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About Us

Columbus, Ga Chapter of Jack and Jill of America

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In 1965, a local group of young women under the leadership of Mary Lee Bussey, Alice Fowlkes, and Laura Mae Strickland sought to establish a chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. in Columbus, Georgia. The women shared this idea with the Links, Inc., a national organization dedicated to promoting and engaging in educational, civic, and intercultural activities to enrich the lives of its members and the community.

In 1966, these three women collaborated and brought together other interested mothers, seventeen in total, with children between the ages of 2 and 19 to organize the Columbus, Georgia Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

In July 1967, the group became chartered members at the home of Mary Lee Bussey. The Columbus, Georgia Chapter Founders were:

  • Helen Barnhart

  • Thelma Baskin

  • Josephine Baugh

  • Mary Frances Beckett

  • Juanita Booker

  • Mary Lee Bussey

  • Elizabeth Gibson

  • Ruth Lewis

  • Sally B. Lunsford

  • Inez Morris

  • Lula Lunsford Odom

  • Norma Oleen

  • Gertha Stafford

  • Mary Stephens

  • Mildred Terry

  • Helen Williams

  • Jeanette Wilson

  • Jackie Whittlesey

Shortly after the chapter was chartered, Columbus Georgia made its first appearance in Up the Hill in 1968 and the Columbus Georgia Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. hosted Mothers' Workday in 1989 and 1996. In 1996, Cynthia Saxton was elected to the Regional Nominating Committee (selected by the body in 1995) and in 1997, the 16th National President, Sheryl B. Thomas, from Detroit Michigan spoke at COLGA’s 30th Anniversary celebration.

In the early 2000’s, the Mothers and Teen Groups joined forces and worked in partnership with the Unite Georgia and Teen Achievers of Columbus State University to end smoking in public places. The collaborative effort between Jack and Jill and Columbus State Teen Achievers along with Sharon Jamison, Cynthia Saxton (advising) applied for and received a grant to combat smoking. The Columbus Health Department and Unite Georgia collaborated and sponsored 16 county rallies at the Trade Center on April 27, 2002. More than 1,500 youth were in attendance. This rally targeted teens to realize that tobacco hurts. This effort helped to introduce and pass a Georgia law prohibiting smoking in public places. Also, during this effort to end smoking in public places the chapter also:

  • Attended the Georgia General Assembly

  • Visited various counties around the state discussing and educating on the health risks of smoking

  • Developed a television commercial in conjunction with The State Health Department

And in 2006, prohibiting smoking in public places became a state policy.

Four years later, on April 18, 2010,the Inaugural Pink & Blue Associates Appreciation Luncheon was hosted. This event was changed to be celebrated with Founder’s Day in January of each year, which is done to this day.

COLGA Mothers began serving at the regional level at Mothers' Regional Conference in 2011, where then Mother Kornisha Brown was elected to serve on the Regional Nominating Committee for the 2011- 2013 programming years. In 2013, she was re-elected to serve on the Regional Nominating Committee for 2013-2015. Also, for the 2013-2015 programming years, the following Mothers of the Columbus, Georgia chapter were appointed to serve on the following regional committees:

  • Programming Committee (Appointed) – Natasha Anderson

  • By-Laws Committee (Appointed) – Carricia Simpson

  • Protocol Committee (Appointed) – Yolanda Daniel

  • Rules and Regulations Committee (Elected & Chair) - Kornisha McGill Brown

The 2015 Southeastern Regional Mothers’ Regional Conference in Montgomery, AL proved to be 8 paramount for the mothers of the Columbus, GA Chapter. The legacy of leadership for the chapter continued with the election of COLGA Chapter President, Mother President Kornisha McGill Brown as the 2015-2017 Secretary of the Southeastern Region. Chapter President Kornisha was also named Chapter President of the Year and COLGA was COLGA was named Chapter of the Year! During the conference, Past Chapter President Dolly Baker, was recognized for her service on the Regional Grievance Committee. These accomplishments were recognized by the community and by Proclamation from the Mayor‘s Office and the City Council on September 1, 2015 making it officially Kornisha Brown, Columbus Chapter and Teen Day in Columbus, Georgia.

During the 2016 National Convention in Palm Springs, CA, the Columbus, Georgia Chapter distinguished itself as a superior chapter through recognition during the conference. Along with Regional Secretary Kornisha McGill Brown representing the region, Chapter President Audrey Tillman was appointed to the National Statistics Committee. Our children's active involvement was highlighted in various capacities, including Jack Darius Brown, Jr. representing the SER during the opening ceremony, Jack Wesley Tillman serving as a Page, Jill Jada Chambers selected as Literacy Master-Mind, and Jack John Andrew Sims won 3rd place in the National Art Contest. The chapter also received 2nd place in foundation per-capita giving and 3rd place in national per-capita giving. The commitment to impactful programming was recognized with a "superior" rating for the 2014-2016 program handbook.

