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Friday, May 22, 2015

Don’t mess with senior citizens.

(one of our RSVP Volunteers shares today!)

  • In Florida a 71-year-old man used a handgun to shoot at two armed men attempting to rob an Internet cafe.
  • In the UK a gang of thugs armed with sledge hammers execute a smash and grab job at a British jewelry store … only to have an 85-year-old woman take them down with her handbag!
  • A suspect dressed in all black with a rifle attempted to rob a store in Louisiana. Store clerks told police that a senior citizen, who had observed the robber, blocked the two front doors to the store with his body, preventing the robber from entering the store and yelled to them to lock the door and call authorities. 
  • An alert group of four senior citizens, foiled a robbery attempt at a multistoried building in Wadala Mumbai.  On Saturday evening, four robbers managed to enter the second floor apartment at Kutchi Building in Wadala (W) at a time when its owner wasn’t home. The four heroes trapped the robbers inside while calling the police.

Don’t mess with senior citizens.
Yes, we’re not all action heroes. And I know most of us wouldn’t even attempt something like this. But as volunteers we are heroes. We don’t look for recognition. And the pay is ridiculous. But those volunteers I’ve talked with would not change a thing. Giving our time and talents is an act of love and we take rewards from the successes of those we help.

We may walk a bit slower, and do less physical activity, but we are determined and persistent. The energy and stamina of our volunteers is nothing short of amazing and I think we should give ourselves a round of applause.

Good job. No need to put that on your time sheet.

Okay, what are the qualifications of a volunteer? They are few. Do you have a desire to make a difference? Can you get out of bed each morning? Presto, you’re qualified. We’re ready to find you a place to help.

I know from experience and talking to other volunteers that our rewards far outweigh the effort we put forth. Since we’ve been blessed to live this long we draw from a vast array of experiences to apply wherever we serve. It rarely calls for exhausting physical effort. Mostly brainpower and a large dose of the ability to listen. Many times we become the shoulder to lean on. And that’s a good thing.
One of the side benefits to volunteering is meeting new people. Not only those who need our help but other volunteers we’re paired with. I ran out of fingers and toes to count the new friends I’ve made. You never have enough friends.

One of the things I want to talk about is that we seniors need to be extra careful these days. There are people out there just itching to grab our money. Scammers. They prey on seniors. They are unscrupulous. They want to give us something that seems too good to be true. Newsflash. It is too good to be true.

They have time share properties, car warranties, insurance, healthcare, lower credit card interest rates, and on and on that they want us to buy. Now they use something called a robo call. Their computers automatically call a range of phone numbers giving out a recorded message to take our money. Once we’re on this calling list it’s impossible to be removed. Compalints to the BBB or even the police is futile, Those people when they’re shut down, just get a new phone number and set up shop again.
I still get those calls. Sometimes two or three times a week. Being me I at first got very angry and tried to talk back to them. Of course with an automated call that was useless. When they said on the call to punch 1 to speak to a friendly representative I did that. When I got irrate, they just hung up. And I was left even more frustrated.

I finally came upon a way to get some revenge. Being a mystery author it was incumbent upon me to retaliate. I had no choice. That’s me. One of the scams is that a live caller, usually from a foreign country, calls to say they are from Microsoft Windows and that my computer is sending curious messages indicating that my machine has a virus. So, I devised a scheme to make myself feel better.
The following is a transcript of an actual call about two months ago.

“Hello, this is Jamal. I’m calling from the Microsoft Windows office. We are showing your computer is having problems. We are here to help you.”
“What kind of problems?”
“We are showing you have a virus. We can fix it for you.”
“Oh, that would be wonderful. How do you do that?”
“You need to turn on your computer.”
“Okay, can you hold while I get to my computer?”
“I will hold.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I’m on the stairs. It’ll take a while. I have a bad leg.”
“Let me know when you are ready.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I’m on the third step.”
“All right.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Step six.”
“How many steps do you have?”
Ragged breathing. “Fourteen.”
Thirty seconds pass
“Step nine. My leg is throbbing.”
“Throbbing?”
“It hurts. Step ten.”
“Can you hurry, sir?”
“This is hurrying.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Step thirteen. I have to rest here.”
“Yes, sir.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Okay, I’m upstairs. What was I doing?”
Loudly, “Going to your computer.”
“Oh yes. Going down the hall now.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Are you there yet, sir?”
“Almost.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I’m at the door. Oh, it’s locked. I have to go get the key.”
“Oh, my.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I found the key. I’ll unlock the door.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Is it unlocked yet?”
“I’m on my way.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“At the door. It’s unlocked now.”
“At last.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Are you still there, sir?”
“Yes, looking for my notes on how to turn on my computer.”
Unintelligible
“Here they are. Okay, I’m ready.”
“Great. Now I need to have access to your computer.”
“How you going to do that? You’re not here.”
“I can do it. I will give you an address to go to. Do you use Explorer or some other search engine?”
“I have a Ford.”
“No, sir. To access the Internet. What do you use?”
“It’s this button here.”
“Sir, I can’t see the button. What does it look like?”
“It’s one of those thingys on the side.”
“A globe or an E with a circle around it?”
“Yes, an E.”
“Good. Click on that.”
“Okay, I did.”
“What does your screen look like?”
“It’s a seventeen inch.”
“No, what is on it?”
“Fox News.”
“Good. At the top, in the search field, I want you to type in an address for me.”
“Type? I’m not a good typist.”
“Not to worry, sir. I’ll help.”
“Uh, I can’t do it right now.”
“You can’t?”
“Nope. Got to go to the bathroom.”
“Oh no.”
“No problem. It’ll be a short one.”
“Can you hurry?”
“Got no choice. I have to hurry.”
“All right. Sir, where is your bathroom?”
“Downstairs.”
Click.

