Friday, December 12, 2014

Insider's View of the Christmas Baskets

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty in his State of the Union address. Fifty years later, how have American families advanced? We are not too much altered 50 years later in 2014. When you visit your local stores I’m sure you have noticed everything is rising except our pay. Most of us have had to learn to get by on less, and tight budgets are a necessity to make ends meet. Well, what happens to the families that are already getting by on less? These days, families have to persevere. Not to build moral character but in order to survive. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice the federal poverty level to meet their most basic needs In some households they are not meeting those basic needs.

Christmas especially is a time when my heart goes out to those families, and the homeless. It’s a hard lesson to learn to count the blessings you have, and not dwell on the blessings you don’t. Many families are discouraged when they are trying so hard to survive all year round and then, here comes Christmas. What do you say to a child when there is no extra money to buy gifts, even a small one? What do you say to a child that believes in Santa when Santa won’t be coming to their house this year?  ‘Belief’ is right up there with ‘dreams’ and that’s what we want for all children. I myself never want to see that sense of wonder of hearing the Christmas Story, the ‘Gift of the Magi (teaching about unselfish love), or A Christmas Carol (teaching about generosity, kindness, compassion and the universal love for your community) gone from a child’s world of wonder. Families sometimes struggle so much every day to make ends meet through no fault of their own that the pleasures of life have been worn away. The homeless are also longing for an end to the aloneness caused by being homeless and the accusatory looks from passerby’s that can’t even imagine what it would be like. It is not for us to judge any fellow human being, just open your heart and let your love be passed from one human to another, its that simple. Don’t over think it.

When I see the outpouring of donations during our Christmas Basket Drive it reminds me of the many individuals that show love for one another. Our city is known for tremendous outpouring when a need arises. But there are also those that judge.

The basket programs in Decatur do a service for families and they do it well. When the meaning of Christmas leaves your heart and you complain about the commercialization of Christmas or the money that is spent, or not spent (for the benefit of the business owners) reevaluate what have you have done to put back into the meaning of Christmas. My Christmas is much more meaningful after coordinating the preparing of around 350 families Christmas Baskets knowing their Christmas will be more enjoyable for them and their children! Much more meaningful watching the number of volunteers that come out in all kinds of weather to help with the baskets and watching all the donations that comes to us to make all those baskets possible. Placing your happiness in the happiness of others is what Christmas has come to be part of. Christmas means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? To some it’s just a word, to Christians it marks the day that God loved us so much he gave us a wonderful gift. The gift of pure unselfish love and the ability to love our fellow man!

 What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. ~Agnes M. Pahro

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanza, H

Francie Johnson, Program Director Community Services/Decatur Area Project

Christmas Basket Drive Coordinator

Francie (R) with MHS Representative and their donation of Christmas Socks, 2013

Insider 's view of the Christmas Baskets

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. I’m actually pretty sure it’s in my genetic makeup to love the season. My grandma has always decorated her house and yard from high to low, bright lights and plastic Santa’s and multiple Christmas trees shine from Thanksgiving night til New Year’s in her neighborhood. Some of my earliest memories involve listening to my mom’s Elvis Presley Christmas decorations as I sat amidst our own house’s decorations in progress.

Ten years ago it took on a very different meaning for me. I started working at Dove in August of 2004, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that in addition to all of its other programs, Dove, along with Northeast Community Fund, did an annual Christmas basket drive for those who need it. I still remember showing up in the basement of First United Methodist Church, where the baskets are organized and put together, that first year.

Some tables were piled high with hats, gloves and scarves. Others were piled with toys, separated by gender and age. Still others were piled with clothing and shoes and things like blankets and towels. IN addition to all the tables of donations, there were numerous volunteers bustling around. Some were sorting hats and gloves, others counting toys to see how many we still needed in order to fill the baskets. I felt overwhelmed, but in that good way you feel when you realize how much people are doing to help others.

Over the years, I’ve done a bit of all the different jobs that need done during Christmas Baskets Week. But last year was my first year that I was a Community Services staff member. The Community Services Program organizes everything at the church. But long before that week, as I discovered last year, we begin collecting and counting, talking to volunteers who want to help, talking to people who want to adopt families for Christmas, and working on all of the paperwork that has to be done in advance for the week.

Countless staff and volunteer hours are poured into making sure that anywhere from 350 to 400 families have food and gifts on Christmas day. It’s a heartening reminder of what the true Christmas spirit is all about, and every year since, it’s something I’ve looked forward to.

Angie Williams, Community Organizer
Community Services, Decatur Area Project

Angie working at the 2013 drive.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quiet Nights

My name is Cynthia Farrington and I have been employed at Dove since 2005, in which I was hired on 2nd shift as Shelter Specialist, in this position it has lots on duties to the shelter itself.

One that I like was being advocate to single women and women with children who came into shelter.  I really enjoy working with the clients because it challenged me to empower them to take their life back, and to learn more about the cycle of abuse.

It also helps me to encourage clients to face their fears with staff's help  and to set goals that they thought was lost.

It also challenged me in where I couldn't be judgmental to the abuser but to be more empowering to the victims of Domestic Violence.

So with this said I do miss 2nd shirt and all the challenges it brings, however, I am no longer on this shift.   I work the Overnight shift which is 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Monday-Friday.  It is a quieter shift and less active with client interactions at times and I may not get to have lots of contact with the clients at time, but when I do late at night I still encourage them with empowerment even 15 minutes its just enough to let them know that the Dove Staff care and is here for clients day and night - after all - the shelter is open 24 hours.

In closing I would like to say my journey here at Dove, Inc. has been good one and I wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China.

Cynthia Farrington
Night Shelter Specialist

Friday, November 21, 2014

With Our Gratitude

This past week and this upcoming weekend, we have been hosting extra events as our local part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.  We have called our local campaign #END, looking to END hunger and Homelessness in our neighborhoods and cities.  The Macon County Continuum of Care, Advisory Committee spearheaded the planning of this year's events.

November 14 was Box City on the Campus of Millikin University.  Millkin Students and members of area congregation's youth groups joined together to learn and in a small way, experience a night of homelessness.

November 19, individuals were taken on a different type of trolley tour of the city, heading past many of the agencies which work with hunger and homelessness issues on a daily basis.  Members of our community who had been homeless and now are successfully on the other side shared their stories.

This weekend, a young man as put together a food drive on the west side of town to serve as his Eagle Scout project.  Kudos to Ben Young and his family and friends for taking that service project on.  And on Sunday, First Baptist Church is hosting a concert featuring "Dual Piano" to bring awareness to the issue and to collect warm items.

