Members of Jack and Jill – South Charlotte read “Sulwe” — written by actress Lupita Nyong’o — to students at Brisbane Academy on Dec. 7, 2019.

More than 60 students at Brisbane Academy will benefit from a new reading room designed and supplied by the South Charlotte chapter of Jack and Jill in partnership with the Jack and Jill of America Foundation.

Under a Reading Corner Grant from the national foundation, local Jack and Jill chapters partner with nonprofit organizations to create reading corners for kindergarteners to third graders. On Saturday, Brisbane students and parents attended the opening of the reading room where Jack and Jill moms donated more than 600 books.

Along with the donation, chapter moms and kids read to Brisbane students, including books like “Sulwe,” a children’s picture book written by actress Lupita Nyong’o. Nyong’o’s book was accompanied by a handwritten note.

The partnership between the South Charlotte chapter and Brisbane Academy began two years ago after meeting at a community event. Several conversations and a site visit later, plans to create the reading room kicked off.

Jack and Jill is a membership organization of African American mothers with children ages 2 to 19, exposing them to leadership, service and philanthropic opportunities.

Christopher Crooks, Brisbane Academy’s executive director, expressed his gratitude for the new space.

“The reading room aligns with our vision for the school when we began…to create a space where students would feel at home, feel safe and learn to love the learning process,” he said.

In addition to Brisbane Academy, the chapter also created a reading corner at Safe Alliance, a nonprofit serving those impacted by domestic violence.

Tiffani Jones, the chapter’s foundation chair, is proud of the organization’s community impact.

“One of our biggest fundraisers is the New Year’s Eve gala. This year, we raised over $30,000 and those proceeds went directly to local organizations like The Relatives and the Renaissance West Initiative in addition to our national programs,” she said.

Along with financial gifts, chapter moms and youth dedicate hundreds of hours volunteering at nonprofit organizations including Crisis Assistance Ministries, Dress for Success and Bright Blessings. The South Charlotte Chapter has been named a top philanthropic contributor for the Mid-Atlantic Region and ranked as a National Top-10 Jack and Jill of America Foundation contributing chapter out of more than 240 chapters.

Nakisha Washington is a journalist who interviewed America’s first self-made female billionaire, a presidential candidate and her favorite reality TV personality all within 72 hours. Catch her talking career and lifestyle tips to curious millennials on her blogtheprofashionalist.com.

Nakisha is a millennial career coach, content creator and fashion insider. She shares highs, lows and lessons learned from her 10+ year career in corporate America on her blog, www.nakishawashington.com.