COLGA's engagement on the national level was also shown through the appointment by National President Joli Cooper- Nelson of Mother Deidre Williams (COLGA Vice President) as Co-Chair of LEADERSHIP NOW! The virtual leadership training & development task force.

Mothers' Workday 2016 was an opportunity for 23 COLGA mothers to travel to Atlanta, Georgia, to receive purposeful program planning and attend developmental and educational workshops. The training was informative and valuable for the planning of a great programming year.

The 2017 Mothers' Regional Conference proved to be a joyous time for the Columbus, Georgia Chapter. Our own Regional Secretary, Kornisha Brown, was elected as the Southeast Regional Director with unanimous approval. The 30th Biennial Mothers' Regional Conference, which was held in Palm Beach, Florida, opened several opportunities for our chapter mothers to serve on numerous committees. Specifically, the following Mother's were elected or appointed to the following committees:

  • Regional Nominations Committee (Elected) – Vice President Deidre Williams

  • Evaluations Committee (Appointed)– Program Director Shannon Chambers

  • Tellers Committee (Appointed) - Mother Shaquana Newsome Battle

In 2018, Mothers of the Columbus Georgia Chapter traveled to the 43rd Biennial National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Twix and Tween Jack Sir Michael Carrington Williams was selected to represent the Southeastern Region during the Opening Plenary. Mother Jo Anne Hill presented a workshop on being WOKE in the workplace. The chapter also won the Trailblazer Award for philanthropic giving led by Foundation Chair Gina Daise. The Mothers also were blessed to witness the beginning of a new chapter, the Greater West Georgia Village Chapter, a provisional chapter that the Columbus Georgia Chapter was responsible for mentoring to this proud moment. At this national convention, the Columbus Georgia Chapter was also awarded Five Star Chapter status, and it was in this program year that the chapter won the Scope cover contest.

In 2019, at the 31st Biennial Mothers' Regional Conference in Savannah, Georgia, the Columbus Georgia Chapter exemplified what it means to be a chapter that was small but mighty. Our own Regional Director, Kornisha Brown, was elected as the National Endorsed Candidate for the Southeastern Conference. The following Mothers were also elected or appointed to the following committees:

  • Regional Nominating Committee (Elected & Chair) – Mother Gwendolyn Edmond

  • Regional Programming Co-Chair (Appointed) – Immediate Past Program Director Shannon Chambers

  • Regional Time and Place Committee (Appointed) - Vice President Quleria Person

  • Regional Technology Committee (Appointed & Chair) – Mother Venus McWilliams

  • Resolutions Committee (Appointed) – Immediate Past Chapter President Audrey Tillman

  • Regional Editor Committee (Appointed) - Assistant Recording Secretary Shelia Baker

  • Regional Health Advocacy Committee (Appointed) - Corresponding Secretary Bande Virgil

  • Regional Associates Committee (Appointed & Chair) - Associate Vicki Williams-Wiley

At the Biennial Mothers’ Regional Conference, the chapter also won second place as the 2018-2019 “Highest Chapter per Capita Contributions” for the Jack and Jill Foundation, Inc. The chapter was recognized as one of the Southeastern Region’s Five Star Chapters and for Superior Handbook led by Program Director Gina Daise, and the chapter was awarded its first ever $3,000 Reading Corner Grant for the service and support given to the Anne Elizabeth Shepherd Home for Girls.

In the summer of 2020, the 44th National Convention proved to be historic. The convention was held in Austin, Texas; however, due to the COVID – 19 pandemic, the South Central Region hosted the 44th National Convention via a virtual platform. With 2,500+ registrants and 245 chapters present to do the business of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., the Columbus, GA Chapter is represented with poise and grace. The Columbus, GA Chapter had 30 registrants showing we continue to be COLGA Strong!!

The Columbus Georgia Chapter received Five Star status for the second time due to the leadership of Five Star Committee Chair Mother Lisa Dupree. During the Regional Celebration during the National Convention, the Columbus Georgia Chapter once again led the way by receiving recognition for strong participation in the Book Club, Reach and Reached, This is Me Gavel Club, 1st place in the Stock Market Exchange Challenge, 1st Place in Media for the Senior Teen (Get Out the Vote) Video Activity, and 3rd place for Senior Teen Service Hours by Regional Teen President BJ Tillman. Associate Mother Gail Simpson also was honored in a moving Memorial Service. The excitement was in the air as Mothers were praying for National Endorsed Candidate Kornisha McGill Brown and God showed why he is so good! The chapter was overcome with excitement and joy as Jack and Jill of America, Inc. selected its 27th National President of Jack and Jill of America, Kornisha McGill Brown.

