Unity Through Helping the Community

By Chloe Gamber, Head Academic Writer

Photos from participants mentioned and simplextrading.net, collected by Phoebe McCutcheon


The Brown Bag for September 22, 2021 was hosted by Dr. Pamela Manning and the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service. Dr. Manning truly loves helping those in need, which was emphasized through her introduction. During this Brown Bag, three organizations were presented along with some great opportunities to volunteer through each one. All participants provided social media for those who are interested in reaching out to seek help or volunteer.

Dr. Pamela Manning

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society strives to have a world without cancer and in order to do this, they approach cancer at various angles. Mandie Ernst, who is the associate director of the American Cancer Society, guides us through the efforts that can lead to defeating cancer. Over 4.8 billion dollars have been invested for the research and control of cancer. The approach of a 24/7 helpline is another action that the Cancer Association has made. Many may feel very alone during this process and may just need some comfort and guidance. This is what the helpline is for, along with providing free rides to chemo treatment. Striving to help each patient with their individual needs is essential for growth and success. Education and information for questions about cancer are another part of approaching cancer. Helping patients develop as a person through behavioral change is the last point made for this process. Support and management of changes to a patient are a top priority.

They provide four patient programs, which are: “Transportation-Road to Recovery, Lodging-Hope Lodge, Reach to Recovery, and National Cancer Information Center,” along with the cancer.org website. Volunteer opportunities can expand through making meals, collecting wish list items or completing service projects.

I feel that there is always an opportunity waiting for anyone who will take it to help someone in need. Commitment to this work involves becoming selfless to a certain extent. Considering others’ needs before yours is necessary in order to really develop from volunteer work. There are four main fundraising events mentioned in the presentation which involved “Power of Pink,” “#GoldTogether,” “Colors of Cancer” and “Real Men Wear Pink.” Since 2001, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has been dedicated to defeating cancer with the help of around one million volunteers. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters

This organization is centered around being “Defenders of Potential.” Meghan McCarthy guides us through what being ‘defenders’ really means. Big Brothers Big Sisters defends littles who are in need through mentorships. The organization is 40 years old and is considered the oldest and largest mentorship organization in the United States. This mentorship involves an adult being assigned to a child between six and 14. Anyone can request for their child to have a mentor; as the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Sadly, 80 percent of the littles come from poverty and 80 percent from single parent households. The adult will spend between four and 12 hours a month with the little while other support is also occurring.

When a match is considered, they inform both parties that they must be involved for a year or longer. This helps the child feel like the big is dependable and trustworthy.  The Big also must meet some requirements: they must be 18 years or older, have a valid way for transportation and have promised the one-year commitment. The process involves many steps such as an application, orientation, background checks, training and matching with a child. Details such as these show how in-depth the organization has made the process, in order to do what is best for the child. Becoming a Big may be too much to handle, which is why you can get involved in several other ways. Recruiting Bigs, fundraising, and hosting events and sponsorships are a few examples. The efforts show through the strengths the Littles gain in the process. According to the presentation, 96 percent of Littles disagree with bad actions such as doing drugs and skipping school. Around 84 percent of Littles also make academic goals and gain confidence. Fitting in is another issue that many children face, especially under unfavorable circumstances. With this program, 95 percent of the littles state that they really feel like they belong.  Gaining acceptance and confidence are things that these children would most likely not gain otherwise. Before learning about this organization, I was unaware that such a mentorship existed. I believe that it should become more commonly known and hopefully it spreads to every location possible.

The Director of the Illinois region of the United Way of St. Louis shared what the United Way is all about. They will be one hundred years old this following year, which is very exciting! They serve 16 counties throughout Missouri and Illinois. They fund the agencies in the area such as the ones discussed previously. They also provide a helpline, which is 211. Various struggles such as cancer in the family or a family in need of financial support can call this line within the counties. The following image shows which counties that The United Way provides for. 

Throughout the pandemic, there has been an increase of “ 36% of calls for food needs, 294% increase in healthcare calls for assistance,” along with more needs for income support and housing assistance. Students, even at McKendree, are recommended to reach out and call 211 if they are in need. Distribution through all of the organizations they help fund creates stability for all possible ways that impact the community. Simple acts, such as providing pencils for students in need, is something the United Way can create a process for in order to reach those who have any needs. The United Way also would like any returning students at McKendree to sign up and contribute as much as possible.

Names and Titles

Mandie Ernst – Slides and Images for American Cancer Society

Meghan McCarthy – Slides and Images for Big brothers Big Sisters

The Director of the Illinois Region of the United Way of St. Louis – Slides and Images

Dr. Manning – Image of Dr. Manning

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