Thirty (30+) plus years and counting....
The Mothers Club of Wheatley Heights was organized in 1980 as the result of the closing of the Taukomas Elementary School. Taukomas was a neighborhood school which was closed because of a disproportionate minority population (23%) and declining enrollment in the Half Hollow Hills School District.
Because of the loss of the Taukomas School, Joyce Mathis, the founder of the Mothers Club, called together several parents to develop an organization which would provide our children with a sense of community, friendship and enrichment. The concern at the time was that our African American children would be further isolated from their peers and neighbors.
Our organization began with enrichment activities such as trips, picnics, ball games, parades, and social activities for our children. Our objective was to motivate, cultivate, enlighten, and encourage self-esteem in our children. As we matured, we developed into educational advocates within the Half Hollow Hills School District. We challenged minority referrals to special education classes, teacher and staffing patterns, as well as hiring practices. We also questioned whether African American history issues were being taught in our schools. We became active members of the PTA, special committees, class mothers, and participants in our children's future. We assisted and sponsored the campaign of the first black candidate for a school board position. We developed African American history programs for the Half Hollow Hills Library and began hosting its annual Kwanzaa celebration. We decided to be VISIBLE, VIGILANT, andVOCAL in all issues that affected the children of Wheatley Heights.
The Mothers Club has grown into a major force within Wheatley Heights and its surrounding communities. We offer fellowship, community, and a sense of belonging to the families who participate in our programs. We have sought to enlighten and educate the broader community through our annual Kwanzaa and Black History Month celebrations. We sponsor and conduct workshops for our children addressing issues of sexuality, responsibility, commitment, decision making, and academic achievement. Our children are encouraged to give back to their community through such activities as Christmas caroling to shut-ins and local nursing homes, preparing food baskets for the less fortunate at Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as helping their neighbors. Our activities and programs encourage academic excellence as well as social responsibility.
The Mothers Club has become, for many of us, the welcoming mat for the community. Our members experience a sense of belonging and friendship for our families. There is an old African proverb that says, "It takes an entire community to raise a child." We, the Mothers Club of Wheatley Heights, and the fathers are committed to our youth because they are our future and we are their community.
In March 1994, the Mothers Club of Wheatley Heights became an incorporated organization.