By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This week’s convention of the Jack and Jill Clubs of America is a homecoming of sorts. The organization was founded in Philadelphia in 1938.
The club expanded over the years and moved to Washington, DC, but now it’s back in the City of Brotherly Love for its 75th anniversary celebration.
Marion Stubbs Thomas had a problem. As the wife of a well-known cardiologist, she wanted her children to have enriching cultural experiences. But as an African-American woman, she felt shut out of most opportunities.
So, she gathered a group of 20 like-minded friends and formed what she called a “kiddie club.”
Today, that club has 220 chapters, and president Tara Joseph Labrie (top photo) says it has stayed true to its mission.
“We educate children on entrepreneurship, leadership skills, and parliamentarian skills, and how to become better leaders for tomorrow,” she told KYW Newsradio today at a Philadelphia City Hall welcome ceremony.
And those children often grow up to become Jack and Jill Club members themselves.
“It’s kind of like taking your parents’ place,” said 12-year-old Kayla Parham. She attending the convention along with her friend Jasmine Williams, who says she appreciates the legacy that she is participating in.
“I’m a mini-grownup,” she said with a smile. “Yaaaay…”