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.)

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...