Greater North Atlanta Chapter
During the weekend of August 26-27, 2017, mothers of GNAC gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead for our 2017 GNAC Mother’s Retreat. With the theme of “RELAX, RELATE AND RELEASE,” over 50 mothers enjoyed a fun and relaxing weekend of bonding and learning filled with workshops, a fall fashion preview at Neiman Marcus, a delicious dinner at Southern Art Restaurant and a Pink Pajama Party. The glorious weekend ended with spiritual rejuvenation with our Pastor Associate Mom Mica Koli and a Super Soul Sunday Breakfast. A good time was had by all.
On September 24, 2017, at the Pinckneyville Park/Medlock Corporate Pavilion, GNAC families kicked off our #GNACStrong calendar year with “GNAC Jack and Jill Day Family Reunion,” as we took time to celebrate the memory of Carole Robertson. With our family reunion theme, we enjoyed great food, fellowship and games that included all ages. Children from all age groups participated in our Carole Robertson Remembrance. Additionally, we hosted guests from our service partnerships, Reach Out and Read and Children’s Hospital of Atlanta (Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness).
With splendor and grandeur, GNAC families celebrated the holidays with our Holiday Gala at the World of Coca-Cola on Sunday, December 3, 2017. There, our GNAC families donned their festive holiday attire and we enjoyed the entire World of Coke experience all to ourselves. Our service focus involved donating newly gift-wrapped pajamas for families affiliated with Rainbow Village . Each wrapped gift donated by GNAC families was beautifully displayed in Santa’s sleigh. Everyone danced the night away, enjoyed delicious food catered by Proof in the Pudding, participated in tours of the facility and, of course, had plenty of Coke!
In the spirit of giving during the Holiday season, GNAC continued our partnership with Reach Out & Read at Barnes and Noble in Alpharetta, GA, on December 16 and 17, 2017. Barnes and Noble graciously supported our efforts by partnering with us for a Holiday Book Drive. GNAC Mothers and children volunteered their time to encourage shoppers to purchase children’s books in support of Reach Out & Read, as well as reading stories to children in the bookstore. It was a huge success.
On Monday, January 15, 2018, we continued our GNACStrong year by serving others during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at The Rainbow Village. Our GNAC families spent a great day of activities and fellowship to remember the legacy of Dr. King. It was delightful to meet the author of Fuzzy Eyes, Ryan Grafenreed. We also heard a timely message and motivational words from Dr. Marlon Jackson (“Rapping Doc”) and the Volunteer coordinator at Rainbow Village, Ms. Jo Tolliver.
We celebrated 80 years of Jack and Jill during a beautiful 80th Founder’s Day and Rededication Ceremony on January 22, 2018 prior to our Mothers Meeting at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. How befitting to remember this special day by hearing from former Jack and Jill Mother Juanita Abernathy, wife of Civil Rights Leader, Ralph Abernathy, and a foot soldier of the Civil Rights Movement in her own right. Her account of her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement, all while working hard for Jack and Jill, was indeed inspirational. Our GNAC mothers were taken back in time to hear how our beloved organization was founded and hear from Ms. Abernathy about how we have grown.
GNAC honored our ancestors during our chapter-wide Black History Month Celebration on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at St. James United Methodist Church. The hands-on and interactive afternoon included younger age groups experiencing the opportunity to create some amazing affirmational posters; others were engaged in a story-telling activity; and our teens had the opportunity to listen to an informative panel of African-American attorneys, judges and educators who provided some “real talk” with the topic of Knowing Your Rights/Handling Conflict for our African-American youth. We all were finally assembled to view a poignant video commemorating the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, AL and participating in group song as we remembered our ancestors who paved the way and sacrificed for our civil rights. We learned meaning behind the marching song, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
On February 24, 2018, we took a brief pause from the work of the chapter to celebrate each other, as well as our GNAC dads, during the Couples Mixer. Our Membership committee did an outstanding job organizing a well-deserved “good time” for our GNAC couples to have fun and fellowship with food, dancing, socializing and the “Not So Newlywed Game!”
