Thursday, December 5, 2013

Let's stop a moment

The Holiday season is now upon us and everyone is scrambling around to finish their Christmas shopping. Everywhere you look there is advertising that is claiming they have the perfect gift for everyone on your list. We tend to get lost in our greed and the material goods of this season, but it is this time of year we need to stop and think about those who are not on someone’s gift list. Thousands of children will wake up on Christmas morning to find no presents under their tree. It is a sad statistic, but a true one. We need to stop for a moment, no matter hard that may be to do during this season, and remember the greatest gift we were all given; a baby named Jesus. He wouldn’t want any of His children to be forgotten during this special time of year. So please volunteer your time or donate a gift to the Dove’s Annual Christmas Baskets. These gifts mean so much more than the material goods they receive. They send the message that someone cares.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!

Megan Neaville, Dove DeWitt County Outreach Specialist

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

do something

My husband threw a few logs on the fireplace the other night and standing there watching the dancing flames, I had a feeling of guilt overtake me. I thought, “I am really blessed in the grand scheme of things! I have a roof over my head and a kindling fireplace to enjoy the warmth with my family. Yes, I am blessed; however, too many families aren’t so fortunate.”


As the cold air whirled outside my cozy home I knew there is someone; some family; some small child who was not warming by a fireplace but who instead would be fighting off the frigid weather, without a home and some even without basic winter apparel. Far too many people will go through this Holiday season struggling to stay out of the harsh elements and we will sit around our fireplaces with our families enjoying life. Is that a bad thing, of course not? Nevertheless, it should be concerning to us that at last count; there were nearly 250 people in this community without a permanent residence.


Yes, 250 men, women and children in THIS community are homeless and that number continues to grow annually. What can be done? Great question and the first part of the answer is awareness. Familiarize yourself with the community’s homeless issues. The week before Thanksgiving is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week and the Macon County Homeless Advisory Council, a subcommittee for the Continuum of Care sponsors awareness events during this week each year. One such event that has taken place for over 10 years is “Box City”. The committee gathers local youth groups, provides speakers, activities and construction of a box city where the youth sleep outside to experience a night without a warm bed.


This year we held “Box City” at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church here in Decatur and it was one of the coldest nights on record for the event. I do want to thank the church and the youth for sticking it out with my husband and me! As I mentioned earlier, the warm fireplace was very much appreciated after that sleep out but at least we did not have to go back out there the following night. This is where my guilty feelings crept in, as I enjoyed the roaring fire.


A second part of the answer is to do something. Volunteer your time and talents or donate to local efforts. If you need information about volunteer opportunities or a list of local efforts please feel free to contact the Homeward Bound office, 217-362-7700. In the meantime stay warm and filled with the joy of giving this upcoming Holiday season and throughout the year!


Friday, November 22, 2013

My post today was originally going to be about the Christmas Baskets program, but as I sat down to write, I found that my heart was heavy with another topic.

It is heavy because it is the biggest holiday season of the year and a young girl was killed just over a week ago, allegedly shot by another young person. Let me begin by saying that I did not know the victim. I don't know her family, her friends. I don't live in her neighborhood. I've heard stories from many who did know her, who are devastated by her loss. All the sympathetic words and the vigils in her honor combined cannot piece the lives that were destroyed back together. Not even time can do that entirely.

But I would be remiss in remaining silent despite not knowing her personally. She did not die a natural death. She did not pass away peacefully in her sleep, or even from a long drawn out terminal illness. She died at the hands of another child. When I was fifteen, it never even crossed my mind that I could be walking down the street and be shot dead by another person my own age. I never worried about that kind of violence.

Where have we, as a society, gone wrong when it comes to our youth?  When did we become so accepting of children killing children? Why have so many of us become  complacent when it comes to the issues that face these kids today? We need to stand together as a community and give support to our young people so that when they are faced with gangs, and drugs and gun violence and all of the things that cause these things to be an issue in the first place (racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, domestic violence -- the list goes on and on), they choose to take an alternative path instead. We need to continually offer them other opportunities to make better choices, to show that we care about them and the things they're doing in their lives, so that they see there are other alternatives to violence.

I pray for the families in this tragedy. Not just for the victim's family and friends, but also for the person responsible, and their family and friends. Violence in our community ruins so many lives, and we have to stop being apathetic about what's happening with our neighbors and the other people in our community.

I urge you to take a step toward making a difference. Volunteer with an after school program. Become a mentor for a student. Get involved with your neighborhood group (or help form one if there isn't one where you are). There are a LOT of ways you can make a difference in the life of young people. Maybe you can be the person who saves a child from being victimized by violence .

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Coats for Kids

The 2013 Coats for Kids drive is in great shape now, but we still need your help to meet the need of families seeking coats. 

When coats are donated, they are taken to a cleaner to make sure the coats are ready to wear when they are distributed by participating clothing rooms.  There are wonderful volunteers keeping the coats moving.  We don't store them for some big give away day, they are taken from the cleaners to the clothing rooms to be given out as soon as they can be.

