Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Gift To Senior Volunteers

by Sheryl Whisman

How do you find the time to give
So much to those around?
You get much accomplished
And your gifts, they just abound!

Without complaint or comment
You lend a helping hand.
To everyone you meet each day,
You give all that you can.

I'm not sure that you realize
Just what a blessed thing
You're doing for the world around
Or how many gifts you bring.

I'm happy to be part of this
And I want the world to know,
That senior volunteers are special folks
Who help their neighbors grow.

You are willing to fee the hungry,
You are willing to dress the poor.
Your are willing to deliver the feeble
Right to the doctor's door.

You gladly write to the veterans,
And the soldiers who are in need,
You are willing to clean the houses,
You are willing to rake the leaves.

There are not many projects
That you will not take on.
And it is with that helpful heart
That you make this nation strong.

So now I'd like to thank you
Each for being one of the best,
And for making our volunteers program
A fabulous success!

(Poem written to the  RSVP - Retired and Senior Volunteer Program - members, presented at the Holiday Brunch on December 3, 2015.  The RSVP Program Coordinator who works in DeWitt County, Sheryl Whisman is the author.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Understanding Homelessness

Understanding homelessness means to know what some of the issues are pertaining to the social issues causing homelessness: poverty, affordable housing, disabilities, and others. Homelessness occurs when people or households can no longer afford to maintain housing. While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. Typically, families become homeless as a result of some unforeseen financial crisis - a medical emergency, a car accident, a death in the family - that prevents them from being able to hold on to housing. Young people often become homeless due to family conflict, including divorce, neglect, or abuse. (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2015) A lot of young people who become homeless, they either return home or move in with friends or family. Veterans often become homeless due to war-related disabilities. For many different reasons, whether it is physical disabilities, post-traumatic stress or mental illnesses, etc. a lot of veterans find returning back to civilian life to be difficult after experiencing some of the things they have seen. In return some are experiencing substance abuse problems, violence, abuse and risky behavior. Chronic homelessness is often the face we see first as homelessness. A recent study shows that nowhere in the United States can someone who works 40 hours a week at minimum wage afford a one bedroom apartment at fair market rent. Homelessness maybe decreasing, however we as communities along with our federal government need to prioritize affordable housing to eradicate the problem of homelessness. 

Kimberly Fickes
Employment and Life Skills Specialist
Homeward Bound

Friday, November 13, 2015

Causes of Family Homelessness

Kendra Warnsely, Permanent Housing Case Manager at Homeward Bound share some fact on family homelessness during this National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

There are a number of factors that contribute to family homelessness, including the challenge of raising children alone, fractured social supports, and the changing demographics of the family. More significant to the dilemma of family homelessness are:

  • Lack of affordable housing –According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the United States is facing increasing rents, stagnating wages, and an extreme shortage of affordable housing. For every 100 extremely low-income renters, there are just 31 affordable units.
  • Extreme poverty – In 2009, 17% of all American families with two parents and 34% of all single-parent families lived below the poverty line. Many families do not earn adequate wages, with one-fifth of all US jobs not paying enough to keep a family of four out of poverty. Families need an income twice as high as the Federal Poverty Level, on average, to meet their most basic needs.
  • Decreasing government supports – In 1996 the federal welfare reform law replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with a block grant program called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). However, these grants, combined with the Food Supplement Program, formally known as Food Stamps, require applicants to earn below poverty level in almost every state and while the number of poor people has increased in recent years, the number of people receiving TANF has decreased.
  • Domestic violence – Because of their unique and often urgent circumstances, those coming from domestic violence situations are more likely to become homeless or have a problem finding housing. Families escaping domestic violence may have poor credit, rental, and/or employment histories. Additionally, some are unable to collect and/or enforce child support and alimony payments, because they must avoid their abuser for safety.

As the problem of family homelessness accelerates, the services to accommodate the increasing numbers are lagging behind. Homelessness disrupts virtually every aspect of family life, damaging the physical and emotional health of family members, interfering with children’s education and development, and frequently resulting in the separation of family members, with a much higher rate of separation for families that have experienced homelessness than others that have not.


Friday, November 6, 2015

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is recognized throughout the country each year during the week right before Thanksgiving. During this week many groups and organizations hold events to assist in bringing about awareness to this very real issue within many communities across the country. These events often include organized food drives, collecting warm clothing, volunteering in shelters and food distribution centers and other efforts to assist in alleviating the stress of being without adequate food and shelter. The Macon County Continuum of Care (CoC) is hosting several events, which include "Box City", showing of the documentary "Homestretch", Veterans Stand Down, an art exhibit and much more that you can find on the Dove, Inc. website. This week helps shed a heavy light on the ugliness of these issues. Unfortunately when the week has ended and we are rushing around trying to prepare ourselves for the hustle and bustle of spending our Thanksgiving with family and turkeys, the reality is that too many are still without housing and food in this community. Families are still scrambling to find appropriate and safe shelter before the bitter cold sweeps in. The elderly are still faced with choosing between medication and dinner. Yes, this is awful but even more devastating than the THOUGHT of someone being in such situations is BEING that someone in such situations. Often times, we think there has to be someone else who is going to step up to the plate to do the heavy lifting in the lean times. And, I must say in Macon County we are blessed to have great collaboration amongst community leaders, advocates and volunteers. However, we have cracks to fill.

I have heard more times than I care to acknowledge, the term "these/those people". I believe it is that disconnect that allows us to "give" and then forget until the next big "giving" event. People are facing these issues year round, not just during the coldest months of the year or during the week before Thanksgiving. Families are struggling to make a decent living to support their households year round and frequently it is not due to their lack of effort. Outside influences such as layoffs, fires, unforeseen health issues and the like can kick off a battle with hunger and homelessness that those of us who haven’t faced such situations, could never truly conceive. And if we don’t personal know "these/those people" then we may not see the struggle or we do see it and misinterpret it. These misinterpretation are by no means malicious but nevertheless they are there and they cause us to stand inactive when we are not directly called to act. "These/Those people" are not our brothers, daughters, parents or neighbors thereby making it easier to walk by without a second glance.