We often say, “For the Children,” in Jack and Jill. That includes supporting our children who may be suffering with mental illness. On March 4, 2018, GNAC sponsored a workshop for our Teens in coordination with NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness), “End the Silence.” During this workshop at Alpharetta Library, we supported increasing awareness of teen and youth mental illness and encouraged our teens to speak out when they need emotional support.
Our dynamic youth continued to shine by participating in our annual Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Competition, Speak Up-Speak Out on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. Senior Teen Justin Stewart won the competition for his powerful interpretation of “We Are our Own Type – Not a Stereotype,” and represented our chapter at the Regional competition, where he won 1st Runner Up . We commend all of our children for stepping out of their comfort zones for this challenging competition.
On April 22, 2018, we welcomed new transfer and Legacy Moms into our chapter during a lovely New Members Orientation held at Mother Diane Walthour’s home. There, our new mothers were introduced to the history of Jack and Jill, GNAC’s history and other important information as they enter our organization. In true GNACStrong fashion, we ensured that our new mothers felt welcome and were well-informed.
With the theme, “The World is Yours,” our GNAC graduating teens were celebrated for all of their accomplishments during our Annual Teen Banquet, held on April 29, 2018 at the Bears Atlanta Club. Prior to the banquet, we installed our newly elected Senior and Junior Teen Executive Boards. In addition, the graduating mothers were honored along with their children. During this grand occasion, the younger teens were able to participate and were recognized for their participation in the chapter’s activities over the course of the programming year.
On Saturday, May 5, 2018, several of our GNAC families had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Birmingham, AL and to participate in the reenactment of the Children’s Crusade March. Our children joined Jack and Jill children from around the country and were able to experience what those brave children experienced 55 years ago. Additionally, they listened to several trailblazers, including Marian Wright Edelman, Martin Luther King, III, as well as inspiring words of the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. They visited 16th St. Baptist Church, where our own Carole Robertson was murdered along with three other young girls.
What a spectacular day we had during our culminating chapter-wide event, Black Family Day, on Saturday, May 19, 2018. Several GNAC families participated in the March of Dimes Walk in support of Prematurity Birth Awareness at the Town Center Park in Suwanee, GA. Raising over $1,000.00, GNAC was able to support one of our organization’s initiatives while fellowshipping together. Afterwards, we celebrated our GNAC Father’s Auxiliary and highlighted the achievements of our children over a delicious luncheon and awards ceremony.
On May 21, 2018, prior to our final Mothers meeting of the programming year, we held a very intimate, yet special Legacy Mother Initiation Ceremony. We welcomed three legacy mothers, and their very own mothers were present to participate in the ceremony.
After a year of planning, the fruits of our hardworking Foundation and Fundraising committees came to fruition at the Polo at the Palisades on June 2, 2018 at the Regional Polo Center in Vinings, GA. Raising funds for our Jack and Jill Foundation, GNAC was also able to support our other charitable partners, including Children’s Hospital of Atlanta – Aflac Cancer and Blood and Morehouse School of Medicine to support Sickle Cell Awareness Research. Donned in gorgeous hats, dresses, bow ties and seek sucker suits, our GNAC family and guests looked amazing and had a fantastic time with fellowship, food, silent auction, vendors, live band, dancing and enjoyable activities. We look forward to making this activity our Signature Event for our chapter.
Our Furious 53 carried the GNACStrong torch at the Southeastern Regional Teen Conference from June 20 – 24, 2018 in Atlanta, GA. Our dynamic teens made a tremendous mark on the conference with an incredible Step Team performance, participating in plenary sessions, creating an amazing scrapbook highlighting the group’s activities, and of course representing GNAC with great pride. A huge thank you for our phenomenal chaperones and Lead Teen Sponsor LaShaunn Stoddart for their leadership during
Finally, last but not least, GNAC worked tirelessly to achieve the goal of Five Star Chapter Excellence Status, a nationally recognized distinction that few chapters have. Our Chapter President Sharon January and Lead Teen Sponsor, LaShaunn Stoddart accepted the award at the National Conference in July 2018. Our incredible committee established the chapter’s leadership in areas of Membership, Operations, Programming, Finance and Community Service over the course of a two-year tracking period. This significant organizational achievement symbolizes the best within Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Long live Jack and Jill!!
A Five Star Chapter of Excellence