Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I have to admit, this blog is going to be short and sweet because we are so busy with the Christmas Basket Drive!  We partner with Northeast Community Fund each year to provide food, toys, hats and gloves to families in need.  This year, we are preparing over 350 baskets!!!  This morning agencies picked up baskets for their clients and today we are filling the rest of the baskets in preparation for deliveries tomorrow.  It has been a busy and crazy week, but so worth it.  From all of us at Dove, Merry Christmas!!!  I'm headed back to "grand central station" to work on the baskets some more! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Looking Forward

If asked, my co-workers would undoubtedly tell you that my favorite holiday is Christmas, and has been as long as they've known me.

I do love Christmas. I start counting down around the beginning of July and it drives everyone around me just a little bit nuts. I do my Christmas shopping throughout the year most years, so I don't have a huge list of things to buy all at once. I decorate around Thanksgiving time. I try to get all of the big stuff done and out of the way long before the actual day, so that I can sit back and enjoy it.

But I have to admit that the last few years, I've been looking more forward to New Year's than to Christmas. It's not because I'm a big partier. To be honest with you, I've never been to an actual New Year's Eve party. The most I've engaged in on New Year's is playing a few rounds of UNO with my family.

So why has this become my favorite holiday?

As I've gotten older, I've begun to look forward to New Year's because I see it as a time of calm reflection. I try my best not to dwell on any (and all) failures of the past year, but on the lessons that I learned, on the memories that I made, and on the projects that I started around New Year's last year. Around New Year's I kick into high gear and go on a cleaning frenzy. I discard or donate things I haven't used in so long I can't remember. I usually set at least a resolution or two. So far for 2013, the only one I've made is that I want to read 101 books throughout the year. My friend Ellie did this a few years ago and greatly enjoyed the experience, and I haven't done nearly as much reading as I'd like to lately.

The holiday excites me because I see it as somewhat of a clean slate. And yes, sometimes I fail at my resolutions, but I do always at least attempt to reach my goals. And what is life without goals?

What about you? What are your hopes for the coming year? What goals do you plan to set for yourself?

Friday, December 7, 2012

A note of gratitude

In the next DoveTales Newsletter, many of the staff share by reflecting back on 2012.  If you'd like to recieve the newsletter, please email us at

"When I think of all the blessings I have received throughout the year I am filled with joy. My family has expanded (three more grandchildren this year) and my work family has also expanded (three new staff this year).  However, a most special joy for me has been the growth of my Faith by witnessing the everyday miracles that occur not only within the perimeters of the program but more often occurring far beyond. Witnessing those who seek services move beyond their crises, their fears, their doubts and reach heights that they never anticipated. Witnessing those who have the opportunity to give; GIVE willingly, has given me great joy this year. Witnessing the community coming together to address issues, develop strategies and implement viable solutions has given me great joy. Despite the cutbacks and pitfalls and other dilemmas, good seems to continuously persevere within this program; this agency; this community. I am witness to it and it makes me grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve. I look forward to the next year of service and the continued strengthening of my Faith."

Darsonya Switzer, Homeward Bound Program Director

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Squirrel on the Windowsill is Worth Two in the Tree?

Sammy, Dove Inc.'s unofficial official mascot.

One of the best things for me about moving into the Anna B. Millikin home in 2007, was that my office window looks out into the garden area. Over the past few years I've grown fonder of watching the birds flit around--something my mother has done for years.

One day in the summer of 2009, I was sitting at my desk working on data entry when I heard a tiny thud. I looked over to see that a squirrel had landed on my windowsill and was peeking in at me. He walked all along the sill, and then moved back to where he'd started, and peered in again.

This is probably where I should stop and tell you that I have an affinity for rodents of all kinds. I've had guinea pigs since 2004, and at one point, fostered a hamster for a client who was in shelter. I love them. They're fuzzy and cute and squirrels are no exception.

That day I went to Wal-Mart and bought a bag of mixed bird seed. The day after, I sprinkled the seed on my windowsill and in no time at all, my squirrel friend had returned, eagerly eating the sunflower seeds and corn I'd put out for him. I promptly named him Sammy.

