Family Focus Our Place, located in the Weissbourd-Holmes building on Dewey Avenue, operates five of its programs with
a slim staff and 247 volunteers, said executive director Dorothy Williams. Fewer
than 50 attended the volunteer recognition ceremony on Dec. 14, but many of those have logged in not just hours but decades
of service to the organization.

“We have several activities that involve the community,” Dr. Williams told the RoundTable, “the Legacy program, a poetry program, the Legacy Mural project, the stockbroker game with Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the Grace mentoring program with Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a longstanding partnership with Northwestern University, and the Partners Program.” The partners in that program, she said, are teen mothers. Those who were teen mothers – now older mothers or grandmothers themselves – mentor teenagers who are now coping with motherhood at an early age.

In addition to serving as tutors and mentors to Family Focus children, Northwestern students have organized coat
drives and back-to-school supplies
drives, Dr. Williams said.

At the recognition ceremony, several Family Focus Board members and others described their service to Family Focus. Leslie Roberts, a member of the Parent Advisory Council, said the group is “putting together ideas for fundraising for the center.” Constance Montgomery of LINKS said her group “brings the Chicago Symphonietta to Family Focus for a few days each June.”

Lorraine Morton, retired mayor of Evanston said, “This is a good place to volunteer – a good place to be of community service. … Let me dispel the myth that Family Focus is for poor kids. Family Focus is for anyone who needs it.”

Lonnie Barefield said, “People find it hard to leave Family Focus once they get involved.”

Mary Wilkerson announced that, beginning next year, Family Focus would offer three $1,000 scholarships for community service.”

“I know that I have one of the best boards,” Dr. Williams told the audience, “because they all serve on so many other boards.”