We are proud to say, the Orange County Chapter has been in existence since 1980 —in a county that comprises of less 10% African American— for over 32 years, and within 3 decades we have made a significant impact within our surrounding communities through our activities, community outreach and the leaders we have developed over the years.
Our chapter began in result of the fact received from the 1980 census report which indicated that Orange County had a Black population of well over 25,000 people with a median age of thirty-two. Many of the adults reflected in the census data were the parents of young children and they were seeking communication, fellowship, and the preservation of cultural values for their children. Similar to other parts of the country, it was necessary to provide an organization where African-American families could interact and keep in touch with their roots. Organizing an Orange County Jack and Jill Chapter was the direction our founding members believed would assist African-American mothers and their children with an opportunity to meet and develop bonds through recreational, educational, civic and social events and activities.
The founding members of our organization felt strongly that the establishment of an Orange County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated would offer an excellent vehicle to provide a positive, supportive environment for Black children to develop healthy feelings about themselves and others. On Sunday, February 6, 1983, the Orange County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated was officially installed by the newly-elected Regional Director of the Far West Region, Mrs. Ramona Arnold. There were fifty charter members.
Since then, our organization has worked to support programs throughout the Orange County community. Service programs include: food drives for homeless and child abuse centers; a letter writing campaign and “care packages” sent to our Armed Forces stationed in Iraq; a voter registration drive conducted by our Group 5 teens to increase voter participation in the Presidential Election; and a chapter-wide shoe drive to benefit the Soles 4 Souls charity with the collection of more than 1,600 pairs of gently used shoes that were donated to families in Kenya and Tokyo. Additionally, for every Chapter-wide activity, we select a community service activity, and for National Day of Service in honor of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we collected gently used clothing and donated it to “Working Wardrobes”, a local charity that supports the efforts of underprivileged women to return to the workplace.
Over the past 33 years, we have had made a significant impact within the West Region through our programs, involvement in Teen Conference, Area Work Day and Children’s Cluster. Our teens have also taken on leadership roles within the Region. Most recently, Michael Freeman served as 2015-2016 Far West Region Teen President. We are thankful to Jack and Jill of America for allowing our teens and opportunity to grow and prosper into successful future leaders.
Moving into this program year, we had an opportunity to kick off our year successfully with our Annual Jack and Jill Day family picnic . During our picnic, we honored past teen member Carol Robertson with a special tribute and gathered for a beautiful family inspirational message led by Chaplain Katina Bland. There were plenty of fun-filled activities for Groups 1 – 5 to enjoy, plenty of delicious food choices, and an abundance of family bonding. We look forward to the many service projects, cultural outings, and enrichment activities that have planned for 2016-2017 for our children.
In summary, the Orange County Chapter is committed to ensuring our youth feel empowered, develop solid leadership skills, remain culturally aware, and become socially and politically conscious by developing and facilitating a comprehensive series of activities for our children to learn and grow into trained servant leaders of tomorrow!