GREATER HARTFORD JACK AND JILL CHAPTER HISTORY
The Greater Hartford Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. was established on November 14, 1958 and we will celebrate our sixty-fifth anniversary in 2023. Our Chapter was founded by a small group of mothers who wanted to expand the social, cultural, and extracurricular opportunities for their children in the Greater Hartford Connecticut community. At the time, there were chapters in other large northeastern cities, and Hartford, the state capital, was thought to be an obvious place to establish a chapter of this quickly expanding national organization.
The Chapter thrived for decades in Hartford, but lost many members as they moved to distant suburbs of Hartford. The Chapter was rebuilt in the 90’s by the dedication of several mothers who felt it was more important than ever to have a haven for African American children in these disparate suburbs.
One of the cornerstones of our rebuilding was the chapter's recommitment to serving our community through sponsoring many ongoing community service activities. Creating alliances with local institutions allowed us to contribute to our community’s cultural landscape while also exposing our local community to Jack and Jill of America, Inc. as a national organization. Over the years, our community service programs have included relationships with My Sister’s Place – a shelter for battered women, The Village for Children and Families, Mercy Mission Shelter, Hands on Hartford, The Boys and Girls Club, The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, and the Wadsworth Atheneum - the oldest continuously-operating public museum in the United States.
We are fortunate to be in an area rich in culture, history, and the arts. Our Chapter has been recognized for our community engagement, philanthropic support and strategic community partnerships. Our support of The Amistad Center helped to fund new gallery space and to create a digital teaching tool for school-age children to explore the Black Master of Fine Art, like Romare Bearden, David Driskell and Alma Thomas.
In support of our commitment to youth literacy in urban communities, we installed a Little Free Library® for neighborhood children and their parents to have easy access to a variety of books that promote positive images of our children. Our children are engaged each year in collecting, and at times distributing, socks (Socktober), essential clothing items, and thousands of pounds of food donations to meet community needs. They are introduced to financial literacy in meaningful ways that teach the importance of saving and even investing. They have sowed seeds and harvested produce for local food pantries. Our chapter programs teach them at every age the importance of personal care and safety, mental and physical fitness, nutrition and good food choices. Civic engagement is taught to our children starting with the impact of voting to the power of their collective voices through writing campaigns while engaging with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Our children have walked through history representing prominent historical figures in our live “wax” museum.
The mothers of our Chapter strive to provide creative and productive cultural programming for the active minds of our youth. We bring life to our national thrusts as a platform to encourage engagement and to strengthen and educate our children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving, and civic duty.
Our past chapter presidents are as follows:
Theresa Hopkins Allsop
Camille Burke Geathers
Patrice Dudley Aviles
Trina Williams (current)