Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Doing our part to make a difference.

 With so much talk everywhere on issues of violence, once again a topic discussed at the CONO (Coalition Of Neighborhood Organizations) meeting this past month in wonder of how to stop violence from happening in our community. Let’s consider narrowed down, violence begins in neighborhoods, no matter where they are. Cities including Decatur, have Stop The Violence campaigns and rallies in order to take a stand and to bring positivity and hope which is so important! But I wonder, doesn’t the remedy lay within each one of us? We must not close our eyes or turn a deaf ear, right, and when we see something, yes, we must say something, but isn’t there more? Doesn’t there need to be hands reaching out to one another in solidarity and hope with a goal in mind like the future of our family, neighborhood and ultimately our world. It begins in a neighborhood, your neighborhood and mine. So, if you don’t already have an active neighborhood group in your area, will you consider starting one? If so, Dove has a pamphlet of information that can help. Please reach out and see how we can partner in this vital effort for our city and ultimately beyond, doing our part to make a difference.

Neighborhood Services Program

LeAnn Ellis, Coordinator

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The winds of change are upon us


As the summer fades away, the winds of change are upon us.  

The wildflowers are in bloom along the roadways, the crops in the fields are changing colors and Mother Nature’s green coat is beginning to fade.  

The onset of the beautiful colors of fall can be spotted in some treetops.  

Although I am a lover of summer, the change from summer to fall has always been exciting to me…. the cool, crisp evenings and mornings and the hint of fog and haze on the horizon.  I was always one of the weird kids who looked forward eagerly to the first day of school.  The prospect of change and of hope for a great year ahead was intoxicating.  

As an adult, I still love this time of year.  The promise of new beginnings makes it seem like a second New Years, a chance to complete some of those goals that may have been left behind in the busyness of life.  

If you, or someone you know, has been affected in some way by domestic violence, this second New Year is an exciting time to initiate change.  We are here to guide you and to offer options and domestic violence education to enable you to move past the issues of abuse that can linger and to build a more serene life.  We can be reached on our 24-hour crisis line at 217.774.4888 or our business line at 217.774.3121.  We also welcome walk-ins at 1200 South Hickory, Shelbyville.  

Reach out to us and we can start this new season together.

Susie Kensil
Shelby County Domestic Violence Coordinator

Friday, September 3, 2021

There is a great deal to be done

 Well, August has certainly been a busy month here at Dove. I hope all of you are staying healthy and safe and that you’re staying cool in the heat. We may be amid a heatwave, but I’m thinking cool thoughts and dreaming about Christmas.

 The first piece of news regarding our baskets program is that we have both a new name and a new logo! The logo debuted in last month’s newsletter, created by Dove’s Director of Volunteers and Community Relations, Barb Blakey. It really highlights our partnerships with Northeast Community Fund, Salvation Army, and the community who is so generous with their donations of time, money, gifts, and food.

 The new title, Christmas Care and Share, gets right at the heart of what we aim to do with the program – care about others and share our resources, share our love of people – with as many others as we can.

After meeting with the planning committee for the program, and meeting with Salvation Army and Northeast Community Fund, we decided to give gifts once more to kids up to age 17. We are also going to give away some of the bigger ticket items (such as bikes, scooters, riding toys, and hoverboards) in a lottery to make sure everyone has equal opportunity at those items. We always want to be as fair as possible, and this feels like the best way to go about it with those gifts.

As for location, we don’t know for certain yet where we will be assembling and distributing baskets this year. Last year as most of you know, we utilized the former Kroger in Fairview Plaza, which worked out great for multiple reasons, but it also came with a hefty price tag that none of our agencies can afford to pay again. Our tentative plan is – we are hoping to utilize the gymnasium at Salvation Army. However, now, there is construction going on at their shelter and their clients are sleeping in said gymnasium. The construction folks are hopeful that construction will be done by October, but with the struggle to get supplies, workers, and the ongoing pandemic, they just don’t know for sure at this point.

 So much of this month has been dedicated to trying to find a Plan B. There are a few things up in the air as possibilities, but nothing concrete yet.

 Initially we were set to meet with agency and school representatives on September 13 to give them their referrals to take back to their agencies and schools to decide which of their families needed assistance the most. We like to give them ample time to do that, and to contact their families and distribute the information and get it back to us before crunch time (when we make the move from working in the office to working wherever we’re setting up for assembly and distribution). We have now pushed that meeting date to October 6, and made it a Zoom meeting, both for convenience’s sake and to give us more time to see if construction will be finished up at the Salvation Army. Please say a prayer that it is, as it really is our best option at this point.