The food drew other creatures, of course; a pair of cardinals, lots of sparrows, and some house finches. Well, then I had to go buy a post to put up in the garden to hang bird feeders on, so I could put out thistle feed in addition to sunflower seeds. Thistle is what finches tend to prefer, according to my parents, who've been feeding them for years.

I put out two feeders to begin with, one for thistle and one for sunflowers, and I continued pouring seeds onto my windowsill for Sammy. Within two days, he'd managed to destroy the feeder the sunflower seeds were in. But he was too cute to get mad at, so I shrugged and bought a sturdier, wooden feeder.

I put food out for him and the birds every day, and before long, I'd also acquired a rabbit that ate beneath the bird feeder several days each week, and started seeing a larger variety of birds: gold finches, nuthatches, and black-capped chickadees.

Sammy's still a regular fixture in the garden. I see him every day that I'm here, and have "introduced" him to other staff and clients.

One day that winter I was at home sick with the flu, and when I came back, I was privy to hearing an amusing story. Apparently when I hadn't gone out to put food out for him and the birds, and there was snow on the ground, Sammy made his way to the door of the lounge and was staring in at the ladies. One of them reported it to a former co-worker, who went out and fed him, and relayed the story to me.

I haven't gotten close enough to hand-feed Sammy yet, but he does let me get much closer to him than I can to the other squirrels who've shown up the last few years, and even if I have my window open (with the screen still between us, of course), he'll come and eat on the windowsill and isn't bothered when I talk to him or walk by.

When clients come to my office and he is there, I jokingly tell them he is my pet squirrel. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have noticed a trend on Facebook.  Many people are posting what they are thankful for each day in November.  I have greatly enjoyed reading friends’ “thankful” posts.  The lighthearted ones make me laugh and the serious ones make me reflect on what I’m thankful for in my own life.  Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to shout how blessed we are from the rooftops!

Here at Dove, we do our best to say “thank you” all year long, but it never seems like enough.  Our volunteers, staff, donors, religious organizations, and all of our supporters give so much of themselves all year long.  We are thankful for each and every person who is involved with Dove.  We are thankful for the agencies we collaborate with, the opportunity to serve the community, and those who give us the means to do so.

As you sit down with your families, friends, and neighbors this Thanksgiving you might be thinking of what you are thankful for.  We’d like you to remember that Dove is thankful for YOU…thankful that you’re reading this blog and supporting the mission of our organization.

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Friday, November 16, 2012

Domestic Violence -- It's Everyone's Business!

You’ve probably heard the saying that domestic violence is everyone’s business. It is our business, and our responsibility to get involved when someone we know is being abused or terrorized in their home, or anywhere else. It is our business because domestic violence affects us all in some way, shape or form. Often times, however, people don’t have a clear understanding of what domestic violence looks like. So if you’re interested in reading some personal accounts of domestic violence to see how people are affected, I’ve gathered some links for suggested reading, and will add to this post when I find more, so keep checking back!

Actor Speaks Against Domestic Violence at Fundraiser

Candice's Story

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What, When and Where of NHHAW

Next week, November 11th – 17th is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and the Continuum of Care will be participating in several events throughout the week to bring awareness to these two vital issues in our community. Two of the largest events will take place on the same day, Friday November 16th, Box City and the Community Service Day and Veteran’s Stand Down.

The Coalition for Veterans Concerns and Dove, Inc. are co-sponsoring the Community Service Day and Veteran’s Stand Down. This event will include providers from social services, healthcare, employment, housing and other fields coming together in one place to provide those in need with the services they are seeking. The event will take place at Old King’s Orchard, 815 N. Church here in Decatur from 12 noon – 4:00 p.m. Anyone needing further information should contact Joan Meeder at Dove, Inc. 217-428-6616 or Lucy Brownlee, 217-875-1006.

The second event that will take place on Friday, November 16th will be the annual Box City. This event will include youth groups and others in the community gathering to experience a night of homelessness. We will meet at St. Paul Lutheran church, 340 W. Wood here in Decatur at 5:00 p.m. and wrap up with reflections at 6:30 a.m. the following morning. The event will afford those participating with the opportunity tour areas where services are provided, to hear directly from people who have experienced homelessness and to engage in hands on activities, as well as opportunities for continued engagement in assisting in resolving the homeless issue in our community. Anyone needing any further information should contact Homeward Bound at 217-362-7700.