Just one thing to say – Don’t mess with seniors.

So if you get an obvious recorded call, hang up immediately. Or if you love turning the tables – get em back.

God bless our volunteers.

 Dave Webb, RSVP Volunteer



Friday, May 15, 2015

A letter from Jim

Dear Friend,

Dove Inc. is proud to be partnering with Decatur’s own Ed Bachrach to screen the documentary Private Violence. The screening will be held on THU May 21st 7pm at the Avon Theater 426 N. Water – Decatur IL. Mr. Bachrach will be in attendance.

I am personally inviting you to attend this important community education event. A panel discussion will follow the movie and will be moderated by Vickie Smith – CEO of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The panel will also include Kit Gruelle, one of the main subjects in the film.

Tickets are FREE but must be obtained in advance. They can be obtained by contacting dove@doveinc.org or by calling 217-428-6616. We anticipate a big turnout so I would ask that you only request tickets that you are certain people will be able to attend. This film is not rated, but having seen it I don’t believe it is appropriate grade school children. Of course, that is a decision each parent must make.

I look forward to seeing you at the event.

Sincerely,
Jim Walters, Executive Director 

for additional information, please see www.doveinc.org


Friday, May 1, 2015

A letter to my bully

According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Justice, 160,000 students do not attend school every day for fear of being bullied. Over 77 percent of students have reported being a victim of one form of bullying or another, which includes verbal, physical, cyber, or sexual bullying. And 58 percent of students report having been victims of cyber bullying.

            Now it’s time for the scariest of these statistics. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people according to the CDC. 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide with 7 percent attempting it. Bully victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. And at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.

            Now it’s time for hope. I was a victim of bullying. I want to share with you my letter to my bully, with the hope that anyone else that has ever been bullied or find themselves today a target of bullying, will find strength in these words.

Dear Bully,

            There was a time I let you have power over me. I let you control my actions, my thoughts, my hairstyle, my clothes, my hobbies, and my feelings. I let you win and I gave you that power and control you wanted. I let you feel good and I let myself feel hurt. I cried every night and I dreaded going to school each morning, and every afternoon I couldn't wait for that dismissal bell to ring. Your words cut deep and I carried them with me every day.  For many years I lived in that fear you created for me.

I cannot tell you when I realized that it was I who was strong and that I had the power over my own life. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do…and that was to live my life. I know you probably still think about me today and try to draw power from the times you bullied me, to make yourself feel better. But I just want you to know one thing….I never once thought about you while I was in college. I never once thought about you when I walked across the stage at my college graduation to receive my diploma. I never once thought about you when the man of dreams got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I never once thought about you on the day of my wedding. I never once thought about you when I got my dream job and started my career.

I never once thought about you again until today and this is what I have to say to you….Thank you. Because of you and the words you said to me and the things you did to me, it made me a better person. You made me determined, resourceful, strong, resilient, grateful, compassionate, and empathetic. Because of you, it is why I’m standing here today, in front of all of these people telling them that you were just a small bump in my path through life. Even though at the time it seemed like I would never get away from you or the things you said, but in reality you were meniscal in the grand scheme of things. And now I feel sorry for you. You had to tear others down to build yourself up. I’ll never understand why and for that you have my sympathy.

            All those years I thought you had the power, but you actually gave me the greatest gift that power can give someone. You gave me the power of forgiveness and today…..I forgive you.

Sincerely,
College graduate, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, social worker, and looking forward to what all the future has to bring,

Megan