HOUSTON CHAPTER HISTORY
Chartered in 1952, the Houston Chapter was the first chapter established south of the Mason Dixon Line. It also was the first chapter founded in the South Central Region. Its charter members included Louise Birchette, Inez Bowman, Elsie Coffee, Mildred Collins, Leona Dorsey, Alfreida Foster, Goldie Hartshorn, Euneida Hogobrooks, Mattie Hilliard, Helen Jones, Mildred Jones, Ethel Ladner, Mable Lott, Augusta Madison, Delores Magnum, Mollie Parrot, Dorothy Perry, Margaret Purnell, Birdell Ransom, Versie Shelton, Mollie Stevenson, Irene Stone, Olga Walker, Governess Wayne and Doris Wesley. Mrs. Leona Dorsey was the first president.
In the spring of 1950, Leona Dorsey and Goldie Hartshorn brought an interest in Jack and Jill to Houston. They talked with several mothers in an effort to establish a chapter locally. Louise Beal assisted them in initiating the activities.
Mrs. Dorsey initially contacted Emile Pickens, the National President, for the procedures necessary to establish a chapter, but received a discouraging reply that no chapters west of the Mississippi were being considered. Discouraged but not defeated, Goldie Hartshorn talked with a young pediatrician, Dr. Catherine Roett, who came to Houston to practice. "Dr. Catherine" through some friends of hers in the national organization, was able to assist in the eventual approval of a chapter in Houston. Of the 27 mothers who initially chartered the first Texas Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Ann Wright and Louise Beal left the city before the chapter became a reality.
After two years and many frustrating experiences, the local mothers' goal was achieved and the Houston Chapter was founded. On Wednesday, September 24, 1952, the National President, Dr. Alberta Turner, conducted the formal installation ceremony at the Elks' Club on McGowen Avenue in the Third Ward. The following night, Dr. and Mrs. F. D. Parrott hosted a reception in their home on Delano Street for Dr. Turner and her husband. The Houston Chapter was on its way!
The following mothers have served as Houston Chapter Presidents: Leona Dorsey (1952-55), Inez Bowman (1955-57), Martha Whiting (1957-59), Demelesta Akens (1959-61), Goldie Hartshorn (1961-63), Geraldine Toliver (1963-65), Hattie Mae White (1965-67), Alberta Seaton (1967-69), Doris Peavy (1969-71), Emma K. Hill (1971-73), Mildred Nicks (1973-75), Gussie Brooks (1975-77), JoAnn Brown (1977-79), Jacqueline Bostic (1979-81), Erie Calloway (1981-83), Rudyne H. Walker (1983-85), Faye P. Wilson (1985-87), Carolyn J. Guess (1987-89), Cherry Gooden (1989-91), Carolyn Oliver (1991-93), Etta Hill (1993-95), Denise Crawford (1995-97), Linda Knight Burkley (1997-99), Monica Fontenot-Poindexter (1999-2001), Toni Middleton Lewis (2001-03), Sabrina Hill Loeb (2003-05), Deborah Roquemore Crockett (2005- 07), Anella Coleman (2007-09), Diedra Fontaine (2009-11), Barbara Roberts (2011-13), Colette Loeb Johnson (2013-present).
The Houston Chapter has served in several national capacities. Mrs. Hattie Mae White served as National Recording Secretary from 1960-62 and National Corresponding Secretary from 1962-64, before serving as president of the Houston Chapter. The Houston Chapter hosted the National Convention in 1980 at the Shamrock Hilton Hotel. Mrs. Jacqueline Bostic was elected as the National Vice President in 1982 and re-elected to a second term, 1984-86. Mrs. Geraldine Toliver served as the National Associate Chair from 1980-86. Linda Knight Burkley was elected to serve as National Corresponding Secretary for 2000-02 and National Recording Secretary for 2002-04. The Houston Chapter along with the eight other Houston-area Chapters co-hosted the 2006 National Convention at the Hilton Americas Hotel and the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Houston Chapter was responsible for two major convention events, the Welcome to Houston- Family Night at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Inaugural Youth Empowerment Summit, the national community service project benefiting over 200 students.