Thanks to our local media that has shared time to bring some awareness of these issue to their viewers and listeners and readers.

NHHAW is schedule each year the week before Thanksgiving with the thought as before we gather with our friends and families, we take a moment to reflect and do something to help those who find themselves in need.  The week is almost over, but you can check Dove's website to continue to keep informed and to see what events are coming in the months to come.

Thanks to all who made the plans, to all who participated in the events and to the many, many who donated time, talents, funding and items this week.  We are grateful for it all.  And please let us be among the many to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Coats for Kids!

Coats for Kids is collecting coats, gently used and new,  to get into the hands of families in need – warm winter coats for their children.   This is the 23rd  annual drive, cosponsored by Dove, Inc., and WAND-TV.  We want to make it as easy as possible for people to make a donation of a coat.   Coats of all sizes may be dropped off at the following locations, through November 30:

Changing Images Salon and Spa and D&D Custom Woodworking, 1960 S. Taylorville Road, Decatur

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 Earthmover Credit Union  2600 Dividend Dr., 4855 Aldi Dr.,
260 W. Marion Ave in Forsyth

Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin Street, Decatur

Decatur Township, 1620 Taylorville Road, Decatur

GT Church, 500 S. 27th Street, Decatur

Jane’s Cleaners, 664 W. Eldorado, Decatur          

Jerger Pediatric Dentistry, P.C., 2101 N. Main, Decatur

Krogers,    Airport Plaza, Fairview Plaza, South Shores Plaza, Brettwood

Land of Lincoln Credit Union, East Mound, North Oakland, Aldi Drive Decatur

Longcreek Township, 2610 Salem School road, Longcreek

Macon County Building, 141 S. Main, Decatur

Moweaqua Nursing Home and Retirement Center 525 S. Macon, Moweaqua

Papa Murphy’s  Mound and Rt. 51 South

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, Decatur

Soy Capital Bank and Trust, --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

Check your closets and consider the good you can do by donating any coats you no longer need.  

Participating cleaners make sure the coats are ready to be distributed by the participating clothing room:

Northeast Community Fund, 825 N. Water Street, Decatur
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
All sizes

Antioch  Baptist Church, 516 N. Church Street, Decatur
Tuesday, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
All sizes

New Life Pregnancy Center, 1698 E. Pershing Road, Decatur
Mondays, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays,  9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Maternity Clothing and children's clothing infant to 5

Salvation Army, 229 W. Main, Decatur
Monday - Friday, 1:00 to 3:30 PM
All sizes

Dove Clothing Room
Prairie Avenue Christian Church, 2201 E. Prairie, Decatur
Monday - Thursday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
children's sizes
(adult coats available through coat drive only)

Northwest Christian Church, 1306 N. Stanley Ave., Decatur
Thursdays, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
all sizes

Reasonable Service, 321 E. Leafland, Decatur
Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
all sizes

1,717 coats were distributed to clothing rooms in 2913.  We are hoping to do about 2,200 this year!

Monday, October 27, 2014

A View from the Beginning

Hi, my name is Patty Plato and my position at Dove, Inc. is the Domestic Violence Shelter Coordinator. I have been an employee since October 1985. I started out as a Vista volunteer and got a permanent position after nine months into my five year assignment. 

Working at Dove has opened my mind and heart. I went from being the Resource Specialist who coordinated volunteers and staff for shelter coverage and on-call, to the Shelter Coordinator in 1987 when the domestic violence program moved from a four unit apartment house to the ten bedrooms at the old St. James convent where I became in charge of non-direct services and oversaw the daily running of the building, as well as filling in where needed to assist co-workers. In 1985 rarely would we get a call from a male victim admitting to being abused.  Nowadays it is part of the norm.  The female victims long ago came to Dove with abuse being their primary issue. Housing and financial assistance was available. 

The clients coming to Dove now have problems with employment, housing, substance abuse, language barriers and mental health. The Domestic Violence program offers shelter; help with getting orders of protection, Healthy Families and Domestic Violence Education and Support Group. The staff advocates for clients making appropriate referrals to other agencies to coordinate the services to better help the clients. What a great team to work with. 

The need for volunteers is always on-going and the program offers two trainings a year. If someone reading this would like to return as a volunteer or to become a volunteer please contact Barb Blakey or myself, Monday through Friday 8-4p.

Patty Plato

Patty is the current employee who has been with Dove the longest. Patty, in the Dove shirt, seen here with longtime volunteer Sandy Stacey.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bringing New Ideas back to the Neighborhoods

In September I attended my second Regional Neighborhood Network Conference. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the RNNC is a three day conference where community organizers, neighborhood group members, and many others attend workshops together and exchange ideas to bring back to our respective cities, neighborhoods, and communities.

This year, many individuals from Decatur attended the event, including myself and the director of Dove’s Community Services program, Francie Johnson. Seventeen neighborhood volunteers from seven local neighborhood groups joined us on our voyage to Richmond, Indiana. For those who’ve never been there, Richmond, Indiana, is a city of about 38,000 people. There are many successful individually owned businesses and individuals that rolled out the metaphorical red carpet for the 300 some attendees, offering discounted meals and welcoming us with signs and friendly smiles.
This year’s conference offered a wide variety of workshops for people to attend -- everything from the basics of organizing a neighborhood group to talking to your local politicians, to how some communities are using art as an agent of change, to literacy, health and wellness, and hunger issues facing our neighborhoods.

In addition to networking and sharing a wealth of information, each year there is a recipient of the Stella Stewart Award, which is an honor given to one who has gone well above and beyond in the neighborhood, proving themselves to be a true leader. There were only four nominees this year, and one was from Decatur. Though she didn’t win the overall regional title, she is still Decatur’s Stella Stewart Award winner. Her name is Consuelo Cruz, and she’s from the neighborhood group called Southside Improvement Association (SIA).

Because of her excellent work in her own neighborhood, as well as her collaboration with Decatur Public Schools and Richland Community College that resulted in a dual credit African American studies course, and also because of her creation of the successful “20 Women” program that pairs young women with successful professional women in a mentoring situation, she has more than earned the nomination from our city.

For those interested in attending the next Regional Neighborhood Networking Conference, you need to get involved in your neighborhood group! If one doesn’t exist where you live, we can help you get one started. Just give us a call at 428-6616 and ask for Francie or Angie.

