Message from the President

lisa-ethridgeWelcome to the “Columbia Maryland Chapter” of Jack and Jill of America,

Hello! It is indeed my honor and pleasure to serve my second year as President.
Together with our leadership team, we worked diligently this summer to plan another
outstanding program year for our children and teens. I thank the executive board,
committee chairs, age group chairs, members and dads for helping to cast our chapter’s
vision of excellence in programming and community service. Excitedly, we have 96 families
in our chapter and we welcome 7 new families into our fold.

This summer, at our 43rd National Convention in Kansas City Missouri, our chapter was
recognized as a Five Star Chapter of Excellence! I extend congratulations to our
Columbia Maryland Chapter on this amazing distinction and prestigious recognition. We
hope that you will wear your 5-star gold lapel pin proudly! Thank you all, and especially our
Five Star committee and team, for making our chapter a huge success! Columbia Maryland
Chapter won, and was recognized for, it’s Grant Award for Reading Corner! We look
forward to implementing our much needed reading corners at the two Grass Roots shelters
in our community. We were also recognized for our 2017-2018 Superior Program
Handbook! Heartfelt congratulations are in order for our Program Director Nicole Brown
who received the 2018 Distinguished Mother’s award from our chapter. Congratulations to
our newly elected National Officers. We look forward to working with our National President
Danielle Brown and her executive team. The National theme will continue as “The Power
to Make a Difference.” We will also continue to embrace our Regional theme,
“Empowering Families for SUCCESS!” We are looking forward to the 31st Biennial
Eastern Regional Mothers Conference to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica in July 2019.

We kicked off our program year by hosting our 2nd “Diner En Blanc,” also known as a
dinner in white! This year our elegant affair was held at the historic Oliver’s Carriage House in
Columbia, Maryland. Once again, our mothers, fathers and invited guests, wore all white attire and enjoyed a night of fellowship, food and
fun at this special summer soiree! On September 15, 2018, our chapter received recognition from the Harriet Tubman School for being a
Silver Sponsor. The award was based upon our contribution to the Harriet Tubman School last year when our chapter celebrated Carole
Robertson day with them in 2017! It was an honor for our chapter to be recognized by our local community. Likewise, at Eastern Regional
Teen Conference 2018, our chapter’s Senior Teen group received 2nd place recognition for programing for the 2017 Carole Robertson
Homecoming Weekend! Mid September, we commemorated our 2018 Carole Robertson day with an excellent Legislative Forum where we
invited local politicians and school board candidates to share their ideas and answer questions from our children and teens. Earlier that day,
our Senior Teens participated in the 2018 Out of the Darkness Walk for Suicide Awareness and exceeded their fundraising goal by raising
over two thousand dollars for the worthy cause! On September 30, 2018, we celebrated Jack and Jill Day with an old fashioned and
traditional chapter picnic held at Centennial Park in Columbia. The outing was very well attended by our families, and it was full of outdoor
games, fabulous food, music, dancing and lots of family fellowship and bonding! Nicely, on October 28, 2018, our Father’s Auxiliary will
kickoff their year by participating in the Men-In-The-Kitchen Annual Fundraiser event to support the Howard County Center of African
American Culture, Inc. In December, we will host our annual Corduroy’s Closet where we plan to provide hundreds of toys and gifts for local
children in need. Last year during Corduroy’s Closet, we had our biggest outreach and participation numbers to date, and hope to exceed
those numbers this year as we help our local families in need! We look forward to our regional MLK Day of service in January 2019. In
February 2019 we will continue our outreach efforts by hosting our chapter’s annual dinner in support of the National Alliance of Mental
Illness. In April 2019 we plan to host our Biennial Beautillion Fundraiser! Many outstanding and rewarding age specific programs are also
planned for our chapter’s youth and teens throughout the year! Our Gavel Club provides amazing oratorical enrichment for our youth, and
we boast an active Associate’s group.

My heart is full of gratitude because, through the dedication of the mothers in our chapter, we collectively continue to demonstrate that it is
truly the journey that matters most. Our chapter’s theme and motto for this year remains “We strive for excellence and not perfection,
for only God is perfect, and only through Him can we be excellent!” I thank you for your continued support, dedication and for the
privilege to lead our magnificent chapter.

Best and Blessings,

Lisa Spear Ethridge
Columbia Maryland Chapter
Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

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