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Oct 25th

Jack Jill mothers marshal energy, expertise to help children and community

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The Minneapolis Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. will host the Mid-Western Region 25th Biennial Mother's Conference Wednesday, July 26 - Sunday July, 29th. The theme of the conference is Developing Our Children Today to Become Tomorrow's Leaders. The purpose of the conference is to create a forum for mothers to interact, share ideas and develop processes for providing educational, cultural, civic, recreational and social activities for children and for themselves. The Minneapolis Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. will host the Mid-Western Region 25th Biennial Mother's Conference Wednesday, July 26 - Sunday July, 29th. The theme of the conference is Developing Our Children Today to Become Tomorrow's Leaders. The purpose of the conference is to create a forum for mothers to interact, share ideas and develop processes for providing educational, cultural, civic, recreational and social activities for children and for themselves.

Photo: Linda Murrain, Jack and Jill of America Mid-Western Region Regional Director (left) and Pamela Alexander, Hennepin County District Court Judge and Jack and Jill of America Minneapolis Chapter President

Linda Murrain, Mid-Western Region Regional Director, views the conference as an opportunity to solidify the objectives of Jack and Jill.

Says Murrain, "Jack and Jill is a family organization focused on the leadership development of youth. The Mid-Western region was one of the first areas to embrace the objectives of Jack and Jill. Today, we still remain committed to our initial aims and objectives of 'seeking for all children the same advantages we desire for our own.' We are delighted to have a strong chapter in Minneapolis that embodies a commitment to excellence in youth development."

Highlights of the conference include a Heart Healthy "Red Dress" Luncheon with Dr. Anne L. Taylor, professor of medicine/cardiology, associate dean for faculty affairs at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, a Gala Banquet and a Gospel Breakfast with Reverend Stephanie Burroughs Saffold as the featured speaker. New Mid-Western Regional officers will also be installed at the conference.

Jack & Jill of America, Inc. has a rich history as an organization that directly supports African-American children as well as numerous educational and charitable projects that enhance the lives of African-American children. Marion Stubbs Thomas started the first Jack and Jill group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 24, 1938. Stubbs Thomas led a group of 20 mothers with the intent of bringing children together in a social and cultural environment. More groups, like the one in Philadelphia, sprung up and by 1964 bylaws were drawn up and incorporated under the laws of Delaware to make a national non-profit organization. Jack and Jill now has 215 chapters world wide serving young people ages 2 - 19.

In 1966, the organization created The Jack and Jill of America Foundation. The Foundation became incorporated in Illinois in January 1968. Jack and Jill of America, Inc. became the first among African-American organizations to create a philanthropic arm dedicated to the betterment of children, especially African-American children. The Foundation has five grant programs that award grants to community initiatives, Jack and Jill of America local chapter service projects, and non-profit agencies serving children. Special projects funded by the Foundation in 2006 include: College Exam Preparation sponsored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan Farmington Hills, Michigan; Meet the History Makers: A Day of Education sponsored by The Historymakers Chicago, Illinois, and Ready Set Read sponsored by Jack and Jill of America Inc.-Seattle Chapter, Federal Way, Washington.

The individual chapters also support community projects and organizations on a local level. The Minneapolis Chapter hosts an annual Rites of Passage celebration and fundraiser, which honors African-American male seniors and their accomplishments in school and the community. The young men are paired with "elders" who mentor them and assist them in performing community service projects. In 2007, a part of the funds raised from the event were donated to Way to Grow, Carolyn Smallwood CEO and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gloria Lewis, CEO.

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