Angie Williams

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Volunteer's View

After attending the Courtney Queeney lecture:

As a relatively long-time DOVE volunteer, I was going to write a blog from the angle of what touches me most about my experiences interacting with clients, and why I took that first step to take the training sessions and become active at the shelter.  The answer is simple - the children.  They are the most vulnerable, helpless, and potentially scarred for life due to circumstances they did not create, and are powerless to change.  The upcoming Candlelight service will highlight that in a very touching, poignant way.  However, after hearing Courtney speak, her words all too familiar (DV scenarios usually have strikingly similar patterns), I felt a need to expand on a point she made about what "the children" and budding young adults are (and are not) taught in school and society in general. 

Courtney rattled off a list of things, starting with Elementary school topics - fire drills, don't talk to strangers, etc., and later, on to "safe sex" and STD prevention, and many other things, but never any mention of domestic violence, its potential to affect anyone, its causes, warning signs, and ways to deal with unsafe partners and stalkers.  I have often thought about how valuable my current knowledge would have been "way back when" I was of dating age...those "bad-news boyfriends" who were oh, so romantic, exciting, and so "in love" with me!  I was  very lucky to have emerged intact, whereas so many young girls have not.  That (predominantly male) personality profile that is incredibly intense, obsessive, and eventually all-controlling of his victim, is  so romantic at first!  All those  fairy tales read to us in childhood, all those romantic movies and novels, seem to come to life! 

It reminded me of how quickly a casual dating relationship can turn into a stalking situation, too.  There are so many dangers that can't be avoided entirely, but some knowledge, or forewarning, of danger certainly is warranted.  That is why I am so very supportive of DOVE's efforts, both with the BABES program for the younger ages, and for the programs Joyce Kirkland presents to high schoolers about dating relationships.  Decatur is really doing something special!  And girls out there, please - stop looking for Prince Charming to take care of you!  There is only dependence at the other end, with someone else dictating the rules you must follow.  Grow up strong, and "carry your own weight!"  Even the healthiest of relationships are bound to have their difficult moments, and all long-term relationships require effort on the part of both parties.  Thank you, Courtney, for reminding us all that there is that strong element of caution we all must have when entering into an intimate relationship, and thank you DOVE for spreading the word, as well as helping  DV victims understand the dynamics of DV,  and start to rebuild their lives.

Judith Mancinelli

Shelter volunteer

Friday, October 10, 2014

It Is Your Business

If you are a sports fan, and especially a fan of the NFL, you probably knew before February 15, 2014, that Ray Rice was a running back for the Baltimore Ravens.  If you follow sports through various media outlets, you probably knew that on that date Ray Rice and his fiancĂ©e, Janay Palmer, were arrested for domestic battery at an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino.  Video surfaced of Rice dragging the mother of his child from an elevator; she was face down and obviously unconscious. Charges against Ms. Palmer were dropped.  Rice was indicted on felony domestic battery  charges by a grand jury on March 27.  He was subsequently offered a diversion program for first-time offenders which enabled him to attend counseling and avoid having the case on his record if he did not re-offend.   During this time, he was supported by his coach and team as a “fine young man who made a mistake”.  On March 28, one day after the grand jury indictment, Ray Rice and Janay Palmer were married.  Commissioner Roger Goodell, the allegedly brilliant attorney who is commissioner of the NFL handled the matter by interviewing Janay and Ray Rice about the incident together and evidently believing that in some fashion her being dragged unconscious from an elevator was her fault as she claimed.  Goodell announced in July that Ray Rice would be suspended for two games for this egregious conduct.  By this time, it became harder for anyone who is connected to any media outlets not to know who Ray Rice was.  There was an immediate and loud outcry from all aspects of society that this was a ridiculous punishment for the crime committed.  People, men and women alike, interpreted Goodell’s action, or inaction, as a lack of respect for domestic violence victims and women in general.  In late August, Goodell admitted he had mishandled the matter and strengthened the NFL policy against domestic violence offenders.   By September 8, 2014, it was almost impossible to be unaware of Ray Rice and this case.  Video was released from security cameras in the casino plainly showing the couple entering the elevator exchanging words.  Ray Rice spat on Janay twice; when she moved toward him he dropped her with one punch.  She hit her head on a railing on the way down and was knocked unconscious.  The subsequent outcry from the video created a massive media firestorm.   The story led national newscasts as well as sportscasts.  The Ravens immediately released “the fine young man” from his contract; the NFL suspended him indefinitely.  Officials claimed seeing the video “changed everything”, although it is not completely certain at this time if this truly was the first time these people actually saw the video.

On the heels of the Ray Rice case, came allegations of child abuse against the Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson.  After three or four days of “No, he won’t play” and “Yes, he will play” the Vikings decided he would not play.  He was placed on a previously unknown “Commissioner’s List” and Vikings ownership looked completely incompetent.  Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers was convicted of domestic battery July 15 after a bench trial; he exercised his right to appeal the conviction.  A jury trial has been set for later this year.  The Panthers continued to allow him to play pending the new trial.  He also was placed on the Commissioner’s List in mid-September. Ray McDonald….Jonathan Dwyer…..all names becoming too familiar after DV arrests.   Dwyer has been put on the inactive list, but McDonald continues to play.  Soccer player Hope Solo also faces DV charges and continues to play.

If you are reading this article, and you have deduced that the NFL has a domestic violence problem, you are partly correct.  They certainly have a problem in the way they handle perpetrators of this crime.  They have minimized the situations for far too long.  They are being forced by the public outcry to strengthen their policies and the way they deal with offenders.  It remains to be seen how effective their changes will be.  The real truth of the matter is that society has a domestic violence problem. Every nine seconds, a woman is beaten.  An estimated one to four million people in America are physically abused by an intimate partner.  95% of these victims are women and children.  American companies spend an estimated $3 to $5 billion dollars per year on medical expenses related to domestic violence.  Domestic violence is blind to age, economic status, education level or social class.  It can and does happen everywhere.   It can happen just as easily to the judge’s wife as to the janitor’s.  In Illinois, 300,000 women are abused each year.  Domestic violence is the most common and least reported crime.  Domestic violence has no relationship to anger or the perpetrator’s losing control after being upset with the victim.  It is always about the abuser maintaining power and control over the victim. 

Domestic violence is not something that “happens in the home”; it is a crime just like bank robbery or burglary.  It is not a problem of the NFL, or any specific ethnic community, or the lower class, or any of those things.  It is a problem of our society, of our world, of our town, of our neighborhood.  It is not “their” problem……….it is your problem, it is my problem, it is our problem.  As we begin the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let us all recognize that this crime is our business and do everything we can to eliminate it.  If you think something is happening in your neighborhood that is not right, make the call to law enforcement.  If someone comes to you for help, connect them with your local domestic violence program.  If you want education or information about DV, contact your local program; they will be happy to help you.   Do whatever you can each day to make domestic violence your business.

