Chapter Accomplishments

Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated - Jackson MS Chapter - Chapter Accomplishments - (Teens, Mothers & Associates)

 Throughout the years, the Jackson MS Chapter has achieved many accomplishments:

  • Each year, the Chapter hosts its signature program for the Jackson MS Community during the month of December.  “Fun with Santa” has evolved from a program for the children of the chapter to interact with an African-American Santa Claus to a program enjoyed by all children in the community. The highlight of the event is having the opportunity to take a picture (free of charge) with an African-American Santa Claus. 
  •  In 1990, the Chapter sponsored its first Sweetheart Ball.  This biennial event provides a wonderful opportunity for young ladies between the ages of 16 and 19 to be presented to Jackson, Mississippi society as “Sweethearts”.  The funds raised from this activity allow the chapter to give back to the Jack and Jill Foundation.  Likewise, the community benefits in a variety of ways including scholarships, donations and seminars to enrich the children of our community.  Some proceeds are also given to the Jack and Jill of America Foundation.
  • In 1996, Maurice James served as Southeastern Regional Teen Parliamentarian and was elected Southeastern Regional Teen President in 1996-1997.  In 2001, Willie Thompson, Jr. served as the Southeastern Regional Teen Parliamentarian.   Also in that year, Jonathan Priester won 2nd place in the 45th Annual Southeastern Regional Teen Conference Oratorical Contest
  • At the 23rd Biennial Mothers Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi, the Jackson MS Chapter made history by electing its first Regional Officer.  Mavis Parkman James was elected Southeastern Regional Secretary/Treasurer.  Additionally, a former member of the Jackson MS Chapter was named the Executive Director of the national organization.  Mrs. Mioshi “Mimi” James Moses, a Jack and Jill legacy who graduated from the Jackson MS Chapter served in this capacity for two years.  She is the daughter of Mavis and Maurice James.
  • In 2003, the Jackson MS Chapter was awarded the Jacqueline Robinson Grant, funded by the Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Incorporated for the first time. The proceeds were used to provide elementary and middle schools students with the practical knowledge and basic tools of personal finance such as savings, money management and credit.  The Chapter was also proud to establish the Dorothy Sanders Thompson Fund for Early Detection of Breast Cancer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. This fund was established in recognition of our member, Dorothy S. Thompson, for the faith and courage shown during her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Currently, the proceeds are being used to increase the early detection of breast cancer in African-American women by providing payment for screening mammograms to African-American women living in the MS Delta.
  • Also in 2003, the Jackson MS Chapter hosted the 2003 Children’s Cluster.   Murvyn Baker Kelsey, National Editor brought the greetings. At the 47th Annual Southeastern Regional Teen Conference in Atlanta, Gabrielle Banks placed third in the Oratorical Contest and the Step Team won second place in the step competition. 
  •  In 2004, the Jackson MS Chapter contributed the highest amount for Foundation at the 48th Annual Southeastern Regional Teen Leadership Conference in South Miami. Chloe Ashley was elected Regional Teen Secretary. Kiana Moore won second place in the talent show dance contest, and our Step Team, the “Jack-Town Steppers,” won first place in the step competition.  Associate Members LaQuita Brown, Gerri Cannon-Smith, Jasmin Chapman, Peggy Crowell and Gussie Thomas received recognition for achieving Life Member status.  At the Jack and Jill National Convention held in Kansas City, the Chapter received recognition for outstanding Chapter programming and the membership manual was on display at the convention as an exemplary programming tool.  
  • In 2005, the Chapter celebrated its 35th year. It was again awarded the Jacqueline Robinson Grant funded by the Jack and Jill Foundation, Inc.  Maxwell James won first place in the Oratorical Contest at the Workday and went on to win 3rd place at the 49th Annual Teen Leadership Conference in Atlanta.
  • At the Mothers Workday in Memphis in 2005, the Chapter received recognition for having the highest number of Moms and Teens registered. Our Teens participated in the First Annual Teen Business Plan Competition where they won 3rd place and $300. Chloe Ashley ended her term as Teen Regional Secretary on a high note as she rendered an eloquent farewell speech at the Senior Recognition and Awards Gala.
