Teens want to belong — to a group, or a network, a club or a crew — because membership has its privileges — even before they get that precious Amex card. And parents want to ensure that their young charges choose the right affiliations, i.e., student government, drama club or some other socially mobile organization. To that end, 60 years ago, a group of African American moms in Atlanta established the nation’s first Jack and Jill Club. Once considered an enclave of the African American aristocracy, the Atlanta chapter, the largest in the country with 179 members and 300 children, is devoted to promoting individual and family well-being through social interaction and recreational outlets. The organization also advocates on a local and national level on issues that are critical to the development of children.
“We’ve had a long-standing commitment to literacy, and we also focus on legislative goals. Every two years, we have a legislative summit where we send our children to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators and educate them on platforms that they need to be vocal about. This way, mothers and children can advocate on issues of interest to them,” adds local Jack and Jill president Patrice Brown Greer.
Jack and Jill supporters from the metro Atlanta region, as well as officers from chapters across the nation, gathered recently for the largest fundraiser in the group’s 60-year history. The black-tie gala, Creating a Legacy of Literacy, held at the Piedmont Driving Club, was a remarkable testament to Jack and Jill’s commitment to improving the quality of life for Atlanta’s youth. Beneficiaries of its $60,000 pledge include the East Lake Foundation, Raising Expectations Inc., and Jack and Jill of America Inc.
“Some of the programs that Jack and Jill offers focus on educational, civic and social outreach. So, we do a variety of programming and build our curriculum around those three pillars. A lot of times, the kids will … volunteer in the community, and we [support] personal development through relationships among the kids who are members and with kids in the Atlanta community,” explains gala co-chair Kimberly Evans Paige.
Patrons celebrated Jack and Jill’s six decades of accomplishment with en elegant reception, live auction and musical entertainment.
“We’re proud to partner with the Atlanta chapter of Jack and Jill. Belk is committed to community service and involvement,” said Jaimie Adcock of Belk Atlanta, a Jack and Jill corporate sponsor. –roz edward