Message from the President

lisa-ethridgeDear Mothers of the Columbia, Maryland Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated,

Hello and welcome back! It is indeed my honor and pleasure to serve you during my first year as President! Together with our newly elected board and appointed leadership, we worked diligently this summer to plan an outstanding program year for our children and teens. I would like to extend a special thanks to our board, committee chairs, age group chairs, members, and dads for helping to cast our chapter’s vision of excellence in programming and community service. Excitedly, we have ninety-eight families in our chapter including ten new families; three of which have newly transferred into our chapter.

This summer, Vice President Cynthia Bell and I attended the 30th Biennial Eastern Regional Mothers Conference in Orlando, Florida where “A Mighty & Magical Time Await[ted]” us and our families! The fifty-seven chapters in our region worked hard and created special memories that will last a lifetime, so I was humbled when our chapter received so many accolades for our hard work. Our chapter received a trophy for hosting the 2017 Eastern Region Children’s Cluster in April, and special recognition for having a Superior 2016-2017 Program Handbook! A superior rating is the highest rating out of five categories, and we thank all who worked to achieve this wonderful goal. Additionally, some of our chapter mothers received recognition for their hard work as well. I would like to convey heartfelt congratulations to our immediate past President, Christel Curtis, who received the 2017 Distinguished Mother’s Award. Also, one of our own mothers, Regina Clay, was elected to the region’s sought after nominating committee. Furthermore, it was wonderful to meet our newly elected Eastern Regional Treasurer, Crystal Mullins, and to congratulate our Regional Director Mondi Kumbula-Fraser, on her reelection to serve the Eastern region!

Our chapter moms, teens, children, and dads have been hard at work, making our events memorable and exciting. Last spring, we ended our program year by celebrating sixteen young men who participated in our chapter’s magnificent Seventeenth Biennial Beautillion Fundraiser! On August 31st, we kicked off this program year with a creative “pop-up” parents’ party! Therein, ninety parents funded and enjoyed an elegant evening at our inaugural “Diner En Blanc,” also known as a “dinner in white”. It was held on the beautiful grounds and gardens of the Howard County Conservancy. Our fellowship together on this special night strengthened the bonds we have as parents who are committed to the collective enrichment of all our children.

The momentum continued mid-September at our first Carole Robertson Homecoming Weekend. Our two-day affair allowed us to support our local African-American community by attending and financially supporting the Harriet Tubman School Foundation. On our second day, we supported our regional goals and national thrusts by hosting Carole Robertson Day where we honored her memory with a traditional tailgate outing where the theme was Celebrating Our Historically Black Colleges and Universities. On September 10th, our youth participated in the On the Hill Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.  On November 12th, we partnered with “Rise Against Hunger” and packaged over ten thousand meals for international families in need. On December 9th, we hosted our annual Corduroy’s Closet where we provided two hundred toys and gifts for local children in need. Moreover, in February 2018 we will continue our outreach efforts by hosting our annual dinner in support of the National Alliance of Mental Illness. Finally, we are looking forward to the National Convention in Kansas City Missouri in July 2018.

In conclusion, our chapter is striving to obtain Five-Star status through outstanding and rewarding age specific programs that are planned throughout the year! Additionally, we have recently introduced the Gavel Club for the amazing oratorical enrichment of our youth! With all your continued support and dedication to our chapter, I know that we can continue to achieve levels of excellence. As we appreciate each other during this special and shared season in our lives, I hope you will also stop and smell the roses, and take heart in knowing that it is truly the journey that matters most. I thank you greatly. May God bless you richly this program year as you strive for excellence and not perfection, for only God is perfect, and only through Him can we be excellent!

Blessings Galore,

Lisa Spear Ethridge
President, Columbia Maryland Chapter

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