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!

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...