Greater North Atlanta Chapter Installation
2008 ~ 2009
Under the auspices of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, founded on January 24, 1938 in Philadelphia, PA by Marion Stubbs Thomas, 115 mothers interested in forming their own chapter were invited to Sugarloaf Country Club located in Duluth, GA on December 20, 2008 for a luncheon to learn more about the organization whose objectives are “to create a medium of contact for children that will stimulate growth and development and to provide for children a constructive educational, cultural, civic, recreational and social program.”¹
The luncheon was organized by Ronna Muhammad and Elaine Richardson who organized the Interest Group which was presided over by Helen Mitchell, President of North Suburban Atlanta Chapter who spoke of the aims of the organization which are;
· To aid mothers in learning more about their children by careful study
· To seek for all children the same advantages which we desire for our own
· To support all National legislation aimed at bettering the conditions of all children¹
2009 ~ 2010
As a result of this luncheon it was agreed that a Letter of Intent be sent to North Suburban Atlanta Chapter for sponsorship of an Interest Group and such was voted on January 20, 2009. Provisional Group status was applied for on/before February 28, 2009 preceding our first Mother’s Organizational Meeting on March 12, 2009 in Johns Creek, Georgia where the group’s name (Greater Northeast Atlanta Provisional Group) was approved as well as the selection of an Historian (Loretta Willis) and Photographers (Ricki Shaw and Tameka Pero)/Scrap bookers (Ursula Jones and Mica Koli). Provisional Group Status was granted on March 31, 2009 at which time the GNAPG coordinators began the election process, inviting candidates to run for Executive Board Offices.
GNAPG enjoyed its first Workshop and Elections on May 2, 2009 hosted by Coordinators Jennifer Reed-Askey, Elaine Richardson and Ronna Muhammad. Led by National Treasurer, Mavis P. James; Southeast Regional Director, Tamara T. Robinson and North Suburban Atlanta Chapter President, Helen Mitchell, on this historical day GNAPG elected its Officers as follows: President, Sharron Bassil; Vice President, Yvette Drake; Recording Secretary, Roshelle Nash; Corresponding Secretary, Charmagne Helton, Treasurer, TaJuana Bayless-Pearson; Financial Secretary, Cindy Smith; Program Directors, Oteia Morris, Maria Aguilar, Cheryl Lee and Valencia Wiltz and Historian, Loretta Willis. The Officer roster was eventually completed with the addition of Parliamentarian, Deborah Chandler; Editor, Tameko Pero and Corresponding Secretary appointment Ursula Comer.
The July 7-9, 2009 Southeastern Region Mothers Conference in Memphis, TN was attended by four GNAPG Mothers (President Bassil, VP Drake, Teen Program Director Lee and Mother Mica Koli). It offered a great perspective on just how effective and powerful the Jack and Jill of America are and the positive influence it has on all children and mothers associated with this organization. We learned at this meeting that we were one of 14 Provisional Groups around the country. The Southeastern Region Teen Conference commenced on July 9-12, 2009 at the same location with four of our Teens attending (Jessika Bassil, Kelsey Drake, Allyce Lee and Bontu Koli).
From October 2009 to May, 2010 many activities and programs have been scheduled with one goal in mind; to create a means of contact for our children that will stimulate growth and development in education, cultural, civic, recreational and social programs and activities. We enjoy six age groups whose names represent our vision, belief and motivation as Mothers in preparing them for making a difference in their world for the benefit of all mankind. From the Exploring Leaders Preschoolers; the Adventurous Leaders K-1st Graders; the Emerging Leaders 2nd to 3rd Graders; the Upward Leaders 4th to 5th Graders; the Bourne Leaders 6th to 7th Graders to Tomorrow’s Leaders 8th to 12th Graders, program activities have ranged from demonstrating compassion by donating items to the Drake House to assist families in need; making cards for senior citizens; celebrating and appreciating their talents with gratefulness and excellence in what they do well; participating in a Toastmasters Speech workshop in order to gain public speaking confidence; ice skating for a cause, raising over $300.00 in non-perishable goods for the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities to volunteer tutoring for a local Elementary School in need of assistance. Our Programming year ended with a phenomenal Black Family Day Celebration at Thomasville Heights Elementary School filled with numerous beautification projects intended to enhance/inspire their learning environment and so much more!
Our Mother’s Workshop on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 wrapped up our programming year with a focus on our purpose and the makings of a great chapter. It helped toward laying the foundation and providing insight and expectations for our Provisional Group Presentation at National which was attended by 18 Mothers who experienced firsthand the vote that was taken on July 30th, 2010 promoting us to Provisional Chapter status.
