By Phyllis McAllister
* Originally published in Illinois College's The Rambler on February 10, 1984.
Executive director of the Big Brother/Big Sister Organization, Mrs. Pat Harris was the speaker at convocation on Monday, February 6. Mrs. Harris was assisted by a panel of four Illinois College students, Dianne Curry, Kathy Curry, Jim Connolly, and Doug Miles.
Mrs. Harris briefly discussed the history of the Morgan County Big Brother/Big Sister Organization before turning towards the focus and goal of the present program.
The main focus of Big Brother/Big Sister is to work with youth on a one-to-one basis, and also to work with them in a recreational setting.
The goal of the organization is to bring love and understanding into the lives of youth, and to show the youth that there is something worth living for.
Volunteers to help with the program range in age from 17 to 70. The youth involved are between the ages of 5 and 17.
Volunteers are always needed. Mrs. Harris commented that there has never been a time when the waiting list for big brothers and big sisters has had less than 100 youth on it.
After the introduction by Mrs. Harris, the discussion was turned over to the panel.
Dianne Curry has been a campus representative for Big Brother/Big Sister since her freshman year at I.C. Working in the organization has been a great learning experience for her. "It taught me the difference between material things and love." commented Dianne.
Kathy Curry is also a campus representative for Big Brother/Big Sister. She spoke on the types of youth in the program. Many come from broken homes and socially, economically, and culturally deprived backgrounds. Being involved in Big Brother/Big Sister has also been an educational experience for her.
"It takes a lot of inner strength," said Jim Connolly, field representative for Big Brother/Big Sister. He spoke of how easy it is to think of new things to do with a youth. Even just spending a day on campus can be enjoyable. Youth are often fascinated by the college experience.
Speaking on monthly Big Brother/Big Sister activities was Doug Miles. He has been a campus representative since his freshman year. The organization holds monthly activities such as roller skating, bowling, and field trips. A three day summer camp is also held annually.
The program was brought to an end with comments by Mrs. Harris. "Volunteers are the key, and what makes it work. They are very, very special kinds of people."
If you are interested in the Big Brother/Big Sisters Organization, contact a campus representative or Mrs. Pat Harris at 243-#### or at 220 E. Morgan.
* This is the first in a series of blog posts about Big Brothers Big Sisters historical involvement at Illinois College in coordination with the Khalaf Al Habtoor Archives at Illinois College.