About Monarch Cities Chapter
Monarch Cities’ journey to chartering began with a virtual interest meeting hosted by Jack and Jill of America Incorporated Mid-Western Region, on Saturday, June 27, 2021. While there was already a strong Jack and Jill presence in the Chicago Southland area, this meeting demonstrated there were many more like-minded mothers who sought to nurture future African- American leaders. Four Mother Organizers: Dr. Rachel Giddens, Ilundria Bardwell, Tayo Hill, and Cassie Lincoln began the application process.
After the initial interest meeting, a poll was cast to vote on an official name for the Interest Group. Monarch Cities was chosen. The Monarch Butterfly is the official butterfly of the state of Illinois, thus, tying it to the area. Aside from its symbolic meaning of strength, transformation, and new beginnings, monarch butterflies are extremely unique in that only 10% of them make it through the transformation process to become butterflies.
On June 30, 2021, the Mother Organizers submitted a letter of interest to National Vice President, Claudia Curtis, to form an official interest group in the Southland Chicago area covering 54 zip codes.
The final interest group meeting took place virtually on July 18, 2021, hosted by Chair, Dr. Tonya Coats and Regional Chair, Yvonne Blake. With the support of the sponsoring chapter, South Suburban Chicago (JJSSCC), and Mid-Western Regional Director, Tanya Watson, the Monarch Cities Interest Group submitted 71 applications on Monday, July 25, 2021, in pursuit of becoming a Provisional Group.
On August 19, 2021, the National Executive Board of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated voted to approve the formation of the Monarch Cities Provisional Group (MCPG). We forged on with the vision to enhance and inspire the evolution of African-American children, by committing to innovative programming and developing critical thinkers and multi-faceted leaders, whose impact transforms communities with lasting and positive change. Four additional Mothers joined the Organizers: Tiffany Stewart-Williams, Nicole Lucas, Jorie Jones, and Melanie Mandisodza.
Our Mothers’ Fall retreat was held on September 25, 2021, at the Orland Park Civic Center. Attendees gleaned wisdom poured out by Regional Director Tanya Watson, Past National President Alice Peoples, Regional Chair Yvonne Blake, Regional Growth Chair Jonee Drake, Regional Program Director Lakindra Pruitt, and Dr. Tonya Coats. Mothers fellowshipped, shared their hopes for Monarch Cities, and recorded them via a letter to themselves. Eight officers were elected, and five were appointed to the Executive Board: Dr. Rachel Giddens – President, Tayo Hill – Vice-President, Jorie Jones – Program Director, Yolanda Johnson – Treasurer, Ilundria Bardwell – Financial Secretary, Tiffany Sommerio – Editor, Tiffany Stewart-Williams – Recording Secretary, and Melanie Mandisodza – Corresponding Secretary. Appointed Officers: Nicole Lucas – Historian, Cassie Lincoln – Sergeant at Arms, Jac’Keyia Wells – Protocol Chair, Keiana Winters – Chaplain, and Jennifer Matthews – Parliamentarian.
MCPG’s many firsts include monthly Mothers’ meetings, a holiday party, the inaugural release of the Monarch Cities Flutter newsletter, and the MLK Day of service, in which over 1,000 books were donated. Mothers learned how to navigate within a 100% virtual model during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the strength and creativity of a monarch butterfly, MCPG quickly pivoted the direction of all grade group activities to virtual settings while maintaining the integrity and quality of programming. MCPG children participated in their first Children’s Cluster in March 2022, supported a host of local and national community-focused organizations, and began building lifelong friendships with their peers. Likewise, MCPG mothers began to build bonds with one another, participate in various membership engagement activities, grade group “meet-ups,” and support each other’s individual goals.
Sponsored by the Jack and Jill South Suburban Chicago Chapter (JJSSCC), President Tracie Hayes along with appointed mentors Danielle Broadwater and Nikki Wilson, and under the direction of the Mid-Western Region Leadership Team, MCPG participated in Jack and Jill Day, Area Work Day, Home for the Holidays, and the Founders’ Day Tea. MCPG partnered with JJSSCC to successfully execute the Provisional Group’s first Black Family Day Golf Outing.
President, Dr. Rachel Giddens, Vice President, Tayo Hill, and Program Director, Ebony Winn, attended the 45th National Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated Convention in Orlando, Florida, representing the 60 mothers of MCPG. Our signature theme: A Tale of Monarch Cities, A Walk Through the Enchanted Garden, highlights the group’s journey to chapter establishment. A display table, virtual presentation, and scrapbook showcased the group’s programs and activities from the 2021-2022 programming year.
On July 28, 2022, during the 45th National Convention, Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, Mother Members graciously voted in favor of MCPG to transition from a Provisional Group to a Provisional Chapter.
Monarch Cities was officially chartered as a chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. on October 9, 2022.
While mothers of Monarch Cities are proud of the progress the group has achieved, it remains understood that there is still work to be done.
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.
- 10-27-2023IL/Tri-State Area Work Day Cluster
- 10-28-2023IL/Tri-State Area Work Day Cluster
- 12-16-2023Monarch Cities Holiday Party & 1-Year Chapter Anniversary Celebration
- 01-15-2024MLK Day of Service: Chapter-Wide Community Service Event
- 01-27-2024JJMCC & JJSSCC Joint Founders’ Day Celebration
In the Spotlight
Our Chapter’s Leadership Board
Local Philanthropies that we have had the honor of partnering with
Contact Our Chapter
We look forward to hearing from you about membership or how our members can serve your philanthropy and our community.