Today we turn a significant page in our History with deep gratitude, appreciation, love and reflection over the past year that truly has been a labor of love and devotion to our children and the long term impact that being a part of this group will make in their lives and ours. We stand 66 Mother’s strong, privileged and honored to be Installed, setting straight the path forever of the Greater North Atlanta Provisional Chapter.
2010 ~ 2011
September 12, 2010 marked our Chapter status by installing 66 Mothers into Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Southeastern Region.
The following were installed to serve as Executive Board of the chapter: Sharron M. Bassil, President; Yvette Drake, Vice President; Roshelle Nash, Recording Secretary; Ursula Comer, Corresponding Secretary; Tajuana Pearson, Treasurer; Kisha Wiley, Financial Secretary; Oteia Morris, Maria Aguilar, Valencia Wiltz and Cheryl Lee, Program Directors; Loretta Willis, Historian; Tameka Pero, Editor; Deborah Chandler, Parliamentarian; Sharon January, Sergeant-At-Arms; Kathy Jackson, Chaplain; and Shandle Williams, Timekeeper.
Other charter members were: Maria Aguilar, Rhonda Godfrey, Angela Merlette, Jennifer Andrews, Geri Gonzalez, Oteia Morris, Jacqueline Anglade, Ronna Green Muhammad, Roshelle Nash, Courtney Baines, Lidia Griffin, Yvette Nwoko, Charlotte Barge, Erika Harrison, TaJuana Pearson, Vanessa Barksdale, Carmen Hill-Mekoba, Jennifer Reed-Askey, Tammie Bender, Ellen Hines, Lisa Reid, Sonya Brown Jennifer Cantor, Rita Jackson, Lecia Scott, Liz Carnegie, Sharon January, Kelly Shaffer, Deborah Chandler, LaShawn Jenkins, Ricki Shaw, Yvette Christopher, Karyn Greer-Johnson, Cindy Smith, Ursula Comer, Theresita Jones, Lisa Smith, Renita Conner, Ursula Jones, Cindy Spain-Green, Keisha Dennard-Hall, Carla Jordan, Deborah Stewart, Yvette Drake, Jennise Kelson, LaShaunn Stoddart, Karen Dudley, Mica Koli, Diane Walthour, Robin Dunson, Rhasheda Lawery, Kisha Wiley, Shelley Dunson-Allen, Cheryl Lee, Shandle Williams, Foncia Fralin, Gail Lewis, Loretta Willis, Shawndra Geer, Yvonne Little and Valencia Wiltz.
The newly installed Greater North Atlanta Chapter enjoyed its first Regional Event by attending Mother’s Workday on October 8-9, 2010 with our National Theme in mind of “Achieving Excellence, Inspiring Greatness, Motivating Youth to Lead and Serve.” This was attended by 43 Mother’s.
GNAC has enjoyed participating in several National/Regional Program Service Projects such as Letter Writing to our troops; Financial Literacy Modules which included instruction in health, life and leadership skills; Book Club participation that enriched/inspired our children’s perspective through wonderful stories about kids their ages and beyond who have gone on to impact/improve their environments and inspire others. GNAC was honored to be represented by one of our Teens in the Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Competition as well. Our families have also signed pledges to support Jack and Jill’s Healthy Living Initiative which began in January 2011. Our goal is to have participation from 50% of our Chapter families; our Coordinators have made it easy to stay encouraged by launching a Facebook page (Fat2Fit4Life) so that we can chat, find exercise buddies, share ideas, recipes and information.
Our children have enjoyed tremendous Programming opportunities based on the inspiration of Jack and Jill’s original mission of “…learning more about their children by careful study…while…seeking for all children the same advantages we desire for our own…”
With six age groups named to represent our Chapter vision, belief and motivation in preparing them to make a difference in their world for the benefit of all mankind, the Exploring Leaders (K-1); Emerging Leaders (2nd-3rd); Upward Leaders (4th-5th); Bourne Leaders (6th-7th) to Tomorrow’s Leaders (8th-12th), activities have ranged from Silver Comet Bike Trail, Fall Festival Pumpkin Patch, Sponsor a Child For a Year which encouraged the character trait of Compassion by sponsoring a little girl from the Dominican Republic and a little boy from Kenya through CFCA (Christian Foundation for Children). Our Emerging Leaders wrote letters to Nazarete and Justus and will continue to communicate throughout the Programming year. Other Age Group activities included The Little Gym Fitness, Fencing, Andi’s Creations Children’s Hospital, North Fulton Community Services, Baskets for Veterans/Coat Drive culminating with a Chapter Holiday Event~”A Traditional Family Christmas, attended by 158 adults and children.
