Thursday, July 26, 2012

Verizon Wireless -- We Can Hear You!

From time to time Dove staff posts project ideas on our website so that small groups seeking volunteer opportunities might find something they're talented at, or would like to assist with.

One such project was posted about turning a drab area of the domestic violence shelter into a homework nook for younger children staying here. One day, an employee from Verizon Wireless called and said some of the employees there were interested in this project.

These are the amazing results:

Thank you, Verizon Wireless!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Building a Chain of Hope

What does it take to leave an abusive relationship?

The chances of being successful at leaving an abusive relationship are very low. That’s why a victim may leave 5 to 7 times before she is successful.  So many things can be stacked up against you. Finances, fear, family, friends, children, religion, social disapproval, guilt, belief systems, marriage stigma and hope that the abuser will change, just to name a few.  Also, when a victim is successful at leaving she is then sabotaged by her abuser.  Some examples are: acts of violence, threats of violence, threats of violence against her family, threats of suicide, threats to take the children away, threats to call DCFS, cut off car insurance, stalked through phone activity or other gps devise, disable vehicles, take keys to vehicle, take tires off of vehicle, make false police reports, wipe out bank accounts, run up credit cards, wipe out saving accounts, destroy legal documents, cut off health insurance, cut off cell phone service, shut off utilities, make false reports to employers and false reports to the court, etc..

Leaving an abuser is a process and many victims access their safety daily. They are at a 75% higher risk of being injured and or killed when they leave than when they stay, therefore, it takes great courage for a victim to come forward for help. It has been proven that the more support a victim and her children have the greater her likely hood of being successful at safely leaving her abuser and also the greater her likely hood of staying away and creating a non violent life for herself and her children.

Each time a social service agency, other agency or entities help victims, it may seem small at the time, however think of it as if you were building a chain. Each hoop goes inside the other one to make it stronger and longer. One without the rest cannot be very strong but together it can withstand much more. Advocacy with victims is like this. Needs are great but together we can each give a part to make the strongest plan possible for the client. 

As legal advocate’s we contact many of these agencies/staff on behalf of the victim to get services started as soon as possible. We intercede whenever needed and while working with others we begin the process of Building the Chain of Hope.A perfect example of how this works is: 
  • Cient comes for domestic violence counseling.
  • Client is given bill of rights and info about Illinois Domestic Violence Act and how it works.
  • Client participates in her safety plan.
  • Client may be given support with EOP and going to court.
  • Client may be referred to local or county police.
  • Client may be referred to Land of Lincoln legal aide for free legal services for orders of protection, custody and or divorce.
  • Client may be given referrals to other attorney’s.
  • Client may be given info about crime a victim’s rights and AVN, automated victim notification system.
  • Client may be given offer for safe, temporary shelter thru Dove.
  • Client may be given referrals to Homeward Bound or other housing programs for rent based on income.
  • Client may be given info about Housing Rights for Domestic Violence Victims. (Out of lease & change locks)
  • Client may be given info about VESSA, to protect their job.
  • Client may be referred to local food banks for immediate food.
  • Client may be given referral to CEFS, MAX or DAX programs or other programs who help with financial needs.
  • Client may be given referral to WIC.
  • Client may be given referral to DHS for link and medical card.
  • Client may be given referral to Habitat Re-Store to receive furniture needed for free.  Including washer and dryers, ice box, etc. (or other agency’s who donate household items)
  • Client may be given referral to Sullivan’s Thrift Shop to receive free clothing for self and children, also household items.
  • Client is referred and given child support paperwork which goes directly to Il State Child Support Division.
  • Client is supported in all court cases and with police reports.
  • Client may be given referral to Growing Strong.
  • Client may be given referral to Sacis.
  • Client may be given referral for financial help in township.
  • Client may be given referrals for child care thru EIU, Project Help, Bright Start, Head Start, and local daycare programs, etc.
  • Client may be given referrals for New Life Car Care Program. Provides work on victims car with reduced rates.
  • Client may be given application for free vehicle thru New Life Car Care Program.
  • Client may be give info and referral to Lake Land College, Richland Community College and other higher education programs.
  • Client may be given info a referral to local children’s programs such as: Taekwondo and free summer program at the park.
  • Client may be given referral to SAIL program for people with disabilities.
  • Client may be given referral for Free phone service and low cost phone service.
  • Client may be given referral to Moultrie County Counseling Center, or any other counseling services, or
  • Client may be given referral for Private Children’s counselor.As advocates with Dove, Inc., for domestic violence victims and their children we take a stand and do not give up, no matter the issues. We appreciate each and every service provided and
    as you can see there are MANY agencies that provide services and are all a piece of the chain. We could not do what we do with such success without all the agencies and help of others in our communities. Together we are Building a Chain of Hope, a chain strong enough, to break the cycle of violence.

