Helping families is the family business for Luke and Emily Moore Raymond, who met in a Monmouth College classroom their sophomore year.
The 2000 classmates came to campus from the nearby rural communities of Roseville (Luke) and Woodhull (Emily). Both focused their studies on sociology and anthropology, with Luke adding a second major in psychology. Majoring in the same subject and in the same year in school, they had several classes together – including as many as three in a semester – but it was Professor Steve Buban’s Research Methods class that first drew them together.
“We were practicing interviewing people, and we interviewed each other,” said Emily, who is an advanced child welfare specialist, working primarily with “intact families that need services, but the children aren’t removed from their homes.”
Luke is a clinical counselor in Monmouth, where he provides individual and family therapy to patients referred from primary care physicians, probation departments, the State of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), victim services and other private agencies.
Interviewed separately, he also named the Research Methods class as a key meeting for the couple, and he passed another “Newlywed Game” test when he recalled one of the couple’s campus traditions.
“We walked to Dairy Queen a lot,” he said, correctly echoing one of Emily’s favorite dating memories.
The couple also agreed regarding their appreciation of the college’s sociology department, particularly their fondness for Buban, who’s completing his 33rd year at MC, and his Social Problems course.
“We discussed different social issues, and it was more interesting to me than anything else I’d studied,” said Emily, who came to MC as a business major. “I found that I enjoyed it a lot more than talking about stocks and bonds.”
“He’s a great professor,” said Luke. “He really stressed that research is important. At Monmouth, I was fortunate to get a really strong foundation in research. It allowed me to have grad school covered. My sociological research background put me leaps and bounds ahead of my cohorts.”
Nearly a decade removed from the classroom, Emily still remembers some of the assignments, including an experiment “to do something out of the norm and see how people would respond.” She dressed in dirty, shabby clothes and acted like she was shopping at the local mall (think when Julia Roberts’ “Pretty Woman” character went into the store on Rodeo Drive).
“I just remember how I felt really uncomfortable because I didn’t look like the norm,” she said.
Emily also recalls writing an “ethnography” about the locals at a drinking establishment in nearby Alexis, where she worked as a bartender and had lived for several years as a child.
Out of the classroom, serving as an RA in an off-campus house and “playing pitch for hours” were some of her memorable experiences, while Luke enjoyed playing football for one year and participating in intramurals, as well as serving as a TA in psychology and an English tutor. He lived in Gibson Hall, where he developed several close friendships that he shares to this day.
Former president George H.W. Bush delivered Emily and Luke’s commencement address, but the event did not mark the end of their academic studies. Luke attended graduate school at the University of Illinois at Springfield, while Emily headed north to continue her education at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Luke received a master’s degree in human development counseling, specializing in marriage and family therapy, while Emily earned her master’s degree in social work. As a grad student, she worked for the John Lewis Coffee Shop in their transitional housing programs for teenagers and young adults, and she also completed an internship at Family Resources in its sexual assault program.
After earning her master’s degree in 2002, Emily worked at the Family Service Center in Springfield as a child welfare specialist for six months before taking a position with DCFS. She has worked for DCFS ever since, in offices in Springfield, Carlinville and, currently, Cambridge, where she has been for the past five years.
Emily is particularly proud of having worked with several teenage kids who overcame “horrible circumstances” to graduate from high school. “It might not seem like that much, but for some of those kids, that was a huge accomplishment,” she said.
She also recalls working with a boy who was sent to the Department of Corrections at the age of 15. He eventually graduated from a boot camp facility, and Emily attended the ceremony.
Luke has worked in the fields of individual and family therapy, victim and offender services, and child welfare, where he supervised a team of child welfare specialists. In his role as a clinical counselor he serves as a “general practitioner” of sorts, working with children, adults, married couples and families. His specialty is working with individuals with attention disorders.
One of his clients, a young woman suffering from depression, anxiety and mood disturbance, has now turned her life around and is a freshman in college. Another success story he mentioned was helping a victim of domestic violence not only recover from her emotional trauma but also replace some of the material items she lost through a victim’s compensation organization.
With their jobs about an hour apart, the Raymonds have split the difference, settling in New Windsor. The “family-helpers” have a family of their own – they welcomed a daughter, Lucy, in 2007.