Today, I challenge you to think about the most difficult situation that you have ever had to face in your lifetime; stress on the job, financial instability, health issues or any such thing. Now, imagine going home at the end of the day, taking your shoes off, climbing into a hot bath/shower, eating your favorite dinner and watching your favorite reality show as you drift off, completely leaving the stress behind and waking refreshed ready to take on the problem in the new daylight. Let’s turn the tables, now imagine instead that you have to curl up in the back seat of your car or in a tent behind an abandoned building and you are awakened every few minutes by strange noises that you can’t ignore because to do so puts your safety in jeopardy. Imagine finally crawling out of your makeshift shelter at the crack of dawn and going to the corner gas station to freshen up before going out and facing a day of the same stressors from which you were not able to temporarily escape during the night. Imagine living this life for weeks or months or years. Imagine your son or father or sister living this life. I challenge you to imagine your child asking you what’s for dinner tonight and you not being able to answer because there is nothing for dinner tonight. I challenge you to imagine trying to hold back tears and choking down that lump in your throat when your grandchild is relying on you to provide his basic needs and because they cut your hours at work you can’t even keep him warm at night. I challenge you to contact me and find out how you can assist the Macon County Continuum of Care in filling these cracks and ending hunger and homelessness in our community.

Darsonya Switzer

Homeward Bound Program Director

Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is often a topic that is ignored and considered to be a “personal” matter that should not be discussed publicly. Many people believe that if it doesn’t affect them personally then there isn’t a problem. Domestic Violence should not be ignored, in fact, domestic violence affects everyone is some form, whether you are a victim directly or a member of a community. Domestic Violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies. In the United States one in every four women will experience severe physical violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Over 10 million children witness violence in their homes each year. With alarming statistics like this, odds are, you likely know someone who is experiencing domestic violence. It could be a sibling, parent, friend, co-worker, congregation member, or student. Domestic Violence doesn’t have to just be physical violence, it can also include mental, emotional, financial, and verbal.

“So how can you get involved and help you might ask?” It’s very easy! You can volunteer your time at your local domestic violence shelter or donate items that the shelter is in need of. If you think a friend or someone you know might be going through an abuse relationship you can help them out by getting them in contact with their local domestic violence program or by simply just listening to them and believing them.
 To close out the month of October’s Domestic Violence blogs, I’ve chosen a passage from the Bible that is one of my favorites. It is from Isaiah chapter 41; verses 10-13. “Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand. All who rage against you will be shamed and disgraced. Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. You will look for your opponents, and won’t find them. Those who fight you will be of no account and will die. I am the Lord your God, who grasps your strong hand, who says to you, don’t fear; I will help you.”

God’s help comes in many forms and takes many shapes. So ask yourself, could I be of help and be that person who could make a difference in the life of another experiencing domestic violence?


Megan Neaville
DeWitt County Dove Outreach Specialist

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Words from our Board President

(below is the address from Rev. Jason Butterick, President of the Dove Board of Directors given to the Delegates at the Fall Meeting)

Dove Fall Delegates Meeting

Monday, October 26, 2015 7 pm

Prairie Avenue Christian Church – Decatur, Illinois


Good evening. As pastor of Prairie Avenue Christian Church, I welcome you to our fellowship hall, and warmly invite you to feel free to explore our space following my presentation. You might need my assistance in figuring out exactly which staircase takes you to your vehicle.


Tonight, I also am privileged to welcome you as president of the board of directors of Dove, Inc. My work as president is made easier by the dutiful work of the other board officers as well as those who volunteer their time and talents faithfully through our regular meetings and Dove’s many events.


To say this year has been unusual is perhaps an understatement. In June issues involving the professionalism of our executive director Jim Walters required the board to act quickly in termination.  For the first time in Illinois history, we stand exactly 4 months into a new fiscal year without an approved budget. 2015 also marks the 45th anniversary of this fine organization and its programs.


Following the termination of Jim Walters, the board elected Tami Wilcox, finance director as interim executive director. Board officers and as well as program directors and Dove’s staff have also step forward to assist Tami as needed. We certainly appreciate Tami’s willingness and her skills in being able to sustain Dove in the midst of these difficult times.


Some of our difficult times were not of our own making. The lack of compromise and consideration between the executive branch and legislative branch of Illinois government has introduced considerable uncertainty in our own annual budget. Dove, Inc. is fortunate in having more than one egg and one basket in this unnecessary crisis. One egg we did have to crack was the position of Community Services program director Francie Johnson. Neither the legislative nor executive proposed budgets for FY 2016 included any funding for both Chicago & statewide area project programs. Anticipating other state funding cuts also resulted in our elimination of a position at Homeward Bound and the position of shelter cook in the Domestic Violence Shelter.


About 30% of Dove’s annual budget comes from state sources. We just received notice from the state that we have received all FY 2016 federal funding for Domestic Violence. If Illinois continues to be ran by politicians and not statesmen through December, more staff cuts will be inevitable for Domestic Violence, Homeless housing, and seniors programming in January.


Since the termination of Jim Walters, the board has been reviewing the job description of the executive director and addressing the professional issues that were raised, as well as clarifying role and responsibilities of the position. A search committee consisting of board officers, Dove, Inc. staff and community members at large has been formed, a final job description approved, and the position will begin to be posted next month for qualified applicants. We anticipate reviewing applicant submissions in December-January, and hopefully a short list of interviews next Spring.


On July 7, 1970, Ray Batman began working as a coordinator for a new community ministry movement, called Disciples on Volunteer Enlistment, or DOVE. His office was the furnace room of First Christian Church on North Church Street. The budget for that first year of Disciples on Volunteer Enlistment is set at $6,380.  45 years later, its budget is over $2 million.


Working in social services is not for the faint-of-heart. Nor is it probably the best move to feather your retirement nest or increase your pay. Dove, Inc. has been blessed over the years by devotion of its staff regardless of their compensation, which is always barely adequate for the important work done by so few willing people. 