There are so many wonderful places that allow us to collect the coats.  It shouldn't be hard to find a place convenient for you:

Classic Cleaners, 2474 N. Main, Decatur
Corner Cleaning Connection, 1154 E. Prairie Ave., Decatur
CVS, Monroe & Pershing, Eldorado and Fairview, 16th & Cantrell in Decatur
Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin Street, Decatur
Decatur Township, 1620 Taylorville Road
GT Church
Jane's Cleaners, 664 W. EldoradoJerger Pediatric Dentistry, P.C., 2101 N. Main
Krogers, Airport Plaza, Fairview Plaza, South Shores Plaza, Brettwood
Land of Lincoln Credit Union, East Mound, North Oakland, East Walmart Plaza
Longcreek Township, 2610 Salem School road, Longcreek
Macon County Building, 141 S. Main,
Moweaqua Nursing Home and Retirement Center 525 S. Macon, Moweaqua
Peerless Cleaners, 519 N. Monroe, Decatur
Pride Cleaners and Launderers, 2553 N. Main, 1804 E. Eldorado, 912 W. Eldorado, 2056 Mt. Zion Road
Regions, 333 E. Pershing, 2340 Mt. Zion Rd., 350 N. Water,1355 W. King, Decatur
Richland Community College
Soy Capital Bank, 560 E. Pershing, 455 N. Main, 4825 US Route 36, 1685 S. Franklin
St. Teresa High School, 2710 N. Water Street, Decatur
Texas Roadhouse, US 51 North, Forsyth
Waite's Cleaners, 1004 S. Main, Decatur,115 Magnolia, Forsyth

Thanks to everyone who has donated a coat.  If you haven't had the chance to do so yet, we will be collecting through November 30. 

Monday, October 7, 2013


Lifestyle, by definition is the typical way of life for a person or a culture.  Lifestyle choices can encompass many things.  You may choose to be married, or single, or some variation in between.  You may choose to buy a home or rent or live with family.  You may choose a “green” lifestyle with the ideal of leaving a better world for future generations.  You may choose many things to fill your leisure time, many things to be interested in, many things to teach your children…….which you may or may not choose to have.   Location, finances, education, family or work responsibilities….all of these things and others can have an impact on the lifestyle choices you make.

But domestic violence is one thing that is not a lifestyle choice.  For far too long society assumed that a victim of domestic violence…………….and victims come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, all genders, all education and all economic levels………….chooses to live this way.  Victims are assumed to be weak…….to be stupid……….to enjoy this way of life………many myths that are completely ludicrous and completely untrue.   The truth is victims are just exactly that………victims of a crime, a crime not only against them but against the laws of the State of Illinois. 

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior designed to keep the victim under the power and control of the abuser.  Far too often the victim is blamed for the violence when it is the perpetrator of abuse who should be held accountable.  Can you imagine the public outcry if you blamed the bank teller when banks were robbed? That would be no different than blaming the domestic violence victim for being abused.  The domestic violence perpetrator is just as guilty of an unprovoked crime as the bank robber is; and the victim in each case is simply the victim.

For far too long we have asked the question…..” Why does she stay?”  when what we should be asking is “Why is he allowed to get away with this behavior over and over?”  There are almost as many reasons why a victim stays as there are victims.  Each situation is unique……..victims may stay for financial reasons, they may stay because they have nowhere to go, if they have somewhere to go they may have no way to get there.  Many victims have been threatened with the loss of their children…….or the loss of their lives if they try to leave.   The pattern of behavior designed to give the batterer power and control is insidious…..after a period of time the victim has no self esteem left, possibly no contact with family and friends and believes that they cannot take care of themselves.  Sometimes staying where they are is the safest place for a victim……..she knows where her abuser is and what he is doing and when she is in danger.  When victims leave a domestic violence situation they are much more likely to be severely injured or killed………when the abuser realizes control is slipping away he becomes much more dangerous.

While every situation can be very different…………there is one common denominator in all of them.  Domestic violence is a CRIME.     It is against the law.  The state of Illinois has very good laws against domestic violence.  Relentless prodding over the years by the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence has resulted in strong laws which are improved almost every year.  We all just need to do our respective part to make sure that the laws are upheld.   Advocates who work with victims need to be sure we are doing our best to educate, to safety plan, and to empower victims to make the call to law enforcement when needed.  We also need to educate the public so that people are more aware of domestic violence and understand that sometimes they need to make calls to law enforcement.  Law enforcement and the other aspects of the criminal justice system have well-defined responsibilities under IDVA; continuing education will ensure that they are current on laws.  An understanding of the basic nature of domestic violence will enable all of them to perform their responsibilities to hold the perpetrators of domestic violence accountable.  By doing these things routinely hopefully we can decrease the number of domestic violence incidents.  By remembering that domestic violence is a crime….just like DUI, bank robbery, burglary, etc., etc., etc.,   The fact that  the victim has a relationship with the perpetrator should never make DV less of a crime……………..if anything, it should be looked at as an aggravating factor.  Not only is a DV victim a true victim of a crime against the State……………it is at the hand of someone who is supposed to be loving and trustworthy.  I don’t think any of us can honestly say we know anyone who would actually make that as a lifestyle choice.
Susie Kensil, Shelby County Domestic Violence Coordinator
excerpt from 2013 Candlelighting Ceremony