Other ways to get involved during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week could be something as simple as donating the money you would normally spend on eating out to a local food bank or shelter or volunteering at a shelter or food bank. If anyone needs contact information for food banks or shelters in the area please feel free to contact Homeward Bound, 217-362-7700.

(Later we hope to share some of the experiences of the participants at these events.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where's the purple?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everywhere you look people are draped in Pink to show their support of this worthy cause. ISU and Illini volleyball teams are going to “paint the gym pink”.  Virtually every player on my beloved Chicago Bears is wearing pink shoes, sweat bands, mouthpieces or towels. An animal shelter in Decatur is wearing pink t-shirts all month long. A percentage of my purchase of yogurt, bottled water, and bread is going toward breast cancer research. And don’t even get me started about the pink flamingos. I LOVE PINK FLAMINGOS! The staff at Dove 100% supports the efforts to raise awareness and money toward finding a cure for Breast Cancer.

There is another very important awareness campaign in October – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our color is purple. The color purple represents the bruises left on the skin of adult and child victims of domestic violence. We don’t have electronic billboards or a “Real Men” wear purple advertisement. We only get celebrity endorsements when one is arrested for the crime of domestic battery. And if you’re going to see the color purple at Assembly Hall – it’s part of their Broadway show series.

For the advocates at Dove domestic violence awareness is just as meaningful as breast cancer. We support both causes. But we wonder out loud why we haven’t captured the public’s attention in the same way as our friends. Nationally, there was some discussion about moving DV awareness to April to align with Child Abuse awareness or May to tie into Mother’s Day. Is our work less important today than it was in the past?

The grass roots domestic violence movement is approximately 40 years old. When we first started bringing attention to the issues of family violence – little was known. Few communities had resources, law enforcement had little training, and local prosecutors had few statutes to utilize. Over the years things improved dramatically. Federal and state legislation gave communities the resources needed to address domestic violence. Media reported on the dynamics of the issue. Farah Fawcett starred in the movie The Burning Bed. And through all of this Dove and programs like ours advocated, educated, and raised awareness about domestic violence. It could be argued that the public is more aware today of DV issues that at any other time. So why isn’t the staff at the local hospital dressed in purple this month?

I’ve been asking the question for some time now about why domestic violence awareness does not get its due attention. If the public now knows so much about domestic violence, they also understand the consequences of this violence on victims, children, businesses, and communities. Dove has hosted four separate candlelight vigils in October to raise awareness. Each vigil was distinct, meaningful, and special. I’m thankful for the volunteers who put these vigils together, our speakers, and all who attended. But good seats were available at each vigil. Certainly if we understand the effects of domestic violence as a community people would be lined up out the door to show their support.

A friend of mine suggested that domestic violence is an old issue. It’s a cause that her mother or sister would have supported. There is a perception that today, with public knowledge and community resources it is somehow easier to escape a violent relationship. Besides, people have been donating to shelters for 40 years and there is no cure. When people donate to breast cancer awareness, we have a reasonable expectation that it will be cured if not in our lifetime, then within our daughter’s lifetime. Dove cannot make that promise to its donors. You see this problem is not going to be solved in a lab – by scientist wearing purple smocks. Forty years of research has given us a set of best practices to address the issue as a community and a program. But none of that matters to a person who has been battered by someone they trusted. Domestic violence is not an event. It is a journey. Nobody goes into a relationship thinking “I’m going to give my all to this man until he batters me and I need to call the local shelter program”. We know there is build up and tension as part of the cycle of violence. And we know leaving an abusive relationship is just one step in a journey of recovery.

