Letter from the Executive Director of Dove, Inc.: Coordinating efforts to address unmet needs and social injustices.
One of the cornerstones of the history of Dove, Inc. is advocacy for the needs of the people living in poverty in our communities. The past month has had some dire concerns for the City of Decatur. USA Today reports that from 2010-2016 concentrated poverty rose so that we now have the highest concentration of poverty of any community in the state[i]. The Herald and Review reports that evictions are double the state rate[ii]. Our Point-In-Time count of Homeless indicates an increase as well[iii]. We have a beautiful city with lots to offer that is suffering and whose impoverished citizens are struggling.
Where is one to find hope in all of this? In the words of the late Pastor Fred Rogers (“Mr. Rogers”), we “look for the helpers.” We look for the countless Retired and Senior Volunteers who man the city and keep good work going. We look for the people coming together to work on issues such as opioids, homelessness, and childhood maltreatment. We look for the BABES volunteers who bring messages of self-worth and value to our kids, the MAX volunteers who sit with struggling people to apply for support, the DV volunteers who greet clients and help them to plan for safety. Our volunteers listen to clients, hear their story, and share their burden. The collaborations with other community agencies and individuals are so numerous I could not possibly list them all in this letter. That spirit of hope created by all of these “helpers,” is nothing short of a God thing.
You too can make an impact in advocacy for those who are struggling. Check on your neighbors, talk to them, be a part of one of the many neighborhood associations, volunteer, create opportunities for joy, laughter, and connection. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into advocacy, take a volunteer training such as the ones offered by MAX, BABES, and the Domestic Violence program coming up in August and September. Engage with those you see on the street and with your elected representatives on City Council, County Board, School Board.
Thank you for being allowing Dove to share in this work. To explore how you can grow with us towards the future, please reach out to our Volunteer & Community Relations Director, Barb Blakey. Dove, Inc. is only as strong as its member organizations, volunteers, and advocates. Thank you for working to make our home self-sustaining community with hope for anyone who is suffering.
[iii] PIT COUNT 2018 MACON COUNTY CONTINUUM OF CARE http://doveinc.org/index.php/download_file/view/426/130/