Friday, October 4, 2013

Training Available to Volunteer in the Domestic Violence Program

Have you always wanted to know more about domestic violence? Would you be interested in working with domestic violence victims and their children? Our program is always in need of volunteers - to assist in answering our hotline, covering the shelter, clerical tasks, assisting with orders of protection, co-facilitating support groups, etc. Our next Domestic Violence Education & Training will begin on October 15th. Sessions will be every Tuesday and Thursday night through November 21st. Cost is $150, however there is a waiver process that may be considered. - Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director

Dates and Times:
October 15, 27, 22, 24, 29, 31
November 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21
5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Registration information:
If interested, please contact Barb Blakey, Director of Volunteers and Community Relations at 428 6616.
Complete a phone interview by noon, Tuesday, October 8
Attend one of the registration meetings to complete the process,
Thursday, October 10, noon to 1:00 p.m. OR 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Dove, Inc. / Anna B. Millikin Home
Dean Simcox Conference Center, 302 S. Union, Decatur, Illinois

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hello - meet Daniel

Hello - meet Daniel.  He is 8 years old and lives with his Mom and Dad in a nice 3 bedroom home in a quiet neighborhood.  Daniel is always well kept and taken care of; however, he is often sad and withdrawn.  He has a hard time staying focused at school and has recently started getting in fights.

What others don=t know is there is a secret of what has been happening at home.  Daniel loves his Mommy and Daddy so much but sadly, to him, it seems like they don=t love each other.  They fight constantly; his dad screams at his mom, curses her and says very hurtful things to her.  Recently, Daniel has seen his dad punch his mom really hard, pulled her by her hair and also break things in the house and punch holes in the walls.

Sometimes Daniel runs and hides but he=s a big boy and he wants to protect his mom.  At times he has gotten in between his parents, screaming at his dad to stop.  One time, he saw his dad pull out a knife and threatened his mom with it and Daniel yelled out that he was going to call the police.  But B his mom stopped him and told him everything was going to be ok.

Daniel just knows to keep this secret because he=s afraid his dad might go to jail or he will be taken away from his parents and his home.  He has even asked his mom why they can=t leave and she always tells him she doesn=t want to get a divorce and that she loves his daddy.

And B so the story goes B and often continues B over and over.  Each year, over 3 million children are witnesses to domestic violence.  90% are aware of what is going on in their home and 60% of them are victims of the abuse themselves!  Domestic violence is a crime!  A woman is beaten every 9 seconds!

There are so many barriers that keep victims in an abusive relationship but the bottom line is the abuser has power and control over them and fear itself will keep them there.  Likewise, most victims don=t want the relationship to end B they just want the abuse to stop. 

 October is  National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  It is important to support your local domestic violence program here at Dove, Inc.  Domestic violence occurs every day of every month of every year.  It crosses all boundaries and affects the rich, poor, educated and uneducated and those of any race, gender, and socio-economic background.  Please join me in taking a stand again domestic violence in our community.  Attend our annual Candlelighting Ceremony on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., at St. John=s Episcopal Church, 130 W. Eldorado (on corner of Church and Eldorado Streets).

Teri Ducy, Director
Dove Domestic Violence Program

Friday, September 20, 2013

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Each October, the Domestic Violence Program hosts ceremonies in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  These events are called a "Candlelighting Ceremony."  Each county where we offer services,  hosts an event and each one is different -  but each have a time to light candles in memory of those who have suffered the effects of Domestic Violence.  Each event also recognizes those who have survived and those working to end the abuse.

Please mark your calendars now to attend one of these meaningful events.  Show your support to the survivors, to the families of those who suffered and died and to those volunteers and staff members, working each day to make a difference.


Shelby County - Thursday, October 3, 7:00 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 205 West Main, Shelbyville. Come join with us for a short service to recognize those who suffer and have suffered from family abuse. Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.

Macon County - Thursday, October 10, 7:00 p.m., St. John=s Episcopal Church, 130 W. Eldorado. Decatur. At this event, we will mourn for those who have suffered and died from domestic violence and celebrate with the survivors. Please join us and take a stand in helping put an end to this despicable crime!

DeWitt County - Monday, October 21, 7:00 p.m., Clinton Presbyterian Church, Clinton. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Moultrie County - Thursday, October 24, 7:00 p.m. United Methodist Church, Sullivan. There will be refreshments provided by the CADV following the service.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Domestic Violence Counts

Every year, the National Network to End Domestic Violence requests that domestic violence shelters and programs across the country participate in a 24-hour survey to count how many DV survivors are served during that period. That date is quickly approaching once more. This year the survey is being done from Sept. 17-Sept. 18, beginning and ending at 7 AM.

Last year, the survey returned results of 64,324 survivors recieved services across the country ranging from shelter to legal advocacy to support groups. 20,821 domestic violence crisis calls were answered, and 25,183 people were educated in how to help prevent domestic violence.

