Patricia McKinney Lewis
Patricia’s community work in the Champaign-Urbana area began over twenty years ago. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Epsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter, she wrote a proposal for the Reading is Fundamental Project. The matching funds, received through this national program, allowed the sorority to purchase books for distribution to children in the community.
She has chaired the Reading is Fundamental Project Committee for twenty-one years. During the summer months, the organization has provided low-income children with thousands of books since 1981. Many of the children at the Boys and Girls Club and Douglass Center Day Camp refer to Patricia as "The Book Lady."
For a number of years, Patricia’s committee distributed books at four sites: Girls Club, Don Moyers Boys and Girls Club, Douglass Branch Library, and Douglass Center. Presently, our RIF distributions continue at the Douglass Center Day Camp and the Don Moyers Boys and Girls Club, serving approximately 300 children each summer. Special distributions, such as the one held in conjunction with National African American Read In Day, occur also.
Patricia has served as president of Gamma Upsilon Psi Society, an organization comprised of community women, since 1990. Many young women have received scholarships to help pay college expenses as a result of participating in the Cotillion. The Debutantes must attend weekly rehearsals and also attend workshops involving etiquette.
In 1997, she became the Recording Steward at St. Luke C.M.E. Church, where she held that position for 23 years, serving three pastors as the financial advisor and the keeper of financial records. She was also the Vice Chairperson of the Steward Board and has been active in the Vacation Bible School. In 1999, she established a scholarship fund to provide children in grades three through eight money to buy school supplies. Since many of children do not like to write, students are required to write an essay on a topic. Patricia also serves as the church's Assistant Administrator.
As a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, she has served on the scholarship committee for several years. Memberships in other professional honor societies include Phi Delta Kappa and Kappa Delta Pi. She also served on the Champaign Human Relations Commission from 1985-1987 and was a member of the Board of Directors at the University of Illinois Y.W.C.A. from 1980-1986.