- August 8, 2018
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.
On a beautiful day in September 2007, an impressive group of African American Mothers had a common vision of creating a second chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated in Charlotte, North Carolina due to the growing population of African American Families in South Charlotte. On November 7, 2007, a dynamic group of 51 women from South Charlotte started their journey with Sonja Nichols, who decisively became the chapter’s Charter President. Mothers from various professions, churches, play groups, and social groups were encouraged to joined together. They all had a similar goal of raising the next generation of African American Leaders and enhancing the lives of all children. The South Charlotte Provisional Group was excitedly formed and grounded in the powerful Romans’ Chapter 12 scripture. The chapter was officially recognized as a Provisional Group of Jack and Jill of America Incorporated and ultimately was sponsored by the Greensboro, North Carolina Chapter which was led by President Paula McKinney.
In March 2008, The South Charlotte Provisional Group’s participation at “On the Hill,” the national teen legislative summit, marked a significant turning point in the group’s future. At that summit, it was noted by Mid-Atlantic Regional and National Leaders that the group was comprised of kind and dedicated mothers with a sincere desire to become a part of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. The group’s commitment to honoring the values and following the governance of the organization garnered support from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Officers and the National Executive Board. The South Charlotte Provisional Group was able to begin transitioning towards Jack and Jill Chapter status.
In 2009, while pursing chapter status, Sonja Nichols, Ruby Cooper, Lydia Taggart, Romell Johnson, and Laura Bynum convened to discuss the possibility of starting a third local chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., in northern Charlotte, which later became known as the Queen City Chapter. There would eventually be four sister chapters in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. The Charlotte Chapter, The South Charlotte Chapter, The Queen City Chapter, and The Gastonia-Piedmont Chapter all were filled with amazing mothers dedicated to nurturing the gifts and talents of children in the African American Community.
On July 30, 2010, at the 39th National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, The South Charlotte Provisional Group was granted official chapter status. At that convention, the group boasted 63 Mothers, 80 completed children programs, 26 completed community service projects by Mothers, Children and Teens and nearly $20,000 given as monetary donations. On August 28, 2010, at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, North Carolina, The South Charlotte Chapter was installed, 63 marvelous mothers were initiated and the first executive board was installed. Its members, lovingly call the chapter, The SCJJ Community, as they work, live and play together.
Since its inception, The South Charlotte Chapter continuously strives to provide wonderful family experiences. They intentionally focus on the National Thrusts to cultivate and enhance leadership in all children. Their goals are to provide children with financial, educational, cultural, civic, health, recreational, legislative, community service and social programs throughout each Grade Group, each year. Programming is the heart of Jack and Jill, and programming is how the organization creates a medium of contact for children to stimulate their growth and development. The South Charlotte Chapter has always boasted exceptional programming and many children are delighted to actively participate. Their programming includes amazing theatre, zoo excursions, zip- lining, college tours and prep, museum experiences, artistic design, go- carting, flying simulations, themed parties, legislative rallies, yoga, financial awareness, symphonies, water activities, STEM, band battles, holiday gatherings, and much, much more. Year after year, the chapter has received a “Superior” national rating for their exceptional programming efforts.
Highlights from Community Service, Philanthropy, Awards & Sponsorships
Over the years, The South Charlotte Chapter has continued to be ever-present in the local community. The Chapter has successfully partnered with organizations such as the Junior League of Charlotte, Second Harvest Food Bank, Be The Match, KIPP Charlotte, March of Dimes, Children’s Defense Fund and Freedom Schools, The Clothes Closet at Hope Haven, Inc., and many others. Additionally, The chapter has thoughtfully planned fundraising events and projects, such as signature New Year’s Eve Galas which have produced tens of thousands of dollars for the chapter to support Non-Profits in Charlotte, as well as the Jack and Jill of America Foundation. The children in the Chapter also have a heart for service and philanthropic giving with themed teens parties and children’s loose change collections. The Chapter has provided financial support to several local non-profits such as the Harvey B. Gantt Center, Freedom School Partners, Florence Crittenton Services, YMCA, MeckEd, Mental Health Association, the Salvation Army Center of Hope, The Relatives, The Renaissance West Initiative, Rise Against Hunger, Young Black Leadership Alliance and many others.
