It’s a long way from Decatur to the Tower of London, and even further to Jdioara, Romania, but Millikin connections can bridge the distance. Just ask Karen Colton Popet ’81.
Karen and her husband, Ruben, founded and operate an orphanage in Jdioara, a rural Romanian village. While traveling to a church conference this past summer, the Popets stopped at the Tower of London to sightsee. When another tourist overheard them talking about Central Illinois and asked where they were from, Karen was surprised to find herself shaking hands with Mike Poe ’74, an assistant football coach for the Big Blue.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., several of Karen’s Alpha Chi Omega sisters from across the country were gathering in Chicago for a reunion. During their visit, they put together packages for each of the 22 children at the Popets’ orphanage as a way to show their support for the couple’s work and mission. Along with crayons, markers, pens, pencils, protractors and other school supplies, each package included a gift and a Big Blue basketball T-shirt for the children to wear in honor of Karen’s alma mater (see photo, above).
Since raising 22 children is a big job, the fact that “it’s a small world” makes that big job easier, Karen says, because she knows she has the support of a network of Millikin connections.
To contact the Popets or for more information on their work, e-
mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Grace Point of Webster Fellowship in St. Louis at 314-968-5233.