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Showing posts from July, 2014

Close look at the Neighborhoods

As Dove reaches its 44th  anniversary this year, I’m approaching my ten year anniversary with the agency. I began working in the domestic violence program in August of 2004, as the administrative specialist. I was fresh out of college, and eager to work at a place that had such a good reputation for helping people. It’s not a choice I’ve ever regretted making. Last October I resigned from my position in the domestic violence program in order to take a full time position with Dove’s Community Services Program.

I’d heard things about what the community services program did for years at staff meetings, and helped out with the Christmas Baskets program in December each year since I began working here, but as I imagine is true with any new job, I had no clue the scope of the work that was done until I got started. Since starting my position as Community Organizer, I have seen firsthand the amount of work that goes into organizing and maintaining a neighborhood group. I’ve also become a fir…

MAX AND THE FACE OF THE POOR

When many of us hear the word “poor”, negative images come to our minds.  We think of the aggressive panhandler that interrupted or scared us.  We think of the stereotypical addict and the criminal.  While those persons have their own desperate needs, they are only a small percentage of the persons who come to the MAX program each day for assistance.  Most of the faces who come in are pleasant, caring and appreciative.  They are often the strong women who are taking care of the children and grandchildren of others.  They are the responsible men who are trying to handle things well in difficult times.  As I pass them by in the hallway, they often greet me warmly and ask how I am.  After they talk with the volunteers and Shane Hartman, they often they leave with a thank you and a relief that they will be able to obtain the medicine or other help they need for themselves or for others.  I often wonder if I would be so pleasant if I had been born in their life situations or carried the lo…

What if?

Well, the excitement was building…a little nervous but mostly excited!  I got a new job as Shelter Specialist at Dove Domestic Violence!  I was so excited!! It sounded like something I had always wanted to do!  My first day of work was supposed to have been January 6th, 2014, but it ended up being a snow day.  So, the excitement and nervousness would be put off for another day.  I was pretty nervous not having worked full time for about five plus years, but knew this was going to be something special!  I was ready for a challenge, and a challenge, indeed, it was! 
Let’s fast forward to today, July 22nd,  2014, and see if I’m still that nervous and excited!  Nervous…no, thank goodness!  Excited…yes!  Going back to work full time at the age of 58 was a little scary, to say the least.  Of course, all of the questions flooded my mind, “What if I can’t catch on?”  “What if I’m too old?”  “What if I can’t remember anything?” “What if….what if…what if?”   Finally, I asked myself, “What if I …

It started with VISTA

Not long ago on a hot and wringingly humid Saturday afternoon, I was outside, door-knocking for a political party (I’ve leave you to guess which one). Ambling down a shady sidewalk on South Illinois Street, I greeted a couple lounging on their front porch. The woman called out, “Fred? Is that you?”
I recognized the voice immediately as that of Earlestine Dandy. I hurried up the steps and we hugged. Later, we sat on lawn chairs and reminisced of the days when she was a VISTA Volunteer. Back in the 1970s Earlestine was a low-income mother eking out a meager existence. But she is as responsible as anyone for the creation of the Community Health Improvement Center (CHIC).
One key piece of Dove’s past is the organization’s fling with the VISTA Volunteer program. Forty years ago, I was at the center of it.
In 1974, the Torrence Park Citizens Committee, a neighborhood group that employed me as its community organizer, was going out of business. The TPCC (as it was known) had developed a VI…

New Me New Life

Each summer, we start preparations for our Annual Report.  It contains pie charts with numbers, listing of donors and tons and tons of information about Dove.  It also contains comments from clients and volunteers.  Clients are asked the question:  "What has this help meant to your or your family?  and then it asks which program or their location and the date, no names of course.  Below is just one from someone who stayed at the Domestic Violence Shelter.

"Beginning a new life, taking care of a lot of issues I have, that I’ve never dealt with before.  New Me New Life!"

90's Brought New Programs

•  In 1990, a satellite office, to better serve the needs of the women with domestic violence issues, was opened in DeWitt County.  The program grew from a one-room shared facility to opening their own offices which additionally houses the BABES program, RSVP, Friends in Action,  a food pantry, and DAX.

•  In 1991 the adjacent structure to the current shelter, 800 E. Clay was purchased for additional administrative offices.  This allowed more space for clients at the shelter.

•  In 1994, Dove spearheaded an inter-agency coalition to combat homelessness.  The program was named Homeward Bound was located at 903 W. Decatur, a property donated by Decatur Community Church.  Homeward Bound is now in the former shelter at 788 E. Clay.  Homeward Bound offices are in the front and SRO occupies the back.   Dove Preschool closed; resources redirected into fighting prejudices.

•  In 1996, three adjacent lots on East Clay  were purchased, 824 site was remodeled and  was used by BABES and Community…

Looking at Dove in the '80s

As Dove marked its tenth anniversary in 1980, staff and volunteers began their response to battered women.  Beginning with a hotline, the program grew to include support groups, advocacy and emergency shelter.

In the ‘80's RSVP grew rapidly and initiated the aluminum can recycling center, now called the Community Recycling Center, which is still a fund raiser for Dove.

Volunteers at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church opened our Clothing Room to serve children.  Now the Prairie Avenue Christian houses the Children’s Clothing Room.

‘84-85 two projects were added to Dove.  BABES- Beginning Awareness Basic Educations Studies) brought a message of good self image and making good choices to K-3rd grade classrooms.   MAX- Macon County Assistance eXchange, a church-based financial assistance network to screen and fill requests for emergency help started and has been hosted at First United Methodist Church.

By 1987, Dove’s need for physical facilities was painfully evident.  The Domestic…

Dove’s History, The Beginning

• On July 7, 1970, Dove opened its first office with Ray Batman serving as coordinator with support of seven Christian Churches. The objectives were serving the poor and assisting church volunteers in education and training for service.

• In 1972, Dove went ecumenical as other congregations joined. The organization incorporated and became tax-exempt. Dove purchased a run-down empty house at 1112 E. Locust and after some volunteer driven renovations, it remained the office for 15 years.

• Mother-to-Mother, a now national program, was started by one of the first volunteers, Sue Simcox. Other activities were the preschool, cooking classes and helping to form CHIC (Community Health Improvement Center).

• In 1975, Dove assumed sponsorship of the VISTA project. The RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) was initiated. Two additional staff members joined Ray, Fred Spannaus as a VISTA volunteer and Sue Simcox, a founder and volunteer became the Program Director.


A few listin…

Family of Dove

In recognition of Dove's 44th Anniversary (7/71970), we will be posting more often and with a few guests authors.  Staff member Teri shares with us on this first day.


As I look over the almost 24 years that I’ve been at Dove, I feel so blessed.  When I think all the way back to the first month I worked here, I learned early on just how special the Dove Family really is.  I had only been employed for about a month when I returned to work from lunch on November 1st, 1990 to see an emergency phone message for me to call Decatur Memorial Hospital Emergency Room *(of course, this was before cell phones – which is why I didn’t receive the message until I returned to Dove)  I quickly learned that my only 4 ½ old baby nephew had died!!  We learned it was probably SIDS that took his life so early from us.  The support I received from everyone was unbelievable – so many staff who I barely knew since I had only been employed for such a short time.

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced several losses…