The South Charlotte Chapter continues to make a difference in the local community through both service and philanthropy. The chapter has received many accolades, awards, and sponsorships for its dedication to the Charlotte Community and The Jack and Jill of America Foundation. For many years, The South Charlotte Chapter has been named a top philanthropic contributor for the Mid-Atlantic Region and ranked as a National Top 10, Jack and Jill of America Foundation contributing chapter out of more than 240 chapters.
The South Charlotte Chapter has also been an unwavering supporter of Jack and Jill of America’s National Partnership with the March of Dimes. The Chapter is fortunate to have a unique connection with this national partner through the Chapter’s Second President, Nikki Fleming, who was very instrumental in securing that national partnership. Since its inception, The South Charlotte Chapter has consistently received the Mid-Atlantic Region’s Lauren C. Fleming Award (named after the daughter of the Chapter’s Second President, Nikki Fleming) for the largest financial contribution to the March of Dimes Foundation and also has received March of Dimes’ National Awards as a consistent top 5 national fundraiser.
The South Charlotte Chapter through its Third President, Nichelle Levy was instrumental in assisting Jack and Jill of America, Inc. being named the 2015 NASCAR Diversity Awards NASCAR Institution Award Recipient. On February 20, 2015, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida the award was received by the South Charlotte Chapter’s Third President, Nichelle Levy and National Program Director Gladys Henderson along with several other members of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. The program stated: “Jack and Jill lent its support to various NASCAR diversity initiatives. At its 2014 National Convention with support from the NASCAR Foundation, the Teen Summit incorporated NASCAR’s STEM platform and featured NASCAR Drive for Diversity participants. This was followed up with a track immersion experience for multicultural groups at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with plans to replicate at other chapters nationally.”
The South Charlotte Chapter’s Fourth President, Yolanda Lindsay and several members of the Chapter were instrumental in securing the largest national convention sponsorship in the history of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. These South Charlotte Chapter members planned and represented, Bank of America as the Premier National Sponsor for the 43rd Biennial National Jack and Jill of America Convention that was held on July 24-29, 2018, in Kansas City. The Members also conducted several national financial literacy workshops on behalf of Bank of America for elementary, middle school, high school students and mother members. Bank of America’s sponsorship significantly enhanced the 43rd Biennial National Convention and its offerings. The Jack and Jill National Executive Board was hospitable and grateful for the level of sponsorship that was secured. This is also the convention that the South Charlotte Chapter was awarded the prestigious “Five Star Chapter of Excellence” along with 8 of the 29 chapters in the Mid-Atlantic Region, under the leadership of the Third President, Nichelle Levy.
Contributions to The Greater Organization
In support of the overall organization, in 2014, the Chapter was honored to co-host the 41st Biennial National Convention in Charlotte with the Charlotte, Gastonia-Piedmont and Queen City Chapters. South Charlotte Chapter chaired eight of the committees responsible for planning and executing the convention and it was done with efficiency, grace, and excellence. This experience was South Charlotte’s first opportunity to host a conference or convention for Jack and Jill of America, Inc. The second conference that the South Charlotte Chapter was delighted to co-host with the Gastonia-Piedmont Chapter, was the 64th Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Teen Conference, which was held in Charlotte, on June 22 – 25, 2017. The Chapter’s Program Director, Amber Johnson Logan, served as our Chapter’s Chair for this conference. In both events, the chapter’s members heeded the call of duty and proved to be ready, willing and able to undertake these major events successfully.
The South Charlotte Chapter’s members have demonstrated their engagement and dedication to the greater organization by serving in Mid-Atlantic Regional elected leadership positions or by chairing national and regional committees.
- Sonja Nichols: Mid-Atlantic Region’s 2012-2013 Teen Advisor
- Teen Kayla Nichols: Mid-Atlantic Region’s 2014-2015 Elected Teen Vice-President
- Taunula Grayson: Mid-Atlantic Region’s 2014-2015 Legislative Chair
- Teen Eva Logan: Mid-Atlantic Region’s 2015-2016 Teen Foundation Chair
- Nikki Fleming: 2016-2018 National Chair for the We Are One Task Force
- Nichelle Levy: Mid-Atlantic Region’s 2018-2019 Sponsorship Chair
- Jennifer Keen: Mid-Atlantic Region’s 2018-2020 Technology Chair
- Nichelle Levy: Mid-Atlantic Region’s 2019-2021 Elected Foundation Member at Large
Additionally, several chapter mothers have shared their talents and actively served as members of regional and national committees and task forces.
