Columbia Chapter Programming and Community Outreach
By sponsoring numerous educational projects, cultural programs, and social activities over the years, the Chapter has consistently provided a means for increasing educational awareness among our youth, assisted in their growth, and encouraged an appreciation of our culture. Following the guidelines of our National Organization, the Columbia Chapter operates with the use of specific programming thrust to plan impactful monthly activities for each pre-k through 12th grade groups. Additionally, these thrusts are beneficial to each family member. Below are the programming thrust and their examples:
- Cultural Engagement- Our history and heritage remain key and essential to the body of our organization. Continuing to educate our children about our African history and Black History in America are both important fundamentals. Exploration of our historical past through learning and engagement with our Black History Committee, and introducing our multiple HBCU's through members alma-maters, site visits, and shared experiences are just a few examples of what we have the honor to share.
- Education- We strive to plan experiences for our children that generate a learning outcome. Recent additions from our National organization have included bedtime stories for our younger members and reading corners for our older children. Next level STEAM activities for all age groups have also become an area of consistent enrichment. Additionally, webinars and learning modules are offered throughout the year for mothers to reflect and deepen learning outcomes for their children. Some recent examples of topics discussed in our webinars, forums, and conferences include the following:
- Voting and elections in our legislative forums led by our senior teens
- Talking with our children regarding race and politics
- Educating the body on ways to eradicate racial injustice
- Gavel club and public speaking opportunities for grade groups above 4th
- Balancing home and work life for moms and families
- Healthy eating and recipe quick recipe building
- Health- The mental health and wellness of our families are essential to thriving daily. We offer informational sessions throughout the program year by building our conferences, monthly meetings, chapter wide activities, and grade group activities to place an emphasis on the importance of this part of overall well being. Additionally, our Columbia Chapter is proud of the partnership we have formed to support NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) yearly by providing a home cooked meal and entertainment to our local association. In partnership with our National Organization, we are going into our second year of J&J Swims, a program designed to train our Senior Teens in life guarding and training all members about water safety. During our monthly meetings, we are updated by a number of moms in multiple medical professions about the latest in research and information about, heart health, diabetes, mental awareness, breast cancer, and now the Novel Coranvirus. The Columbia Chapter is proud to have our very own COVID-19 task force to help us plan events, and make everyday choices during this trying time.
- Civic- Now more than ever, we value and prioritize our civic duties and responsibilities. From the age of 2, we take pride in developing programming and events designed for the entire family that help to further develop an understanding of voting and to keep our members informed about our community, state, and nation. Examples of programming and events include but are not limited to, what it looks like to be a responsible citizen, identifying community helpers and leaders, and the inner workings of our legislative system. Often our members are positioned as leaders in our local communities. They do not hesitate to bring their resources and knowledge to our chapter.
- Social/Recreational- Our members enjoy time bonding with one another and each family associated with our moms. We make sure to create family fun events specifically designed to relax and enjoy getting to know one another and furthering the bonds between moms and children.
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 and Jill of America Incorporated, have garnered the power to change the lives of our own children, and others in our community. Working together, “We Can do More”. The Columbia Chapter has donated over $50,000 in scholarships through the most recent years. These awards have been made primarily through the Columbia Chapter Biennial Beautillion, founded to celebrate youth leadership. Community Service projects have included but not limited to:
- Providing books on African American culture/leadership to public schools in Howard County.
- Providing an annual meal to those with intellectual disabilities in Howard County in support of the National Association of Mental Illness, NAMI.
- Providing school supplies to Howard County Public Schools' after-school programs.
- Organizing and hosting Annual Legislative Forums with local candidates for elected offices.
- Coordinating with members to host the annual “Giving Tree” at our holiday party for our Corduroy’s Closet event where all donated toys, books, and clothing, are displayed for children who shop for free. They select items for their family members during the holiday season.
Recognizing our rich heritage, both locally and nationally, the Columbia, MD Chapter has continued the wonderful tradition established by our founders to use our collective “Power to Make a Difference”.