Southeastern Regional History
The Sweet, Sweet Southeastern Region
Established as one of the seven regions under the 1957 Regional Plan, the Southeastern Region has distinguished itself as one of the national organization’s premier regions. The Nashville (TN) Chapter was the first chapter chartered in the Southeastern Region in April 1947 and the twelfth (12th) Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. Today, more than twenty-two hundred (2,251) families are members of the forty- six (46) chapters that make up the Southeastern Region. The region spans the following states: Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. We call ourselves the Sweet, Sweet Southeastern Region because of the love and unwavering commitment our families have for Jack and Jill.
The Southeastern Region’s mission is to be the most effective organization in the Southeast, advocating for all children’s well-being through national legislation. Our elected and appointed mothers have embraced innovative activities that empower all children. Over the years, they have developed signature programs to support the region’s vision by leveraging our mothers’ talents to benefit all children and teens.
Nashville, TN Chapter hosted the first Southeastern Regional Teen Leadership Conference on Fisk University’s campus and served as host for three consecutive years. The Nashville Chapter also hosted the 50th, 58th, and 64th Annual Regional Teen Leadership Conferences. The region’s solid foundation and rich history result from dedicated leadership and service to our organization from Chapter, Regional, and National Officers. The Southeastern Region has six members of the National Executive Board who have served as National Presidents of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, and they are:
- Dr. Mirian C. Shropshire, 9th National President (1970-1974)*
- Dr. Eva Curry Wanton, 13th National President (1986- 1990)*
- Mrs. Shirley Barber James, 15th National President (1994-1996)
- Mrs. Tamara Turnley Robinson, 23rd National President (2012-2014)
- Mrs. Joli Cooper-Nelson, 25th National President (2016-2018)
- Kornisha McGill Brown, 27th National President (2020-2022, 2022-2024)
The 2019-2021 program year’s regional theme is “Empowering all Children with Passion, Purpose, and Pride.” Our signature programs for 2019-2021 include Reach and Reached Mentoring Program; Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader Book Club; This is Me, Youth Speak Up- Speak Out Presentations; Oratorical Competitions; the Teen Stock Market Exchange Challenge, Global Youth Ambassador Program; Regional Book Club for Moms and Associates; and Annual African American cultural trips. We are developing African American leaders, and our rich heritage in the Southeastern Region allows our premier African American family organization to enhance, enrich, and empower all children.
Children’s Clusters mark expanded programming for children
During the 1991-1993 administration of Regional Director Sylvia W. McGee, the concept of Children’s Clusters began to take shape. Delegates at the 1993 Southeastern Mothers’ Regional Conference hosted by the Williamson (TN) Chapter voted unanimously that a portion of the regional budget be allocated to fund programming specific to children between the ages of 2-12. With that mandate, the first Children’s Clusters in the nation unfolded in the Southeastern Region on Saturday, April 16, 1994, on the campus of the Greenforest Baptist Church in Decatur, GA. Umoja, the first principle of Kwanzaa, was the first Children’s Cluster theme. Children’s Clusters are now being held annually by chapters across the country.
Family Leadership Conference takes center stage
Some nearly fifty years after the introduction of the Mothers’ Regional Conferences, the mothers of the Southeastern Region seized the opportunity to continue the trademark of focused and strategic leadership and best practices by introducing the Inaugural Family Leadership Conference.
Under the leadership of Regional Director Marjorie Belton, the members of the Southeastern Region hosted its Inaugural Family Leadership Conference, in Atlanta, GA, June 28-July 3, 2005. Over this five-day period, the traditionally separate Mothers’ Regional Conference, the Regional Teen Leadership Conference and the Children’s Clusters were coordinated to unfold at a single site.
The Southeastern Region is pleased to have contributed many innovative programs and initiatives still adding value in the region and across the nation. Each of these programs reflects the commitment of the Southeastern Region mothers and leaders to the aims and objectives of the national organization. Included among these are the following signature projects and programs:
- Regional Officers Directory-Regional Advisory Board
- Loose Change Program for the Jack and Jill of America Foundation
- Children’s Clusters
- Annual Presidents’ Retreat
- Children’s Pen Pal Program
- Teen Senior Recognition and Medallion Ceremony
- Annual Regional Trips including “Celebrating Living History,” the ground-breaking trip to Washington, DC, to attend the 2009 Inauguration of our 44thS. President, Barack Obama.
- Online Teen Stock Market Game
- Regional Online Book Club – “Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader”
- Annual Programming Roundtable and Idea Swap at Mothers’ Workday
- Annual Vice Presidents, Financial Officers, and Program Directors Training
- Teen Summit
- Reach and Reached Mentor/ Mentee Program
- This is Me Gavel Club
- Stock Market Exchange Challenge
- Legends Roundtable
- Global Youth Ambassadors Program
- Book Club for Moms and Associates
The Southeastern Region, launched in 1959 under the leadership of its first Regional Director, Alpha Robertson (Birmingham, AL Chapter), with the theme, “Forward-Through Organization, Friendship and Service.” The spirit of this theme continues under our current theme, Together We are One, for ALL Children, under the leadership of Regional Director, Takeysha Lewis. This theme ensures that Jack and Jill remain relevant as one of the most effective organizations in the Southeast advocating for the welfare of children, embracing the principle that Together, we have the power to make a difference for not just our children, but for ALL children. The families of the Southeastern Region are eternally grateful for the leadership and service of all mothers who have served as regional and/or national officers.