Community Service Project
The Greater North Atlanta Chapter in collaborative sponsorship with Morehouse College and the National Library of Medicine, assisted Mentoring in Medicine, Inc., a non-profit organization established to expose disadvantaged youth to careers in the healthcare industry with “Dinner with Doctors and Other Healthcare Professionals” on November 6, 2010. The event, held in Atlanta at the Atlanta Technical College, had over 400 attendees, including 68 healthcare professionals.
The Mentoring in Medicine organization was founded in Harlem, NY and has since expanded to Oakland, CA and continues its progress in the national expansion of the program. Its goal is to become a recognized leader within the community for helping to cultivate academic enrichment, leadership development and the mentoring of underprivileged students interested in the healthcare profession. Our Foundation Chair, Lisa Smith helped solidify the foundation for long term relationships which could result in an increase of minority applicants and graduates from medical schools.
The Greater North Atlanta Chapter, under the leadership and guidance of GNAC President Sharron Bassil, our Foundation Chair and members of GNAC, the Father’s Auxiliary, Greater North Suburban Atlanta Chapter, Health Professionals and GNAC Teens organized and co-sponsored our first annual Mentoring in Medicine’s Spring Event on March 26, 2011, “Yes, I Can Be a Healthcare Professional!” at the Atlanta Technical College. The event included over 600 students from Elementary through Health Professional Schools, caregivers, educators, community leaders and health care professionals.
A tremendous milestone was completed with the final adoption of our Chapter By-Laws on March 17, 2011.
GNAC has continued to grow throughout this Programming year in vision, oneness and enthusiasm as we witness the impact of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. on our children and the relationships they are forming, some for a lifetime. The impact on the Mothers has been just as rewarding through approaching this task with the single purpose of investing in our children and children less fortunate toward changing one life at a time through a labor of love.
Our Black Family Day Celebration proved this point like no other when over 150 family members gathered at Jones Bridge Park on May 1, 2011. Our aim was to celebrate “family” with a Service Project in mind by remembering and supporting My House, a non-profit organization that provides a home-like living environment for babies who are ready to leave the hospital, but have nowhere to go.
The Greater North Atlanta Chapter is well on its way toward fulfilling its mission:
“To create a nurturing and an extended family environment that will build long-lasting friendships. To provide our children with an educationally beneficial, culturally aware, community service-oriented and socially adept path that will promote future leaders.”
On May 22,2011, we held our Legacy Initiation and New Officer’s Installation Luncheon at The St. Ives Country Club. We initiated 4 legacy moms. They are Kandice Childress, Carla Haynes, Tisha Haynes and Yolanda Willis. We had 2 mothers, Karen White and Kelly Callaway, transfer into the chapter. Loretta Willis became our first associate mom.
2011 ~ 2012
On June 22-26, the GNAC teens attended the Jack and Jill Southeastern Regions 55th Annual Teen Leadership Conference at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The theme was “Stitching the Hems of our Heritage.” East Suburban, Atlanta and Stone Mountain chapters hosted the event. We had 2 teen graduates, Billy McCoy and Karina Willis, honored at the event.
The theme for this year’s programming calendar was “Creating the Ultimate Experience.” We wanted to provide the best social, civic, educational, recreational and cultural opportunities for our children. With that in mind, we held outstanding activities with each of our grade level groups. They ranged from ice skating, fencing, a sports camp and an equestrian activity to a tour of a bank, financial literacy workshop, museum tour and a tour at the Capitol. We also had all of our chapter events celebrating black history, Carole Robertson, Christmas, black family and our healthy living.
September 25th, marked our first chapter wide event of the 2011-2012 programming year. We held our picnic and Carole Robertson Remembrance Celebration at the prestigious River Club Sports Pavilion. We indulged in a fantastic, fun filled day of lunch, football, video games and a beautiful ceremony honoring the life of Carole Robertson. Our children wrote personal notes, attached them to balloons, and released them to the beautiful blue skies.
We held the first “Hoop it Up“ event on Saturday October 29th at Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, Georgia. It included a basketball tournament, cheer clinic and a three point shooting contest. We raffled a theme basket.
The GNAC was the proud recipient of the Jacqueline Robinson grant for the 2011-2012 programming year. This $3000.00 grant marks the first grant awarded to GNAC. We submitted a grant application on behalf of Mentoring in Medicine, a 501 ©3 organization that supports minority students in pursuing a health related career. Way to go GNAC in supporting our mission!