Susie Kensil
Shelby County Coordinator

Friday, October 3, 2014

Get Involved

In April of this year, Alison Elsea (Macon Co. Child Advocacy Ctr) wrote on Child Abuse Awareness month.  In light of the recent child abuse indictment against NFL player Adrian Peterson and the other domestic violence issues surrounding the NFL it has brought the problem more attention and discussion as we go into October for Domestic Violence Awareness month. 
I think most people do not give domestic violence much thought during their daily routines, but the media coverage of high profile athletes have made it impossible to ignore.   Among my own social circle I’ve heard people express outrage and sadness while feeling helpless.  But there is always something you can do.  If you are dissatisfied with the penalties imposed on the players by the NFL make your voice heard to the league.  You can make your voice heard to your representatives on the legislation covering abuse and vote accordingly.  And most importantly you can educate yourself on the signs of domestic violence and the impact that it has on your community and nation.   Directly, or indirectly, domestic violence touches us all and it thrives when we are silent.  The National Network to End Domestic Violence has listed on their website 31 things we can do each day in the month of October to raise awareness and join the efforts to end the violence.   (

 Lorie Zeck, Domestic Violence Volunteer

Friday, September 5, 2014

9-11 Day of Service Event

RSVP of Macon and DeWitt Counties has paired up with Cell Phones for Soldiers for our 9-11 Day of Service Event.  We are asking residents to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 200,000 troops are serving in the United States military overseas around the world. By donating to Cell Phones For Soldiers, area residents can provide a lifeline for America’s bravest.

RSVP will be holding a collection drive from 10am to 2pm on September 11, 2014 at 302 S. Union St. (Lower level parking lot) RSVP Staff and Volunteers will be on site to collect your donated cellular phones, and for your convenience we will collect right from your car window!!

If you are unable to pass through on September 11, 2014 from 10am to 2pm please feel free to stop by the RSVP office to donate by the end of the month.
Donation receipts will be available on site. 

For more information contact Charlie Gillaspie RSVP Director at 217-428-6616 

Cell Phones For Soldiers Inc. is a national nonprofit dedicated to serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 210 million “Minutes That Matter” to servicemen and women. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 2,500 veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest pages.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Volunteer Training

BABES, Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies, is a program of Dove, Inc., which brings worthwhile life skill lessons to children in grades K-3rd.

BABES is seeking additional volunteers to cover all of the classrooms requesting this valuable program for the Fall Semester. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of 6 to 10 year olds, please attend the BABES Volunteer Training:

Saturday, September 6, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or Thursday, September 18, 10:00 to 1:00
K - 2nd grade presentation
Thursday, September 18, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., 3rd grade presentations
302 S. Union, Decatur
Training is free but registration is required.

This volunteer commitment is usually an hour a week for six weeks and that covers two classrooms. The presentations are made in pairs. Bring a friend who can be your partner or be teamed with a person during the training.  For more information, to register your attendance, or to find out about other training opportunities, please contact Sandy Laesch, Coordinator, at 428-6616, ext. 2244, or

Friday, August 8, 2014

Looking Ahead

Make plans now to attend one of or all of these events for Dove, part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in October.  Check our website to see other ways to advocate, volunteer, learn about and support the program.

"A Night of Awareness" preview event to National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
sponsored by Domestic Violence Program's CADV
Thursday, September 25, 6:00 p.m.
 Decatur Public Library
Courtney Queeney, guest speaker
This event will bring awareness of the services of the Domestic Violence Program,  to let the public know of other upcoming events as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Speaker will share from her personal experiences.

Candlelighting Ceremonies
Shelby County, Thursday, October 2
Macon County, Thursday,  October 16  
DeWitt County,  Monday, October 13
Moultrie County, Thursday, October 23

Domestic Violence Education and Volunteer Training
Monday - Thursday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. beginning November 3rd and ending on November 19th. 
Dean Simcox Conference Room, 302 S. Union, Decatur

Registration will begin after Monday, September 8

Dine at BobEvans in Decatur during the month of October and they will donate a portion of your bill's total to the program.  A very easy way to help us out.  

Check back to for additional information.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Close look at the Neighborhoods

As Dove reaches its 44th  anniversary this year, I’m approaching my ten year anniversary with the agency. I began working in the domestic violence program in August of 2004, as the administrative specialist. I was fresh out of college, and eager to work at a place that had such a good reputation for helping people. It’s not a choice I’ve ever regretted making. Last October I resigned from my position in the domestic violence program in order to take a full time position with Dove’s Community Services Program.

I’d heard things about what the community services program did for years at staff meetings, and helped out with the Christmas Baskets program in December each year since I began working here, but as I imagine is true with any new job, I had no clue the scope of the work that was done until I got started. Since starting my position as Community Organizer, I have seen firsthand the amount of work that goes into organizing and maintaining a neighborhood group. I’ve also become a firm believer in the importance of having one available. Neighborhood groups are beneficial in many ways. Members who are involved help look out for one another, and for the other people in their neighborhoods as well, which is important for safety reasons. It makes people more aware of the issues and also the positive things in their community. Neighborhoods help keep members in touch with key people such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, local politicians, and others who are a wealth of helpful knowledge and information. There’s also a social aspect to neighborhood groups. Keeping in regular touch with your neighbors helps foster a sense of safety, health, and community.

I haven’t been in this position for quite a year yet, but I’ve learned so much about organizations such as CONO (Coalition of Neighborhood Organizations), DAPB (Decatur Area Project Board), and met so many wonderful, dedicated people from both groups, and from all of the neighborhoods that we work with. I have a lot to learn still, and I’m so excited to be a part of it all.

If you’re interested in learning about neighborhood groups, whether it’s finding out if there’s one in your neighborhood, or if you’re wanting to get one started, please give us a call. We’re here to help.