This past month at Dove staff meeting, two individuals were recognized for their extraordinary years of service. Teri Ducy began as a legal advocate for the domestic violence program in 1990, just one year after Back to the Future II was released. We recognize tonight again 25 years of devoted service on the behalf of others.


We also recognize Patty Plato, who began her years of service in 1985, the year Back to the Future was released. Thank you Patty for your 30 years of devoted service on the behalf of others.


We also want to say thank you to you and your representative congregations for your many years of faithful volunteers, financial contributions, and assistance provided to benefit Dove and its programs. You are partners in an extraordinary way; you meet the unmet needs of our surrounding community. Our work is made easier by many hands helping. Our sixty religious member organizations often make the impossible possible within our needy community.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Through my eyes

Through my eyes Dove Domestic Violence is a haven in the storm for many women and children. They find themselves in a situation they never thought they would be in…alone, scared, beaten, abused, ridiculed, talked-down to.  Sometimes their spirits are broken, they literally don’t feel anything. Sometimes, just the break of coming into shelter gives them the time, space and security to think again. To stop. To regroup.  Whatever their needs and the needs of their children are, our staff tries to meet them where they’re at and offer hope in one of their most desolate times.

Through my eyes I have seen women with fear, pain and hopelessness in their eyes, trusting no one when they came into shelter. But after spending time here, learning coping skills, learning that they are far more precious than to be in an abusive relationship, they realize we really do care.  They realize that more than a job, we are here to comfort, console, build-up and share what we know about the cycle of domestic violence to help them regain their quality of life.  When they are in the middle of domestic violence, they don’t see what is happening. They get beaten down so badly they can hardly make a decision. But slowly through DV Groups and one-on-one counseling their personality begins to emerge!  In a safe environment they begin their new journey of realizing they can get their life back!

Through my eyes I have seen women leave here with a new-found confidence! The best part of this job is to see them feel "whole" again!  To see them venture out on their own. Find housing! Prepare to make their new apartment " home"  for them and their children! The excitement in a little girl’s eyes when she says "I can’t wait to move into my new room!"  They have come to love themselves enough to make life-changing decisions. Where there was fear, I now see confidence.  Where there was shame, I now see renewed pride. Where there were tears, I now see peace!

Through my eyes I see Dove as a stepping stone for women to regain their confidence, value, peace of mind and a renewed excitement to live without abuse! I am so blessed to be a small part of this amazing organization!

Cheryl Carpenter
Domestic Violence Program

Friday, October 16, 2015

Coats for Kids start 24th Annual Drive!

2015 Coats for Kids drive is going on now and will be collecting good, used coats for families in need through November 30.  In the past 23 years, more than 67,000 coats have been donated, cleaned and taken to participating clothing rooms for families in need.  Join us this year in making this program a success.

Participating Cleaners will make sure the coats are clean and fresh and ready for the clothing rooms to distribute.

Classic Cleaners, 2474 N. Main

Corner Cleaning Connections, 1154 E. Prairie Ave.

Janes Cleaners, 664 W. Eldorado

Peerless Cleaners, 519 N. Monroe

Pride Cleaners and Launderers - 2553 N. Main, 1804 E. Eldorado, 912 W. Eldorado, & 2056 Mt. Zion Road

Waite's Dry Cleaners and Launderers, 1004 S. Main &  115 Magnolia, Forsyth

and coats can be donated at any of the sites below:


2990 N. Monroe

570 N. Fairview

1595 E. Cantrell Rd.

Decatur Public Library

130 N. Franklin

Decatur Township

1620 Taylorville Road

GT Church

500 S. 27th

Jerger Pediatric Dentistry

2101 N. Main


Brettwood Plaza

Fairview Plaza

Airport Plaza

South Shores Plaza


Land of Lincoln Credit Union

2890 N. Oakland

3130 E. Mound

Aldi Drive

Longcreek Township

2610 Salem School Road


350 N. Water

1355 W. King

333 E. Pershing Rd

2340 Mt. Zion Rd.

Richland Community College

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

Texas Roadhouse

US 51 North, Forsyth

Friday, October 9, 2015

What Can We Do?

In October, the winds of change blow as summer gives way to fall.  Trees change colors as the browns and oranges of fall replace the lush green of summer.  October also brings the color purple, as the nation remembers victims and survivors during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

 In his proclamation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, President Barack Obama said, among other things: “Though we have made great progress in bringing awareness to and providing protection against domestic violence, much more needs to be done.”

 It is imperative that we all take a stand against domestic violence.  For far too long, domestic violence was treated as a “problem in the home”.  If friends and neighbors were aware it was happening, they might have gossiped about it among themselves, but they were happy to join the victim and the perpetrator in denying that there was a problem.  Slowly, society began to realize that domestic violence was a crime.  Attitudes began to change and laws began to be strengthened.  As the old ad said, “We’ve come a long way, baby”, but we have a long way to go. 

 There are still people, even officials, who make jokes when they encounter a victim with bruises and obvious injuries.  This is not acceptable.  There are still jurisdictions where officers refuse to make DV arrests.  This is not acceptable.  There are still prosecutors who refuse to file charges against abusers even after they have been arrested.   This is not acceptable.

 What is acceptable?  If we could imagine utopia, what would it look like?  Obviously, in a perfect world, all of us would live in harmony, each accepting and celebrating the unique differences between people……their religions, lifestyles, and culture.  There would be no violence, including domestic violence.  Anyone who watches TV news or accesses social media knows we are nowhere close to that in today’s society.

 But what can we do to change attitudes and to bring about positive changes?  We can take a vow to stand together against domestic violence.  By standing together, we can be sure that victims of domestic violence know that they are believed, that they are validated, and that they are supported.  By standing together, we can be sure that abusers are arrested, prosecuted, and that they understand that their actions are wrong and not acceptable to society.  By standing together, we can support each other as we work to end domestic violence and to ensure that families can live in homes that are safe and secure.  I urge all of you to take a stand against domestic violence, to vow to do something new and different to bring us a little closer to a peaceful world.
Susie Kensil
Shelby County Domestic Violence Program Coordinator

Friday, October 2, 2015

What will YOU do?