Children Regional and National Awards
The children of the South Charlotte Chapter have been engaged and have participated at the regional and national level as well. Gavyn Jones was recognized both in 2016 at the 42 Biennial National Convention in California and in 2018 at the 43rd Biennial National Convention in Kansas City for her contribution to the first Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Children’s anthology and as part of the “Children Who Inspire Us” Award from National President Joli Cooper-Nelson, respectively.
In 2016, at the 42nd Biennial National Convention, Teen member Paris McGill received a Gold Medal for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. And, Teen members Devin Adkins, Lance Lunderman, and Eva Logan each received a Silver Medal for the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
On August 28, 2015, The South Charlotte Chapter celebrated its 5th Anniversary on the exact same day and in the exact same ballroom of the Ritz Carlton Hotel where they were installed back in 2010. This celebration effort was hosted by all three of the Chapter Presidents; Charter President Sonja Nichols, Second President Nikki Fleming, and Third President Nichelle Levy. It was a wonderful, energetic, joyful celebration – a great time was had by all. They were honored to be joined in their celebration by Past Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Pamela Askew, who shared beautiful words of tribute on behalf of herself, as the Regional Director who installed the Chapter, and on behalf of Immediate Past Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Deirdre Williams. They were also joined by Mid-Atlantic Regional Secretary Deirdre Pippins, who brought greetings on behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Officers, and Immediate Past Southeastern Regional Director Gail Ash Dotson, who brought greetings on behalf of the Southeastern Region.
As members reflect on the South Charlotte Chapter’s Journey, as an Interest Group, Provisional Group, Provisional Chapter, Official Chapter, 1 of 6 chapters out of nearly 240 chapters named a “Five Star Chapter of Distinction”, and finally 1 of 8 “Five Star Chapters of Excellence” out of the 29 chapters in the Mid-Atlantic Region, the many accolades and accomplishments truly pale in comparison to the true dedication, passion and commitment from the mothers. They have worked tirelessly to make the South Charlotte Chapter the “Fantabulous” chapter that it has become. They are thankful to God Almighty for bringing wonderful women to their chapter, who have selflessly given their time, talent, and treasure to ensure that their children would share in an enriching experience that would help to shape their growth and development from childhood through adulthood. The South Charlotte Community recognizes and treasures that they have all chosen to do life together through Jack and Jill.
Nearly 10 years later, the Chapter’s unwavering commitment to uphold the values, and principals of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. has allowed the South Charlotte membership to thrive and continue to attract multiple, wonderful transfer mothers each year. The Chapter has had four Mother Member Intake Processes, thus far. The first intake process was during the 2011-2012 program year with 26 phenomenal mothers, the second in the 2013-2014 program year with 27 prodigious mothers, the third in the 2016-2017 program year with 24 extraordinary mothers, and the most recent intake was in 2018-2019 with 20 incredible mothers. These mothers and their families were welcomed into the South Charlotte Community with a spirit of sisterhood, kindness, and love. They have eagerly integrated themselves into the fold and found a community within the SCJJ Community.
Today, in 2019, The South Charlotte Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc., has an impressive membership community of 128 Mothers, 233 children, and an active Fathers’ Auxiliary. The SCJJ Mothers remain engaged, even after tenuring out. The South Charlotte Associates’ Chapter was installed November 5, 2017, and today has 14 amazing Associate Members that actively support SCJJ. The families of the South Charlotte Chapter of Jack of America, Inc., are committed and have embraced the South Charlotte Chapter’s vision of Fostering Families, Friendships, Futures and Faith with a Foundation of Excellence.
South Charlotte Chapter Presidents:
Sonja Nichols, Visionary and Charter President (2007-2010) (2010-2012)
Nikki Fleming, Second Chapter President (2012-2014)
Nichelle Levy, Third Chapter President (2014-2018)
Yolanda Lindsay, Fourth Chapter President (2018-2020)
Long Live Jack and Jill and The South Charlotte Chapter!
2018-2019 South Charlotte Chapter Executive Board