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Chapter History

The Newton Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was chartered in November 1966 in Newton, Massachusetts. The Chapter was chartered by a group of twenty-two mothers who believed that the goals of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. closely paralleled those that they envisioned for their own families. Those goals that these mothers envisioned for their children were promoting friendships, supporting charitable and social service events and awarding scholarships to students pursuing a college education. The Newton Chapter became the 124th chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

 

The Chapter’s charter members were:

Mabel Beck                                 Edith Brewer                               Dorothy Carter                           Elsie Cobbs

Betty DePriest                            Marjorie Ann Eure                     Ethel Fletcher                             Mrs. George Hardy

Margaret Hazzard                      Kitty Hill                                        Julia Kerr                                      Jackie Hoover

Essie Jackson                               Louise McLaughlin                     Joan Ricketts                              Ruth Smith

Ann Texeira                                 Miriam Thomas                          Eugenia Watson                         Beryl Watts

Hallie Wright                               Eleanor Wooden

 

The Chapter currently has sixty-eight (68) mothers with children ranging in age from 2 to 18 years old from the surrounding communities of Newton, Massachusetts. The Chapter also has three (3) Associates. The

Chapter’s members have contributed significantly to the overall growth of the Regional and National

organization. Michele Courton-Brown, Newton Chapter Past President is the former Chair of the Eastern

Region Membership Committee. She also served as Grievance Chair for the Eastern Region in 2008-2010.

Our current President, Jennifer DaSilva currently serves as the Regional Policies & Procedures Chair for the

Eastern Region.

 

In the past decade, the Newton Chapter has:

 

  • Hosted Eastern Region Mother’s Northern Cluster in October 2016
  • Eastern Region Legislative Awards Submission in 2015
  • Superior Program Handbook Rating (2013-2014 & 2014-2015)
  • Eastern Region Teen Conference Scrapbook and Visual Arts Award (2015, 2016)
  • Hosted the Eastern Region Teen Conference in 2013
  • Eastern Region Cluster and Teen Conference Oratorical Award (2012-2016)
  • Received the Teen Foundation Award in 2004-2008
  • Received the Chapter Handbook Award in 2007
  • Hosted the Eastern Region Mother’s Workday Cluster in 2007
  • Hosted the Eastern Region Children’s Cluster in 2002

 

The Newton Chapter remains committed to developing and executing impactful community service programs

and incorporating our children in these programs. The Chapter supports the Jack and Jill Foundation by

channeling our members’ charitable contributions to provide national grants that impact education, literacy

and social initiatives.

 

It is important that our children recognize the responsibility of ‘giving back’ to the community. In that

spirit, our members have in the past supported several local community service initiatives, which are ‘hands-on’ for our children.

 

 

 

 

Notable Highlights from 1966 to 1980

From its inception, the Newton Chapter has been committed to participating in impactful community service

initiatives. One such initiative was working with Habitat for Humanity. The Chapter also participated in hands-on community service initiatives serving the greater Boston homeless community at various local shelters

throughout the area. For recreation, the Newton Chapter joined forces with the Boston chapter and took advantage of the climate by going on an annual weekend ski trip to various ski resorts within New England. Moms, Dads, teens and children hit the slopes for healthy and adventurous downhill skiing, tubing and ice skating.

 

Notable Highlights from 1980 to 1990

During this period of time, the Newton Chapter hosted a Cotillion which was a signature program for

young women grades nine through twelve, who demonstrated academic achievement, exceptional character, and a commitment to public service. This program provided our young ladies in Jack and Jill and young ladies from the community an opportunity to bond together while learning various topics from how to be effective leaders and to proper etiquette. The young men participated as escorts. The fundraising component of the Cotillion generated funds which were, in part, used to support Jack and Jill Foundation programs and initiatives.

 

Notable Highlights from 1990 to 2000

To expand our children’s educational, cultural, and social horizons the Newton Chapter started the Jill

Book Club, a monthly book club for mothers and daughters. The Book Club’s aim is to enrich the relationships among the girls, support Black authors, shore up their racial identity and to encourage dialogue of contemporary issues between mothers and daughters. This program has continued throughout the decades

and is a favorite among the girls in the chapter. As a result of the program, the girls are able to form strong

ties and bonds which have lasted far beyond their graduation out of the Newton Chapter.

