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The ‘Jack and Jill’ experience is family-focused and beyond

Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated is an African American organization of mothers representing over 40,000 family members nationwide.

The “Mother Members” of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, have elevated the simplicity of children at play to meet that they believe are the complexities of growing up African American in the United States.

Columbus Ohio Chapter President Jami Jones Ervin called it fun with focus, “We are dedicated to pouring into and creating the next generation of leaders,” she said. 

Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated is an African American organization of mothers representing over 40,000 family members nationwide. Moms hold the membership, but the entire family is involved. 

What sets Jack and Jill apart from other social groups or community organization is that the main purpose of existence is their children.

The organization was founded in 1938 in Philadelphia during the Great Depression. Organizer Marion Stubbs Thomas led a group of mothers united to provide for their children the same opportunities that were available to non-minority children.     

The Columbus chapter is one of the original ten, charted in 1945.

Columbus chapter mothers have a long-standing history of serving in the community through partnerships with organizations including the March of Dimes. 

Mother Members also host fundraisers and involve their children in service projects including the Martin Luther King Junior Day of Service.

There are legacy members of Jack and Jill, like Dr. Maureen Joyner, who grew up in the Columbus chapter when her mom was a member. She is now a member whose children, Darren, and Ava, are involved. 

“I like how to get to learn some different things about different communities,” she said.

Members say the founders' vision of collaborating to create experiences that nurture, educate, and groom their children from age 2 to 19, remains relevant. 

Columbus Academy Senior Vaughn Armour said his Jack and Jill experience was essential especially in middle school. 

“Attending a predominantly white school, it's tough you don't see anyone who looks like you on a daily basis,” Armour said. 

Author's note: My own family started in Jack and Jill when our son Ian was in grade school. He was in all of the age groups, right through Senior Teens. Then when he graduated high school last year with the class of 2020, I moved on to hold associate status. There's a ceremony for graduating out where the teens read statements to their mothers thanking them for all of these experiences and the moms offer advice for our children in their next phase.

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