This year, the chapter will participate in the Samaritan Purse Operation Christmas Child (OCC).The program impacted over 8 million children across the globe last year by supplying them with toys and toiletries. Our children have also participated in the Loose Change Project and Rebuild America Campaign for which several GNAC families participated in the “House that Jack and Jill Built” service project that took place in New Orleans in Spring of 2011. Our children are intimately involved with the mission of “seeking for all children the same advantages which we desire for our own.”
We ended the year with a spectacular Christmas party at the 1818 Club in Duluth, Georgia. The children made gingerbread houses, took pictures and even participated in caroling.
The Greater North Atlanta Chapter held it's first Founder's Day Program on January 5, 2012 at the John's Creek Hospital. The guest speaker for the evening was our National Vice President Tamara Robinson. The event was filled with fellowship, history and re-dedication to our children, our chapter and our community.
February was an exciting and proud month for our chapter. On Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday several mothers, fathers and children from our chapter combined with North Suburban Atlanta Chapter to celebrate MLK day with a day of service at the Drake House. They cleaned, painted and stocked their pantries. Many of the chapter moms donated some much needed items. We held our Black History Month celebration on February 19, 2012 at the Margaret Mitchell Library in Atlanta, Georgia. The event was filled with performances and music. Our children submitted video clips explaining "what black history month means to me". These video clips were compiled into a DVD.
We also hosted our first Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Contest which took place at Lanier High School. Our teens Kelsey Drake, Tyler Hill, Allyce Lee, Evan Smith and Peyton Smith participated. Kelsey Drake was our first place winner. The following week was our youth oratorical presentation. We were all speechless as our two young participants described" nurture a reader, nurture a leader." March culminated with the Children's SuperCluster and Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Competition in Savannah.
We had 2 similarly named but separate projects in the month of April. ”Aim for Healthy Choices” on April 21, 2012 and “Aim for Healthy Living” on April 28th. The “Aim for Healthy Choices” event was held at the Marriott Gateway Hotel. We had approximately 400 attendees including middle and high school students from the Atlanta area. The program is designed to expose disadvantaged students to the various careers in health care, culinary arts and also assist them in effective career planning and lifestyle choices. The students were placed in an interactive environment with many health care professionals. The “Aim for Healthy Living” was held on April 28,2012 at the Milton Center in Alpharetta. The event included a fun walk around the fitness track followed by a health and fitness fair for both adults and children. There were small group classes in judo, boxing, sports agility and zumba. We also had a final weigh in for our chapter wide weight loss initiative.
May was the month of celebration of the accomplishments of our children and welcoming an addition to our chapter. On May 3, we held an initiation ceremony for our new legacy mom Lisa Pillow- Scott.
The GNAC Teen Recognition Banquet was held on Saturday, May 5th at Sugarloaf Country Club. Our keynote speaker was Karina Willis (GNAC Graduate of 2011). We celebrated our 2012 Graduates: Andrew Barksdale, Joshua Chandler, Bontu Koli, Allyce Lee, Christian Lewis, Michale Miller, AJ Pearson, and Taylor Spann. We also acknowledged our moms who graduated out: Vanessa Barksdale, Deborah Chandler, Renita Conner, Mica Koli, and Cheryl Lee. Our teens have also been very busy at the end of their year. . They have had their own installation of officers, have had extensive service and programming activities and have participated in the Regional Teen Conference. GNAC was represented by our delegate Andrew Barksdale and alternate Jasmine Merlet
Black Family Day was held on Sunday, May 6th at the Fresh Start New Beginnings Christian Church in Duluth, GA. The day began with a message from our very own GNAC dad, Pastor Terry Starks. The service was followed by our Children's Recognition Program, which included a segment recognizing our dads.
This summer in July 2012, the chapter was seated at its first National Mother’s Conference in Philadelphia, PA at which time the organization also commemorated its 75 years of existence. Our chapter handbook earned a rating of SUPERIOR for Chapter Planning and Program Handbook for the 2011-2012 program year. Our chapter was honored at the national programming celebration luncheon.
2012 ~ 2013
Our delightful age groups had a tremendous calendar year planned with activities including a golf outing, mock trial, a public speaking workshop with Toastmaster’s, tour of 11Alive, a trip to Stone Mountain-snow mountain, a cooking class and theater events including Atlanta Symphony, Beauty and the Beast and many others.