You see, just because domestic violence is an old issue, it’s still a new issue and the only issue that matters to someone who has been beaten. Her journey has just started and she needs all the resources available to her. She is allowed to leave and then go back to her abuser because only she truly knows the level of danger she is in. Some of you know that I came to Dove from a domestic violence program in another part of the state. Our advocates worked in cubicles and from my office chair I could easily hear the conversations clients were having. I can’t tell you how many times I overheard someone say “If I knew about this program – I would have left years ago”. Imagine someone enduring more abuse because they did not know about the resources available to them.  Mary Hughes coordinates domestic violence services in Moultrie County for Dove. Last summer she wrote piece for the blog (see below, July 20) titled Building a Chain of Hope. I think it is the definitive piece that answers the question why does she stay and dispels the myth that leaving an abusive relationship is easy. I strongly recommend everybody reads it.

The domestic violence program is one of many programs that Dove operates to serve the community. It has a dedicated staff of 16 advocates and many volunteers. For them and all of us at Dove, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We can’t cure domestic violence, but your support fuels us to continue to provide everything that is needed for a victim’s journey to survival.

Jim Walters, Executive Director

Friday, October 26, 2012

You've been BOO-ed!

Today I’d like to share a fun way to get involved with your neighbors and community this Halloween.  The Community Services Program here at Dove encourages getting out in your neighborhoods and improving the communities in which we live.  You’ve been BOO-ed gives is something that gives you the opportunity to get out in your neighborhood AND have fun at the same time!

Here’s the gist of it and what the poster says:

The phantom ghost has come to town
To leave some goodies…I see you’ve found.
If you wish to make this a happier fall…
Continue this greeting, this phantom call.

First, post this Phantom where it can be seen,
And leave it there until Halloween.
This will scare other Phantoms who may visit.
Be sure to participate, you don’t want to miss it!

Second, make two treats and two copies from
Deliver them to two neighbors, try to stay calm.
Don’t let them see you, be sneaky, no doubt…
And make sure they put their Phantom Ghost out!

Next, you have only one day to act, so be quick!
Leave it at doors where the Phantom hasn’t hit.
Deliver at dark when there isn’t much light…
Ring the doorbell and run, and stay out of sight!

And last, but  not least, come join in the season.
Don’t worry, be happy, you need no good reason.
This is all in good fun and we are just trying to say…
Happy Halloween & Have a Great Day!

Here is the link for more information:

Hope everyone has fun!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Coats for Kids!

The 21st Annual Coats for Kids! will begin next Wednesday the 17th and will run through November 30.  It's simple folks, donate a coat you don't want or need anymore.  The cleaners will make them clean.  Then we'll take them to a clothing room so someone who needs a nice, warm winter coat can take it home with them!

When this drive started 21 years ago, one of the problems facing area clothing rooms was the lack of children's coats, never enough to cover the need.  Well, the coat drive has helped a great deal over the years.  But there are still cold kids who need a coat and so we keep hosting the program.

WAND has been the cosponsor of the drive each and every year.  Each year, one of the meteorologist
 lends their time and talent to the drive.

RSVP Volunteers keep the coats moving.  RSVP volunteers are amazing and this is just one of many, many projects they make happen each year.

61,252 coats have been cleaned and distributed to clothing rooms through this program.  We hope that added up to a lighter burden on some family budgets and most of all a warmer winter for many kids.

For now, clean out your closet, or the back seat of your car or down in the basement for any of those coats you're not using (adults and children coats accepted).  Then Wednesday, you can drop them off at one of the places listed below.  We'll take it from there and keep you posted.

(Need a coat, check back later for a participating clothing room.  When we start dropping off the clean coats to the clothing room, we'll let you know!)

Thanks to these Cleaners - they make sure every coat is clean and serve as a drop off site!
Classic Cleaners
2474 N. Main, Decatur
Corner Cleaning Connection
1154 E. Prairie, Decatur
Jane’s Cleaners
664 W. Eldorado, Decatur
Peerless Cleaners
519 N. Monroe, Decatur
Pride Cleaners and Launderers
2553 N. Main, Decatur
1804 E. Eldorado, Decatur
912 W. Eldorado, Decatur
2056 Mt. Zion Road, Decatur
Waite’s Cleaners
1004 S. Main, Decatur
115 Magnolia, Forsyth