Once again, as we start the month of October, we recognize National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  So as I mull over in my mind what to write about and what I want to say in this blog, I am faced with many over-riding thoughts and questions.  Have YOU been affected by domestic violence?  Have YOU ever witnessed domestic violence?  Do YOU know someone who has been abused?   Do YOU know someone who is the abuser?  Do YOU know of children who have been affected by this terrible crime??  What are YOU willing to do?  Will YOU ignore it and hope it just goes away?  Will YOU support your local Dove Domestic Violence Program?  Will YOU call law enforcement if there is an incident that you personally witness or hear? 
Over the past 25 years, I have spoken to many victims of domestic violence – both men and women.  I have listened as they share with me their unending stories of abuse they have been subjected to.  I have fought back tears listening to many of these stories – and even more so when I see the hurt, pain and fear in the eyes of their children.  I have listened patiently and quietly as victims have struggled to disclose the horrible experiences they have encountered at the hands of their abusers – yet, in the same sentence, still sobbing, tell me how they still “love them” and confused and in search of an answer to “how can I possibly love someone who is hurting me in these ways?” 
When children witness violence in their homes, it affects them the rest of their lives.  The violence makes them question their parents ability to care for and protect them from harm.  Sadly, I have heard many parents tell me that their children were not in the same room and don’t know what is going on, when in reality, they are in the next room listening to every insult, slap, punch, scream, and cry that is going on.  The affects I have seen on the children who have been in our shelter is severe.  I have witnessed aggressiveness toward Mom, as well as to siblings and to other child residents in the shelter.  I’ve seen meltdowns where these troubled children needed to be restrained in order to keep from hurting themselves or others.  I have seen medical, physical and emotional affects to these children as a result of the violent atmosphere they have been raised in.  Witnessing such things as bedwetting, to explosive anger, aggressiveness, eating problems, tiredness, problems in school, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) to even being hospitalized for any of these behaviors, staff have continued to pull together as a team and work together in developing an individualized plan to best meet the needs of each client, depending on their own personal needs and that of their children.
Although there are many angles and dynamics of domestic violence, I believe that we must begin educating our young children at an early age about anger and violence and conflict resolution.  We must teach them as parents that being angry is normal, but how they react to it is important.   We must role model that in life, we will not always agree with others - and that is okay!!   We must learn how to agree to disagree.  We must teach and show children how to love.  We must nurture our children, show them and tell them we love them.  Children need to know what it means to respect those in authority and to know and understand structure, and order, and guidelines, and responsibility, and consequences.  Children need to taught so they learn about safety – having their very own safety plan and what to do if someone tries to hurt them, or if they have been frightened or threatened by someone.   We must start early – and not wait until it is too late.  After all – domestic violence is a learned behavior.  We need to replace that behavior with more positive and healthy qualities.  NO ONE deserves to be abused!  NO ONE has a right to hurt another person. 
So – back to the beginning – my question is what will YOU do?  Will YOU work at making a difference?  Will YOU do your part in helping put an end to domestic violence in our community?  Will YOU make a determined effort to support your local Dove Domestic Violence Program?   Although domestic violence occurs every day of every year – the time is NOW.  We are all in this together!!  Let’s all take a stand against this unjustifiable crime in our community!!!!
Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director

#45 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

45 years have brought many changes to the agency.  One employee has been here 30 years and a few in the 25 range to one who just started yesterday.  But talking to volunteers and many who have been in Decatur for awhile, you can run into someone who was there at the beginning meetings, helped to start a program, their church was a site for the first office and more.  It is always fun to speak to those whose dedication started this amazing agency and has kept it going for 45 years.

Next week, during our regular staff meeting, we are going to start dreaming about our 50th Anniversary, not so much what we will do to celebrate but what we hope Dove will look like in 5 more years.  Of course, needs will emerge that aren't here now, funding shapes programs too.  But with the dedication of current volunteers and supporters, the Board of Directors and staff, we bet Dove will be thriving at 50!

#44 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Dove's Children's Clothing Room is here to help families with young children with their clothing needs.  Families can get free, good used clothing for their children by "shopping" once every 30 days.  Stop by the clothing room to learn more about the free services, Monday - Thursday from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., Prairie Avenue Christian Church, on the corner of 22nd street and Prairie on the east side of Decatur.  If you can donate children's clothing to the room, please drop it off while open or use the blue donation shed located outside of the church.

#43 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

MAX, the Macon County Assistance eXchange program is a join effort of area churches to give monetary support to persons in the community who have emergency needs.  MAX Provides a systematic way to verify needs and provides a central location for persons seeking assistance.  MAX also works with AMEREN IP to distribute funding through the Warm Neighbors/Cool Friends Program which assists person with payment of their power bills.

To learn more about MAX, please visit the web site at www.doveinc.org.  To seek services, stop by the Decatur First United Methodist Church in Downtown Decatur, Monday - Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

#42 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

BABES, Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies, utilizes amazing volunteers with cute puppets, to bring life-skills building presentations to area class rooms, K-6. To learn more about the puppets, the stories and how to volunteer, please contact the Coordinator at 428.6616 and check out the web site at www.doveinc.org.

#41 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, RSVP, put the life-long talents of individuals, ages 55plus, to assist not for profit agencies in  Macon and DeWitt Counties.  Each year the RSVP Volunteers contribute more than 90,000 hours of service to the communities in the agencies where they serve.  To learn more about the program, give one of the RSVP staff members a call at 217.428.6616 or 217.935.2241 or check the website at www.doveinc.org.  If you are or when you do turn 55, please consider the good you can do by joining forces with the 500+ volunteers.

#40 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Homeward Bound provides transitional housing and case management for homeless individuals.  Please check the website at www.doveinc.org to learn more about all the ways those things happen. 

If you'd like to becoming involved in solving issues around homelessness, a good first step is to attend the Macon County Continuum of Care Advisory Council which meets 6 times a year, on the 2nd Thursday of the month, 1:30 p.m. at 788 E. Clay, Decatur - January, March, May, July, September and November.

