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PBH: Learning to Save Its Own Problem

(This is the second of two features on the Phillips Brooks House. The first appeared in Tuesday's Crimson)

By Benjamin Sendor

As PBH volunteers moved into fields with complex problems in the 1960s, such as prisons and urban housing, they found that they needed more than just good intentions to do on effective job.

In 1960 the operating expenses of PBH committees, excluding overhead totaled $2000... Expenses for this year will total $130,000.

PBH STRIVES for two basic goals: to work for social change in local communities and to put Harvard undergraduate in touch with people and problems outside the University. Each PBH committee tries to attain these goals in its own way, from working with teenagers on probation to helping poor people renovate their apartments. In order to fulfill the two aims of serving the tangible needs of PBH volunteers, the 14 diverse committees have to face, as a unified organization, two major problems: the intergration of volunteer experience with academic education and raising funds.

PBH volunteers find that academic study and volunteer work mutally reinforce each other. What they learn through partipating in cooperative activities with members of local communities often goes beyond what they learn in socialogy, personality psychology or government courses. Dealing with concrete problems in these fields adds life and a solid, realistic perspective to classroom study. A volunteer in a halfway house or in a mental institution quickly discovers the important issues in mental health care.

The benefits gained from doing both academic work and PBH activity also run the other way. As PBH volunteers moved into fields with complex problems in the 1960s, such as prisons and urban housing, they found that they needed more that just good intentions to do an effective jobs. They needed training and supervision. They had to become familiar with the critical problems in their fields and to develop tactics to deal with these concerns. In 1965, PBH committees such as the Mental Health Committee (MHC) began to use professional consultants to help them meet their needs. Several committees including the Cambridge Education Program and the Easy Reader Program, have since set up non-credit seminars and workshops to prepare students for volunteer work.

Last year PBH began to develop formal courses to academically back up volunteer work. It hired Spencer MacDonald in coordinate in educational program. MacDonald ran a credit seminar on problems of social intervention and volunteering. Barbara Brenzell, a graduate student in Education led a seminar for PBH volunteers on issue and methods of teaching children. This year Robert Harley '73, executive vice president of PBH conducts a Social Relations junior tutorial on the myth of mental illness. As second course for credit--dealing with teaching problems and practices in high schools--will supplement the Teacher Aids Program.

The initials success of classroom study in making PBH volunteers more aware of the important issues of their work shows that PBH can fruitfully tap the academic resources of HArvard. LAst year a PBH Study Committee was set up to investigate the possibilty of financial and educational cooperation between PBH and the Faculty of Fine Arts and Sciences. The Study Committee will submit its report to the Faculty during this academic year. According to Dean Whitlock, chairman of the Study Committee and acting chairman of the PBH Faculty Committee, the report will contain the recommendations of Bob Hartley concerning educational ties between PBH and the Faculty. The core of HArtley's suggestions is the proposal that the Faculty hire an educational consultant for PBH at half-time salary. An educational consultant would fulfill four functions.

*to stimulate the creation of PBH related departmental courses;

*to advise students about options for credit work for PBH volunteering;

*to direct them to appropriate faculty members to work with;

*to help students initiate PBH courses in the Houses and in General Education. A consultant would be an advisor for student initiated courses, not an educational director.

Whitlock expects that an educational consultant will be chosen to take office by next fall, possibly sooner. A consultant will help PBH enrich its programs by informing volunteers of HArvard's untapped academic resources. As Whitlock said, "There has been a redefinition of PBH toward social action that demands a degree of professional skill. I think this trend can be enchanced by the University's support of its educational aspects."

A SECOND major issue that emerged from PBH's expansion and redirection in the 1960s is fundraising. In 1960 the operating expenses of PBH committees excluding overhead, totaled $2300. By 1965, the increase in the number of programs the start of summertime volunteer work and the introduction of professional consultants pushed PBH's operating expenses to $39,000. Expenses for this year will total $150,000. The skyrocketing of costs has challenged the previously inexperienced financial wits of PBH officers.

