The ideals that Jack and Jill has followed since its inception can best be summarized in the eloquent language of its National Founder – Mrs. Marion Stubbs Thomas, who in January 1939 held the first “Jack and Jill” meeting in Philadelphia: “When the first little group of us organized.......we were seeking to stimulate a social and cultural relationship between our children........As we grow in numbers and achievements, may we always keep before us the lofty principles upon which Jack and Jill of America were founded.”
Since its formation in 1958, The Nassau County Chapter has had an extensive history of dedication and commitment to all children. Through our age-specific service and program initiatives, we encourage philanthropic awareness in our children through community service and outreach, with fundraising efforts directed at local, national and international programs that better the lives of children around the world. The chapter has consistently awarded annual college scholarships for scholastic excellence and financial need to non-Jack and Jill students in our community. In 1988, the Nassau County Chapter awarded its first Artistic Scholarship in the area of music.
The Chapter has supported various national projects, including Jack and Jill’s National Service Projects, the Legal Aid Fund of the N.A.A.C.P., the National Medical Foundation, Save the Children, Africare, Klan Watch, United Negro Scholarship Fund, UNICEF and The Boys and Girls Clubs.
Recognizing the need to support local charities, the Nassau County Chapter was instrumental in introducing legislation that resulted in the National Foundation receiving half of the proceeds from local fundraisers, with local charities receiving the other half. During the 1978 National Convention, Charlotte Brown was instrumental in getting legislation passed granting chapters the right to keep two-thirds of all funds raised for local charities before sending one-third to Foundation.
In 1969, The Nassau County Chapter hosted a Mothers’ Regional Conference, “Preparation for Black Youth”, from October 17 -19 at the Garden City Hotel. We were the proud host of the 1996 Eastern Region Teen Conference, which was held March 29-31 at the Melville Marriott Hotel in Melville, NY. The Teen Conference attracted over 1,200 teens from the Eastern Region and Europe. An innovative feature of this conference was POPS (Parents on Patrol Squad). POPS was responsible for security and the general safety of all the youth and parent participants throughout the conference.
The Chapter developed a Charter Associates group in 2004 and the Charter Father’s Auxiliary group was established in 2005. Today both groups are thriving and serve as great support to the chapter.
In 2009, as the recipient of a grant from Jack and Jill Foundation, the Nassau County Chapter developed a Teen Leadership Summit, Molding the Future: Cultivating Young Minds, for Community Teens. This was a unique experience for over 100 local high school students to develop a personal sense of responsibility necessary for academic success as well as providing college guidance and exposure to a variety of careers. The Summit was one of the largest community partnership projects that the chapter had ever undertaken and the range of involvement was diverse. We were able to leverage numerous relationships and stand-alone programs and create a structure for comprehensive and sustainable community action. This Teen Summit became an annual event for the Chapter and has expanded to include workshops that provide useful information to parents to assist and support their teen children.
Additionally, in 2009, the Nassau County Chapter celebrated their Golden Anniversary with a magnificent gala held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island. The event’s theme was Saluting Our Past, Honoring Our Present and Embracing Our Future. In celebration of our 50th year, the Mothers of the chapter elected to fund full-tuition scholarships to local colleges on Long Island – one to Nassau Community College for two years and the other to SUNY Old Westbury College for four years. Additional monies raised were donated to both the Hempstead and Glen Cove Boys and Girls Clubs.
In March 2010, the Nassau County Chapter was the proud host of the Eastern Region’s 60th Teen Conference in New York City. As expected, the Jack and Jill Mothers, Associates and Fathers expended an enormous amount of time and energy to ensure that the event was a huge success. The event, which attracted over 900 teens, was warmly received by the attendees.
The Chapter has continued its commitment to serving the community through its various service projects including our annual chapter-wide Sandwich Making event that involves all age groups, mothers and fathers coming together to make sandwiches and snack bags with juices, fruit and treats, all donated to the local food pantry and soup kitchen – The Mary Brennan Interfaith Nutrition Network -- for distribution to hungry families. Chapter members also enjoy participating in the annual Making Strides Walk through the American Cancer Society every October and this year we were proud to exceed our goal by raising over $10,000 in support of breast cancer research, a battle that too many of our own members have had to fight.
In 2013 we celebrated with our Black Diamonds 55th Anniversary Gala Benefit held on November 23, 2013 at Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage State Park, Bethpage, New York, and honoring Shining Stars who have made their mark in STEM related careers. It was announced at the 2014 National Conference, the Nassau County chapter was a top contributor to the Jack & Jill of America Foundation in 2014.
During the summer of 2014, we experienced a loss of a mother and member, Stephanie Margetson-Chapter Chaplain. While this loss was difficult for the chapter, we bonded together for the two children and husband left in our care, as Stephanie wanted. With this loss, we pay tribute to the legacy of sisterhood Stephanie left with us. Our theme for 2014-15, in Stephanie’s honor is “Sisterhood.” As we continue to work and live together, this year we will play more and strengthen our sisterhood.
As we enter 2014-15, we are proud to have a mother and daughter on the Eastern Regional team together. Paula Magnus is the Eastern Region Secretary and her daughter, Carla Magnus, is the Eastern Regional Teen Treasurer.
Kicking off the 2015-2016 year, we will host our eigth annual Teen Summit. This event is hosted at no cost by the Nassau County Chapter, for students in High School (grades 9-12). The annual Teen Leadership Summit is a unique experience that will help local high school students in our community develop a personal sense of the responsibility necessary for academic success as well as provide college guidance and exposure to a variety of careers. The goal of the Teen Leadership Summit is to help students develop the skills needed to navigate through their high school years and move successfully into college or other endeavors. The one day program will include workshops by guest speakers who will conquer subjects such as: Leadership Development, Financial Literacy, Time Management, Presentation and Interviewing Skills, Teen Relationships, the College Admissions Process, Financial Aid, and Career Exploration. Parents will also have workshops on the college process.