Greetings on behalf of the Positive and Vibrant Mothers of the Potomac Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill, Inc.,
Greetings from the Potomac Valley Chapter!
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as President of the Potomac Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Without a doubt, as we begin this 2020-2021 Program Year, we find ourselves in circumstances that we did not imagine for our world and for our nation. But, United We Stand. This is the mantra adopted as the Chapter’s programming theme for the next two years, but what does it mean for us?
The once in a generation, COVID-19 global pandemic has upended life as we have known it. As African Americans, we face outsized health and economic impacts that have been compounded by the historic inequities our communities have experienced.
Moreover, as a people, we grapple with palpable racial injustice in our nation that is front and center on a daily basis. For adults, this has been an ever-present reminder that while we have progressed, we have not overcome; and for many of our children and teens, this has been an exercise of bringing into vivid and harsh reality many of the concepts previously discussed in the abstract. As parents, we sometimes struggle to help our children, and indeed ourselves, as we navigate through these issues, but United We Stand as Families.
Where there is challenge and adversity, there is much opportunity to positively effect change. We face these challenges with renewed hope as we look forward to the inauguration of the first female and first African American to hold the position of Vice President of these United States, Kamala Harris. United We Stand as African American Women.
Jack and Jill of America has long been a space where, as families, we could find safety, support, and opportunities for personal growth. Jack and Jill has also been a vehicle through which we can, and indeed, we have changed our nation and our world through programming and community outreach. This year, though singularly difficult, is no different. United We Stand as members of Jack and Jill.
I am grateful to work with our amazing Executive Board, our Chapter Committee leaders, each of our mothers, and the Father’s Auxiliary on a dynamic series of events this year. You see some on our site now, and there will be more coming. United We Stand as the Potomac Valley Chapter.
Already we are empowering our children and teens to make their voices heard and encourage others to do the same. In this election year, PVC organized a multi-chapter Legislative Town Hall that was attended by over 150 people. The speakers included Congressman Anthony Brown, Fatima Goss Graves, President of the National Women’s Law Center, and Exodie Roe, Director of Policy for the Congressional Black Caucus. Children and teens participated in the event and were able to ask questions of the speakers.
We also participated in Get out the Vote Initiatives pursuant to which our teens prepared and mailed over 500 handwritten postcards sent to voters nationwide as well as a Get out the Vote Text initiative pursuant to which they collectively sent 20,000 text messages encouraging voters to go to the polls. United We Stand in Civic Responsibility.
We are continuing to otherwise serve our community as well. Our senior teens raised over $5,000 in the Fall of 2020 in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s effort to cure blood cancers. Our families prepared and donated over 40 fully stuffed backpacks with school supplies to the National Center for Children and Families. And, we have many more community service efforts planned as are discussed in the forthcoming sections of our Program Book. United We Stand in Supporting our Community.
We are engaging our children, teens, and families in social activities that have been reimagined due to COVID-19, yet still have facilitated bonding, creativity, and fun that is desperately needed. United We Stand in Helping Children and Teens Find Joy.
I am heartened and excited that PVC is serving as an agent of change with the launch of our new, two-year financial empowerment initiative, Banking on Us. The initiative will focus on: i) empowering our children for economic success; and ii) facilitating their ability to do the same for others through service to their peers and our community. This need has been acute for decades, and the urgency of addressing these issues is even greater when we layer the impact of COVID-19 on African American communities on top of a long history of health, wealth, and educational disparities.
Banking on Us is a triple entendre. PVC is betting on US because we believe that we can play a role in the elimination of this economic divide through grass roots efforts. Within PVC, we are holding ourselves accountable for laying the foundation for economic success. Change is on US. And, we are going to be teaching others—this education will be on US. Together, we can empower ourselves and others. United We Stand to Advance Economic Empowerment.
In our two-year initiative, we will enhance financial literacy among our children and teens so they can then teach others in the community. Specifically, in the second year of the program, together with one or more adult facilitators, we will strive to have our teens lead seminars to teach their peers and others in the community about financial products and concepts.
We are fortunate to be able to partner with many strategic advisors in connection with this initiative. We have a roster of prominent African American professionals nationwide who have now committed to work with PVC children and teens on programming related to banking, finance, and investment. Drawing on their experience in senior positions with major banks, investment and private equity firms, and financial technology companies, these leaders (who are profiled later in this Program Book) will be impactful in empowering our children and teens for economic success, and even more importantly, equipping them to help others in our community. United We Stand in Using Our Collective Talent.
In these unprecedented times, we rise together to meet and defeat the challenges we face. We must do so under different circumstances, and possibly with different tools, but we can and will. United We Stand as We March Forward.
Jonice Gray Tucker
Potomac Valley Chapter President