Members of the Jack and Jill of America South Suburban Chapter hosted a toiletries drive at Homewood-Flossmoor High School on May 13, collecting supplies for nonprofit organizations that support teenagers in the South Suburbs who are facing housing uncertainty.
“The end goal of the drive today is to bring awareness that teen homelessness is an issue in our community,” said Tracie Hayes, president of the South Suburban Chicago chapter. “But it’s also to incentivize people to help. Make them say to themselves that ‘If these teens can make a difference, then maybe I can too.’”
Donors dropped off toiletries such as paper towels, feminine products, deodorant, and hair products over a four-hour period. Carlos Dillard Jr., regional teen foundation chair, said the items will be sent to Reclaim13, Respond Now, and Aunt Martha’s organizations in the area.
In addition to the “Mother Members” of the program, H-F students junior Teen President Jared Rouse and freshman Teen Treasurer Gregory Mitchell also proudly participated in this drive.
“The Jack and Jill program to me is important and impactful because of the engaging and fun ways it helps me and others around me through the values it promotes and encourages,” Mitchell said. “It has positively impacted me by demonstrating what it means to be an African-American leader by allowing you to engage with others your age, complete community service activities, learn about African-American history and culture, and have fun.”
The Jack and Jill of America program was established in 1938 when 20 African-American mothers came together to discuss an organization to “provide social, cultural and educational opportunities for youth between the ages of two to 19,” according to the official Jack and Jill of America website.
The organization today has 262 chapters nationwide with over 50,000 members.
“We want to develop the whole child so when they leave Jack and Jill and graduate from high school,” said Marvis Donalson, national program director.” They’re confident in who they are, they know that they have a voice, they know that voice matters, and they know they can go anywhere and have what it takes to be successful.”