Unfortunately, in that same time frame 10,471 requests for services were unable to be met due to lack of funding and lack of housing/shelter bedspace, and lack of staff to serve those who needed services.

Here's hoping that this year, the statistics will be better. If you'd like to learn more about the census and how it works, go to

Friday, September 6, 2013

For Every Girl...

For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence.

For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive, there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep.

For every boy for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity, there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes.

For every girl who throws out her e-z-bake oven, there is a boy who wishes to find one.

For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a girl facing the ad industry’s attacks on her self-esteem.

For every girl who takes a step toward her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier.

Shared by
Mary Hughes
Moultrie County Domestic Violence Program Coordinator

Friday, August 30, 2013

Where has the summer gone?

Where has the summer gone?  Suddenly, it’s the end of August, students are headed back to school, and so am I.  My life is about to get very busy, because I spend much of the school year in high school and junior high classrooms, sharing information about relationships, Dove, and its services.  It’s my favorite time of year!  As Dove’s Youth Services Specialist, I work in the agency’s Domestic Violence Program, providing crisis and supportive services and advocacy for adult and child clients.  Each domestic violence staff member has an area of specialty and mine is providing teen dating abuse prevention education, advocacy, and support for teens and their families. 

Research indicates that for 1 in 5 teen girls, the most memorable event of her high school years will be abuse by a dating partner.  Although boys suffer less physical abuse, both teen boys and girls endure emotional and psychological abuse from dating partners. There are a number of factors that put teens at high risk for abuse in dating relationships.  The teen years mark the beginning of serious adult dating relationships.  During this time, teens are going through the separation process with their parents as they transition into adulthood.  As a result, many teens confide more in friends than adults, and are much less likely to turn to their parents or other adults for information or help.   Add peer pressure and misinformation to the mix, and it leaves teens vulnerable to dangerous relationship beliefs and practices.  Most teens have little knowledge of their rights or of helping services available to them and teens under 18 have limited access to legal and social services without help from an adult.  As a result, many teens (both male and female) suffer in silence due to abuse by a dating partner. 

When I do teen dating abuse prevention education, it is usually in high school or junior high Health class settings, sometimes in a teen group connected to a youth agency or church.  The presentations include role-plays, interactive exercises, and critical thinking activities that engage the teens in a non-threatening manner.  We cover healthy vs. abusive behaviors, warning signs of abusive partners, the pattern of relationship abuse, how and where to access help, how to help a friend in an abusive relationship, setting healthy boundaries with friends and dating partners, and safety planning.  We do lots of myth-busting, such as:  jealousy does not equal love and love does not equal abusive and controlling behavior.  We talk about teens’ rights to orders of protection and to up to five sessions of counseling without parental permission.  We discuss the reality that some teens live with abuse at home and we discuss options for seeking safety for oneself or offering it to a friend.  It’s my job to provide information, not tell teens what to do, so that they can make their own informed decisions about relationships.   If those decisions include seeking help for an abusive relationship, that’s where I am available to provide counseling for teen and parent, legal advocacy and help with orders of protection, safety planning, and support.

Dove provides prevention education in most high schools and some junior highs in DeWitt, Piatt, Macon, Moultrie, and Shelby counties.  To inquire about teen dating abuse prevention education for your school or youth group, or to seek individual teen or family services, contact me at (217) 428-6616 or call Dove’s hotline at (217) 423-2238. 

                                                                   Joyce Kirkland

                                                                   Youth Services Specialist

                                                                  Dove Domestic Violence Program


Friday, August 23, 2013

There is still a place for you in our village.

I grew up in the “Baby Boomer” generation.  In those days it was usually common practice for Grandma or Aunt Betty to live right down the street, or just across town, very close by.  If Mom and Dad were both away from home, which did not happen often,  one of the nearby relatives stepped in to fill their roles.  As society evolved, and more families were either single-parent or dual-worker households, or perhaps had just not lived up to their responsibilities, things began to change.  Perhaps your family had moved many miles away, or Grandma and Aunt Betty had jobs of their own outside of the house.  It became apparent that society had to change to fit the changed environment and provide for the latch-key kids, as they began to be called.  Schools began to offer programs before and after school;. Daycare facilities came on the scene….the popular mantra of the day was that “It takes a village to raise a child” and new and different components of that village came into existence.  All of these things have been in existence so long that it is hard to remember when we did not have them.
As we look at the issue of domestic violence today, we realize that we have “come a long way, baby”.  From the time of the 1970’s and before, when domestic violence was something that happened in the home that was nobody else’s business….something not to be talked about…..through the 1980’s when awareness began to develop and laws began to be passed, the winds of change were blowing.  The passage of the Violence against Women Act in 1994 was truly landmark legislation and the winds of change began to blow harder.  The 19 years that have passed have given us more changes, and more awareness and more and better laws……but the problem of domestic abuse lives on.  It has become apparent in the past few years that we need to borrow that old phrase from the 90s.  If, indeed, it took a village to raise a child, we need to develop our own village to combat the problem of domestic violence.  That plan is taking shape all over the United States, in varying stages in different communities.  If we are going to combat the problem of domestic violence, the entire community needs to be involved.  In our community, the process is well under way; we just need to continue to develop it and carry it out.  For the “village” to work properly, there needs to be strength in every component.  Law officers who know the law and enforce it are a vital component; we need strong prosecutors who are willing to use the full extent of the law to hold abusers accountable.  We need judges who understand the dynamics of domestic violence and current law to act on the cases; probation has to be on board to be sure the court’s orders are carried out; corrections need to offer programs which may enable an offender to learn while incarcerated.  We need advocates to support victims, to offer choices and safety planning, to coordinate services and to help give the victim a voice within the system.  Other social service agencies need to step up to help coordinate their services to give victims and their families all the help possible to return to safe and peaceful lives.  Family members need to offer loving, non-judgmental support to survivors, understanding that this may be a long and winding road back to normalcy.  If you fit into one of these roles, great.  If not, there is still a place for you in our village.  Each of us needs to know that sometimes we do need to be our neighbor’s keeper.  If you see or hear things that you know are not right, make the call to law enforcement.  If you become aware that someone needs your support, give it with love and understanding.  If an abuser brags about his or her abusive tactics, let them know it is not something that you support…..that it is not behavior that is OK.  Document things you see or hear….you never know when that information may be important to someone.  