Angie Williams

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


When many of us hear the word “poor”, negative images come to our minds.  We think of the aggressive panhandler that interrupted or scared us.  We think of the stereotypical addict and the criminal.  While those persons have their own desperate needs, they are only a small percentage of the persons who come to the MAX program each day for assistance.  Most of the faces who come in are pleasant, caring and appreciative.  They are often the strong women who are taking care of the children and grandchildren of others.  They are the responsible men who are trying to handle things well in difficult times.  As I pass them by in the hallway, they often greet me warmly and ask how I am.  After they talk with the volunteers and Shane Hartman, they often they leave with a thank you and a relief that they will be able to obtain the medicine or other help they need for themselves or for others.  I often wonder if I would be so pleasant if I had been born in their life situations or carried the loads they carry.   I wonder if I could be gracious while humbling myself to ask for help.   I thank God that the MAX program makes it easy for me to help others.   I thank God that DOVE and  the MAX program is there for those good people.  
Kent King-Nobles, First United Methodist Church

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What if?

Well, the excitement was building…a little nervous but mostly excited!  I got a new job as Shelter Specialist at Dove Domestic Violence!  I was so excited!! It sounded like something I had always wanted to do!  My first day of work was supposed to have been January 6th, 2014, but it ended up being a snow day.  So, the excitement and nervousness would be put off for another day.  I was pretty nervous not having worked full time for about five plus years, but knew this was going to be something special!  I was ready for a challenge, and a challenge, indeed, it was! 

Let’s fast forward to today, July 22nd,  2014, and see if I’m still that nervous and excited!  Nervous…no, thank goodness!  Excited…yes!  Going back to work full time at the age of 58 was a little scary, to say the least.  Of course, all of the questions flooded my mind, “What if I can’t catch on?”  “What if I’m too old?”  “What if I can’t remember anything?” “What if….what if…what if?”   Finally, I asked myself, “What if I can do it?”  “What if I love it?”  “What if I can remember?”  “What if it all works out?”  Six months later and I absolutely love my job!  It is everything I dreamed of and more!  I work with a great group of women that are so compassionate and knowledgeable and I admire each of them!  The women and children that come into the shelter have blessed me in so many ways.  I tell them they are some of the strongest women I have ever met!  Some of them come in so downtrodden with just a little spark of light left and by the time they leave here I see their confidence, determination and desire to keep on going  growing stronger each and every day.  I am humbled and blessed to be a small part of such an amazing organization which truly loves and cares for those who are powerless and hurt.  “What if I help one woman gain her confidence?”  “What if I comfort a child who is afraid and scared?”  “What if I listen to a woman express her fears while her tears are flowing?”  “What if” can be discouraging or encouraging, a stumbling block or a stepping stone.  Depending on the words following “What if” you and I can make a difference to a woman struggling to find shelter, hope and peace.  What if you decided to accept the challenge to volunteer in one of the many positions available at Dove that need someone just like YOU?!?  And, what if you, like myself, truly end up enjoying it?

                                                        Cheryl Carpenter

Friday, July 18, 2014

It started with VISTA

Not long ago on a hot and wringingly humid Saturday afternoon, I was outside, door-knocking for a political party (I’ve leave you to guess which one). Ambling down a shady sidewalk on South Illinois Street, I greeted a couple lounging on their front porch. The woman called out, “Fred? Is that you?”

I recognized the voice immediately as that of Earlestine Dandy. I hurried up the steps and we hugged. Later, we sat on lawn chairs and reminisced of the days when she was a VISTA Volunteer. Back in the 1970s Earlestine was a low-income mother eking out a meager existence. But she is as responsible as anyone for the creation of the Community Health Improvement Center (CHIC).

One key piece of Dove’s past is the organization’s fling with the VISTA Volunteer program. Forty years ago, I was at the center of it.

In 1974, the Torrence Park Citizens Committee, a neighborhood group that employed me as its community organizer, was going out of business. The TPCC (as it was known) had developed a VISTA project. VISTA is a federal program; the acronym stands for “Volunteers in Service to America.”

As it met its self-imposed demise, the TPCC willed its VISTA project to Dove. The plan was for me to come to Dove as part of the package to manage the VISTA Volunteers’ work. However, Dove’s board wasn’t sure it wanted this bequest. Dove had up to that point survived on donations from churches and individuals, and its board was not at all excited about accepting its first piece of government support.

One late summer evening, the board sat at a table in the organization’s decrepit bungalow at 1112 East Locust Street. As the director – and only paid staff – Ray Batman recommended that the board accept the VISTA project. I sat nervously; this was my first Dove meeting, and my only future job prospect was on the line.

After a long and heated discussion the board voted (not unanimously) to take on the project. This decision led in future years to Dove undertaking such other grant-funded programs as RSVP, Domestic Violence, and Community Services. But at that time, it led only to Dove taking over the management of VISTA Volunteers.

For the next three years, my one and only job was to coordinate and oversee the work of VISTA Volunteers from a dingy and smoky office in the southeast corner of the Dove House basement. Gotta say, I enjoyed that job as much as any I’ve had before or since.

The project Dove inherited and later managed was a great one. We used a mix of local Decatur people and “national VISTAs,” who were mostly recent college graduates. At times we had as many as a score of VISTAs in town. Each one worked for a year or more and received a modest living allowance. Their dedicated work led to the creation of CHIC, legal assistance services, credit counseling, a nonprofit housing corporation, and numerous youth programs.

To form CHIC, VISTA Earlestine worked with Ray and me, and with another local VISTA, Shirley White, who is now Shirley Paceley, the internationally-known director of Blue Tower Training, based in Decatur. Other Decatur-grown VISTAs who left their mark on our community include my wonderful ex-sister-in-law Anita Buckner, recently retired from a long career in youth development, and former Macon County Presiding Judge Ted Paine.

A few national VISTAs remained in Decatur. Lawyer Russel Hoerbert directed the Decatur office of the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation until his death in 1998. As a VISTA, Russ’ wife Jan (nee Howard) started the Dove Youth Program, which later evolved into the Community Services Program; she now works in the Legal Department for the City of Decatur. Retired attorney Jessica Stricklin Disbrow is a respected and talented regional artist. Tom Malenshek served as a VISTA Housing Specialist and later worked for the City as a Plan Inspector.

Sadly, I’ve since lost track of all of the national VISTAs except for two. Patrick Curley is Chief of Staff for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and Jean Johnson is a Presbyterian minister in rural Montana.

These are a few of the many lives touched positively by Dove over its nearly 45 years of existence.
 Fred Spannaus

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Me New Life

Each summer, we start preparations for our Annual Report.  It contains pie charts with numbers, listing of donors and tons and tons of information about Dove.  It also contains comments from clients and volunteers.  Clients are asked the question:  "What has this help meant to your or your family?  and then it asks which program or their location and the date, no names of course.  Below is just one from someone who stayed at the Domestic Violence Shelter.