Please use one of these drop-off sites:
Eldorado and Fairview, Decatur
16th & Cantrell, Decatur
Monroe and Pershing, Decatur
Decatur Public Library
130 N. Franklin Street, Decatur
Airport Plaza
Brettwood Plaza
Fairview Plaza
South Shores Plaza
Land of Lincoln Credit Union
3130 E. Mound Road, Decatur
2890 N. Oakland, Decatur
Longcreek Township
2610 Salem School Road, Longcreek
Macon County Building
141 S. Main, Decatur
333 E. Pershing
2340 Mt. Zion Rd.
350 N. Water
1355 W. King
Richland Community College
1 College Park, Decatur
St. Teresa High School
2710 N. Water Street, Decatur

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Take a stand against domestic violence

How many times have you picked up our local newspaper, or turned on your TV to listen to the local news, only to read or hear about yet another domestic violence incident that has occurred in our community? What were your thoughts when you heard about the situation? Did you know either of the parties? Were there children involved? Did you perhaps witness the incident taking place? What was your response?

All of these questions come into play more and more often in the community in which we live. Did you know that within our state’s attorney’s office, one third of all criminal cases are domestic violence related. Have you noticed the increase in the number of pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence? Pregnant women are 60 percent more likely to suffer from domestic violence than women who are not pregnant.

Too often domestic violence is just ignored. Sadly, many people still believe it is a private matter and therefore they should not get involved.

Domestic violence knows no prejudice and crosses all boundaries. It can and does affect every single one of us. We all have responsibilities in taking a stand to eliminate domestic violence in our community!

What will you do?

In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please come to Central Christian Church, 650 W. William Street, and take your stand on putting an end to domestic violence in our community by attending our annual Candlelighting Ceremony, 7:00 p.m. on the 11th. We will remember those who have suffered and died at the hands of their abuser, recognize the survivors and those working every day to help put an end to the abuse.

Teri Ducy

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for the finance department!

We’ve definitely been keeping extra busy here in the administrative office.  Dove is currently undergoing the annual Audit.  Dove’s fiscal year runs from July through June and so every year beginning in September we undergo an audit which takes several weeks to complete.  The auditing firm looks at everything (and I mean everything) that Dove is doing.  From receipts for toilet paper to large grant income and expenses to payroll to client files.  They make sure we’re doing exactly what we should be with grants and generous community donations.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget everything that must happen behind the scenes in order for Dove to provide services.  Our department and the staff members within the programs work all year long to assure everything runs smoothly come audit time.  To say going through the audit is fun and exciting would be stretching the truth.  That being said, when it’s all over we are all proud to have accomplished such a large task.  It helps remind us every year that we are doing a good job serving the largest amount of people in the right way with the funds we have available.

>Dove’s Finance Department

Friday, September 21, 2012

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program

If you have ever wanted to know what service to our community looks like, you wouldn't  have had to look any further than yesterday's Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Annual Recognition Banquet. 

Congrats to the R.O.S.E. - Recognition of Service Excellence Awards Recipients. Their individual stories of volunteering and making a difference in our community was each amazing.

As remarkable as their stories were, knowing many of the volunteers in the room, each could have shared about a lifetime of service and a lifetime of giving.

Thanks to each member of the RSVP program!

A few statistics:

2011-2012 RSVP of Macon & DeWitt Counties
621 RSVP Volunteers • 429 women & 192 men, average age • 75
Community Service Hours • 120,846
Community Agencies Served • 87


Friday, September 14, 2012


Today as I write to you I am reflecting on a recent study I completed called ACompassion, Justice, and the Christian Life@ created by Dr. Robert D. Lupton. This author has invested more than 34 years in inner-city Atlanta serving financially at risk families in their daily struggles. Dr. Lupton shares stories of how things worked well for him and when they went wrong. In the stories of what went wrong he speaks of the corrections which were necessary to bring health to those programs. I love it when someone will share what didn=t work and how they corrected their efforts.

