A Legacy of Restoring Families

By Lisa Thompson-Dyson

My mother believed in the power of family love.
Lisa Thompson-Dyson and her mother, Dr. Marjorie V. Thompson

My mother, Dr. Marjorie Velma Thompson, believed that the home should be the place where children’s spirits were as free to grow and thrive as their physical bodies. She believed that a secure, loving atmosphere was more conducive to a child’s successful development than a large house or bank account.
“I love children,” my mother would often say. “That’s why I want their parents to have the skills to raise them well.”

And that’s what my mother did. My mother saved families. My mother fought for families.

She was known by many in our small city of Kankakee, Illinois, just about an hour south of Chicago, as Ms. Thompson or simply “Aunt Margie.”

When counseling couples, she would always advocate for the family unit. She would recognize and acknowledge their issues, but would make it very clear that she represented the family’s best interest.
One thing was for sure, she was authentic and genuine. People knew she loved them. She could be stern, and she could come at you with strong truth. But you could feel the love. She had a way of putting things straight in such a nice way that it wasn’t until you walked away that you realized your “attitude” had just been sliced and diced with a smile.

Joi to Joy: A journey to healing

By Eddie Price Jr.

It was April 22, 2002.

It was on a Monday— the hardest most stressful day in my work world as the manager of the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of the Inspector General Hotline in Springfield. The 24-hour hotline only had emergency staff on call through the weekend and Monday’s challenge was compacting the two-day backlog from the weekend into a third day of calls from citizens reporting potential abuse and neglect of adults.

 I knew no end time for my day, but leaving by 6:30 in the evening was a good day. April 22 was a good day and I went to the Y for a workout before going home for dinner. I got home a little after 8:30 p.m., hungry but less stressed from the workout. As I came in my phone was ringing and the light message was blinking.

I heard the voice of my friend and spiritual brother, Rev. Bobbie Timms. In as calm a voice as you would want to hear anything,  Timms said, “Brother Price, Joi has been in an accident and is at the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington.”

His Garment, Her Faith: One Woman's Journey to Healing

By Connie Johnson

Connie Johnson traveled to Kenya to work with women at Living Positive Kenya.

My mother died of AIDS when I was 18.

There are no real words that can describe seeing the strongest person you know at their weakest point. It was absolutely devastating.

My parents were divorced by the time I was five years old. I grew up in Orangeburg, South Carolina. My mother was a single mother. But she was an awesome mother. She worked hard to make sure that everything we needed was provided.

After I finished my first semester of college, I came home and my mother was really sick. I almost didn’t recognize her. I dropped everything to take care of my mother. I washed her and fed her. I took care of the bills. I was the sole caregiver.

She passed away January 26, 1995, just two days shy of her 45th birthday.

No one knew my mother was sick. She asked me and my sister not to tell anyone. The only person who knew that she was sick was my father’s sister who took us in when my mother died.

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