difficult job they performed in the capacity of Secretary/Treasurer. It was necessary for all of the chapters to seek advice and grateful thanks were echoed for the guidance given by Sara Scott of Philadelphia, Program Chairman.
The idea of a regional plan for the National Organization was first advanced at the 3rd annual meeting of Jack and Jill of America Inc., held in Washington, D.C. in 1948. It was suggested that three regions (East, Midwest and West) be established to (1) shorten the travel time to annual meetings; (2) allow more time for discussions and (3) allow the inclusion of children at the meetings. For several years, a regional organizational plan was discussed during annual national conventions. These discussions were fueled by a hugely successful Teen regional conference organized and hosted by the Philadelphia Chapter in June 1951 around the year’s program year of study and research on Haiti.
At the 1957 National Convention held in San Francisco, the Regional Plan of the Organization was finally adopted and Regional Directors were appointed or elected. The first Regional meetings were held in 1959, and the decision was made to alternate years between the Regional and National conventions.
Hence, each is held every two years. Currently, the organization is divided into seven regions—Central, Eastern, Far West, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-Western, South Central and Southeastern. Each of the seven regions has four officers—Regional Director, Regional Treasurer, Regional Secretary, and Foundation Member-At-Large, who are responsible for providing continuity between the National Executive Board and the chapters in the respective regions. The Regional Officers are elected during the Biennial Regional Conferences, which convene on the odd numbered years following the National Convention.
Regional teen conferences are held annually. The first teen conference was held in Philadelphia, PA, in June 1951. Each Region has teen officers who are elected annually at the teen conferences.
The Eastern Region has continued to grow in membership and chapters. The Eastern region is the largest with 55 chapters. In the new millennium, the Eastern Region continues to provide innovative programming. In recognition of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, teens are invited to participate in a regional Teen Leadership Summit on the campus of Howard University designed to catapult youth to new levels and conduct community service. The region is proud to have launched in 2006 mandatory certification training for teen conference chaperones to assure clear expectations and a safe experience for our teens. In 2011 and 2013, the Mother’s Conference was held on a cruise to Bermuda with over 400 persons in attendance. The Eastern region chapters hosted the On the Hill Summit in 2009 and 2011. In 2012, the region was the host of the 40th Biennial National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, which marked the beginning celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Jack and Jill of America. Over 350 members of the Eastern region commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in August 2013. Our children proudly carried our banner and marched for education, healthcare, gun control, voting rights, and Trayvon Martin. At the 2014 41st National Convention, the body approved the Eastern Region Provisional Group from Frederick, MD and also elected our 24th National President, Tammy King, from the Bergen Passiac, NJ chapter.
Welcome. It is my honor and privilege to serve as the second president of the Western Maryland Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. In November 2018, we will mark the four year anniversary of our Chapter's inception. This has been a rewarding journey and learning experience for our mother members and our children.
Our Chapter continues to grow, and we recently welcomed our first legacy member. We are all excited that she has joined our Chapter. The mother members of the Western Maryland Chapter bring with them unique gifts and equally unique talents and experiences. The synergy of those myriad qualities is awe-inspiring and help us to fulfill our National Theme of “The Power to Make a Difference.”
Our Chapter goals for the 2018-2019 program year include expanding our community impact. We will continue working with our community partners, the Frederick Boys and Girls Club and the Maryland Food Bank. We will be participating in community festivals and partnering with other organizations within our community. We will begin work on our strategic plan in order to ensure that our wonderful organization remains sustainable for the next generation of Western Maryland Mothers.
Our 2018-2020 Western Maryland Chapter’s theme is “Together we are one.” In the words of Frederick Douglass, “We are one, our cause is one, and we must help each other, if we are to succeed.” This all ties into our Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Eastern Region theme of “Empowering Families for SUCCESS!”
I look forward to serving as your Chapter president and to working with all of you to provide life-long memories and experiences for our children and mothers. In remembering that our time as Mothers in Jack and Jill is finite, I would like for all mother members to continue to have a positive, peaceful, rewarding and purposeful experience.
Teen President's Message
Greetings Moms and teens. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back to the Western Maryland Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, as we are about to start an exciting and productive program year. I am truly blessed and honored to be this years teen president.
We will be kicking things off this program year with a Lock-In/ Module Madness, last year was the first time we held one and since it was such a success we believe this is a activity we would like to continue. The teens have come up with some great ideas and different activities we would like to do this year. These activities will assist in making us well rounded teenagers but also allow us to connect with our community. We will also work with the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick county to offer homework assistance and workshops for the youth. We will support our HBCUs by attending several homecomings festivities, in addition to attending a program at UPenn.
The theme for the upcoming teen conference is “Black By Popular Demand” because we were never out of style but now we’re back and better. Our teens, with the guidance of our teen board, intend on making this a great year. We plan to make our parents proud of our accomplishments this program year and look forward to getting started and showing the world that we have the power to make a difference.