  • At the 24th Biennial Mothers Regional Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Mavis James ended her term as the Regional Secretary/Treasurer and was elected as the Southeastern Region’s National Endorsed Candidate. The Chapter again received the Certificate of Excellence Award in Chapter Programming. Frances Ashley was appointed as Regional Protocol Chair and Dorothy Thompson was re-elected to the Region’s Nominating Committee.
  • The Southeastern Region again made history with the launching of the Inaugural Family Leadership Conference. Over 65 mothers, fathers, children and teens from the Jackson MS Chapter attended the week-long event.  The Mitchell Family (Johnny, Janice, Jonathan and Jasmine) were recognized as the recipients of the Dr. Mirian C. Shropshire Family of the Year Award.   
  • In 2006, our Chapter Teens excelled at the 50th Annual Southeastern Regional Teen Leadership Conference by bringing home the gold in the Step Team competition. The “Jack Town Steppers” won and were proud to receive the first trophy - called “The Shoe” - ever presented by the Region. Jonathan Priester, who served as Teen Regional Parliamentarian, won first place in the Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Contest and also delivered an outstanding speech at the Seniors’ Farewell Gala. Five of our Associate Members - Dianne Fraser, Rica Gray, Gailya Porter, Rita Wray and Maude Wright - also became Life Members.
  • Our Chapter again made history at the 37th Biennial National Convention held in Houston, Texas when Mavis Parkman James was elected as National Treasurer.  Dorothy Thompson was also elected to serve on the National Nominating Committee.
  • In 2007, our Chapter continued to excel and to make history as we successfully implemented the Southeastern Regional Theme “Building Strong Ties to Become Stronger Leaders”. At our Annual Jack &Jill Founders’ Day Celebration, special tributes were given to our Charter Members. We were also honored to host the AL/MS/TN/Pensacola Area Workday, the Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Contest and the launching of the inaugural “Speak up – Speak out” presentations where kids ages 9-12 delivered speeches.
  • Over 50 Moms, Dads, Children and Teens attended and were actively involved in the 2007 Southeastern Family/Teen Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida. Mavis James was again elected as the Southeastern Region National Endorsed Candidate and Sharolyn Smith was elected to serve on the Regional Nominating Committee. Southeastern Regional Director, Sharon Butler presented Janice Mitchell with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  In addition, Mea Ashley was elected as the Southeastern Regional Teen President and the “Jack Town Steppers” again brought home the trophy by winning 1st Place in the step show.  Dad Darek Ashley served as the official photographer at the Family Conference.  Associates Zelma Carson and Ruth Crowell also became Life Members.
  • At the 2008 National Convention in Miami, Florida, Mavis James was re-elected as the National Treasurer of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Our chapter was also recognized on both the regional and national levels during the convention with awards for our Fun With Santa and Deliver Me Seniors community service projects, and our teen participated in the Teen Leadership Modules (volunteerism and legislative components).  In addition, our chapter placed third nationwide for our 2007-2008 program year contribution to the Jack and Jill Foundation.  Our fathers’ group was also in the forefront during the convention with Darek Ashley serving as the National Father’s Auxiliary Chair.
  • Teens Mea Ashley, Maxwell James and Kandis Moore attended the 2008 Leadership Summit in Miami, Florida.  They each received a share of McDonald’s stock for their attendance and for their completion of the Teen Leadership Modules.  For the third consecutive year, the Jack Town Steppers won the Teen step Show during the 2008 Teen Conference.
  • Our chapter is proud to have 28 Associates that are National Life Members of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
  • Teen Evann Berry served as the Teen Regional Vice-President.  Evann was elected at the 2009 Teen Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.  Teens Kandi Walker and Taylor Jefferson were appointed to serve on the Regional Advisory Board and Regional Teen Editorial board for the 2009 Teen Conference.        
  • In 2009, Mitzi Dease Paige was elected to the Regional Nominating Committee in Memphis, TN.
  • In June 2010, Teen Kandi Walker was elected regional teen president and Teen Emily Moore submitted the theme, “Stitching the Hems of our Heritage”, which was used for the 2011 Teen Conference.
