Friday, February 24, 2012

Domestic Violence Training Experience

 I recently was able to attend the Domestic Violence training in Bloomington with the Mid Central Community Action’s Neville House staff. There were over twenty people at the training and it was an incredible learning experience. Upon arriving I lacked little knowledge about the dynamics of domestic violence and I left with a powerful understanding of the effects domestic violence leaves on not only the victim but the surrounding family, children and even pets.
The training was rich with information from survivor stories to important films, activities and discussions. One of the most powerful films I saw during the training was of a woman who had been battered both physically and emotionally by her husband and it was filmed by her eldest son. To witness such a horrific account of someone being mistreated cut to the core of me. No one should have to experience that but yet millions of victims do experience that everyday.
There is a bright side to this horror which is the domestic abuse survivors who are able to share their story. These stories taught me a few things:
  1. Always meet the victim where they are and do not judge them for going back to the abuser. There are many complex reasons for victims to stay with their abuser and as family, friends and professionals we need to be supportive of their decisions but encourage safety precautions first and foremost.
  2. Emotional abuse is just as hurtful as physical violence. Bruises heal, whereas emotional scars hurt a victim’s self-esteem and self-worth which takes much longer to heal from and makes it harder to leave the abuser.
  3. Safety planning with a victim is the most important thing you can do with them. Knowing they have the option to leave when they are in danger is an incredibly powerful tool you can give them that will help empower the victim.
I feel grateful and blessed I was able to attend such a wonderful training and I encourage those in the Decatur area who are wanting to understand the dynamics behind domestic violence to attend Dove’s forty hour training session on April 30th, May 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th and 10th from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

You can make a difference in the lives of victims and their children. You can be the advocate that refers victims to Dove in your workplace and community to get them the help they need. With this training you can also volunteer alongside Dove staff in the areas of legal advocacy, children’s programming, and hotline or shelter coverage. Please call 217-428-6616 for more information.

April Burgener - Receptionist

Friday, February 17, 2012

Healthy Love

Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day!  With all this talk of love and relationships, it makes us think: what is the definition of healthy love?  We know it’s not all about flowers and chocolate but nurturing the relationship throughout the entire year so you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with a significant other. 
Here are a few “healthy love” characteristics:
  • Each person allows for the individuality of their partner.
  • Bringing out the best qualities in their partner and vise versa.
  • Each partner has the ability to accept endings, if necessary.
  • Experiencing openness to change in the individual and the relationship.
  • Inviting and encouraging growth in their partner.
  • Experiencing true intimacy in the relationship physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Being able to experience giving and receiving in the same manner.
  • Not attempting to control or change the other person.
  • Not being dependent on their partner for happiness, but simply wanting to be with each other.
  • Not seeking unconditional love. This type of love is parental love. Parents accept any behavior from a child and will still love them. Adults need to be treated with dignity in order to stay in a relationship.
  • Enjoying solitude and togetherness.
  • Expressing feelings freely.
We hope that your relationship is full of “healthy love” during this Valentine’s week and all throughout the year!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Help Available for Teens and Young Adults

If you’ve had a young child in school in Macon or Dewitt counties in the last couple of decades, there’s a pretty good chance you’re familiar with Dove’s Babes’ program.

But did you know that our domestic violence program also has a staff person who goes into the schools to educate junior high and high school students about healthy relationships and domestic violence?

Joyce Kirkland, Youth Services Specialist, has been doing just that for the last 11 and a half years. “The highest rates of domestic violence fall into the age range of 16 to 25,” she stated during a breakfast addressing community members.

The fact is that one out of four young people will experience some form of dating violence in their teenage years, and over half of those victims are more likely to reach out to a friend than a parent. Unfortunately their peers don’t always know the resources, or how to help someone who’s in a violent relationship, which is where Joyce comes into the picture.

Joyce often acts as a bridge between teens and their parents, helping parents to understand what the young adult is going through and how they can help, and helping teens understand the severity of consequences that can be involved in staying in a violent or unhealthy relationship.

Though it’s difficult, she advises parents not to forbid their child from seeing the significant other, because this will only result in alienating the child and cutting off effective communication. “The best way is to express concern, but not get in their faces about it…and letting them know your door is open,” she says.

At Dove, teens under the age of 17 can receive up to five sessions of counseling without parental consent due to the mental health law, and can also call the 24-hour crisis line and remain anonymous if they are needing to speak with someone.

If you want to know more, please call 428-6616, or visit

Friday, February 3, 2012

Difficult times call for difficult measures

Difficult times call for difficult measures. For many people this is what our current economy is speaking to them. Difficult measures can mean households growing as relatives move back in together and share the expenses. For others it means looking for assistance for the first time in their lives. Then there are those who are just throwing their hands up and giving up under the pressure.
Wherever individuals may find themselves in this difficult economic season one thing they don’t need to loose is their dignity. I don’t currently know too many people that are living so well that they will never have to ask for help. I also believe if you are trying to go at life alone you may be a very lonely person.
If I look back at how we were designed as humans it is a design toward living in community with one another. We were not meant to go at it alone. So then the question should be, if someone on our community is in a season of need how do we respond? This question can really conger opposing conversation toward a solution. Some might say just meet the need. Others might declare survival of the fittest. Believe me I’ve been combatted with both sides.
What we should be looking at is what is best for the overall health of the community. Will this assistance solve the situation, or is there an element of the community which may require change. Simply put you cannot cover up a problem without looking at what is causing the problem. This does take more work from the other members of the community but the health of the community depends on it.
Here in Decatur I have come to know many community members who want nothing more than to bolster the health of our community. Every day I see these people walking beside individuals who have fallen into a season of difficulty. Being offer is assistance in the moment and referrals to agencies for long term assistance. When we can speak into and strengthen the greatest need of our community we will maintain a greater overall health.
As I write this today I have been reviewing the names of those families MAX has grown to know during my time here and I am convinced we are heading in the right direction. From bus passes jobs are found. When jobs are found clothing vouchers are given for work clothes. Housing assistance is found with another phone call, all steps on a road to recovery from a difficult time. Dignity is kept and friendships are forged during what some would say could have been a very dark spot in their life.
Yes, difficult times do call for difficult measures! I believe the most difficult task we have is to re-define what we see as a success. Is it how to make it alone in life? Or is it focusing on the health of the entire community?
Rev. Dr. Stacey Brohard
MAX Coordinator
MAX assists those in need with one-time emergency financial assistance.  Stacey has served as the MAX Coordinator for a year now.  MAX is housed and supported by Decatur First United Methodist Church and is implemented by many volunteers.  Monies are distributed through gifts from churches and individuals.

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...