Who We Are
Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Suffolk County Chapter
Jack and Jill of America, Inc., is a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2 – 19, dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.
The late Marion Stubbs Thomas founded Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, on January 24, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Twenty mothers came together to discuss creating an organization to provide social, cultural and educational opportunities for youth between the ages of 2 and 19.
Today, Jack and Jill boasts more than 230 chapters nationwide, representing more than 40,000 family members. Each chapter plans annual programming activities guided under a national theme. Through service projects, Jack and Jill of America creates a medium of contact for children to stimulate their growth and development.
“To us as mothers, [Jack and Jill] has become a means of furthering an inherent and natural desire …to bestow upon our children all the opportunities possible for a normal and graceful approach to a beautiful adulthood.” – Marion Stubbs Thomas
The Suffolk County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was chartered in July, 1962. Our 16 Charter members are: Kathleen Taylor, Constance Allaway, Olive Baugh, Sarah Berhannan, Julia Higgs, Esther Hayes, Marie Hobbs, Vivian Powell, Delphine Primm, Blanche Robins, Gloria Smith, Helen Washington, Gladys Hayman, Alestine Owens, Marie Hendy and Gloria Bowser.
Chapter programs are primarily centered around leadership development, awareness of cultural heritage and community service. To these ends, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. has established multifaceted initiatives such as STE[A]M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math), the Healthy Living Initiative (centered on lifestyle improvements and healthy development) and various projects with our national and local partners.
One of the hallmarks of Jack and Jill is its emphasis on youth development through leadership programs. Our Suffolk County Chapter youth participate in various community service projects, oratorical competitions, and literacy projects. Teen leadership development is achieved through the Jacqueline Moore Bowles Leadership Modules, which is comprised of 16 modules providing the necessary skills required to effectively lead in a constantly changing society. Furthermore, all of our youth, ages 2 through 19, participate in food, clothing and school supply drives to benefit the members of our community. Our civic responsibility is demonstrated through our annual awarding of scholarships to deserving high school seniors in Suffolk County. In addition, through our fundraising efforts, we have been fortunate to donate to noteworthy organizations such as the United Negro College Fund, Alex Lemonade, LIFT4KIDS, the Association of Children of Regnier, Haiti and the American Cancer Society.
The Suffolk County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is dedicated to developing all children into the leaders of tomorrow, as we work, play and live together.
2019-2020 Executive Board & Committees
Vice President: Retha Fernandez
Program Director: Mecca Baker
Recording Secretary: Chemene Pelzer Merriweather
Corresponding Secretary: Josie Hall
1. President – Kathryn Simmons
2. Vice President – Retha Fernandez
3. Treasurer – Myrtho Cadet
4. Program Director – Mecca Baker
5. Recording Secretary – Chemene Pelzer Merriweather
6. Corresponding Secretary – Josie Hall
7. Financial Secretary – Stephanie Blackman
8. Editor – Linda Frederique
9. Historian- Yaneris Rosa
10. Protocol- Deon Retemeyer
11. Parliamentarian- Melissa Guilliaume Thomas
12. Foundation Chairman- Marie Desvarieux
13. Teen Advisors- Sara Griffith
14. Teen Advisors- Debbie Mercer-Miller
15. Teen Advisors- Candace Cummings
16. Teen Advisors- Rachel Spencer
The committees below are now under the Program Director:
Grade group coordinators: PreK-K Selina Williams & Christina Lubin Smith
Grade group coordinators: 1-3 Grade Michelle Richards & Lareicha Hunter
Grade group coordinators: 4-5 Grade Joyce Gholson & Kim Joyner
Grade group coordinators: 6-8 Grade Stefani Nolde, Thereze Madison, Latisha Bethel
Community Service – Tochi Malize , Chemene Pelzer-Merriweather, Jacquelyne Crawford
Education –Michelle Richards
Health – Yvonette Familusi & Deidre Gundy
Legislative- Carla Simpson
Gavel Club – Neerja Baijal-Jones
Five Star/Program Handbook-Candace Cummings