As I progressed through this study I began recognizing many methods we currently use in our own community towards helping our neighbors in need. I also began recognizing many bi-products our efforts are creating. Isn=t it remarkable how reading about these things as someone else discovers them is easier for us to understand than seeing it right under our own nose?  Let me share some quotes from this study; ADoing for others what they can do for themselves is charity at its worst.@ AWe should not give irresponsibly.@ AThere is something in one-way giving that erodes human dignity.@ And AIt is only when one is ready to take responsibility for his own life and face the daily discipline of right decision making that support becomes beneficial.@

Once I finished Dr. Lupton=s study I began applying it to the MAX program by asking some tough questions. What are we doing to build human dignity? How are we helping our neighbors take responsibility and face the daily discipline of right decision making? Are we assisting them in a responsible way? Many of our answers to these tough questions have created new methods for MAX. Several of our areas of assistance have become match funding programs while other areas require additional documentation from the clients.

It=s not that we have cut back on assistance; rather we are asking the clients to take more responsibility in their situations. Already this year MAX has assisted more families than all of 2011. What we are doing is using our heads as well as our hearts to build value into people as they work through tough situations. Everyone we meet has a value they can offer toward the solutions they seek, MAX is striving to help them realize their value and use it. I believe that value will be realized when authentic exchange occurs, not a one-way transaction.

Thank you for your support of the Macon county Assistance eXchange program.

Rev. Dr. Stacey Brohard
MAX Coordinator

This is a preview about MAX from our October monthly newsletter, DoveTales.  If you would like to recieve a copy of the newsletter, please give us a call 217.428.6616 or email,  For additional information about MAX, please check our web site at

Friday, September 7, 2012

Love Is Respect…

As students head back to school, teens focus on academics, sports, extracurricular activities, and relationships.  Dating is an important rite of adolescence in which teens grow towards adult relationships.  Although dating should be a fun and exciting part of the teen years, statistics show that one in three teenagers have experienced violence in a dating relationship.  In dating violence, one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through abuse. This abuse takes many forms – physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, jealousy and isolation, and stalking.  Dating violence crosses all racial, economic, and social lines. Although victims can be male or female, most are young women, who are also at greater risk for serious injury. Often, teen dating violence is hidden from adults and friends because teens are inexperienced with dating relationships, have romantic views of love, want independence from their parents, and are pressured by peers to act violently. 

So, what is love?  How can a teen (or adult) know if his/her relationship is healthy?
·         Love is freedom – it’s not about possessing anyone or anything.
·         Love is accepting – it isn’t telling someone what to do, what to wear, or how to act.
·         Love is secure – it isn’t being jealous, suspicious, or paranoid.
·         Love is trusting – it isn’t keeping tabs with obsessive calls and texting.
·         Love is respect – it isn’t ignoring your personal boundaries or dismissing your feelings or opinions.
·         Love is safe – it should never involve fear of your partner.

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell when a relationship crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive.  Teens can use these warning signs of abuse to see if their relationships are going in the wrong direction:
·         Checking your cell phone or email without permission
·         Constantly putting you down
·         Extreme jealousy or insecurity
·         Explosive temper
·         Isolating you from family or friends
·         Making false accusations
·         Mood swings
·         Physically hurting you in any way
·         Possessiveness
·         Telling you what to do
             Parents can prepare their teens for healthy relationships by discussing respectful relationships, healthy boundaries, and safety with their sons and daughters before they begin dating.  However, parents understand that as their children strive for greater independence, they are often the last to know what is going on their teens’ lives.  Here are some warning signs that your teen might be in an abusive relationship:
§  Your teen’s partner is extremely jealous or possessive.
§  You notice unexplained marks or bruises.
§  Your teen’s partner emails or texts excessively.
§  You notice that your son or daughter is depressed or anxious.
§  Your son or daughter stops participating in extracurricular activities or other interests.
§  Your teen stops spending time with other friends and family.
§  Your teen’s partner abuses other people or animals.
§  Your teen begins to dress differently.
          For parents, knowing that your son or daughter is in an unhealthy relationship can be both frustrating and frightening.   Teens in abusive relationships are scared and confused.  As a parent, you are critical in helping your child develop healthy relationships and can provide life-saving support if he or she is in an abusive relationship.  Here are ways you can help your teen:
  • Tell your teen you’re concerned for his/her safety.  Point out that what's happening isn't "normal."  Everyone deserves a safe and healthy relationship.  Offer to connect your son or daughter with a domestic violence program or a counselor, who they can talk to confidentially.  If the abusive partner is using stalking behavior, an order of protection and safety plan with your teen’s school may be necessary.
  • Be supportive and understanding.  Stress that you’re on their side.  Provide information and non-judgmental support.  Let your son or daughter know that it’s not his or her fault and no one "deserves" to be abused. Make it clear that you don’t blame them and you respect their choices.
  • Believe them and take them seriously. Your child may be reluctant to share their experiences in fear of no one believing what they say. As you validate their feelings and show your support, they can become more comfortable and trust you with more information. Be careful not to minimize your child’s situation due to age, inexperience or the length of their relationship.
  • Help develop a safety plan. One of the most dangerous times in an abusive relationship is when the victim decides to leave. Be especially supportive during this time and try to connect your child to support groups or professionals that can help keep them safe.
  • Remember that ultimately your child must be the one who decides to leave the relationship. There are many complex reasons why victims stay in unhealthy relationships.