PBH has traditionally obtained money from sources outside the University. It solicits funds from local foundations corporations such as the Boston Globel, individuals and government agencies (such as the Division of Youth Services of the Massachusetts Department of Educational 1968-69 was the first year for which these sources could not donate enough money to meet operating expenses. That year PBH asked the Faculty of Arts and Science to help cover its $32,000 deficit. Franklin Ford, them dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences agreed to give $20,000 to PBH but he gave no commitment for further help. This aid was maintained at $20,000 for 1969-70, and reduced to $15,000 for 1970-71 and for 1971-72. Dean Dunlop refused to renew the grant for 1972-73. After a lot of bureaucratic haggling over precisely where the money would come from, President Bok agreed to cover the $14,000 PBH deficit for 1971-72. Like the grants from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, however, the money from the President's office was given with no binding commitment for the future.

PBH's recent brush with financial disaster has forced it to quickly develop fund-raising expertise. A Friends Committee, chaired by William G. Saltonstall '28, was set up in 1968-69 to vigorously solicit donations from alumni. The Committee faild to reach ots unrealistically optimistic goal of $25,000 in alumni gifts that year. The amount fell way short of that figure, totaling only $10,000. Alumni donations have remained at this disappointingly low level ever since. Last year only 350 contributions were made by 8500 alumni who had been connected with PBH while in college. This year, the Friends Committee, now headed by Douglas Mercer'40, will conduct a more organized and aggressive drive. Although PBH officers hope that this year's drive will be more effective., past experience makes a significant increase in alumni donations doubtful.

Two additional sources of money this year will be Harvard's COmbined Charities Drive and the Massachusetts Bay United Fund. The COmbined Charities Drive was not held last year, but it will take place this year. It will solicit money from Harvard students and faculty to help finance local social service and social action programs, including PBH. In addition to setting up the Combined Charities Drive, Harvard will soon issue its annual appeal to faculty members for the United Fund. This year, for the first time, faculry members will be able to specify that individual organizations, such as PBH, receive their donations, rather than the general United Fund. Alumni gifts, the Combined Charities Drive, and the United Fund shoudl help ease PBH's financial crisis, although it is too early to predict how much money they will provide.

In the past each PBH committee was wholly responsible for raising its own basic operating money. The financial autonomy of PBH committees often resulted in embarrassing chaos. Sometimes several programs would unknowingly compete for grants from the same foundation. In order to eliminate this self-defeating confusion, PBH vice presidents Frank Tilgham '73 and James Rowe '73 will establish a centralized clearing procedure to coordinate requests for foundation grants by PBH committees. PBH will also benefit from professional advice from Harvard Development Office on raising money. Dr. Chase M. Peterson '52, vice president of Alumni Affair and Development directed Charles Thomson to provide assistance in funding to undergraduate organization including PBH.

PBH must meet a projects deficit of $9000 in its meant budget. Although money remains tight, PBH's new aggressiveness and coordination in fundraising offer some hope that the deficit can be covered.

A THEME that emerges from the discussion of PBH's concern with finances and the integration of social action with educations is the potential for cooperation between PBH and the University. The Teacher Aide Program, now being set up, provides a good model for creating mutually beneficial ties between to time between PBH and Harvard. This program will place 12 Harvard undergraduates in the Cambridge High and Latin school to help teach subjects in which they have special skill. The volunteers will work with students who have trouble with with their school work. A weekly seminar for credit on classroom problems and touching practices will help the volunteers prepare for their work.

PBH Harvard's Office of Government and Community Affairs, and the Cambridge School Department are setting up the program as a cooperative effort. Mort Hausen '72, president of PBH Bienda Wilson, associate dean of Administration of the GSH: Donald Moulton, coordinator for Community Affairs of the Office for Government and Community Affairs: Robert Sweeney '22, principal of Rindge Tech: and Raymond D'Arey '26, principal of Cambridge High and Latin, have been ironing out the details of the program during the last few weeks. According to Moulton, the project should start within a month. The remaining step is to hire a coordinator to place the teacher aides to supervise them and to set up the seminar on teaching. Coth Harvard and the Cambridge School Department will pay for the program.

The Teacher Aide Program is modeled on a successful project in which MIT students serve as teacher aides in Rindge Tech. Moulton said about the Harvard program. "This course will be a small but significant step in the right direction to create a bridge between the University and the school systems. This This office is very interested in dining with the Cambridge public schools what they want to do and what Harvard, as a large educational institution in an urban setting is capable of doing. Success in the Teacher Aide Program would demonstrative the potential of combining social action with academic work and of cooperation between PBH. Harvard and local communities in establishing and funding activities of mutual benefit.

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