#39 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

The Domestic Violence Program is here to help.  To learn more about the program, please check the web site at www.doveinc.org.  The hotlines are answered 24/7/365 in each of the counties served.  And the Domestic Violence Shelter, located in Decatur,  is staffed 24/7/365.  If you need help, make that first step toward a better life.

To make a difference, please consider volunteering and using your resources to help out.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

#38 of the 45 tthings we want you to know about Dove

Dove's Domestic Violence Shelter has made its home at the Dove, Inc. / Anna B. Millikin Home since 2007.   In October of 1987, the Domestic Violence Shelter moved into the 788 E. Clay building. 

#37 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

MAX, Macon County Assistance eXchange started in November of 1986.  In its first year the MAX program helped 214 fames with grants totaling more than $28,000.  MAX was housed and is still housed at First United Methodist Church in downtown Decatur.  Rev. Shane Hartman is the current Coordinator.  To learn more about MAX today, please check the web site at www.doveinc.org

#36 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

The May 1985 issue of DoveTales spoke about the initiate "BABES" beginning, with the program to begin that fall semester.  Back then, RSVP member are training to do the program---jump ahead to now, RSVP members are still the backbone of the program.  Judy Taylor, the RSVP Project Manager was designated the lead staff person for BABES.  Today, Sandy Laesch is the Coordinator, doing a wonderful job working with volunteers and schools to make the program a success.  

BABES bring life skill lessons to k-3rd graders.  Please learn more about the program at www.doveinc.org

#35 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

A long standing tradition at Dove is something called "Listening Day."  It is an opportunity for Board of Director Members to meet and talk with staff.  It's usually about 3-4 board members speaking with a staff member for about 15 minutes.  It is a chance for the board members to learn more about the staff, their job duties, and if needed, for staff members to share any concerns.  Most new staff members coming into the agency have never done anything like that at any of their former positions.

#34 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

For years and years, Dove staff members gather on the 1st Tuesday of the month for a staff meeting.  Information is shared, problems addressed, and most of all, great fellowship between the staff members.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

#33 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

What year did the Clinton Domestic Violence office open begin? (1990)
When did the Sullivan and Shelbyville Domestic Violence offices open? (2000)
Services were offer to the area before the offices were open, but a local office can offer more services to those with needs.
Each of these three programs will be recognizing their anniversary at the upcoming Candlelighting Ceremonies.

#32 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

The beginning of Dove working in the area of Domestic violence - from the October 1980 DoveTales newsletter

"With the assignment of two VISTAs to the area of domestic violence, DOVE has assumed sponsorship of this project, at least temporarily. 

Domestic Violence is a major problem in our community and throughout the nation.  The need for a Decatur program has been loudly expressed by police, service agencies and women's groups.

We are working closely with the Committee Against Domestic Violence, a group of volunteer advocates which is guiding the development of this program.

Immediate plans call for establishing an office and 24-hour emergency phone number..."

#31 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Who was known to Dove as "Mother Dove"? Our beloved Sue Simcox.  She started as a volunteer for Dove and became the Volunteer Coordinator in January of 1976.  We lost Sue a couple of years ago, but her legacy continues today with the many programs she helped to shape as  a staff member and then later as a dedicated volunteer.

#30 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

RSVP is only one of three programs that make up Senior Corps.  Learn more about the National program at www.nationalservice.gov   and of course the local program at www.doveinc.org

#29 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

In 1975, the Dove office was moved into the "DOVE House" at 1112 E. Locust. 

#28 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

In the February 1973 issue of DoveTales it states:
... children's clothing
... good furniture
... volunteers
... $ to meet expenses
Guess what, in 2015, we still are seeking good used clothing for the clothing room, dedicated volunteers to assist with the program and $ to meet expenses.   (furniture?  we mostly get via other agencies now)

#27 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Dove's first office was located in the then -441 N. Church Street, First Christian Church of Decatur.

Dove and First Christian Church have both changed and grown since then!

Friday, September 11, 2015

#26 fo the 45 things we want you to know about Dove!

We love Patty Plato.  Patty is currently the employee who has been with Dove the longest.  From the October 1986 DoveTales,  "VISTAs Geri Bond and Pat Plato have accepted permanent positions on Dove's staff.  ... and Pat becomes Resource Specialist for the Domestic Violence Program.  We congratulate them on their promotions!"  Patty now serves as Shelter Coordinator for the program. 

#25 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

RSVP has been sponsored by Dove for FORTY years.  On Thursday, September 17, the efforts of this years' volunteers will be celebrated at the Appreciation Luncheon!  Thanks to all the RSVP members who have served so faithfully over the past 40 years!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

#24 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove!

In a December 1972 DoveTales newsletter, it talks about the plans for the Christmas Basket Drive, stating it "will again" team up to help make Christmas brighter for many area families.  Sound like one of the first and maybe the longest lasting programs of Dove.

Currently the plans for the 2015 drive is in the works.  The first meeting of the staff on Dove's side of the event will be on September 15 -- and we're sure Northeast Community Fund has been planning too.  Actually, both agencies have probably been doing some planning since the 2014 drive finished.

We believe that the drive supported  about 75 families in the beginning and now about 350 families. 

Watch the web site for needs that you can help with. -- we'll be looking for things like hats, gloves, mittens, new toys (ages birth to 17), warm sock, wrapping paper and tape.  NECF will be collecting food items, especially think about the turkey or ham. 

check back later at www.doveinc.org
We'll still be seeking your help!

#23 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove!

The clothing Room has served 13364 children in the last 5 years.
The Clothing Room was organized by volunteers of a couple United Methodist Churches and was located at St. Paul's United Methodist Church on the east side of Decatur.  It has  moved a couple times (was in the fire at East Clay in 2004) and is currently located back on the east side of Decatur at Prairie Avenue Christian Church, corner of 22nd and Prairie Avenue. 

