In the summer of 1968, Celonia Walden, Roberta Briscoe and Grace Dixon, members of the Baltimore Chapter of Jack and Jill, expressed the need for an organization of African American mothers, who desired to work cooperatively in guiding the educational, cultural and social growth and development of their children in the new city of Columbia, Maryland. The three ex-Baltimoreans envisioned a Columbia or Howard County Chapter Jack and Jill. After reaching out to other mothers of like minds, on November 12, 1968, a group of 30 interested mothers met at Celonia Walden’s home and founded the “Columbia Mothers’ Club”. At this founding meeting, Celonia, Roberta and Grace, explained the purpose, aims and objectives of Jack and Jill of America. The group decided to ask the Baltimore Chapter to sponsor them into Jack and Jill of America by 1970.
The course of the Mothers’ Club was chartered the first year under the able leadership of Celonia Walden as President, Roberta Briscoe as Vice President, and Grace Dixon as Secretary. Since most of the members of the club were new to the Columbia area and also were new to each other, many of the activities focused on the development of a friendship and bond among the parents and children. During the second year, most effort and time was spent organizing and restructuring the Mothers’ Club in accordance with the national program guidelines of Jack and Jill of America.
On December 4, 1970, two years after its inception, the Columbia Mothers’ Club became the Columbia Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated with seventeen Charter Members. The Chapter has grown significantly since it was established, our membership now includes over 90 mothers and more than 170 participating children and teens. Through the efforts and talents of our members, the quality of our children’s programs and the commitment to our community remains exemplary.
Recognizing our rich heritage, both locally and nationally, the Chapter has continued the wonderful tradition established by our founders. By sponsoring numerous educational projects, cultural programs, and social activities over the years, the Chapter has provided a means for increasing educational awareness among our youth, assisted in their positive growth, and encouraged an appreciation of our culture. A continued commitment and attention to serving the needs of our community instils the value of service in our youth.
With the legacy of the mothers before us, and our commitment to collective work, the current mothers of the Columbia Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Incorporated, have garnered the power to change the lives of our own children, and others in our community. Working together we will continue to demonstrate “The Power to Make A Difference”.