  • In 2011, our chapter successfully hosted the Mother's Biennial Regional Conference at the Downtown Jackson Marriott Hotel.
  • In 2011 at the Mother’s Regional Conference, our very own Stephanie Smith-Jefferson was elected the first regional secretary of the Southeastern Region.
  • Chapter President Mitzi Dease Paige was re-elected to the Regional Nominating Committee in 2011.
  • In 2011, Toni Moore was appointed Regional Associates Chair, and Carla Kirkland was appointed Regional Chaplain.
  • At the 2012 Southeastern Teen Regional Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Teen Taylor Jefferson was elected the Southeastern Regional Teen Secretary. Both the Mothers’ Regional Secretary and Teen Regional Secretary positions were held by Jackson MS members and were mother and daughter.  Justis Gibbs served on the Teen Advisory Board and Alexia Kirkland served as a Teen Peer Leader.  Taylor placed 2nd in the Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Competition.
  • In October 2012, Carla Kirkland was appointed National Chaplain by President Tamara Turnley Robinson.
  • In 2013, Chapter President Mitzi Dease Paige became a member of the National Nominating Committee. She served in this capacity until the end of the National Convention in 2014.
  • At the 2013 Teen Southeastern Regional Conference held in Birmingham, AL, Teen Jonathan Taylor received Honorable Mention for Outstanding Teen Scrapbook. The “Jack Town” Steppers placed 3rd in the step show. Teen Justis Gibbs was elected as the Southeastern Regional Teen President.  Bria Paige served on the Teen Communications Board.  Teen Peer Leaders were Claudia Brunson, Courtney Denson, Justis Gibbs, Nona Johnson and Alexia Kirkland.  Johnathan Smith served on the Sergeant at Arms Committee.  Yesenia Davis was Teen Advisory Board Member.  The Teen conference delegate was Brie Kemp and Bria Paige served as the alternate.  The Jackson girls’ basketball team won 1st Place. 
  • The biennial regional mothers’ conference was held in Atlanta, GA in 2013. National Chaplain Carla Kirkland was elected Regional Treasurer. Chapter President Mitzi Dease Paige served as Regional Nominating Committee Chair. Kristena Gaylor was elected to the Regional Nominating Committee from 2013-2015. The Jackson MS Chapter again received the Jacqueline Robinson Grant.
  • In July 2014, Regional Teen President (RTP) Justis Gibbs did a wonderful job presiding over the 58th South Eastern Regional Teen Conference in Nashville, Tn.  RTP Justis was given a conference resolution in recognition of his outstanding service as Regional Teen President and being an inaugural member of the National Teen Board.  He was also given a certificate of appreciation for his service, and was recognized for his 2nd place finish in the oratorical contest in Alabama Cluster.  RT Carla Kirkland represented the Jackson MS chapter in her role as Southeastern Regional Treasurer.
  • More highlights from the 2014 Regional Teen Conference in Nashville, TN:  Yesenia Davis was elected as the Southeastern Regional Secretary.  Lead Teen Sponsor Robbie Kemp was one of two Lead Teen Sponsors recognized as Lead Sponsor of the Year.  The Jacktown Steppers won second place in the Step Show.  Peryn Reeves-Darby was recognized at the Breakfast of Champions for her scrapbook in the Scholarship Achievement Category-Division II for having an excellent scrapbook (overall score 95-97.99).  We were also represented at the Breakfast of Champions by Justis Gibbs (Outstanding Teen); Alexia Kirkland (Outstanding Female Athlete); Bria Paige (Outstanding Leadership); and Kendall Watson (Outstanding Male Athlete) were all were recognized and presented a gift.  The Jackson MS chapter defended its girl basketball title and repeated as Champions.  The Teen conference delegate was Bria Paige and alternate was Yesenia Davis.
  • In 2014, Chapter President Mitzi Dease Paige ended her role as a member of the National Nominating Committee in Charlotte, NC at the National Convention
  •  In August 2014, RT Carla Kirkland resigned as the Southeastern Regional Treasurer, and joined the Associates rank.
  •  At the 2014 National Convention in Charlotte, NC, the Jackson MS Chapter received the following recognitions:

o   Best of the Best National Programming in Cultural Heritage

o   2nd Place for the Kids Symposium

o   Superior Program Handbook

o   Honorable Mention in Legislative Advocacy for Jack and Jill Day at the Capitol and Get Out the Vote Efforts

o   Outstanding Recognition for Foundation Contributions for Dollar Amount and Per Mother Contribution

o   Received One Star Recognition in Chapter Programming


  • Debra Gibbs, Vivian Henley, Vonda Reeves-Darby, and Sharolyn Smith became Life Members in 2014.
  •  Sharolyn Smith served as handler for Dr. Mirian Shropshire, former 9th National President from the Southeastern Region.