Now the room is open Monday - Thursday, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. and run by many wonderful RSVP Volunteers.  Families can get good used clothing for the children for free, once every 30 days.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

#22 thing of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Dove:  10 years an Instrument of Thy Peace
In April of 1980, DOVE marked the 10th Anniversary of service.  Many churches honored us with prayer as part of the worship services on Sunday April 20.  The following day the City Council issued a Proclamation of congratulations to Dove.  Move 130 friends came to the Open House at Dove on the Wednesday of that week and 250 people attended a dinner celebration on Friday April 25.

Dove, Inc. Celebrated it's 45th Anniversary with an Open House on August 30.

#21 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

At the Fall General Board meeting, 1983,  a Constitutional Amendment was proposed to the membership to officially change the name of our ministry from "DOVE Inc." to "Dove Inc."  Even though it's been awhile, many many still use the all caps version.  Originally DOVE stood for DICIPLES ON VOLUNTEER ENLISTMENT. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#20 in the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

In April of 1987, the Dove's General Board entered into an agreement to purchase the former St. James Convent at 788 E. Clay, Decatur.  The East Clay building served as the Domestic Violence shelter and office space for many years.  The shelter moved to the Anna B. Millikin Home in 2008 and the Homeward Bound Program and SRO's moved into the former shelter.

#19 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

DoveTales - We have the agencies' newsletters, the DoveTales, back to 1972. Currently we mail out about 6000 a month.

Friday, September 4, 2015

#18 of 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Patty Plato, the current employee who has been with Dove the longest, shared that one of the first programs with Dove was going out into the parks and neighborhoods and doing activities for youth.  Somewhere about 1988 it was restructured into Community Services / Decatur Area Project.  Like everything that has been around that long, that program has evolved.  The states area projects have been funded mostly by contracts from the State of Illinois and are in limbo right now until a budget is in place.  Unfortunately, our local  program is currently suspended with the greatest hopes it will be back soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#17 in the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Wanted to share with some people who may not know, "Our" Homeward Bound Program is for Transitional Housing/Homeless Community not the Pet Shelter, even though we have the same name. - Kim Hudson, Receptionist

(Yes it is confusing.  Back in 1995 when the program was named, there wasn't the national program in our area.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#16 of the things we want you to know about Dove

Dove's  Domestic Violence Program had three very good, helpful programs which  were very good for the community and helped the people that they served:  
WAVE –women against violent encounters Support Group
AIM –Alternative Interventions for Men 
 Substance Abuse Education 
 Due to budget cuts,  we lost these program.  But we still service our clients in a good, loving manner as we all was, have been and will in the future. - Cynthia Farrington

(we hope the budget issues with the State of Illinois will be resolved soon for this fiscal year)

Friday, August 14, 2015

#15 of the things we want you to know about Dove

Since Dove began in 1970, there has been 3 Director's of Volunteers for Dove.  Sue Simcox (also known as Mother Dove) was the first Director, Sue Wilson was the 2nd and I am the third person serving in the position.  Sue Wilson and I sat together, by shear chance, to say goodbye to our beloved friend at Sue Simcox's funeral a couple years ago.  I am so blessed to have worked with both of those amazing women, to learn as much as I could, and to remain friends with Sue Wilson today.
Barbara Blakey
Director of Volunteers and Community Relations 

Monday, August 10, 2015

#14 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

RSVP stands for Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and is a National program.  Different types of agencies house the program across the Nation, but it is a perfect fit for Dove in central Illinois.  Volunteers providing service is what RSVP and Dove is all about!

Friday, August 7, 2015

#13 of the things we want you to know about Dove

The Dove, Inc. Anna B. Millikin Home is the 3rd domestic violence shelter--- current one given as a gift to help women and kids.
 - Patty Plato

(Patty is the staff member who as been at Dove for the longest time, Patty has worked in all three shelters.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#12 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Dove’s first program was Mother to Mother.  It was founded by Sue Simcox who was serving as the Director of Volunteer at that time. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

#11 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

We have been sharing things we want you to know about Dove as part of our 45th Anniversary Celebration. 

BABES stands for Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies but used to stand for Beginning Alcohol and Addictions Basic Education Studies.
Sandy Laesch
BABES Program Coordinator

To become a volunteer, send us a message at dove@doveinc.org for information on the next training date!

Monday, July 20, 2015

#10 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Community Services wasn’t always called Community Services at one time it was Youth Services.
Francie Johnson,Program Director
Community Services / Decatur Area Project

(Unfortunately this is one of the programs that are in limbo until the State of Illinois Budget is finalized.  If you want to make sure that this valuable program continues, please contact your representatives.)

Friday, July 17, 2015

#9 in the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Homeward Bound keeps the community informed of Shelter and Transitional Housing openings on a weekly basis.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#8 in the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

There is at least one program under Dove umbrella that anyone in the community can relate to or know someone who could benefit from Dove’s services. - Charo Covington

(view the complete listing of programs at www.doveinc.org )

Friday, July 10, 2015

#7 of the thing 45 things we want you to know about Dove.

Dove in 1970 had 1 employee with a budget of $6,800,
Dove 2015 has a staff of 40 with a budget of 2.6 million dollars.
Tammy Wilcox, Finance Director

Thursday, July 9, 2015

#6 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Q. Where was the first office that staff were housed to assist victims of domestic violence with orders of protection?

A. 3rd floor of the old YWCA on corner of Eldorado and Main Street in Downtown Decatur

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

#5 thing of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

The clothing Room has served 24421 children in the last 10 years.
Sandra Harmison

The clothing room has been at the former St. Paul's United Methodist Church and a Dove building on East Clay that was in a fire about 2004 and torn down.

The Clothing Room is currently at Prairie Avenue Christian Church, corner of 22nd Street and Prairie Avenue in Decatur.  It is open Monday - Thursday, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#4 thing we want you to know about Dove

People in the outlying counties are always surprised at the scope of Dove's programming since in our county the only program they are aware of is Domestic Violence.
Susie Kensil
Shelby County Coordinator

Monday, July 6, 2015

#3 of the 45 things we want you to know about Dove

Homeward Bound has carried this name from the beginning (1995)  and is often confused with the Homeward Bound Pet Shelter. Dove’s Homeward Bound began here 7 years before the pet shelter with the same name.