 As every year, we have quite a list of outside agencies and schools that we give referrals to. So far those who’ve decided to participate in 2021 are below:


  • Anna Waters
  • Baby Talk
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Cancer Care
  • Child 1st Center
  • Decatur Rehab
  • Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center
  • Macon County Health Department
  • Heritage
  • MRI (Macon Resources)
  • Old King’s Orchard Community Center
  • Webster Cantrell Youth Advocacy
  • Youth With a Positive Direction


  • American Dreamer Academy
  • Decatur Christian School
  • Harris School
  • Holy Family
  • Hope Academy
  • John’s Hill
  • Meridian
  • Milligan Academy
  • Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Parson’s
  • Richland Community College
  • Robertson Charter
  • South Shores Elementary School
  • St. James/St. Pat’s

We’re confident that we’ll have others coming aboard to give referrals to their families in the next few weeks, as we’ve been reaching out to a lot of new entities we haven’t worked with before, for this purpose, trying to catch as many people who might otherwise fall between the cracks and not receive needed help.

 We’re always in need of homemade stockings and warm items for kids (hats, gloves, scarves), and also would love to receive rolls of tape for wrapping gifts. One area we struggle in is stocking stuffers for pre-teen and teen boys. Something that’s right around the corner is Halloween and those giant bags of mixed candies make GREAT stocking stuffers for kids of all ages – so if you wanted to grab an extra bag when you grab one for the kiddos in your neighborhood, we’d appreciate that very much.

 Though there’s a lot up in the air, the process is still very exciting. If you’re wanting to get involved or help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Angie at Dove, Inc. at 217.428.6616 or by email at There’s a great deal to be done.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

You don't have to be able to Dance to do Baskets


Growing up in the world of dance, one of my favorite things to do each year is participate in The Nutcracker Ballet. My favorite part? Giving the audience a magical Christmas experience with the perfect setting of lights, music, glittery costumes, and refined steps by ballerinas. The audience is transported to a magical land of sweets that makes even adults feel like small children in awe and wonder.

Of course, that’s just what the audience sees! What they don’t see is the months and months before hand! Long rehearsals, bandage wrapped dance feet, and stage and tech crews working tirelessly so that every detail before the final show is perfected.

After several years, I have started comparing the Christmas Baskets Process to that of the process for The Nutcracker Ballet. Starting months and months before, staff and volunteers work endlessly for the exhilarating distribution week to come. With that said, the magical essence of the Ballet experience cannot happen with just the prima ballerina, just like Christmas Baskets cannot run with just one person helping. Choreographers, dancers, set designers, seamstresses and backstage hand all work together to make one exciting event happen. There are no small parts!

If you have never experienced the magical Christmas Basket Process, I encourage you to get involved in 2021! I encourage you to volunteer with your friends and family, make stockings, donate, support in prayer; the list is endless for how you can help.  I encourage you to make yourself a new Christmas tradition to bring that magical feeling, just like The Nutcracker, to those in our community this holiday season!

Melissa Girardi
Financial Specialist

Friday, April 30, 2021

“have you talked to a trained domestic violence advocate?"

Have you ever had a victim of domestic violence try and open-up to you about their abuse and you not know what to say or how to handle it?

Have you found yourself asking a victim of domestic violence, “why do you stay?”

Moultrie County Dove Office understands that without being properly trained on domestic violence and best domestic violence practices, it is hard to know what to say or do when a victim of domestic violence finally decides to open-up to you about their abuse and we want you to be better prepared. Asking a victim of domestic violence “why do you stay” can place emphasis in the wrong place and make the victim feel as if they have done something wrong. In all actuality, there are many reasons victims of domestic violence stay in and return to abusive relationships. Victims of domestic violence stay in abusive relationships for fear for their personal safety and the safety and well-being of their children. Statistics show that a victim of domestic violence is at a 75% chance of being killed after leaving an abusive relationship. Victims of domestic violence stay in or return to abusive relationships because they lack support from family or friends. Abusers keep victims isolated from family and friends. Long-term abuse weakens victims of domestic violence and makes it difficult for them to make decisions without the help of a family member, friend, or advocate. It is important to understand that women are battered because they will not give in. They have often tried to confront their abuser about the behavior and tried to leave. Abusers batter women to scare them into staying. At Dove we understand victimization and re-victimization and provide one-on-one counseling and group counseling to help empower victims of domestic violence and give them the courage they need to make the choices that best fit the victim and their children’s needs. Dove understands the fear and confusion victims of domestic violence face while trying to leave an abusive relationship. At Dove we provide emergency shelter and legal advocacy to help walk victims of domestic violence through the court process.  Victims of domestic violence stay in and return to abusive relationships because it is often difficult to find housing, work, and childcare. At Dove we provide emergency shelter, and work with community partners to help victims of domestic violence find permanent housing, childcare, and employment. Victims of domestic violence stay in and return to abusive relationships because they value the time and effort they put into their relationship and they have hopes and beliefs that the abuser will change and get the help they need to stop the abusive behavior. However, abusers are rarely held accountable for their abusive behavior. They are not ordered to get the counseling and services they need to stop the abusive behavior and continue to harass the victim or move on to another victim. At Dove we work with local law enforcement and court officials to continue to strive toward better domestic violence practices.