We are also so proud of the following Mothers being appointed to serve at the National level:

  • National Legal Advisor (Appointed) – Associate Audrey Tillman

  • National Nominating Committee (Appointed) – Mother Gwen Edmond

  • National Legislative Committee (Appointed) – Mother Shannon Chambers

  • National Curriculum Committee (Appointed) – Mother Donna Baker

  • National Associate Committee (Appointed & Chair) – Associate Vickie Williams-Wiley

In 2021, the 32nd Biennial Mothers' Regional Conference hosted by the Birmingham, Alabama Chapter was held virtually due to the continued concern around the Covid-19 pandemic; however, the Columbus, Georgia Chapter continued to show our strong support of the Southeastern Region. During Mother's Regional National, President Kornisha McGill Brown was elected unanimously as our National Endorsed Candidate to represent the Southeastern Region. The following Mothers were also elected or appointed to the following committees:

  • National Nominating Committee (Elected) – Financial Secretary Gwen Edmond

  • Regional Programming Co-Chair (Appointed) – Chapter Treasurer Shannon Chambers

  • Regional Community Service Chair (Appointed) – Chapter Editor Crystal Shahid

  • Regional Time and Place Committee (Appointed) – Chapter President Pamela Watson

Finally, Columbus, Georgia Chapter continued to show our dedication to the region and our development of Jack and Jill Mothers by attending the Mother's Workday in Alpharetta, Georgia hosted by the Eastern Suburban and Stone Mountain Chapters of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

During the summer of 2022, The Columbus, Georgia Chapter Members enjoyed the week-long activities and business meetings held during the 45th National Convention in Orlando, Florida. Throughout the Convention, COLGA Mothers and Associates were found serving at every level and in ways that enhanced the experience for all attendees. Our very own Chapter Mother, National President Kornisha McGill Brown, presided over the Convention with grace, dignity and professionalism as she led Mothers from across the Nation and handled Jack and Jill business. During the National Convention, national elections were held and National President Kornish McGill Brown overwhelmingly won reelection and became the National President for a second term! The entire COLGA chapter look forward to her continued leadership and supporting her in every way possible during her final two years. While attending the convention, COLGA was also recognized as a THREE TIME 5- star Chapter which was led by Program Director Lisa Dupree! The Chapter also received recognition for winning 1st Place of The Mind, Body, and Soul Challenge and COLGA also came in 1st Place for Teen per capita and 2nd Place for Teen Foundation giving.

COLGA was also represented at the National Convention in the following ways:

  • National Associates Chair: Associate Mother Vickie Williams-Wiley

  • National Legal Advisor: Associate Mother Audrey Tillman

  • National Nominating Committee and Marion Stubbs Thomas Leadership Graduate: Mother Gwen Edmond

  • National Community Service Project Co-Chair: Mother Crystal Shahid

  • National Legislative and Programming Committee Member: Mother Shannon Chambers

  • Chaplain: Mother Donna Baker

  • DEDICATED Leadership Assistants: Mothers Quleria Person, Venus McWilliams, and Tiffany Byrd

Our Chapter President Pamela Watson and Vice President Gina Daise also served as our delegate and alternate delegate and stood ready to serve as they voted our voice during elections and on business matters impacting us all.

There was so much to celebrate during the 45th National Convention from the Opening Plenary to fireworks at Disney, the Represent Your College party hosted by MC Doug E. Fresh, to the spirit-filled Gospel Brunch, and more! The Sweet, Sweet Southeastern Region planned a PHENOMENAL conference for the Mothers, Associates, Fathers, and Children of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. We salute the Chairs, Co-Chairs, and all those who served to make “The Power of a Dream” our reality.

Once the new program year kicked off, The Columbus Georgia Chapter continued to show they are willing and able to serve at any level of the organization and Chapter Treasurer Shannon Chambers was appointed SER Regional Program Committee Co-Chair for the 2022-2023 programming year and the National Chapter Development and Growth Chair for the 2022-2024 programming year and Financial Secretary Gwen Edmund was appointed the National Youth Trip Chair for the 2022-2024 programming year.

In 2023, the 33rd Biennial Mothers' Regional Conference hosted by the Memphis, Tennessee Chapter and the Columbus, Georgia Chapter, led by Chapter President Gina Daise and Vice President Lisa Dupree, continued to be steadfast and unmovable. During Mothers' Regional, we saluted and celebrated National President Kornisha McGill Brown for her wonderful service to the Southeastern Region. NP Kornisha was awarded the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joe Biden. COLGA was also awarded the following awards: SER Digital Cheetah of Excellence Award, SER Chapter Bylaws of Excellence of Award (newly revised 2022 Chapter Bylaws), SER Top 10 Stellar Programming Award “For ALL Children” (presented to VP Lisa Dupree, 2021-2023 Program Director).

The following Mothers were appointed to the following committees and positions:

  • Alumni Relations Committee Member - Chapter Treasurer Crystal Shahid

  • Beyond the Classroom Task Force - Program Director Shelia Baker

  • Growing Strategically Committee & Marion Stubbs Thomas Leadership Academy Fellow - National Chapter Development and Growth Chair Shannon Chambers

  • Regional Lead Teen Sponsor Liaison Chair - Immediate Past Lead Teen Sponsor Donna Baker

  • Regional Trip Committee - Mother Jennifer Fields

  • Social Media Committee & Regional Nominating Committee Alternate - Mother Bande Virgil

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