Executive Board

  • President
    Doris Simmons, PMP
  • Vice President
    Charlita Mays
  • Treasurer
    Bryna Jean-Marie
  • Program Director
    Benita Miller
  • Recording Secretary
    Jolene McAuley
  • Corresponding Secretary
    Marcella Gay
  • Financial Secretary
    Keisha Watkins
  • Editor
    Simone Pratt

History of the Brooklyn Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc.

An idea grows in Brooklyn

While the Brooklyn Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was not founded until May 1952, it was on Founder Louise Truitt Jackson Dench’s trip to Brooklyn in the late 1930’s, where the idea for the organization was conceived. Louise attended a party in Brooklyn where the children of friends were getting together every Christmas, despite having moved to different boroughs or cities. So moved and impressed by this gathering in Brooklyn, Louise brought this idea back to her hometown of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, and discussed it with her dear friend, Founder Marion Stubbs, who executed the idea and had the first club meeting of Jack and Jill at her Philadelphia home on January 21, 1938.

The Brooklyn Chapter is chartered

While Brooklyn mothers were participating in the New York, New York Jack and Jill Club, it was in 1950, a group of women met in the Brooklyn home of Mrs. Emilie Pickens (who served as the first National First Vice President of the newly incorporated national organization of Jack and Jill and later theorganization’s National President) to discuss the formation of a Brooklyn interest group.

In 1951, the organization began to develop under the chairpersonship of Mrs. Gwendolyn S. Bourne. In February, Mrs. Bourne was elected President; Mrs. Vernice Horne, Vice President; Mrs. Adele Hairston, Treasurer; Mrs. Lurline Purvis, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Louise Smith, Corresponding Secretary; and Mrs. Anna Fultz Historian of this newly formed provisional group.

In June 1952, at the National Conference in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, the National Council of Jack and Jill officially accepted the Brooklyn Chapter as the 39th Chapter of its illustrious organization. An installation luncheon, shared with the newly accepted Queens Chapter, was held on September 28, 1952.

Brooklyn’s place in Jack & Jill History

Brooklyn Chapter has the privilege of being the 39th Chapter to enter into Jack and Jill of America and thus remains an integral chapter in the organization’s history. As host of the 10th Eastern Regional Teen Age Conference in 1961; Eastern Regional Conference in 1975; and the Eastern Region Teen Conference in 1985, Brooklyn continues to be a leader amongst its peers in the organization.

Brooklyn Chapter today

The award winning Brooklyn Chapter remains committed to community service, promoting health and wellness, philanthropy, leadership, and academic achievement for our children. Today, we are eighty-one families strong; we continue to Work Hard, Play Hard, and Live Harmoniously Together.

As the Chapter charges forward into a new program year, we look forward to fulfilling the national organizations theme: “Power and Potential: Parents Empowering Youth through Leadership Development, Cultural Heritage and Community Service.”

With eighty four mothers and eighteen (18) formal committees in place including Fundraising, Charities, Technology, and Community Service, the Chapter is constantly identifying opportunities and cultivating relationships in order to support a variety of efforts in Brooklyn and around the nation. From supporting recovery efforts of Sandy hurricane victims by physically donating clothes and food to organizing Political Brunches for our teens at the United Nations, we are going for the gold!

Brooklyn Chapter today boasts and impressive legacy of African American families that include many trailblazers in American history, including the first African American member of the Visiting Nurse Association, the first African American District Attorney of Kings County and the third African American President of the New York State Bar Association. Brooklyn Chapter Families have their names memorialized on buildings and monuments all across the city and have been instrumental in the fields of finance, education, law, medicine, social services and the arts.

We look forward to sharing our accomplishments and endeavors that will hopefully encourage all families around the nation to stand tall and take hold of the power we have to develop tomorrow’s leaders.



Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, Member Manual, 2018 Edition.

Huntington Theatre Company Avenue of the Arts & South End “Fetching More than Water: Jack and Jill of America – Regarding Lydia R. Diamond’s play “Stick Fly” references of Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

Jack and Jill: Staying In Touch, New York Times, April 2, 1984, Page C00012

Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, Philadelphia Chapter, www.jackandjillphiladelphia.org, History Section

Mother of STT Attorney Judith Bourne Dead at 86. St. John Source. www.stjohnsource.com

History and National Program Manual, Jack and Jill of America Incorporated. Fourth Edition. 1983

Jack and Jill of America – Preparing Young African Americans to Reach their Potential – Books and Belonging: A History of Black Education and Belonging. February 16, 2013

Brooklyn Chapter History Archives