Jack and Jill of America, Inc
Founded in 1938, Jack and Jill grew out of the community work of 20 upper-class African American women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who wanted their children to have cultural opportunities, develop leadership skills, and form social networks in the extremely segregated society of the time. Jack and Jill also publishes a national journal.
Mothers of children between the ages of 2 and 19 hold the membership and are required to plan and host monthly activities for the children, who are the focus of the program. Children are divided into age groups (2-5, 6-9, 9-12, 12-14, and 9th through 12th grade) and take part in cultural activities,fundraising, leadership training, legislative events and social events such as ski trips, pizza parties, cotillions, as well as college planning, theater trips and conferences, to name a few. Mothers attend required monthly meetings and act on committees focused on the work of the organization, as well as larger efforts aimed to better the conditions of all children, not just their own. Annual dues, mandatory philanthropic assessments and extensive childrens activities usually result in annual costs of several hundred dollars to each member.
Mothers have to be invited into the group. Members are usually professional women who are teachers, doctors, professors, lawyers, businesswomen, or are married to similarly educated individuals. Each chapter may decide on its own selection process; some include a prospective member and her family to participate as guests prior to being voted upon by the membership. Chapters may also, at their own discretion and often when the chapter has become too large, close their membership intake during a given year; and do not entertain prospective members.
Graduating teenagers are celebrated and honored at the annual Regional Teen Conferences during a gala event where they are introduced to the other families in the membership and their guests, announce their college choice and are welcomed into the adult "village". Children who graduate out of the program are granted legacy status and may automatically join when they have children of their own.
The organization is divided into seven regions, which operate to support the chapters around the country. Today, there are around 218 chapters across the United States and the world, and about 30,000 parents and children who participate.
Jack and Jill of America will celebrate its 75th anniversary in Philadelphia, PA in 2012 during the 40th National Convention.
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