The Board: Diverse People from Different Walks of Life

50 Years 50 Stories

Aunt Martha’s Board: In the Beginning

Excerpted from The Park Forest Star, Sunday, December 3, 1972

ON WEDNESDAY, “Aunt Martha’s” will begin operations.

The new center is located at 206 Birch street, in the offices of Co-operative Area B. Hours will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

A visitor who drops in to the center may discuss anything and everything on his mind with one of several volunteer workers on duty. They range in age from 14 years well up into their 50s, but have one thing in common — all have been thoroughly trained in how to listen and respond to problems.

Supervising the training program, a continuing effort, is Gary Leofanti, youth worker for the village of Park Forest. Under his direction, two Governors State University graduate students in the college of human learning and development will coordinate the work of Aunt Martha’s. They are Brian Urban and Gregg Cary, both Homewood residents, who will be on duty themselves four nights a week, and will give daytime hours to following up the evening work of the center.

RESPONSIBILITY for the program rests with a board of directors made up of a selection of volunteer workers representing both sexes and the entire age span. There are 13 positions on the board, and 10 of the are currently filled.

Phil Allen (below) is serving as the first Aunt Martha’s board president, assisted by Gary Reed (also below), vice president; Nanette Joelson, treasurer, and Norma Tedder, secretary.

Phil Allen

Other board members are Paul RiesSherry BrandtTerri ClappJan FriedmanChris Norlin and Allison Marcotte. The last four are in the under-21 age bracket.

A primary service in which the center expects to deal is aid for runaways — in fact, it was through the concern of the youth commission’s ad hoc runaway committee that the idea for Aunt Martha’s was born and took shape. Planning began in committee last February and has been in process ever since; with the emergence of Aunt Martha’s as a not-for-profit corporation on its own during the summer, many youth commission members have offered their services as volunteer workers.

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