So far, we've cooperated very well, sending all animal inquires back to them. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

#2 of 45 things we want you to know about Dove

"Wanted to share with some people who may not know, we are not the company that manufactures the Soap and Deodorant." - Kim Hudson, Receptionist

Kim and I both get many inquiries about the product company, requesting deodorant to hand out on the New York subway is the one that is the most memorable to me.  (apparently it was a very hot summer)  We get complaints and kudos alike.  But I cannot remember ever getting confused the candy company. 

Barbara Blakey
Director of Volunteers and Community Relations.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Anniversary Dove!

Next Friday, Dove staff and volunteers will begin sharing our "45 things we want you to know about Dove!" in honor of Dove's 45th Anniversary.  45 years has brought many, many changes to Dove, locations, number of staff, programs, budget etc.  But one "thing" I want you to know to start with is volunteers, people putting their time and talents toward making a difference in the community, was why Dove was started and is a major part of Dove today.

Barbara Blakey
Director of Volunteers and Community Relations
This picture is from one of the early programs, sharing sewing skills.

Friday, June 5, 2015

We're Wild About our Volunteers

Staff and Volunteers took a quick break and gathered for a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.  Dove staff had the opportunity to thank our many volunteers, in a small way, with dinner and a cake.

The volunteers came from many counties (DeWitt, Macon, Moultrie and Shelby) but hopefully went back home as intentional friends as everyone shared their volunteer experiences.  The food was good but the conversation was great!

Thanks to all the volunteers who put their time and talents into the program, whether assisting with the Children's program, legal advocacy, support groups, awareness/educational programs, the many support efforts needed and more!

(pictures are staff and volunteers who could attend that night)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Don’t mess with senior citizens.

(one of our RSVP Volunteers shares today!)

  • In Florida a 71-year-old man used a handgun to shoot at two armed men attempting to rob an Internet cafe.
  • In the UK a gang of thugs armed with sledge hammers execute a smash and grab job at a British jewelry store … only to have an 85-year-old woman take them down with her handbag!
  • A suspect dressed in all black with a rifle attempted to rob a store in Louisiana. Store clerks told police that a senior citizen, who had observed the robber, blocked the two front doors to the store with his body, preventing the robber from entering the store and yelled to them to lock the door and call authorities. 
  • An alert group of four senior citizens, foiled a robbery attempt at a multistoried building in Wadala Mumbai.  On Saturday evening, four robbers managed to enter the second floor apartment at Kutchi Building in Wadala (W) at a time when its owner wasn’t home. The four heroes trapped the robbers inside while calling the police.

Don’t mess with senior citizens.
Yes, we’re not all action heroes. And I know most of us wouldn’t even attempt something like this. But as volunteers we are heroes. We don’t look for recognition. And the pay is ridiculous. But those volunteers I’ve talked with would not change a thing. Giving our time and talents is an act of love and we take rewards from the successes of those we help.

We may walk a bit slower, and do less physical activity, but we are determined and persistent. The energy and stamina of our volunteers is nothing short of amazing and I think we should give ourselves a round of applause.

Good job. No need to put that on your time sheet.

Okay, what are the qualifications of a volunteer? They are few. Do you have a desire to make a difference? Can you get out of bed each morning? Presto, you’re qualified. We’re ready to find you a place to help.

I know from experience and talking to other volunteers that our rewards far outweigh the effort we put forth. Since we’ve been blessed to live this long we draw from a vast array of experiences to apply wherever we serve. It rarely calls for exhausting physical effort. Mostly brainpower and a large dose of the ability to listen. Many times we become the shoulder to lean on. And that’s a good thing.
One of the side benefits to volunteering is meeting new people. Not only those who need our help but other volunteers we’re paired with. I ran out of fingers and toes to count the new friends I’ve made. You never have enough friends.

One of the things I want to talk about is that we seniors need to be extra careful these days. There are people out there just itching to grab our money. Scammers. They prey on seniors. They are unscrupulous. They want to give us something that seems too good to be true. Newsflash. It is too good to be true.

They have time share properties, car warranties, insurance, healthcare, lower credit card interest rates, and on and on that they want us to buy. Now they use something called a robo call. Their computers automatically call a range of phone numbers giving out a recorded message to take our money. Once we’re on this calling list it’s impossible to be removed. Compalints to the BBB or even the police is futile, Those people when they’re shut down, just get a new phone number and set up shop again.
I still get those calls. Sometimes two or three times a week. Being me I at first got very angry and tried to talk back to them. Of course with an automated call that was useless. When they said on the call to punch 1 to speak to a friendly representative I did that. When I got irrate, they just hung up. And I was left even more frustrated.

I finally came upon a way to get some revenge. Being a mystery author it was incumbent upon me to retaliate. I had no choice. That’s me. One of the scams is that a live caller, usually from a foreign country, calls to say they are from Microsoft Windows and that my computer is sending curious messages indicating that my machine has a virus. So, I devised a scheme to make myself feel better.
The following is a transcript of an actual call about two months ago.