Help is available!  Often, teen dating violence becomes a bigger problem than the teen or family can handle by themselves.  Dove provides teen dating violence prevention education to schools and youth-serving organizations, individual counseling and family support for victims of teen dating violence, assistance with orders of protection, and advocacy with schools, law enforcement, medical, and mental health providers on behalf of teen dating violence victims.  To schedule an appointment or arrange for a presentation, contact Dove at 217-428-6616 or the Dove Domestic Violence Hotline at 217-423-2238.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Labor Day

“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” -United States Department of Labor

la·bor  noun \ lā-bər\
a : expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory
b: (1) : human activity that provides the goods or services in an economy (2) : the services performed by workers for wages

Today I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what this upcoming holiday weekend is all about:  LABOR.  Most of us will get the day off on Monday and are thankful for the break.  On any given day around here, you’ll see staff and volunteers laboring away for the greater good.  And our volunteers are providing FREE labor- let’s give them a mental round of applause, shall we?

Here at Dove, I can’t think of a better description for “LABOR” than the definition stated above…human activity that provides goods or services…without the awesome humans at Dove imagine the void that would be left in our community!  As the staff and volunteers of Dove (and all of YOU out there reading this) celebrate the unofficial last weekend of summer with our friends and family, let us relax and enjoy our day off work for it is well-deserved. 

Hold that thought.  We can’t forget that some services here at Dove run 24/7/365 and there will be awesome humans here providing those services on Monday…LABORing…regardless of the holiday- I think another mental round of applause is in order.

Helping others is the most rewarding type of LABOR there is.

Enjoy your LABOR DAY WEEKEND everyone!

Friday, August 24, 2012


Here at Dove, Inc., we get a lot of calls from people wanting to help: help the homeless or domestic violence clients, help with our children's clothing room, someone wanting to volunteer to help with Christmas baskets, or become an RSVP volunteer, or even by donating needed items or money. Help comes in so many forms it's truly impossible to list all of them.
Many people, however, have the mistaken belief that unless they are able to do something they consider huge, there's nothing they can do to help those who are hurting, or who need comfort. But that is so untrue! This quote sums it up beautifully:
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

It's something we should all keep in mind because you never know how deeply you could change someone's life with the simplest act of kindness!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Clothing Room here to help

The Dove Children’s Clothing Room is a place where families may select free, good quality clothing for infants and children.The Clothing Room is located at Prairie Avenue Christian Church, 2201 E. Prairie Avenue in Decatur. It is open Monday through Thursday 1-4 p.m. Families can shop for their children once every 30 days and are allowed 3 outfits per child, as well as 2 new pairs of new underwear and socks. The Clothing Room serves children and young adults from infants to age 18. We do not require referrals, but we do ask for each child’s age and gender for our records.

The Dove Children’s Clothing Room is operated by volunteers who are members of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program at Dove, Inc. The RSVP program is for people 55 and better who are looking for volunteer opportunities in the Decatur and Macon County area. It does not cost anything to be a member and there are several benefits such as mileage reimbursement, a supplemental insurance policy, and an annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. The Clothing Room also welcomes volunteers who are under 55 to help sort donations, hang clothing, and assist the shoppers.

