Jack & Jill Black Family Day

The members of Jack and Jill are pictured. —TRIBUNE PHOTO/ROBERT MENDELSOHN

The Philadelphia Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. celebrated Black Family Day at the Belmont Grove in Fairmount Park recently. This joyous gathering of families was another milestone for the chapter to bond in fellowship and lasting friendship. Philadelphia Chapter Immediate Past President Victoria Mason-Ailey and officers serving with her: Rose Richardson, Monique Mooring, Anne Rice-Burgess and Toni Barber did a fantastic job on this tots to teen event to celebrate the accomplishments of the chapter during the 2013-2014 program year.

Mason-Ailey said, “It has been an honor to serve as Philadelphia Chapter president. I have shared a sampling of the many activities and community service initiatives that comprise the Jack and Jill experience for the Philadelphia Chapter. All that we accomplished would not have been possible without the support of our chapter’s executive board.”

Chapter activities began in September with Jack and Jill Day in Fairmount Park with families and children from the Philadelphia Chapter joining the Chester County Chapter for the Walter E. Brandon Sickle Cell 5K Walk/Run. The day included a ceremony honoring Carol Robertson, one of four little girls who lost her life in a church bombing during the Civil Rights Movement. Fathers, led by auxiliary chair Shawn Mooring, managed the grill and served refreshments during the afternoon.

Teens were active participants in planning activities and donated their time and talents throughout the year. Service to the Ronald McDonald House on Thanksgiving Eve was a community service event with teens preparing turkey dinners with all of the trimmings for children and their families. Teen participants in the Rites Of Passage program joined with teens from neighboring counties to complete their 18 month program of activities and experiences intended to broaden their exposure to the world of business, the arts and our culture.

In early 2014, mothers of the Philadelphia Chapter selected Martin Luther King Day to engage in a more extensive community service project with SHARE. The day was a tremendous success as Jack & Jill families and children joined together to assemble care packages for our city’s families in need. Chapter efforts of this nature also supported Philabundance and other food banks in Philadelphia during the year.

Philadelphia Chapter Jack and Jill concluded in January with a ski weekend in partnership with the Montgomery County Chapter known as PhilMont Love and Happiness Skifest. This annual family weekend promotes family fun, outdoor sporting activities and spending quality time together.

Teens also traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the Eastern Region Teen Summit. The summit was filled with leadership sessions planned by the region and tours of the Washington Monument and Smithsonian Museum of American History. The trip concluded with an enjoyable tour of Howard University by student guides and a representative from the admissions department.

The Philadelphia Chapter hosted an amazing teen forum. Based upon this years’ Teen Conference theme, “Standing at the Crossroads, Where Will You Go?” sessions consisted of presentations and discussion on issues facing our teens today. Special guests included Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and a host of experts.

Philadelphia Chapter mothers hosted a Spring Soirée at the Stotesbury Mansion as their Spring Fundraiser. This well-attended event was an evening of pure delight and proceeds benefited the Jack &Jill Foundation and the Pediatric Cancer Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in honor of beloved Philadelphia Chapter teen, Christopher Nunes, who lost his battle with leukemia last fall.

Congratulations to Philadelphia 2014-2016 chapter officers, president Rose Richardson and vice president Monique Mooring. Other officers are Leslie Burrell, Stephanie Carter-Bellamy, Tara Tucker, Meredith Fitzpatrick, Caroline DeMarco, JoAnne Wells, Angela Gaddy-Edwards and Kimberly Graves. All members are wished the very best!

Have a fantastic week “Out & About,” everyone!

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