Junior Marika Takemura knows what it is like to still have home-cooked meals on a regular basis while away at school, and what it would be like for “home” to be more than just shared living quarter. She lives it every day.
Takemura has been “adopted” into the home of the Potters, a Galesburg family, during her time at Knox.
“I really like them,” Takemura said of the Potter family. “I have my own personal space and a feeling of home.”
Takemura became familiar with the idea of being “adopted” through the Home Away From Home” program sponsored by Bethel Baptist Church of Galesburg. The program is designed to help students — Knox College and Carl Sandburg College students alike — to become more accustomed to the Galesburg community while away at school. Through the program, Galesburg families volunteer to house and “adopt” students during the school year.
“At first, it was babysitting that got me close to them,” Takemura said. “Then I spent more time with them during spring break and summer, and it was nice to be with the family.”
Although Takemura made plans to be an RA during the fall term, she resigned and decided to move in with the Potters.
“They are very, very nice,” Takemura said. “They offer to take you places, like a doctor’s visit or even to the movies with their kids. They even offer to do laundry. I would just bring it over, and they would get it done. They make it feel like their home is your home.”
Living off-campus seems to be an enjoyable experience for Takemura.
“It takes the stress level off. I just hate going through the caf, and it’s more convenient to stay in one place, especially when it comes to printing.”
No home away from home experience would be complete without having built-in siblings. Takemura obtained four, all of whom are elementary-aged and younger.
“I get along with them really well. When I wake up, they’re super excited to see me, and when I come back, they’re still excited. It’s fun,” Takemura said.
Takemura seems to find it comforting to spend time with the children.
“I play with them when I take a break from work,” said Takemura. “We even built a fort in the living room. We get really creative with resources.”
The children seem very fond of Takemura.
“Grace, the youngest, says, ‘You’re my sister, too,’” said Takemura.
“We really like Marika,” mother and Knox alumna Nikki Potter ‘97 said. “She naturally blended in with our family. We offered to let her stay because this is a natural place for her to come.”
Being part of the Potter family allows Takumura to do activities she would not have normally experienced otherwise.
“At Christmas time, we went Christmas tree hunting,” Takumura said. “I had never done that before. I just like knowing the community.”
“Overall, this is just a family atmosphere,” Potter said. “We hope to mentor Marika as a college student while offering a listening ear and guidance.”