In July 1962, the Prairie View Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was established. The chapter membership was mainly comprised of the professors of Prairie View A&M University and their families. For many years, Prairie View University required that their professors reside within the Prairie View community, thus providing an active membership for the chapter. Eventually, the professors of Prairie View were released from this requirement.
In 1996, the families began to migrate towards Houston and the surrounding areas, thus causing the demise of the Prairie View Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. With a concern for the legacies from the chapter and the growth in the Katy community, the need arose for the reinstatement of the chapter to include the Katy area. The idea and the vision came from the insightful minds of two very devoted and caring mothers. Vickie Byrd and Pat Miller saw the need and the desire for unity among family and friends on the West side of Houston. The African American population had increased tremendously in a community that did not offer opportunities to service the needs of our culture. With this vision in mind, these mothers put into motion a plan to bring together other mothers with the same concerns and goals to meet the needs of our children. Vickie and Pat compiled a list of mothers in the area and contacted them to determine the level of interest and the response was promising.
In the early fall of 2001, Vickie Byrd and Pat Miller along with Mona Covington, Linda Parrish-Heard; and Paulette Jones, put together a plan to establish a chapter in West Houston. These five women would later become known as the “’Fabulous Five”. They diligently put in late evenings and busy days to start what would hopefully become the Katy-Prairie View Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. In November the “’Fab Five” hosted a get acquainted tea in the home of Vickie Byrd. The overwhelming response validated the need for a Katy-Prairie View Interest Group. The first interest group meeting was held at the home of Pat Miller. There were fifteen mothers in attendance. We were privileged to have present at this meeting Linda Knight Burkley, National Corresponding Secretary of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and O. Elaine Archie, Regional Associate Chair.
The second interest group meeting was held at the home of Vickie Byrd with twenty-five mothers in attendance. Again, we were privileged to have the experience and knowledge of O. Elaine Archie. In February 2002, the group held a Sweetheart Brunch at Willow Fork Country Club. The theme “Bridging Generations Through Dance” was established to promote camaraderie between the children and adults. One hundred eighty individuals attended the brunch. This also served as an opportunity for families that had missed the other Interest Group meetings to inquire about membership in the Interest Group. Distinguished guests included Linda Knight Burkley, O. Elaine Archie, and Izella Dornell, Regional Parliamentarian.
On February 21, 2002, Pat Miller hosted in her home a dinner honoring a visit from our National and Regional Officers. In addition, Carla Williams, National President of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.; Dr. Catherine Collins, National Vice-President; and Susan Johnson, South Central Regional Director, conducted a workshop. Other officers in attendance were O. Elaine Archie, Izella Dornell, and Faye Scott, Regional Secretary-Treasurer. February also brought the close of the application process with seventy-eight mothers completing Interest Group applications.
By June 2002, the Interest Group had sixty-one active members working diligently to become a chapter. On July 12, 2002, the Katy Prairie View Interest Group was voted on as a provisional chapter of Jack and Jill Inc. at the 35th Biennial National Convention of Jack and Jill of America Incorporated held in Los Angeles, California. In addition to our group, there were five other provisional groups that became official provisional chapters. Those chapters were Loudon County, Virginia; Alaska Angels; Springfield, IL; Southwestern Suburban Area Dallas; and Beaumont, Texas.
On October 13, 2002, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the Katy-Prairie View Provisional Chapter was officially installed as the Katy-Prairie View Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. The ceremony commenced at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas. The newly formed Katy-Prairie View Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. joined the South Central Region as the 9th chapter established in the Houston area. We were honored to be installed by two of our newly elected national officers: Alice Peoples, 19th National Vice President and Linda Knight Burkley, 19th National Recording Secretary. We were also delighted to have participating in the installation all the South Central Regional Officers: Susan Johnson, South Central Regional Director; Faye Scott, Regional Secretary/Treasurer; James Murphy Spigner, Regional Foundation Member-At- Large; O. Elaine Archie, Regional Associate Chair; Izella Dornell, Regional Parliamentarian; Marjon Christopher, Regional Editor and Kay Moore, President of our sponsoring chapter, Missouri City-Fort Bend County. Our senior and junior Teen Officers were equally elated to have Edward Burkley IV, Regional Teen President; April Spigner, Regional Teen Vice President; and Aaron Brown, Regional Teen Treasurer participating in their installation. Following the ceremony, the celebration continued with a lovely dinner and program. We were honored to have two hundred ninety-seven guests in attendance, including family members, friends and special guests from several surrounding sister chapters. The highlight of the evening was “I Believe I Can Fly”, a musical selection performed by our one hundred and two magnificent children.
In 2012, the Katy-Prairie View chapter reached another accomplishment with the establishment of our new Associates Group. Eight fabulous ladies, including several ladies that were Katy-Prairie View charter members, were installed as associates on Tuesday, October 4, 2012. This event also coincided with the 10 year anniversary of the Katy-Prairie View chapter. Our 10th Anniversary was celebrated in grand Katy-Prairie View style and we were honored to have the following National & Regional Officers in attendance: National Program Director, Gladys Henderson; South Central Regional Director, Millie Mitchell; & South Central Regional Secretary, Fran Mayes.
Most recently, the Katy-Prairie View chapter commemorated its 15 year anniversary on May 19, 2018 with a fabulous brunch. The event was attended by current & former mother members; our lovely Associates; several of our esteemed National and Regional officers; family and friends. We were deeply honored for our “‘Fab Five” charter mothers to join us for the celebration. They were fabulous then and are fabulous now.
All of our hard work, dedication and sacrifices have helped us reach our goals. We will continue to soar to new heights while strengthening the bond as we move forward to fulfill our vision.