Mrs. Betty H. Johnson served as First Vice President of Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Inc. for 1975-78 and President from 1979-84. Dr. B. T. Hollins served as Treasurer from 1975-2000. Both Mrs. Johnson and Dr. Hollins are Trustees Emeritus to the Foundation Board.
On the regional level, Mrs. Leona Dorsey presided over the First Annual Regional Teenage Conference in 1955. The Houston Chapter hosted the Second Annual Regional Teenage Conference in 1956 under the leadership of Mrs. Hattie Mae White. The Houston Chapter hosted the conference in 1963, 1973, 1984 and 1999. It also hosted Mothers' Conference in 1993 and Area Workday in 1996.
Some past Regional Officers representing the Houston Chapter are Leona Dorsey, first Regional Director of South Central Region appointed as Pro Tem in 1955, Hattie Mae White, Regional Director (1956-57), Betty H. Johnson, Regional Foundation Member-at-Large (1971-75), Lillie Jones Fontenot, Regional Secretary Treasurer (1981-83), Erie Calloway, Regional Foundation Member-at-Large (1985-87) and Jacqueline Bostic, Regional Associate Chair (1997-99). Serving as Regional Nominating Committee Chair from Houston were Faye Wilson (1983-85) and Monica Fontenot-Poindexter (1997-99), Sabrina Loeb, Regional Secretary/Treasurer 2007 - 2008) and Karen Malveaux serves on the Regional Nominating Committee, Barbara Roberts, Regional Nominating Committee, Charic Daniel, Regional Teen Sponsor (2010-11); Diedra Fontaine, Regional Program Char (2011-2012); Diedra Fontaine, Regional Foundation-Member-at-Large (2012-2013, 2013-present).
Houston Chapter teens serving the South Central Region have included the following: Carlotta Freeman, Regional Teen President (1977-78); Traci Bransford, Regional Teen Recording Secretary (1979-80); Monica Fontenot, Regional Teen Recording Secretary (1981-82); Louis Fontenot, Jr., Regional Teen Vice President (1983-84) and Regional Teen President (1984-85); Brett Fontenot, Regional Teen Parliamentarian (1984-85); Ancheska English, Regional Teen Recording Secretary (1986-87); Nicole White, Regional Teen Vice President (1989-90) and Regional Teen President (1990-91); Talya Thomas, Regional Teen Recording Secretary (1996-97); Lorielle Broussard, Regional Teen Vice President (1997-98); Warner Henson, Regional Teen Treasurer (2000-01); Marja Crockett, Regional Teen Vice President (2001-02); Edward Burkley IV, Regional Teen President (2002-03); Marcus Sandling, Regional Teen Parliamentarian (2003-04); Liliane Bedford, Regional Teen Foundation Chair (2004-05); Chris Carr, Regional Teen Foundation Chair (2006-07); Morgan Poindexter, Regional Teen Secretary (2008-2009), Morgan Poindexter, Regional Teen President (2009-2010) Ariel Barrett, Regional Teen Nominating Committee, Timothy Otey, Chair, Regional Teen Nominating Committee Chair (2009–10), Giovanna Boyd, Regional Teen Nominating Committee Co-Chair (2010-11), Marcus Mitchell, Regional Teen Treasurer (2010-11), Sage Campbell, Regional Teen Nominating Committee (2011-12), Jordan Sparks, Regional Teen Secretary (2011-12)., Josh Otey, Regional Teen Secretary (2012-13).
Since its inception, the Houston Chapter implements the regional, national and foundation agendas to provide quality children’s programming and community service projects. As a result, the chapter received First Place - South Central Regional Community Service Award in 2001 for an event entitled "For The Love of All Children: Health & Fitness Festival" benefiting Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Inc. The Houston Chapter received the 2006 Foundation Award for proposing and implementing the first Youth Empowerment Summit at a national convention.
In 2012, the Houston Chapter celebrated 60 years of serving “Children First” and culminated the grand celebration at our 27th Biennial Debutante Ball, December 30, 2012.