Vermilion County, Ill. (WCIA)

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, but is important to pay attention to all year. What are some stats to be aware of? Aunt Martha’s shares those details.

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Aunt Martha’s opened its doors on December 6, 1972, with a staff of 12 volunteers and a working budget of $2,500. Although it was located in and closely tied to the Village of Park Forest, there were no limits – geographic or otherwise – placed on Aunt Martha’s or its services.
In its first nine months, Aunt Martha’s volunteer staff responded to nearly 1,000 requests for assistance, handling problems related to family disturbances, runaways and drugs. As the needs of the community’s youth – and, not surprisingly, its adults – continued to emerge, Aunt Martha’s was always willing to take the lead in formulating a response.

The increasing awareness of child abuse and neglect – and the subsequent demand for services such awareness created – was exacerbated by increases in other contributing problems such as substance abuse and teen pregnancy. These were not merely “youth issues.” Family issues were being exposed. Community issues were being brought to light.

These were not new issues, especially to Aunt Martha’s, where by 1977 some 200 volunteers were already providing substance abuse services, Family Planning services, counseling services, as well as foster care and group home services. As the organization’s founders had envisioned the fundamental groundwork had been laid to make Aunt Martha’s a dynamic, agile, coordinated care provider.