 

Notable Highlights from 2000 to 2010

For our community service projects, the children spent time making crafts with senior citizens at the

Benjamin Health Care Center, participate in the ‘Backpack-A-Thon’ at Cradles to Crayons, serve food to the

homeless at the Mass Avenue Baptist Church and the Pine Street Inn, and collect sports equipment and books

to benefit an after school program at the Boys & Girls Club. Additionally, during this period of time, the Newton Chapter hosted a Breakfast with Santa Claus, that was enjoyed by all of the Newton Chapter children as well as guests from the broader community. The program provided an opportunity to fellowship with chapter members and the broader community, and it also provided the children an opportunity to give a gift to another child. The children also listened to various stories and sang songs together, providing them cultural exposure. This program also incorporated various activities, which allowed each child – regardless of age – to be engaged in the celebration and program. This program was a great, memorable program for all participants.

 

Notable Highlights from 2010 to the Present

In November 2011, the Newton Chapter celebrated 45 years of empowering our youth through leadership

and service. The archives and historical documents were on display in the Jackson Homestead Historic

Museum in Newton for public viewing. To additionally celebrate this milestone the Chapter invited the

founding members of the Newton Chapter to join us for our annual prospective member tea. The founding

members shared with us their fond memories and experiences in Jack and Jill. In December 2012, at the Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester, the Newton Chapter enthusiastically created and executed an innovative program, “Shop, Carry, and Go,” an indoor ‘free cycle’ event, enabling families from local homeless shelters and the Boston community to select clothing, small appliances, furniture, toys, coats donated by Anton’s Cleaners. Chapter families donated a large portion of the items for the event and over 100 people attended the event. The Father’s Auxiliary also went above and beyond to help make this event special for all who attended. Attendees received holiday red bags, donated by Target, to carry items home, and many received raffled items, including $25.00 gift cards, home starter kits, a life size teddy bear, a large remote control truck, and a rocking horse, which were donated by Home Depot. Many of the attendees left with tears of joy!

 

In 2012-13, a new program was launched to retain our pre-teen boy’s interest in Jack and Jill activities.

The Upper Elementary boys got together one Friday evening each month to enjoy unstructured ‘play’ and

social time with each other. The Newton Chapter also decided that we wanted to our children to have strong command of etiquette and oratorical skills programs and added additional program thrusts for our age groups:

Etiquette training for children in Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary & Middle School; and Oratorical

Workshops for our children in Upper Elementary & Middle School.

 

In the 2013-14 club years, we supported the regional “Hunger in the East” initiative; our teens donated over 100lbs of non-perishable items to the Hope Food Pantry in Framingham Massachusetts. As a chapter we partnered with Stop and Shop, donating over 1200 meals to the Pine Street Inn. Our teens and middle school children unpacked and sorted the items while the younger children decorated cookies for residents of the Pine Street Inn. To celebrate the AIM for Healthy Living initiative with the local community, the Newton Chapter

partnered with the Boston Chapter to sponsor an AIM for Healthy Living Community Health Fair in April

2012 at the Yawkey Boys and Girls Club in Boston. The health fair promoted healthy living for the entire

family and was free to the e n t i r e community. The younger children exercised with a moon bounce and

played indoor games. The Boston and Newton Chapter middle school and teen children interacted with the

younger children by playing games and face painting. To promote fitness for the teens and adults, classes in

yoga and Zumba were a lot of fun and well attended. Several health clinic vendors and nursing students performed health screenings to attendees, checking glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI levels and dental health. Healthy snacks and beverages were served throughout the day. Raffles awarding healthy cookbooks, pedometers, and other items were drawn every hour. At the conclusion of the health fair two lucky children in the community were awarded bikes with helmets. In 2013-14, we held a similar health fair entitled “Healthy Kids” where activities focused on the health and wellbeing of our youth. Again this activity was heavily supported by our middle school and teen groups, as well as moms who volunteered.

 

The fathers of the Newton Chapter remain a c t i v e l y involved with the children, hosting activities

that actively demonstrate the importance of male role models for our young boys. The dads host an annual

basketball clinic for the upper elementary and middle school children. The fathers also mentor the teens

by leading financial and leadership module workshops. Finally, our Dads serve as chaperones on our

outdoor amusement park trips, parties and supporting Regional Teen Conference.

 

In 2013-14, highlights included apple picking for the preschoolers, a STEAM workshop for the lower

elementary group and upper elementary groups, team building exercises while rock climbing and ballroom

dancing for the middle school group, bullying workshops and self-defense strategies for middle schoolers.

The 2013-14 Black History event showcased a living museum of important African Americans throughout

history. Lower and Upper elementary children became their characters and came to life as the chapter toured

the museum. What a phenomenal event!

 

In 2013-14, our mothers have made a concerted effort through events such as “Moms night out” to get to

know the other mothers in their age group. This has facilitated the sharing of information regarding the

college application experience, summer camps and other activities of mutual interest. We have also had

workshops on neuropsychological and educational testing at one of our mothers meetings.