Hopefully, there will be a day when domestic violence is eradicated.  To build toward that day, let each of us pledge to become a member of this village, and let each of us do our part to support victims and survivors of domestic violence.  We must also support law enforcement officers, court officials and others who are doing the work to end the problem of domestic violence.  If each of us does our part, we will be closer to finding a solution to this issue and ensuring lives of peace and safety for everybody.                                                       -Susie Kensil, Shelby County Coordinator

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back to School with the BABES Puppets

It is back to school time and the Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies (BABES) Program is getting ready for another busy school year. 

So what is the BABES Program? 

The BABES Program is a program which combines puppets, stories and discussions designed to help school children develop positive living skills.  For the Kindergarten thru 2nd grade the lessons include feelings and self-image, decision making and peer pressure, coping skills, alcohol and drug prevention, asking for help, and when you don’t know what to do.  For the 3rd grade lessons are expanded upon what they learned in a K-2nd grade program.  These lessons include, decision making and peer pressure about smoking, coping with divorce, dealing with feelings, bullying, and what to do when…

Dedicated BABES Volunteers bring the six week prevention program to K-3rd grade students in area schools.  Several of the BABES current volunteers have been facilitating in the classrooms for over 10 years.  The BABES Program is in 18 area schools and a goal that I have is to have the BABES Program in all area schools.  But the program needs more volunteers. 

So, if you have a love of children and a desire to make a difference…then being a BABES Volunteer is right for you!  If you would like more information or would like to attend the next training scheduled for September 17th please contact me at 217-428-6616 or email me at

This program is as important now, if not more important, as it was when it began in the 1970’s.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Volunteering with RSVP

One of our many dear RSVP Volunteers shared below a little bit about volunteering with the program.  RSVP Volunteers go out into the community, sharing their time and talents.  If you are 55 plus and are looking for quality ways to spend your volunteer time, please send us an email dove@doveinc.or or check our our web site to find out more.

RSVP members in Macon and DeWitt County volunteered 120,953 hours in our 12/13 FY
"I started volunteering when I retired in 1988 from Federal Kemper Insurance Company. I have been at many different sights done all kinds of things and picking the hours that I could help.
I started at the Office of Aging at the Civic Center filling out various forms and doing any other office duties that needed to be done. I have been at the Girl  Scout Office, Gift Shop at Nursing  Home, visiting shut ins, cutting out coupons, and at many other places that needed a volunteer. Just doing  what needed to be done.

I also was on the Senior Board at Dove and  also on the Senior Board at the Senior Center. Held many positions at both. I had several different directors at both places.

I am very limited in doing volunteering now. I miss it but I am glad I was able to do it in my lifetime.
You meet so many different people and a person gets more out of volunteering then she or he puts into it. It gives you a great feeling and makes life worthwhile."
Anastazia Dean

Friday, August 2, 2013

News from the Neighborhoods

How many remember the days of not having to lock your car doors, or your house doors for fear of strangers walking in, let alone a burglar? How many remember that a new face in your neighborhood just meant there was a new neighbor or someone had lost their way looking for an address, not someone casing the neighborhood looking for a house where the family is not home or who has alarms and who does not? Or how many of you could sit on your front porch and enjoy the evening listening to the quiet of the neighborhood, instead have to listen to  the constant booming of a stereo and watching ‘supposedly’ covert drug deals?

Most of these things are pretty much a reality now, and they can happen in the most upscale neighborhoods.  

The months of July and August are vacation times and there are increased home invasion instances reported during these months.  There is an Annual crime prevention awareness program called National Night Out [NNO] and it is just that - a National Awareness campaign to bring the problem of crime and drug trafficking in our neighborhoods to the forefront. The NNO event is always held the first Tuesday in August throughout the nation.  This year the date will be Tuesday, August 6th.