We started the new calendar year, with our first chapter wide activity. We held our annual Carole Robertson Remembrance celebration at the prestigious River Club, in Suwanee. We had such a fantastic time last year; we were privileged to be able to host the event there for a second time. We had lunch and various activities for all age groups. This included jumpers, video games, ping pong and the greatest hit was a hip hop dance class.
The teens kicked the programming year off with the 100 black men classic football game that both the Junior and Senior Teens were able to enjoy together. The Sr Teens calendar was filled with events such as the mock trial, titanic exhibit touring the Atlanta history center with the Jr teens, and zip lining.
The Jr Teen programming calendar included the bodies exhibit, sips and strokes, and a golf outing. This was also a special year for the Jr Teens, they installed their first Executive Board. We are all very proud of them!
The service activities from both the Jr and Sr teens were the Atlanta community food bank, North Fulton Charities, empty stocking fund, books for Africa, the Drake house, the AIM-STEM conference and a group 3 activity that took place at 11alive!
On October 20, 2012, 25 of the moms from GNAC attended Mother's Work Day. This year’s Southeastern Regional Conference was held at the Gateway Marriott in Atlanta, Georgia. The agenda included several workshops and parenting sessions that allowed us to to bring back to our chapter additional tools and skills to become stronger leaders and parents. The conference was led by our regional director, Marjorie Mitchell, and newly elected national president Tamara Turnley Robinson. Several national officers were also in attendance. Our very own, Regional Programming Committee Co- Chair, Sharon Bassil, conducted the Children's Programming workshop.
We had a robust calendar for the remainder of 2012 and into the historical year of 2013. We held our annual Christmas extravaganza at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The children were mesmerized by the gospel performance.
Then there was the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, the 44th president of the United States. This was one of the proudest moments in American history and many of our moms traveled to Washington, DC to be at the forefront of this event. Many moms and children attended the Pink and Blue inaugural ball.
We cruised into the winter months and 2013 with outstanding programming. We held our first Prospective Member Tea on January 27. Shortly after that our Black history month event was a huge success. We held our Black History Month Event On February 24, 2013 at the Independence High School in Alpharetta. The kids learned African dance, took a group photo in front of the historically landmarked log cabin outside the theater, and enjoyed the performance on the Life of Frederick Douglass by the Bright Star Touring Theater. Some of our children displayed their talents by playing their musical instruments and reciting Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.
GNAC also hosted 2 important events in the month of March: the Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Contest and Speak Out Presentations. The Georgia area wide Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Competition and Speak Up, Speak Out presentation. Our very own Quinn Lawery won the statewide competition this year and will compete at the regional Teen Conference in Birmingham, AL this June.
In April, we sponsored another healthcare conference for the youth in our community, the Aim- S.T.E M.[+A] event that was held in collaboration with the Emory School of Medicine. In support of our national theme this year, AIM For STEM, the GNAC Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. sponsored a S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Math) forum entitled AIM For S.T.E.M. which was held at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA on March 16, 2013. The goal of this event was to expose disadvantaged students to the benefits of intentional planning for healthy lifestyles and career choices by placing them in an interactive environment with science, engineering and healthcare professionals to discuss the benefits of effective career-based planning with respect to strong study habits, emphasis on the health sciences and technology and strong mentoring relationships.
The addition of eight fabulous new moms began in October and commended on a rainy Sunday in April. On October 7th, 2012 the GNAC membership voted to begin the new member intake process which began with an Informational workshop on Sunday December 16th, 2012 at the Atlanta National Golf Club in Milton, GA. We had eight prospective moms. We held a prospective member tea on January 27th at the lovely Country Club of the South. We had 52 mothers in attendance along with the eight prospective moms. At the March Mother’s business meeting, we voted to extend membership to seven prospective mother’s. All seven mother’s accepted that invitation on April 1st, 2013. One legacy mom chose to exercise her legacy status and join the GNAC family. On April 26-27th, all of these mothers attended the New Member Orientation. Finally on Sunday April 28, 2013 we have 8 new members.
Black Family Day was held on Saturday May 4th, 2013. The committee welcomed more than 140 GNAC family members to participate in a Celebration of Achievement, Recognition and Honors. The event was held at St. Ives Country Club Main Ballroom. We Rallied, Empowered and Celebrated our children as they received their Honors on the Red Carpet! The event was a huge success despite our last minute change in venue due to a thunderstorm. From hula hoop and dance contest to recognitions and team spirited activities the GNAC families were fully engaged and enjoyed the activities. We never imagined seeing our dad’s competitive edge and spirit in hula hooping. Everyone had a great time.