"Beginning a new life, taking care of a lot of issues I have, that I’ve never dealt with before.  New Me New Life!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

90's Brought New Programs

•  In 1990, a satellite office, to better serve the needs of the women with domestic violence issues, was opened in DeWitt County.  The program grew from a one-room shared facility to opening their own offices which additionally houses the BABES program, RSVP, Friends in Action,  a food pantry, and DAX.

•  In 1991 the adjacent structure to the current shelter, 800 E. Clay was purchased for additional administrative offices.  This allowed more space for clients at the shelter.

•  In 1994, Dove spearheaded an inter-agency coalition to combat homelessness.  The program was named Homeward Bound was located at 903 W. Decatur, a property donated by Decatur Community Church.  Homeward Bound is now in the former shelter at 788 E. Clay.  Homeward Bound offices are in the front and SRO occupies the back.   Dove Preschool closed; resources redirected into fighting prejudices.

•  In 1996, three adjacent lots on East Clay  were purchased, 824 site was remodeled and  was used by BABES and Community Services.  A fire in the summer of 2003 caused damage to the site and it was later torn down.

•  During 1997, Ray Batman was appointed Executive Director for the second time in Dove’s history.  New positions were created and staffed by promoting employees.  Ray retired in 2011 and Jim Walters is serving as Executive Director.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Looking at Dove in the '80s

As Dove marked its tenth anniversary in 1980, staff and volunteers began their response to battered women.  Beginning with a hotline, the program grew to include support groups, advocacy and emergency shelter.

In the ‘80's RSVP grew rapidly and initiated the aluminum can recycling center, now called the Community Recycling Center, which is still a fund raiser for Dove.

Volunteers at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church opened our Clothing Room to serve children.  Now the Prairie Avenue Christian houses the Children’s Clothing Room.

‘84-85 two projects were added to Dove.  BABES- Beginning Awareness Basic Educations Studies) brought a message of good self image and making good choices to K-3rd grade classrooms.   MAX- Macon County Assistance eXchange, a church-based financial assistance network to screen and fill requests for emergency help started and has been hosted at First United Methodist Church.

By 1987, Dove’s need for physical facilities was painfully evident.  The Domestic Violence Program was inadequately housed.  More than $300,000 was raised for purchase and renovation of the St. James Convent at 788 E. Clay.  The facility was ideal for the shelter and for housing other Dove programs.  The Homeward Bound offices and SRO’s is at 788 E. Clay.  The Domestic Violence Program, BABES, RSVP and Community Services/Decatur Area Project is now located at 302 S. Union.

In 1988, the Community Service Program was reorganized to its present form - working with youth, working with neighborhood groups and helping to organize neighborhoods.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dove’s History, The Beginning

• On July 7, 1970, Dove opened its first office with Ray Batman serving as coordinator with support of seven Christian Churches. The objectives were serving the poor and assisting church volunteers in education and training for service.

• In 1972, Dove went ecumenical as other congregations joined. The organization incorporated and became tax-exempt. Dove purchased a run-down empty house at 1112 E. Locust and after some volunteer driven renovations, it remained the office for 15 years.

• Mother-to-Mother, a now national program, was started by one of the first volunteers, Sue Simcox. Other activities were the preschool, cooking classes and helping to form CHIC (Community Health Improvement Center).

• In 1975, Dove assumed sponsorship of the VISTA project. The RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) was initiated. Two additional staff members joined Ray, Fred Spannaus as a VISTA volunteer and Sue Simcox, a founder and volunteer became the Program Director.

A few listings from our "history page" on the '70s. 

Happy Anniversary Dove!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Family of Dove

In recognition of Dove's 44th Anniversary (7/71970), we will be posting more often and with a few guests authors.  Staff member Teri shares with us on this first day. 

As I look over the almost 24 years that I’ve been at Dove, I feel so blessed.  When I think all the way back to the first month I worked here, I learned early on just how special the Dove Family really is.  I had only been employed for about a month when I returned to work from lunch on November 1st, 1990 to see an emergency phone message for me to call Decatur Memorial Hospital Emergency Room *(of course, this was before cell phones – which is why I didn’t receive the message until I returned to Dove)  I quickly learned that my only 4 ½ old baby nephew had died!!  We learned it was probably SIDS that took his life so early from us.  The support I received from everyone was unbelievable – so many staff who I barely knew since I had only been employed for such a short time.


Unfortunately, I’ve experienced several losses throughout my years of employment.  In 2003, I lost my dear Mom, after learning she was diagnosed with cancer and then died only 3 weeks later.  She had been so healthy except for what she thought was a cold.  She even walked every day at the mall.  My Mom was only 75.  If that wasn’t enough, the day after we buried my Mom, my youngest sister, Sheila, died!  This was almost too much to handle – but God tells us that He never gives us more than we can handle.  My sister had been struggling with cancer for 4 long years and we believe that when Mom died, she just got tired and gave up.  So – having to bury both my Mom and my sister all within one week, was nearly unbearable.   But once again – the love and genuine compassion of all the Dove staff is what helped get me through.  My dad, sister and my brother and I were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support to our family during this most difficult time!!  Once again, I was shown just how blessed I am to work for an agency who truly understands and cares about their own employees!


Once again, in March, 2010, I experienced yet another significant loss.  My best friend and husband, Bill, of nearly 25 years, joined my little nephew, his Mommy (my youngest sister) and my Mom in Heaven.  Bill was a friend to many here at Dove.  He enjoyed helping out by utilizing his carpenter skills, or in any other way, whenever he was needed.  He had such a great sense of humor and looked forward to stopping in and visiting from time to time with different staff members.  At this most difficult time for me, in losing my Bill, I honestly don’t know what I’d have done without my Dove Family.  They were there for me from beginning to end – in any way possible for me. 


Although my contribution here is rather sad – it also is one of joy.  I’m so grateful and happy to work for an agency who absolutely demonstrates it’s Mission and it’s Values – “Dove cares about people, especially those who are powerless and hurt.  Even when suffering is so great that caring is all we can do, still we stand ready to share the burden and to suffer.”   Thank you, Dove Family, for standing by me through some of my most difficult times as you shared with me in each of my burdens.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.


Teri Ducy, Director

Dove Domestic Violence Program

Friday, June 20, 2014

New Advisory Council Members

We are looking for a few inspiring people to serve on our RSVP Advisory Council.

