In 1971, a small group of 12 mothers formed a group called the JoMo’s of Overland Park, Kansas. The group was established to provide a means in which the small number of African American children in Overland Park could interact on a regular basis. A year later the group was chartered as a new Chapter of Jack and Jill and were officially voted in as a chapter at the 20th National Convention in July 1973. Our Chapter is one of seventeen chapters in the Central Region.
The first elected officers of the chapter were:
Helen Dupree (President), Myrna Riley (Vice President), Dorma Claiborne (Secretary), Olene Smithe (Treasurer), Alfreda Brown (Historian), Pat Johnson (Parliamentarian), Judy Jackson (Program Director)
As more African American families moved into the area, it became necessary to change the name from the “Overland Park Chapter” to the “Johnson County Chapter.”
In the early years of the Johnson County Chapter, many community service projects were shepherded. From Christmas parties for needy children to food, clothing and blanket drives. During the ‘80s the chapter became more politically involved. The chapter campaigned to have the Martin Luther King Holiday adopted. They were successful in achieving this goal in all Johnson County districts. The chapter conducted workshops such as “Strengthening the Black Family” and “Survival Skills.” The Chapter was awarded by the national organization to continue the workshops throughout the years.
In the new millennium the Johnson County Chapter has focused on providing programming for children of all ages and adults to improve the state of the African American community. The Chapter has broadened its scope to include leadership, financial development, and healthy living. Throughout our history, the Johnson County Chapter has never lost sight of their commitment to community service. This is evidenced by our philanthropic giving and volunteering in the community. Today there are forty active members of the Johnson Chapter and twenty-seven active Associates. These mothers and their families continue to serve the community and work to create a healthy, safe, creative and positive learning environment for all children.
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About Jack and Jill of America
The late Marion Stubbs Thomas founded Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, on January 24, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Twenty mothers came together to discuss creating an organization to provide social, cultural and educational opportunities for youth between the ages of 2 and 19. In 1946, 10 chapters were involved in the national restructuring process. The constitution and bylaws were drawn up, and the organization was incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware.
Today, Jack and Jill boasts 262 chapters nationwide, representing more than 50,000 family members.
Each chapter plans annual programming activities guided under our five point programmatic thrust:
We remember the ways of living developed by communities and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Through our cultural heritage we honor and preserve those who are making a difference in our community by teaching our children to cherish their past and be excited about the future.
The core of the Jack and Jill of America philosophy is that every child – if given the proper guidance and opportunity – can be developed into a leader. Whether it is through skill enhancement or understanding the concepts of integrity, Jack and Jill has become a national icon in creating effective leaders.
We are social beings with a need for balance to function and maintain healthy lives. We believe it is necessary to engage our children both socially and recreationally, learning to interact with peers and others in a healthy, positive and productive manner. These activities promote processes that help to refresh and reinvigorate both the mind and body.
Chapters continue to embrace the importance of being more aware of health issues that impact our communities, resulting in an organization that is more health conscious. We are committed to providing healthy behaviors and personal empowerment programming and training for families to live healthy lifestyles.
Since our inception, we have been committed to legislation aimed at bettering the lives of all children. Past and present legislative advocacy focus has been on violence in the media, health and wellness initiatives, voter registration, responsible gun laws, and equal access to quality education.
We are a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2 to 19, dedicated to nurturing future Leaders by supporting children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty. Jack and Jill has 262 local chapters within 7 geographical regions in the United States.
Become a Member
If you are interested in becoming a member of this chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., you must be sponsored by a member(s) of the chapter. You will be invited to attend a meeting where pertinent information, such as the qualifications, cost, selection process, and other information will be discussed
An individual meeting all requirements and qualifications must then be approved by chapter vote to complete the selection process. Each chapter is autonomous and has specific criteria for sponsoring new members.
If you are a child or the spouse of a child whose mother graduated from a chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. in good standing and you meet the other criteria for membership, you are eligible for membership as a Legacy Member. Legacy forms can be obtained from our National Office.
In the Spotlight
Our Chapter’s Leadership Board
Local Philanthropies that we have had the honor of partnering with
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We look forward to hearing from you about membership or how our members can serve your philanthropy and our community.