Over 15,700 cities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases around the world will host a variety of activities for the evening. A National Association of Town Watch representative states, “This is a night for America to stand together to promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity. National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight to build a safer nation. On NNO, we invite neighborhoods nationwide to join us in Giving Crime & Drugs a Going Away Party”. Here in Decatur we have participated in this program since the late ‘80’s.  The corporate sponsor for the past few years has been Target. This year the and Associa programs have come on board as sponsors.

Did you know -  A home burglary happens every 14.6 seconds somewhere in the United States. They enter your home via the first floor 81% of the time, 34% through the front door; 23% through a first-floor window; 22% through the back door. Property crime makes up slightly more than three-quarters of all crime in the United States. Most (62.4 percent) of residential burglaries take place during the day, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. As far as drug trafficking goes, it could invade all neighborhoods, whether inner city or the more affluent neighborhoods, and happen at any time of the day or night. These are just a few statistics on home burglary’s let alone the other crimes that could invade your neighborhood. Some of these burglaries or other illegal activities could have been prevented if they were seen and reported by a neighbor.  When you know the people that live around you and they know you it decreases the uncertainty and surprises of what goes on in your environment. They watch you house when you are gone and you return the favor when they are gone.

So please, help us celebrate an evening of anti-drug/crime awareness by visiting Mueller, Hess, or Fairview Parks between 5:30 and 8:00pm. Meet and greet your neighbors, strike up a relationship that works at preventing your neighborhood at becoming a ‘free for all’ for illegal activities. Don’t forget to turn on your porch light to show the unity of the program. Bring the family and have fun. Make sure you invite your neighbors and your friends.

Send a message to criminals that we are ‘watching them’ and we are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood for the Police!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bob Evans Fundraiser

If you're interested in supporting Dove's domestic violence program while eating amazing food, look no further. From August 1 to August 30, 6 AM - 9 PM, Bob Evans is hosting a fundraiser! If you come by Dove, you can pick up a flyer that you can present at the time you're ready to pay for your meal, and Bob Evans will donate 15% of your bill to Dove.

Thank you to Bob Evans managment and staff for helping support the fight against domestic violence!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sharing a comment...

Each summer, we make an effort to get comments from those volunteering, participating and clients of the many programs at Dove.  The questions asked vary from program to program, but below is one comment from the question asked "what has this help meant to you and your family?"

"Dove has provided me with a safe and supportive place to stay during one of the most difficult transitions of my life. In my relationship, I continually denied the abuse I was suffering, but the staff at Dove has help me to recognize and accept it for what it was. Just being able to say, "I was being abused," has been a big step for me. The Domestic Violence Program, here at Dove, has also provided me with information to help keep me safe in the future. It has included signs of an abuser to watch out for, as well as, how to get away from an abuser safely, should I ever find myself in a similar situation. This information has been invaluable in the confidence it has given me. Dove has helped me to make the first steps in taking hold of the fear and guilt my abuser instilled in me and putting it behind me." - Domestic Violence Program

Friday, July 12, 2013

Keep Your Cool This Summer!

RSVP Volunteer Opportunities:  KEEP YOUR COOL THIS SUMMER
Volunteer at these COOL in-door locations!

Decatur Public Library: Volunteer opportunities are always available in the local history room at the library.  Greet patrons, search files for information, do data entry, scan pictures.  Use your computer skills, help others and keep your cool all at the same time.  Call us at the RSVP Office for contact information at the library.

Decatur Macon County Senior Center: Volunteers are welcome to help out with the many ongoing events at the Center or with the Thrift Shop.  Call Leslie at 429.1239 if you are interested in spending some of your time there.

Girl Scouts of America: Call Jody at the Girl Scout Office at 234.0475.  Help her at the office preparing for events and activities for the Girl Scouts.

If you are not an enrolled member of RSVP of Macon and DeWitt Counties we invite you to join us.  Already volunteering in the community?  Why not let your volunteer hours be recorded to show others that Seniors are making a difference in the community.  It’s EASY!  Check us out at or call us at 217.428.6616 in Macon County or  217.935.2241 in DeWitt County.

Jan Pasier, RSVP Program Director


Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Anniversary Dove!

Last week I arrived for a meeting at our Clay Street location twenty minutes early. I wandered into an old storage room and found scrapbooks containing pictures, newspaper articles, and copies of Dove Tales from the past. It was startling to see how many people from the past continue to support us today. You were all a little thinner and a lot less gray but the energy and commitment jump off the pages.

This organization is rich in history. And as we approach our anniversary it is the perfect time to look back. Dove has thrived for more than four decades because of a commitment to mission. A simple concept - from our founding churches; to meet the unmet needs of the community. We have seen programs come and go. We look different today than we did five years ago; and I suspect we will look different in five years than we do today. But we recognize that the needs of the community constantly change. As an organization, we are aware and flexible enough to adapt to these changes. We do this work with Faith – faith in God, faith in each other, and faith in our community.