What is RSVP?  Retired & Senior Volunteer Program!
Sponsored by Dove, Inc. since 1976, RSVP offers individuals 55+ opportunities to match their skills and talents with not for profit organizations, health care facilities and public agencies, to meet a variety of community needs through various volunteer services.
  • You choose how and where you want to serve.
  • You choose the amount of time you want to give.
  • You choose whether you want to draw on your skills or develop new ones.
  • We help you find the opportunity that is right for you!
To assist in the operation of many of the programs at Dove, Advisory Councils are formed.  The councils assist staff with awareness activities, planning events and some fundraising, along with being a great sounding board to the staff to talk about issues surrounding their programs.
The RSVP Council members meet the third Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. at the Dean Simcox Conference Center located at 302 S. Union St. Meetings are generally an hour or so long. The Advisory Council helps to promote the goals and objectives of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. This is a great chance for you to become involved with program development, program evaluation, and recognition of the RSVP program. Council members are selected from current RSVP members and from community members who are interested in promoting quality programming for seniors. New Council members will start in July. Would you like to learn more? Contact Charlie Gillaspie at 217-428-6616 or email your questions to

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thanks Volunteers

These beautiful irises, outside our shelter, were donated and planted by a group of volunteers  in seasons past.  Although fading now, they were amazing and many of us enjoyed them as we walked or drove by, especially on the day this picture was taken.  I wondered if the volunteers drove back by to see their work this year.  Probably not.  But that is probably the case with most of our volunteers, not getting to see the benefits of their hard work.

We have volunteers who find clothing for children they will never meet, volunteers who work with people when vulnerable and never see when their strength has returned.  Volunteers who step into someone life and help in that moment, but cannot witness how that help truly made a difference.

Thanks to all the volunteers who invest their time and talents in the many programs at Dove.  Volunteers who give a kind word of encouragement and a smile.  Volunteers who do the dirty work behind the scenes,  People helping people.  What would we do without you?

Friday, May 16, 2014

BABES Program Wraps up for another school year

Almost 2,000 children benefitted from the BABES, BABES Bridge, and BE YOUR BEST programs this school year!

The BABES Program was presented at 21 schools in Macon and DeWitt Counties. Three schools were added in DeWitt County this year. These K-3rd grade presentations were made by 33 BABES Volunteers whose volunteer hours totaled about 230 hours.

The BABES Bridge and BE YOUR BEST Programs reached 384 students at 6 schools in Macon and DeWitt Counties.

While we can share many numbers, we cannot begin to share the fun it is to go into the classrooms and watch as the children learn these valuable lessons. Many lessons are shared, but one, "Stop, Think, before you Decide" is a good foundation for most of the lessons.

If you’d like be learn more about the BABES programs, please check our website at To seek information about summer training opportunities, please contact Sandy Laesch at The training is about 5 hours followed up with in classroom experience. A few things to keep in mind: you must be 18 years old, able to pass the background check and be available during traditional school days.

Special thanks to ADM Cares for a grant to cover most of the expenses of this program the last two school years.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Celebrate Older Americans Month in May

Every May since 1963, people in towns and cities across the country have come together to celebrate the enormous contributions of older Americans, who are the roots from which our community grows, who bestow gifts of wisdom and insight upon younger generations, and strengthen the bonds between neighbors to create a better place to live. Older Americans Month is our chance to show our appreciation and support to our seniors as they continue to enrich and strengthen our communities.

This year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is focusing on injury prevention with the theme "Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow@. By taking control of their safety, older Americans can live longer, healthier lives. RSVP is focused on making sure our volunteers are happy and healthy year round. Many studies show that volunteering helps you live longer, stay healthier, and promotes a positive outlook on life.

Help us celebrate Older Americans Month! Join your neighbors not only to recognize what older citizens bring to our communities, but also to help them continue playing a vital role in weaving a unique and lasting community fabric. Contact RSVP in Macon or DeWitt County to find out

about the many volunteer opportunities available in your community. We think you will discover that when you help seniors thrive in your community, you gain far more than you give.

Macon • 428.6616 DeWitt • 935.2241

Friday, May 2, 2014

National Police Week

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.


The Memorial Service began in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement.  Decades later, the event, more commonly known as National Police Week, has grown to a series of events which attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to our Nation’s Capital each year.


The National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, which is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, is one in a series of events which includes the Candlelight Vigil, which is sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and seminars sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)


National Police Week draws in between 25,000 to 40,000 attendees.  The attendees come from departments throughout the United States as well as from agencies throughout the world.  This provides a unique opportunity to meet others that share a common brotherhood.  In that spirit, the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1 sponsors receptions each afternoon and evening during Police Week.  These events are open to all law enforcement personnel and are an experience unlike any other. 


Locally we would like to honor all of our local police and sheriff’s officers during Police Week.  We sincerely appreciate all the work they do to continue to keep our communities safe.  Their jobs are unique to each area and require dedication. They put their lives on the line on a daily basis to protect all of us.  I encourage everyone to reach out during  National Police Week and give your local police and sheriff’s departments a big “thank you” and let them know how much we appreciate their service.                                                  Mary Hughes, Moultrie County Coordinator 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

April is now here and everyone is beginning to think spring! Spring is a time of rebirth, with tulips beginning to peek their way up through the cool ground. Birds begin to chirp and are busily building their nests for their new generation that are on the way. It is also time for the rebirth of our souls. Easter is April 20th and it is then that we celebrate His resurrection and the birth of eternal life. I feel every one of us here at Dove is called here for a special purpose and reason. Let us all at Dove during this month of rebirth break the cycle of violence and help bring forth the birth of survivors. As the grass changes from that dried out brown, to a beautiful green, let us help victims burn off the dead weeds of the past and bloom where they are planted.


For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

-Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Megan Neaville
DeWitt County Outreach Specialist

Friday, April 11, 2014

Earth Day 2014

Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in and was first held on April 22, 1970, according to Wikipedia.

Locally the recycling center hosted by Dove has been celebrating Earth Day since at least 2001. It’s a day to bring in your aluminum beverage cans to recycle and get a little bonus for the cans. In turn, you are supporting the many programs of Dove and helping the environment.

This year, you can join us in celebrating Earth Day by bringing your cans to the Community Recycling Center, 130 W. Cerro Gordo, in downtown Decatur. Friday, April 25th hours are 8:00 a.m. to noon and on Saturday the 26th, it will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Thanks to all the volunteers who make these special days happen!

You can get 50cents per pound for your cans on those two special days.

