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Chapter History

The Greater Hartford Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. was founded in 1958 by a small

group of mothers who wanted to expand the social, cultural, and extracurricular

opportunities for their children in the Greater Hartford community. At the time, there were

chapters in many of the large cities in the Northeast, and Hartford, the state capital, was

thought to be an obvious place to establish a chapter of this quickly expanding national

organization. The first chapter president for Greater Hartford was Jean Bell.

The Chapter thrived for decades, but then lost many members as they moved to the distant suburbs

of Hartford. The chapter was rebuilt in the 1990’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. Lauren Jones, our 17th chapter president, was was instrumental in the rebuilding of the

chapter.

Over the years, the Hartford Chapter has sponsored many ongoing community service activities.

These 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, and The Amistad Center, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Within our various community initiatives, we focus on support for food banks, children literacy

initiatives, support for victims of domestic violence, and providing key clothing necessities to the

community. We have focused on increasing the literacy skills of our own children through a

chapter wide Jack & Jill Book Club, and have also encouraged our mothers to continue to read to

their children. In 2016, we installed a Little Free Library in the North End of the city of

Hartford so that all children and their parents could have easy access to a variety of books for

free. We will continue to work on improving early childhood literacy with urban children.

The mothers of our chapter strive to provide creative and productive cultural programming for the

active minds of our youth. We are fortunate to be in the Hartford area, which is rich in culture,

history and the arts. We also have access to Boston and New York City for special programs and

activities. We donated $1,000 to The Amistad Center for Art and Culture to help fund the building

of their new gallery space and have been recognized ed by the Amistad Center for our strategic

partnership and financial support of the Center. We believe creating alliances with local

institutions allows us to contribute to the cultural landscape of The Greater Hartford community,

while exposing our local community to Jack and Jill of America Inc. as a national organization.

 

 

Our past chapter presidents are as follows:

Catherine Barlowe

Marjorie Borders

Loretta Wells

Araminta Booker

Ann Jennings

Audrey Nathan

Gwendolyn Hurley

Leslyn Clark

Erleen Patrick

Pamela Burke

Olivia White

Agnes Black

Clara Lee

Felita Fontennot

Theresa Hopkins Allsop

Camille Burke Geathers

Lauren Jones

Madelina Williams

Violette Haldane

Patrice Dudley Aviles

Kimberley Scott

Kris Floyd

Tiffany Donelson (current)