I’m filled with pride in what I have seen accomplished over the years. And I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit. There is a sense of ownership at Dove that we share with thousands of others. If you worked here for even a short time – YOU contributed to our success. If you volunteered with Dove in any capacity – YOU fueled our spirit. If you pray for the homeless, abused, or social justice – YOU give us hope.

The leadership team at Dove constantly asks the question “what is Dove?” We respect the history and honor the legacy of those who we serve and have served us. And as we look to the past at those thinner, less gray champions of Dove - we seek to find the next generation of lifetime supporters. How do we connect to them? How do we get them excited to serve our cause? We struggle with this question and we work hard seeking answers. But I suspect the answer to Dove’s future can be found in its past:

 A commitment to mission and faith; and a belief in all YOU can do.

Jim Walters – Executive Director  

Friday, June 28, 2013

I have been a contributor to the Dove blog since it began.  As a make my last blog post as a Dove staff member, I am filled with bittersweetness.  I have been at Dove for almost 10 years and I feel like I grew up here since I started when I was 18 years old.  I can't explain how amazing of an organization Dove is and I am so sad to be leaving, but excited too for what the future holds.  I have worked with so many wonderful people here who will all leave footprints on my heart.  We usually don't make the blog posts personal, but I felt like I should write what's on my mind as my last post.
Thank you to all of you who read the blog on a regular basis.  Please share it with your friends and family.  If there is anything specific you'd like to see on the blog in the future, please send feedback and ideas to
As always, thank you for supporting a great organization like Dove, Inc!
Finance Specialist

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Summer "Bucket List"

Today marks the first official day of summer, and mother nature agrees!  What are your plans this summer?  A friend of mine recently told me that her family is creating a summer "bucket list", a list of all the things they want to accomplish before school is back in session and cool fall weather arrives.

Her family has things on their list such as "go to the beach", "make smores", "catch lightning bugs" and "go fishing".  I thought this was a great idea since summer seems to fly by quicker each year.

But why not take it one step further?  How can we use the "bucket list" to give back?  I challenge you to make a summer bucket list and include at least 5 ideas for giving back on your list.  Here are some examples:
  • Help your neighbor mow on a hot day
  • Pull weeds at a local shelter (hey- I know someone that needs that done *wink*wink*!)
  • Clean out your kid's closet and donate some of their toys
  • Buy an extra box fan and donate it to a senior
  • Plan a neighborhood block party
  • Find a bargain on toiletries or diapers and donate them to one of Dove's programs
  • Get a head start on knitting Christmas stockings for the Christmas basket drive
  • ...the options are limited only by your imagination!
Go get started on your summer bucket list and enjoy the summer!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Last night (June 13th), Dove participated in an event celebrating Father’s Day with local families. The celebration was held at Garfield Park from 4-7 PM. Many people came out to enjoy the evening with their families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. We had a booth of information on three of our agency’s programs: BABES, Homeward Bound and Domestic Violence.
Several other local organizations participated, including the Decatur Police Department, Decatur Housing Authority, Pershing Early Learning, and others. It was the perfect evening for it; the weather was warm but not hot, and there was a nice breeze. Festivities included a bounce house for the kids, basketball (in which several police officers played with the children), a DJ and music, door prizes, and a demonstration from the K9 Unit.

Everyone I saw seemed to be in good spirits and enjoyed their time at the event, myself included. To those who couldn't make it: we hope you have a great Father's Day weekend. To those who did come out and join in the fun: thank you for coming out!
Did you attend the holiday celebration? If so, what did you enjoy the most?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer in Decatur Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods are alive and well in Decatur. Summertime is the best time for neighborhoods and their activities because we are a network of being outside enjoying the summer sun in our parks! The winter weather keeps us inside way too long. Who wants to picnic in the snow? The neighborhoods schedule, clean ups to make their area look good, they have pot luck picnics and regular picnics at a drop of a hat. Some of them have recruitment celebrations to bring in new members, summer gardens to share with their small community, and there are even neighborhoods that work with the Park District and their Free Lunch Program in the parks. If you notice most of these activities involve food. What better way to get to know your neighbors than a picnic or a dinner. Down through the years people have been doing things like this over food. Then to wrap everything up is the large celebration of National Night Out and give a going away party for crime. Soon after then it will be time to return to school.

 This year there are going to be some Block Parties, and neighborhood walks with the city governments, art classes, and celebrations in some of the parks for special occasions not to mention the neighborhoods that have park concession stands. There is nothing any more appetizing than smelling freshly popped popcorn coming from a park especially when there is a ball game in that neighborhood park that’s free to watch.

The best part of working in and with your neighbors is to work at creating relationships with the people you see every day, every week, every year whether it’s across your fences or out on the street when you are leaving and coming home. You all watch same seasons change and you watch each other’s children grow up. And in worst cast scenarios you are there in emergencies for each other.  Sometimes it’s a bond that lasts for years. So take advantage of activities in your neighborhood, it doesn’t cost a thing except a small portion of your time.
-Francie Johnson, Dove Community Services/Decatur Area Project Director

Friday, May 31, 2013

Change is in the Air

As we reported on the blog a couple weeks back, today was Joan Meeder's last day and at 4:30pm today she will be officially retired.

