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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Jack and Jill celebrates 60 years in Atlanta

Farah Fakir Cook and Kimberly Evans Paige served as co-chairs of the gala celebrating the Atlanta chapter of Jack and Jill of America's 60th anniversary.

Farah Fakir Cook and Kimberly Evans Paige served as co-chairs of the gala celebrating the Atlanta chapter of Jack and Jill of America's 60th anniversary. Photo by Jennifer Brett, jbrett@ajc.com

The Atlanta chapter of Jack and Jill of America celebrated its 60th anniversary Saturday night with a splendid gala at the Piedmont Driving Club.

“We are truly going to celebrate tonight,” event co-chair Kimberly Evans Paige told the packed ballroom. “We have doubled our expectations in terms of our financial objectives.” (The event had aimed to raise $60,000 and did so, twice).

Themed “Creating a Legacy of Literacy,” the gala benefited the Jack and Jill of America Foundation as well as The East Lake Foundation and Raising Expectations. All three organizations offer educational programming for young people.

“Once a child has a love of reading, they are well on their way to educational excellence,” Paige said.

Her co-chair, Farah Fakir Cook, talked about her Jack and Jill experience both as a participant and as a mom.

“As a child I don’t think I understood the importance of Jack and Jill,” she said. “It really does foster a community.”

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and his wife Philippa attended. Photo by Kimberly O’Hara Evans

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and his wife Philippa attended. Photo by Kimberly O’Hara Evans

Her closest friends from childhood are Jack and Jill friends, including a former Spelman College roommate who is the godmother of her kids – now in Jack and Jill themselves.

The galas, she said, represented a year of planning.

“We finally made it,” she said as the evening began. “It has been a wonderful journey.”

Chapter members’ hard work was evidenced in details such as the collection of photos and documents carefully assembled by the history subcommittee: Laura Sams Haynes, Leslie Thomas, LaShanda Dawkins and Sherie Hodge.

Leron Rogers and Chinyere Hardy enjoy the gala, held at the Piedmont Driving Club. Photo by Kimberly O’Hara Evans

Leron Rogers and Chinyere Hardy enjoy the gala, held at the Piedmont Driving Club. Photo by Kimberly O’Hara Evans

The artifacts included the sign-in sheet from the chapter’s very first meeting, on Sept. 16, 1951. Today, the Atlanta chapter, with nearly 300 children, is the country’s largest.

Saturday night’s crowd included chapter president Patrice Brown Greer. “Jack and Jill means a way for me to broaden the horizons of my children and make sure they’re exposed to culture and philanthropy,” she said.

National Jack and Jill president Tara Joseph-Labrie, vice president Tamara Turnley Robinson and numerous past Atlanta chapter presidents attended as well.

“Jack and Jill members have had a major impact in the communities in which they live,” Joseph-Labrie said. “We are definitely in the business of developing leaders.”

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

7 comments Add your comment

carlaroqs

April 20th, 2011
11:39 am

nice article, lovely pictures, great org.

Talented 10th

April 20th, 2011
4:43 pm

Great to see the spotlight on such a prestigious, family-oriented, international organization. Love J&J!

Black Barbie

April 20th, 2011
10:52 pm

This outdated relic of black bourgieness still exists?
There was a time, not long ago where several of the darker sisters pictured would never have been involved with this organization.

mecq

April 21st, 2011
12:13 am

Black Barbie Please refrain from self-loathing.

carlaroqs

April 21st, 2011
8:04 am

black barbie- you do know that there was a time, not long ago– when barbie dolls of the darker hue were not made, right? times change, but just because something is old– it is not indicative of its being bad, as long as it is not hurting anyone.

Vickie Houston

April 21st, 2011
1:15 pm

Based on what I’ve read about the “Black Elites”, the comments made by Black Barbie are true. However, as an attractive, dark skinned, professional black female, I have overcome the negative aspects of our race. Everytime I see Michele Obama grace the public stage, I smile say to myself and to my light skinned boyfriend, “thank God we dark skinned sisters are finally being celebrated and promoted”. :-)

KP

April 21st, 2011
2:20 pm

“Themed “Creating a Legacy of Literacy,” the gala benefited the Jack and Jill of America Foundation as well as The East Lake Foundation and Raising Expectations. All three organizations offer educational programming for young people.”

Maybe we would do good to try to stick to what’s really important.