The Midlothian chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. takes pride in being an active member of the Richmond Metro Area community. Through the effective execution of numerous community service projects, our chapter has made an impact on many men, women and children alike.
Our chapter has established several ongoing service projects which have allowed us to not only addresses various needs with the community but to also demonstrate the greater impact that comes from fostering long term relationships with individuals and partner organizations. Several of these ongoing projects are highlighted below.
For approximately six years, the Midlothian Chapter has collected school supplies for the children of Chalkley Elementary School. The supplies donated are used to fill the school’s onsite supply cabinet. This resource allows teachers to provide supplies throughout the school year to students who may otherwise have difficulty obtaining the things they need. In addition to the school supplies, for three years the Midlothian chapter has conducted a book drive for Chalkley. Mother members purchase new books that are used to replace and/or augment the books in the school’s library. To date, we have donated in excess of $1000 worth of books through this service project. It has been wonderful to see the delight from the children when they see the new book titles they can choose from for reading.
In keeping with the theme of educational support for young children, for the past two years the Junior and Senior teen age groups have served as volunteers in this local program. This program, sponsored by the YMCA and local corporations, provides many young students with the opportunity to shop at Target Stores for back to school clothes during the month of August. Our youth have served as volunteer shopping buddies for the students, providing one-on-one mentoring and guidance to the youth as they make selections throughout the store. They have found this to be a very rewarding experience and have committed to participate again in the 2011 program.
For the past several years the Midlothian chapter has partnered with two elementary schools and social services within Chesterfield County to identify and adopt families for the holidays. This project entails providing gifts and clothing to families with limited resources in order to assist them with having a memorable holiday season. Over the life of this project, our chapter has been able to assist more than fifteen families.
Youth Coat Drive – Falling Creek Elementary School, Chesterfield County For the past two years, members of the Midlothian chapter have donated gently used youth and adult winter coats to Falling Creek Elementary School. Working with the school’s administration, these coats are in turn given to students throughout the winter months as a need is identified so that children are able to come to school properly clothed for the weather. Thus far, we have donated more than 100 coats.
This program was conceived and designed by our own mother member, Mrs. Julie McClellan Beckwith. Now in its fourth year, the mentoring program speaks directly to one of the aims of the Jack and Jill organization, in that it seeks to provide opportunities for the participants that they would otherwise not experience, similary to the experiences we would provide for our own children. Each year, working with the staff at the school, a group of forth grade boys are selected to participate. These are students with great potential, who need an experience such as this to help them recognize their abilities. Throughout the academic school year, the Midlothian chapter takes the lead in sponsoring an activity for the group ranging from educational to social to cultural. The boys are required to keep a journal throughout the year which becomes a lifetime keepsake. The highlight one year was for the “Jacks” to tour the Virginia State Capitol and meet and take a picture with then governor Tim McCaine!
For six years, the Midlothian Chapter has played an active role in supporting this worthy annual program. This program allows individuals of all ages, with varying special needs, the opportunity to train and participate in a Special Olympics program. Each year, through monetary donations, we have sponsored at least two athletes. In addition, on the day of the event, many members volunteer their time to serve as chaperones to assist the participants in completing their activites. As a result of the chapters long standing support of this program, we have been named as one the event sponsors and recognized through our inclusion as a listed sponsor on the event t-shirt.
In addition to the many ongoing service projects that the Midlothian chapter maintains we have also conducted several short term projects as well in past years: Habitat for Humanity – Participated in building a home for a local Richmond resident. Feeding the Homeless – The chapter has volunteered at various locations in the Richmond area providing meals to the area homeless. Support of US Troops – The youth have participated in letter writing campaigns and sent cards to various units overseas to provide support. Red Cross Emergency Support – The chapter solicited donations on behalf of the local chapter of the Red Cross and raised $1000 for Hurricane Katrina relief.
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