The regular hours are Thursdays afternoons from noon to 5:00 p.m and Friday and Saturday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

Make it a habit to recycle with Dove.  Easy way to help the environment and to help Dove!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Child Abuse Awareness Month

Each April, many different social service agencies come together to spread awareness about child abuse in our communities.  Talking about child abuse and the prevention of abuse and neglect isn’t easy and thus far, the focus has been on putting a number out to let everyone know how many children have suffered in our community.  Although these numbers are climbing locally every year, funding for programs to help these children keeps decreasing.  In this tough economic climate as we see the breakdown of families and individuals, we have to start spreading the word about how dangerous it is if we do not invest in the safety and well being of our children...  If we want our community, our country, and our world to be better places in which to live we have to find ways to engage the decision makers and give them the numbers in dollar amounts. 

The breakdown of the family, the intentional harming of children, results in unhealthy adults, unhealthy communities, and an unhealthy nation.  Think about the children we know have been abused or neglected.  They smoke earlier, are sexually active earlier, use illicit drugs earlier, and become pregnant earlier.  Health care costs for women who are victim of physical and sexual abuse as children have health care costs 36% higher than non-abused women.  Individuals with a history of child maltreatment were significantly less like to own a bank account, stock, a vehicle, or a home, and they earned $8000 less annually than non abused individuals.  The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of non-fatal child maltreatment is $210,012 which is an accumulation of health care costs, loss of productivity, child welfare system costs, special education costs, and criminal justice costs.  When a child dies there are costs in the millions. 

Child abuse prevention and the health, well being, and education of our youngest people should be a priority at the local, state, and federal levels. 

This April, we ask that everyone make child abuse prevention a priority and know that there is something that each and every one of us can do.

What you can do:

               Do what you can to be a nurturing parent and improve your own parenting skills

               Check out caregivers and know them well before leaving a child in their care

               Help out a stressed family

               Volunteer or donate to programs that work to prevent abuse or work with abused children

               Let politicians and legislators know what your priorities are and what you want them to focus on

               Know the signs of the different types of abuse and neglect and report abuse to the authorities

Remember, helping even just one child can make a huge impact.  If you are interested in joining child abuse prevention efforts already planned for the month of April, call the Macon County Child Advocacy Center at 422-6294 to see how you can get involved!


Bonomi, A.E.; Anderson, M.L; Revara, F.P; Cannon, E.A; Fishman, P.A; Carrell, D; Reid, R.J. & Thompson, R.S. (2009).  Health Care Utilization and costs associated with childhood abuse.  Journal of General Internal Medicine, 23(3), 294-300.

Our sincere 'thank you' to our guest blogger this week:
Alison Elsea Safe From The Start Project Coordinator & CAC Forensic Interviewer
Macon County Child Advocacy Center

1990 N. Water St., Decatur, IL 62526
Phone: (217)422-6294

Friday, March 28, 2014

10 things to do this Spring

1)  Get registered for the Domestic Violence Education and Volunteer Training.  Registration begins on April 7 and the training will be held the end of May and first of June. 
2)  Get trained for the BABES, Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies presentations for K-3rd graders.  You can help finish this school year and be ready for Fall 2014!
3)  We are celebrating Earth Day at the Recycling Center on April 25 and 26, 8:00 a.m. to noon.  You can cash in your aluminum cans and help out Dove! 
4)  Get a small group together and help us with some yard work / landscaping.  We have beautiful garden areas that will need some attention soon!
5)  Donate any children clothing that your family no longer needs to the Dove's Children's Clothing Room. 
6)  This weekend you can dine at Bob Evan's Restaurant and a portion of the ticket will be donated to the MAX, Macon County Assistance eXchange program.
7)  Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.  Send us an email to make sure you get our monthly newsletter.
8) Sign up for the DoveDash in Shelbyville, a 5K fun run or walk.  Supports our Domestic Violence Program.
9) Have an items drive at work or church to support the participants of the Domestic Violence Program.
10)  Check out our web site for additional details on all of these activities and more

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Good Samaritan Experience

Today's Affordable Housing Breakfast was hosted by Good Samaritan Inn, a 365 days a year soup-kitchen serving lunch to about 350+ individuals each day.  Those gathered for this event were asked to take part at breakfast, much in the same way clients would in a few short hours for lunch.  We gathered in a large circle, linking arms for the blessing.  We also got in line with our numbered ticket and received a wonderful breakfast prepared by the cooking crew at GSI and served with the help of a few Homeward Bound staff members.  Great, hot food, served in a respectful way. 

Director Stacey Brohard spoke about the mission of GSI and a new training initiative in cooperation with Richland Community College.  The program is called Mercy Kitchen where trainees learn from the culinary arts instructors at RCC.  The first group of about 15 will begin in May.

Darsonya Switzer, Homeward Bound Program Director shared with participants ways to be come involved in the Homeless Council Continuum of Care Advisory Council and ways to assist agencies providing homelessness issues services.

Hilda Margerum, Homeward Bound Client Services Coordinator share the 2014 Point in Time Survey Results.  A few of the numbers are listed below.  The complete results, and of previous years are listed on Dove's website:

Total Homeless Persons:  255

Total Homeless Households: 170

Total Persons in Shelters/emergency motel vouchers:  114

Total Households in Shelters/emergency motel voucher: 94

Total Persons in Transitional Housing: 75

Total Households in Transitional Housing:  26

Total Persons Unsheltered: 66

Total Households Unsheltered:  50

The next Homeless Council Continuum of Care Advisory Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 8, 1:30 p.m. at the Homeward Bound offices, 788 E. Clay Decatur.  There are plenty of opportunities to become involved:  volunteer for an agency, donate needed funds, become involved in planning awareness and educational events and more.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Domestic Violence Education and Volunteer Training

Have you noticed all of the domestic violence arrests lately in the newspaper?

Do you see that many of them have a long record of multiple domestic violence arrests?

Now is the perfect time to learn more about domestic violence isses, what causes it and how to help eliminate it in our community. If you were to be called to be a juror and the case was a domestic violence case, do you understand all the dynamics involved in these cases?

Get involved!!

Mark your calendars for our next training. We have a great need for volunteers in our program!! Some of the areas you could be of assistance after completing the required training are answering the hotline, covering the shelter, co-facilitating a support group, filing, assisting with orders of protection, assisting with groups, and more.

Please make every effort in helping us recruit participants for this training. Think about all the groups of people you personally are associated with at work, school, your friends/family, neighborhood, church and any kind of committee or organization you are a part of. Please do your part in spreading the word about this worthwhile training.

Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director

Registration for the DVEVT begins on April 7.  Training begins on May 19 and ends on June 4.  Please check our web site for addtional information.

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...