Immediate Past President
Palm Beach Chapter History
As President of the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Candace Berry-Vaughn encountered numerous mothers residing in Palm Beach County who were interested in membership in the organization, but for whom the commute prohibited their ability to join. Upon the recommendation of Sonja Houston and Gail Luchey (members of the Fort Lauderdale chapter), Candace contacted one such mother, Elrika Richards, to discuss her interest in organizing an Interest Group in Palm Beach County, FL. Candace and Elrika met over lunch on April 25, 2011 to plan an informational meeting for interested mothers. The informational meeting was held on May 21, 2011 at the home of Elrika Richards with twelve mothers in attendance, where the mothers became better acquainted with an M&Ms icebreaker, were given an overview of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and the procedures for establishing an Interest Group were outlined, followed by a question and answer session and refreshments.
All of the mothers who attended the informational meeting and six more applied for membership in the Interest Group on May 31, 2011. On June 22, 2011, upon approval by the National Executive Board, the group became officially known as the Palm Beach Provisional Group, with boundaries of the county of Palm Beach, FL, with the Fort Lauderdale Chapter as its sponsor. The first official Provisional Group meeting was held on August 13, 2011, where we adopted the name “Roots to Wings”, based on the quote by Hodding Carter: “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children; one is roots, the other is wings.”, established monthly mothers’ meeting dates, hostesses and locations, elected officers and committee chairs, and divided the children into grade groups. At the next planning meeting on August 27, 2011, we welcomed additional mothers, elected grade group chairs, and planned the first years’ programs that encompassed cultural, educational, civic/legislative, recreational, social and health activities. Additionally, we named each of our five grade groups after local palm trees: Sugar Palms (Pre-K), Teddy Bear Palms (K-2), Windmill Palms (3-5), Majestic Palms (6-8) and Royal Palms (9-12). Our mothers became known as Lady Palms and our fathers, as King Palms.