Jack and Jill- Pasadena Chapter Associate, Yolanda Oliver as President of the Pasadena Chapter of the Links, Inc., along with Charmayne Mills-Ealy as President of the Pasadena Chapter of Jack and Jill of America are honored for their service to their community as Women of Achievement for 2010. Former Jack and Jill of Pasadena mother member, Lena Kennedy, was honored as Women of Achievement 2008.
“Charmayne Mills Ealy is president of the Pasadena chapter of Jack and Jill. She is well aware of the bourgeoisie image of the organization but shakes it off by saying, “Today’s Jack and Jill is not your mother’s Jack and Jill.” She describes the organization as an organization that provides service to children of it’s members and other children in the community. The organization was started in 1939 by the Black elite composed of doctors, lawyers and other professional families who wanted to provide the good life for their children. The early Jack and Jill members wanted to make everyday Christmas for their children. But the perception of the organization being “bourgeoisie” is hard to shake.
Ealy makes it plain that today’s membership is composed of working mothers dedicated to the children in the community. She works in the Department of Justice for the U.S Trustee. She holds a Bachelors in political Science from UCLA and a Masters in Public Administration from USC. Her interest in justice and how the system works for African Americans lead her to her degree in Political Science. She is proud of the programs and projects she is responsible for as President of Jack and Jill. The programs include feeding residents of Union Station, volunteering and supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs in Pasadena and providing scholarships for students. She is particularly proud of a scholarship created for her friend and past member Julia Scotton who passed last year. She smiles when she quotes an unnamed member of Jack and Jill who was quoted in TIME magazine as saying she joined Jack and Jill so her children could have a Prom date who looked like them.”
The honorees are accomplished women who have taken the path of getting an education, moving forward, and seriously giving back to their community. They exist to serve their communities and provide shoulders to help lift and raise others to their level. These women are moving on as they continue, undaunted by the criticism, to do God’s work of helping others.
Other 2010 Journal’s Women of Achievement Breakfast honorees are the Presidents of Women’s service organizations and are, Elise Mallory of AKA, Kelly Lawson of Phi Delta Kappa, Gwen McMullins of The Deltas, and Alison Moses of Women in Action. Dr. Pamela Powell will serve as mistress of ceremonies, former Assistant Superintendent of PUSD. Keynote speaker for the event will be business woman Dr. Rosie Milligan, founder of Milligan Publishing Company and Black Writers on Tour. The 2009 Women of Achievement were Renatta Cooper, Arzella Valentine, Celeste Day Drake, D. Marie Battle, Wiletta Helene, and Journal Publisher Ruthie M. Hopkins. The 2008 Women of Achievement were Phyllis Curry, Myra Booker, Rochelle Branch, Ellen Lee Ligons, Gay Parker, Trudell Skinner and Lena Kennedy.
Yolanda Oliver is the current President of the Pasadena, Altadena Chapter of the The Links. She describes The Links as a “Women’s Service Organization with a motto that says they are a sisterhood of friends providing service to the community.” Born in Chicago, Illinois, Yolanda is a scientist who graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelors in Computer Science before working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in Pasadena. She holds a Masters of Business Administration.
She spent 28 years at JPL where she reached the level of manager in the data processing lab providing critical work developing programs to collect data for the space program. In 2005 she left JPL to join her husband, Andrew Oliver, in the family construction and development business, Oliver and Associates. She also provides consulting services to companies needing assistance and expertise in the compliance requirements of government contracting.
Oliver is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Council of Black Professional Engineers and AKA, to name a few of her activities. The former president of AKA is proud of the work The Links do in mentoring and providing scholarships to young women. The organization also is involved in health care programs where the organization’s members volunteer to assist with problems related to Alzheimers, obesity, and other health issues.
Oliver was almost lost in the mix when she was recruited by the Affirmative Action Department of JPL. She almost didn’t get an interview because they assumed that since she had graduated from the prestigious Bradley University, she must be white. She is not and was determined to work in California after growing up in cold Chicago. This math and science whiz admits that when she came to Pasadena for her interview in November and experienced the sunny California weather, she would have taken any job rather than go back to Chicago.
-Source, The Pasadena Journal