We also said good-bye to Stacey Brohard, MAX Coordinator, today as he moves to his new position as Executive Director of Good Samaritan Inn.  He will surely be missed.  Below is a picture of Stacey at the potluck that staff hosted for him today.  Because we can't say good-bye and good-luck without some food involved!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In case you didn’t know it, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Like most social service agencies, Dove, Inc. provides services for a wide variety of people who may be suffering from various mental health disorders. A few of these include depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Over the last decade or so, there have been valuable strides in the field of mental health, although there is no one size fits all approach to treating mental illness. The important thing to remember if you are suffering from any kind of mental health disorder is that you CAN be helped, and it is not your fault. The majority of mental illness is caused from abnormal brain chemistry, and that is something that in most cases, can be treated.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, please don’t give up hope. Help is available.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

RSVP Director Retires After 14 Years

Joan Meeder, RSVP Director since 1999, is retiring as of May 31.  Her replacement, current RSVP Program Assistant Janet Pasier, will take over on June 1.  Joan has given her time and talents to the RSVP program for fourteen years and the volunteers love her.  Would you believe she calls every RSVP Volunteer on their birthday!?  Joan will be difficult to replace, but she has been and will be training Jan until her last day to ensure a smooth transition.  The RSVP Volunteers are in good hands with Jan!

If you’d like to wish Joan farewell, please send correspondence to 788 E. Clay St.  Decatur, IL 62521 or email

Happy Retirement, Joan!  You will be missed!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

National Police Week 2013

On behalf of all advocates, victims and citizens in Illinois I want to thank our law enforcement officers for the outstanding work they do in helping keep our streets and communities safe.

National Police Week is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the important role the men and women of our forces play.  They carry out their demanding and often dangerous roles with incredible dedication, professionalism and pride.

We should also take this opportunity to thank the families of these law enforcement professionals.  Quite often, these families live through the daily worry that comes with having a loved one serve on the front- lines of law enforcement.  All across our county, in our communities, on our highways and waterways, at ports of entry and airports law enforcement officers work hard to help ensure the safety of our families and the protection of our communities.

Law enforcement is a challenging yet incredibly rewarding profession.  Policing activities have become increasingly diverse, complex and global.  The knowledge and expertise our officers are required to attain, the time spent maintaining specialized skills and the sophistication of their work highlight the important role these men and women play in our day-to-day lives.

When a law enforcement officer responds to any call they put their life on the line.  However, research states that a domestic violence call could be the most dangerous call they will go on.  A law enforcement officer may be the first and only person a victims sees after an assault.  Information about victims’ rights and services are vital to the victims safety.  We honor our local, county and state police for their valuable contributions towards our common goal, to protect victims and hold abusers accountable.

Thank You Law Enforcement Officers for all you do!

 Mary R. Hughes, Moultrie County Coordiantor

Friday, May 3, 2013

Unleash the Power of Age

Ever since 1963, May has been a month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions to our communities. The theme for Older Americans Month 2013 AUnleash the Power of Age,@ has never been more fitting. Older Americans are productive, active, and influential members of society, sharing essential talents, wisdom, and life experiences with their families, friends, and neighbors.

While Dove and RSVP provide volunteering opportunities in our community to older Americans year-round, Older Americans Month is a great opportunity to show special appreciation for our beloved citizens. We wish to express a sincere AThank You@ to all RSVP volunteers for playing an important role by continuing to engage in helping to improve lives and strengthen our community. As a community, we flourish as a result of your service to others.

Silvia, Jan and Joan
RSVP Staff Members

Friday, April 26, 2013


Volunteers, people making a difference, tackling tough jobs, dirty jobs, complicated jobs, rewarding jobs. People giving guidance to one other person or people giving guidance to the agency as a whole.

Dove wouldn't be Dove without volunteers. They come from congregations, schools, their work place and from retiring. Some are committed for the long term, some are happy to help with a short term need and move on to another area.

Most Dove program would cease to exist without volunteers. Some would remain, but would look very very different without the compassionate service of volunteers.

So as this National Volunteer Recognition Week comes to a close, again we say thank you to the volunteers of Dove. Looking forward, we can't wait to see what's next, and our volunteers will be a major part of the plans!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrate Earth Day!

Celebrate Earth Day!

On Saturday, April 20th, Dove’s Community Recycling Center is having a special event for Earth Day!  In honor of this, we will be offering .50 per pound for aluminum cans.  Alpha Chi Omega sorority from Millikin will be there helping us.  The event is from 8am to 1pm at 130 W. Cerro Gordo.

Did you know?
ü  We have new hours!  Thu:  Noon-5pm  Fri & Sat:  8am-Noon
ü  We work with Macon County Environmental Management picking up recycled paper at the schools across the county.  We probably pick up at your child’s school!
ü  The Dove Recycle Center is all about the COMMUNITY.  Because of that, you have three options when recycling your cans:
1)      Keep the earnings for yourself
2)      Donate the earnings to Dove, Inc.
3)      Donate the earnings to your local church or favorite community organization

Come out and visit us and show your support for Earth Day!

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...