    Mary R. Hughes
    Legal Advocate
    Moultrie County Coordinator

Monday, July 9, 2012

The absence of peace

                I don’t know why I’m losing my cool so often”, Stephen said as he apologized to his girlfriend Tasha. “I never use to be like this this, I’m even waking up angry.” Stephen was apologizing for some comments he had made the night before as the two tried working things out over the past due bills they were looking at. Not too long ago Stephen could surprise Tasha with a small gift or even spoil himself with something he had been wanting. Those days seem to be gone now; every dime goes toward keeping their bills paid. All it took was one week and everything changed for this couple. Stephen twisted his ankle while running their dog in the park and had to be off work while it healed. One week made the difference between being ahead and falling behind in their finances.   
                This story is spoken quite often these days. Those who were one paycheck ahead of their financial obligations are now behind because of some emergency. As I looked into Stephen’s situation I became acquainted with two people who were working minimum wage jobs, renting a two bedroom apartment, and sharing one car. They weren’t living beyond their means, instead just enjoying what they had. As we spoke they kept talking about how good things were and how they are now. It was good that they came in when they did; they still had a roof over their head and a car to drive. But, many of the small splurges they had purchased for each other were now at the pawn shop adding to the stressful reminders of the changed times.
                I often think of that first day I met this couple. Each one kept looking at the other as if they had lost someone or something very dear to them. As we were talking about assistances the MAX program could offer in their situation I kept feeling as though we should be focusing on something else. We should be talking about what they were mourning, was what my heart was saying.   When the right time came in the conversation I tested the waters, “what is it you guys are missing the most,” I asked. We had talked about all the physical possessions they had sacrificed but there was something they had not talked about. Tasha was the first to speak, “this worry is changing our relationship, we argue more.”  As she finished her words I could see the tears swelling up. Stephen acknowledged that he had been very short tempered over the bills feeling as if his injury caused the whole situation and he had let Tasha down. There it was again, that look that was asking to go back to the way things were.
                What if I could help you retrieve that peace you once had, would that help? The two of them grinned and acknowledged their willingness to listen. Our conversation from that point on shifted toward finding a solution for their financial situation that would create peace.  The couple agreed to quit beating themselves up over how they got to where they were and would become proactive in their bill paying. We were able to contact the power company and get them started on a payment agreement toward catching up their past due balance. The water department granted them an extension which along with our assistance from MAX they caught that bill up. We even contacted their landlord and explained their situation. He was very gracious in his understanding and allowed Stephen to do some odd jobs around the building to work off some of the past due rent.  They now had a plan and were on their way toward finding that place they were missing in their life.
                Peace is often the greatest casualty of financial distress. Setting goals, being creative, speaking to those you own money too, are just some of the ways of bring peace back to the situation. Without a plan, well it’s like a ship without a rudder, every wind that comes along can remind you that you are out of control. Where’s the peace in that? The MAX program is designed toward assisting those who are experiencing these financial emergencies in life. Emergencies rob people of their peace. Working together, you and our trained volunteers, will do our best toward restoring peace in your life.
Peace be with you always
Rev. Dr. Stacey Brohard
MAX coordinator for Dove Inc.

Pastabiliites Resturant in downtown Decatur, Tuesday night -  10th, 5-8p, you can dine at this wonderful family owned resturant and 20% of your pre-tax bill will be given to MAX.  Check the website for the needed flyer    A delicious way for you to help many area families in need. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

“Land of the Free, because of the Brave”

This past Sunday, Dove’s Committee Against Domestic Violence hosted a fundraiser at Long Creek Vineyards.  With a record breaking temperature of 95 degrees, and a “feels like” temperature of over 100 degrees, the turnout wasn’t what we had hoped for.  Having been there personally, I completely understand why some might have chosen to position themselves next to a pool or on a boat if they did get out and brave the heat! 

Despite the scorching weather, it was a great event.  “BAM” provided music for the afternoon and Secret Recipes offered delicious food.  The staff of Long Creek Vineyards provided a variety of ways to stay hydrated and they were so great to work with.  Their property is beautiful and they had plenty of seating under a big shaded tent. 

CADV (Committee Against Domestic Violence) did a wonderful job putting this fundraiser together and I enjoyed all the Independence Day d├ęcor.  THANK YOU to them and THANK YOU to those who attended!  If Dove has another fundraiser at Long Creek Vineyards, hopefully the weather will be a bit cooler and more people can come out and enjoy a wonderful afternoon at the vineyard and support Dove simultaneously.

We hope that you all had a safe and happy Independence Day.  God Bless America!

Brandy Robinson, Finance Specialist

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It was a very smoltering hot summer day!!

It was a very smoltering hot summer day!! If you sat real still, you were lucky to feel the little breeze that was a welcomed periodic relief. The setting was nice - outdoors, overlooking the pond and vineyards. LongCreek Vineyards were very accomodating - even offered and put up a tent for us to set up our tables under to collect admission fee. This made a difference between night and day - and made those breezes even a bit more noticeable and enjoyable!!

The event was a first for us - thought of by our wonderful Chairperson of CADV (Committee Against Domestic Violence), Marilyn Smith. We hope to make it an annual event and hopefully next time the weather will be a bit more cooperative.

Although our attendance was very low, those few who did brave the heat enjoyed a nice afternoon of wine tasting, listening to some wonderful music by the band, "BAM!" - Bill Cunningham, his wife, and son, and Mike Lewis, and eating some delicious food prepared by Chef Ron Nailer of Secret Recipes Restaurant in Mt. Zion. Some were lucky enough to receive tokens that were donated by Culvers for free ice cream.

Having known Mike Lewis for many many years, it was fun to listen to him again and enjoy his wonderful sense of humor! The band makes it obvious they enjoy what they do. They were the perfect band for this setting - it’s too bad so many people missed hearing them.

To those of you who attended or supported our event in any way, we thank you very much. It’s because of people like you that we are able to continue to provide the services our clients need and deserve. Look for future events here - we hope to have another Vineyard event and make every effort to fill the tent full of supporters of our program!!!

Teri Ducy, Director, Dove Domestic Violence Program

(looking ahead, Brandy will share thoughts on the event on Friday.)

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...