The Peoria Journal Star profiled Juliette Whittaker just after she served as Richard’s mentor in 1955 and 1956.

One of the few full-time drama directors at a recreational agency in the country, Whittaker single-handedly established the Carver Children’s theater in 1949. Her energy was impressive: she managed Carver’s Youth Theater Guild alongside four other theater groups, all while teaching classes at the Center. So was the range of her talents, which extended from playwriting to set design and beyond.

Whittaker may have been thinking of her work with Richard when she explained that her amateur theater programs spoke to a special type of child.

“Drama offers an outlet for precocious children who have no interest in athletic outlets,” she said. “Our program attracts many children to the center who might never come for recreational activities.”