The Clothing Room relies on help from the community and always welcomes donations of gently used items, including clothes for infants, school aged children, and teenagers, as well as shoes, and baby items. We are always in need of new socks and underwear and will gladly accept monetary donations to purchase these items. RSVP Volunteers will do the shopping for you with any money donated for socks and underwear. There is a locked, blue drop box in the church parking lot where donations can be deposited. Donations can also be left at the RSVP office located at 302 S. Union St. near downtown Decatur.

The Clothing Room is currently very busy helping Decatur families prepare for the new school year. We have school appropriate clothing as well as hot weather clothes. We participate in Dove’s Coats for Kids Program and will have clean, gently used coats available for the whole family including adults. Later in the fall we will be accepting donations of gently used winter coats which will be cleaned and distributed at the Clothing Room and other sites in Decatur.

It is operated by volunteers -- the heart of all of Dove's programs.

Susan Sistler
RSVP Program

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Mother Teresa

I'd like to share with you a short, simple yet powerful quote:

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.

We will be judged by 'I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.'

Hungry not only for bread -- but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing -- but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks -- but homeless because of rejection.

~Mother Teresa

This quote is right in line with one of Dove’s Shared Values- that we care people, especially those who are powerless and hurt.  Even when suffering is so great that caring is all we can do, still we stand ready to share the burden and to suffer.

We could all learn from these powerful words.  We hope you enjoy this upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The hidden effects of emotional abuse

The effects of Physical abuse are often very noticeable. They are marked with bruises, broken bones, cuts and in very extreme cases, death. Emotional abuse is the silent abuse because the effects cannot be seen therefore no one can gage just how severe the abuse really is.  The victims often suffer severe emotional distress   because they themselves are not aware they are being abused verbally. They will try harder to make the abuser happy not realizing this is a form of brain washing.  Over a long period of time, the abuser chips away at the victims’ self esteem thus breaking them down as a person. After hearing the phrases “you’re stupid” or “you can’t do anything right” ,  “you’re fat or ugly”,  they not only begin to believe it but they further enforce this thought by telling themselves the same ugly words,  causing them to be prisoners to their own minds.

By suffering this abuse it makes it very difficult to leave the abuser because they feel they cannot survive without the abuser or they could not make it for various other reasons. In fact, the insults keep repeating like a record. If the survivor does escape the toxic relationship, they still will keep repeating the record in their own mind never feeling like they are normal or good enough. It often takes years of counseling to retrain their thinking to be able to see themselves as the strong survivors they are. 

If you find yourself or someone you care about suffering from low self esteem from emotional abuse there are several steps you can take to regaining your positive self image. 

Start by Positive affirmations. “I like myself”, “I am a positive person and I create a positive life”, “I am a confident person” “ I feel good about myself “ “I am a wonderful person of immense value and deserve to be loved.”   Believe these thoughts - after all - who appointed the abuser to be the expert on what a smart, beautiful or a good person looks like?   J  

Make a list of your positive qualities. When this is done, go back at least 3 times a week and add to it. The more you get to know about yourself the more you will grow to LOVE yourself.   Celebrate every achievement you make even if it’s not a huge step . Eventually the little steps add up to great distances. Don’t forget to tell yourself that you have left the abuser;   you are a survivor. Be aware of your thoughts. When you start to think negative thoughts, stop yourself and replace it with a positive thought. You are a good person, you are smart and most importantly you are good enough and you deserve to be treated with respect! Do not mentally beat yourself up for a relationship gone badly. Remember that you are the strong one and you were brave enough to allow yourself to open up and trust someone.

Support groups are another wonderful resource in the community. There you will get support from people who have suffered from emotional abuse just as you have. They know what you are going through and along with your loved ones they can be your biggest supporters and fans.  Surround yourself with only positive people who you know have your best interest at heart. Change your think patterns. When you start the negative recordings, stop yourself and look at the situation in a positive mindset.  Accept compliments AND believe them. It is awkward at first but you’ll soon learn to appreciate that others see you in a positive light.

Take ownership of your life. You are responsible for your life so work hard and push forward and most importantly DO NOT compare yourself to others. Do not beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time. It’s all a matter of perspective.  Remember --
  Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."
~ Confucius

Jennifer Tolladay
DeWitt County Coordinator
Domestic Violence Program

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...