 Moultrie County Dove Office asks that in the future if a victim of domestic violence feels comfortable opening-up to you about abuse, do not panic and ask the victim the age-old question, “why do you stay”? instead, please ask: “have you talked to a trained domestic violence advocate”?

A trained domestic violence advocate is available at Dove’s 24hr hotline by calling 217.728.9303. If you or someone you know is interested in Dove’s Domestic Violence training to be better prepared for this type of situation, please call 217.428.6616 to get more information or register for our next upcoming class or training.

Group services are now being offered in Moultrie County. Anyone interested in group services should contact 217.728.9303 for time and location.

Moultrie County Dove Office would like to thank all of you in the community for your continued support! Throughout the month of April, we received monetary donations, diapers, socks, baby items, bathroom items and toiletries. Thank You, You Truly Make A Difference!

Becky Freese

Moultrie County Coordinator

Domestic Violence Program

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Facts You Deserve to Know

In working with victims of domestic violence in assisting them with competing paperwork for an Order of Protection, Legal Advocates report there has been an increase in reports of many cases where the individual has been strangled by their abuser.  Does any of this sound familiar or do you know someone who is experiencing any of these symptoms? 


Has your partner ever put their hands around your neck, put you in a “sleeper hold” or used anything else to strangle you like a scarf, necklace, belt, rope, etc.?

Strangulation can be very serious! 

Symptoms of strangulation include:

a sore throat

difficulty swallowing

neck pain


bruising on the neck or behind your ears

discoloration on your tongue

ringing in your ears

bloodshot eyes


memory loss


nausea or vomiting

difficulty breathing


a seizure

a miscarriage

changes in mood or personality, like agitation or aggression

changes in sleep patterns

changes in vision, such as blurriness or seeing double

fainted or lost consciousness


It’s possible to experience strangulation and show no symptoms at first but die weeks later because of brain damage due to lack of oxygen and other internal injuries.  For this reason, and for a safe way to document the abuse, it is strongly recommended one consider seeing a doctor if your partner has strangled you.


Facts You Deserve to Know

Strangulation is a significant predictor for future lethal violence.

If your partner has strangled you in the past, your risk of being killed by them is 10 times higher.

Strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence: unconsciousness may occur within seconds, and death within minutes.

Teri Ducy, Director

Domestic Violence Program

Dove's local county hotline number are answered 24/7. 

Macon 217.423.2238

DeWitt 217.935.6072

Shelby 217.774.4888

Moultrie 217.728.9334

Piatt 217.762.2122

Friday, January 22, 2021

Senior Companion Program Seeking Volunteers!

Dove, Inc.  newest program, Senior Companion Program is part of the Senior Corps and fits in nicely with what we do here at Dove and supports our mission.  It is a great and needed addition to the service already provided by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program which was established in the mid-70's!  

RSVP Director,  Charlie Gillaspie will oversee this program, and Kathy Walters is the Program Coordinator.  

The Senior Companion program recruits volunteers to give friendship and assistance to homebound seniors that have difficulty with daily living tasks. The Senior Companion Program or SCP pairs active seniors with older adults who aren't as independent or mobile. In addition to companionship, senior companions can prepare a light lunch, give medication reminder, read mail, and other quality of life activities. Senior Companions are also able to help provide family caregivers much-needed respite so they can take care of themselves.

Senior Companion Volunteers must be 55 years of age or better, go through background checks and training to participate, and must commit to 20 hours per week. In return, Senior Companions are provided with monthly in-service training that keeps them up to date on best practices for the elderly clients they provide companionship or family respite service. Companions are offered a small stipend for their service and support from knowledgeable staff.

This program is made possible with a grant from AmeriCorps, formerly known as the Corporation for National and Community Service. 

For additional information, please see our website, or contact us at

Kathy Walters, SCP Coordinator

Doing our part to make a difference.

 With so much talk everywhere on issues of violence, once again a topic discussed at the CONO (Coalition Of Neighborhood Organizations) meet...