“Hello, this is Jamal. I’m calling from the Microsoft Windows office. We are showing your computer is having problems. We are here to help you.”
“What kind of problems?”
“We are showing you have a virus. We can fix it for you.”
“Oh, that would be wonderful. How do you do that?”
“You need to turn on your computer.”
“Okay, can you hold while I get to my computer?”
“I will hold.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I’m on the stairs. It’ll take a while. I have a bad leg.”
“Let me know when you are ready.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I’m on the third step.”
“All right.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Step six.”
“How many steps do you have?”
Ragged breathing. “Fourteen.”
Thirty seconds pass
“Step nine. My leg is throbbing.”
“It hurts. Step ten.”
“Can you hurry, sir?”
“This is hurrying.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Step thirteen. I have to rest here.”
“Yes, sir.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Okay, I’m upstairs. What was I doing?”
Loudly, “Going to your computer.”
“Oh yes. Going down the hall now.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Are you there yet, sir?”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I’m at the door. Oh, it’s locked. I have to go get the key.”
“Oh, my.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“I found the key. I’ll unlock the door.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Is it unlocked yet?”
“I’m on my way.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“At the door. It’s unlocked now.”
“At last.”
Thirty seconds pass.
“Are you still there, sir?”
“Yes, looking for my notes on how to turn on my computer.”
“Here they are. Okay, I’m ready.”
“Great. Now I need to have access to your computer.”
“How you going to do that? You’re not here.”
“I can do it. I will give you an address to go to. Do you use Explorer or some other search engine?”
“I have a Ford.”
“No, sir. To access the Internet. What do you use?”
“It’s this button here.”
“Sir, I can’t see the button. What does it look like?”
“It’s one of those thingys on the side.”
“A globe or an E with a circle around it?”
“Yes, an E.”
“Good. Click on that.”
“Okay, I did.”
“What does your screen look like?”
“It’s a seventeen inch.”
“No, what is on it?”
“Fox News.”
“Good. At the top, in the search field, I want you to type in an address for me.”
“Type? I’m not a good typist.”
“Not to worry, sir. I’ll help.”
“Uh, I can’t do it right now.”
“You can’t?”
“Nope. Got to go to the bathroom.”
“Oh no.”
“No problem. It’ll be a short one.”
“Can you hurry?”
“Got no choice. I have to hurry.”
“All right. Sir, where is your bathroom?”

Just one thing to say – Don’t mess with seniors.

So if you get an obvious recorded call, hang up immediately. Or if you love turning the tables – get em back.

God bless our volunteers.

 Dave Webb, RSVP Volunteer

Friday, May 1, 2015

A letter to my bully

According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Justice, 160,000 students do not attend school every day for fear of being bullied. Over 77 percent of students have reported being a victim of one form of bullying or another, which includes verbal, physical, cyber, or sexual bullying. And 58 percent of students report having been victims of cyber bullying.

            Now it’s time for the scariest of these statistics. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people according to the CDC. 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide with 7 percent attempting it. Bully victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. And at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.

            Now it’s time for hope. I was a victim of bullying. I want to share with you my letter to my bully, with the hope that anyone else that has ever been bullied or find themselves today a target of bullying, will find strength in these words.

Dear Bully,

            There was a time I let you have power over me. I let you control my actions, my thoughts, my hairstyle, my clothes, my hobbies, and my feelings. I let you win and I gave you that power and control you wanted. I let you feel good and I let myself feel hurt. I cried every night and I dreaded going to school each morning, and every afternoon I couldn't wait for that dismissal bell to ring. Your words cut deep and I carried them with me every day.  For many years I lived in that fear you created for me.

I cannot tell you when I realized that it was I who was strong and that I had the power over my own life. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do…and that was to live my life. I know you probably still think about me today and try to draw power from the times you bullied me, to make yourself feel better. But I just want you to know one thing….I never once thought about you while I was in college. I never once thought about you when I walked across the stage at my college graduation to receive my diploma. I never once thought about you when the man of dreams got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I never once thought about you on the day of my wedding. I never once thought about you when I got my dream job and started my career.

I never once thought about you again until today and this is what I have to say to you….Thank you. Because of you and the words you said to me and the things you did to me, it made me a better person. You made me determined, resourceful, strong, resilient, grateful, compassionate, and empathetic. Because of you, it is why I’m standing here today, in front of all of these people telling them that you were just a small bump in my path through life. Even though at the time it seemed like I would never get away from you or the things you said, but in reality you were meniscal in the grand scheme of things. And now I feel sorry for you. You had to tear others down to build yourself up. I’ll never understand why and for that you have my sympathy.

            All those years I thought you had the power, but you actually gave me the greatest gift that power can give someone. You gave me the power of forgiveness and today…..I forgive you.

College graduate, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, social worker, and looking forward to what all the future has to bring,


Friday, April 24, 2015

Thanks Volunteers!

As coordinator for the BABES (Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies) Program I have the pleasure of working with volunteers that are such an integral part of this program.  As we look back to last week's National Volunteer Appreciation week I wanted to Thank not only BABES dedicated volunteers but all volunteers.

Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community.  They dedicate themselves to helping others and want nothing in return. Although if you ask any volunteer they would probably say that they get more from the people and children they may help, than they feel they give. 

Take a moment and think about it, in almost all aspects of our society you may encounter a volunteer.  So if you do, thank them and let them know that they are appreciated. 

Sandy Laesch, BABES Program Coordinator

BABES Volunteers  Linda Natereli, Myra Hinze and Susan Hoem at the April 13 "BABES Volunteers Breakfast Break"
Our sincere thanks to all the volunteers of the BABES program.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Volunteering is a Hoot

Why do I volunteer? I’m 73, still have a vocation as an author. And I’m a 24/7 caregiver for my wife of 47 years. I could easily say I’ve already got a full plate and I’m too busy. Or that I’ve done my fair share. I spent a few years at Project Read, on the board of SAIL, and holding every office at my church.

               Part of my faith says that we are to serve. Doesn’t say at a certain age we can just stop when we feel like it. God intends for us to be productive. Volunteering also shows His love by actions, not by words. We know that good works don’t get you to heaven, and that’s not the reason we serve. I believe by giving back a bit of what I have learned and by what He has blessed me with, puts a smile on God’s face. What more could you ask for than having Him smile at you?

There are so many people who need a helping hand. And so few of those hands available. However, where I live in Decatur/Forsyth we are blessed with many thousands of hours every year being logged by compassionate and generous people. DOVE has over 1100* current volunteers who spend valuable time and effort. I’m humbled to be counted among them.

               But the real reason for volunteering is the absolute joy of the rewards. Meeting so many good folks who seldom get on TV. Volunteers by nature do not seek compliments or accolades. Merely connecting with someone you’ve helped is such a hoot, as we older generation would say.

               We all have a friend or two who could be outstanding volunteers. It’s part of our volunteering to recruit when we can. Think what kind of an impact we could have if we each add one more name to the volunteer list. And if your name is not there right now, think about adding it. No matter your skill level, there’s a place where you can provide just the right assistance. You’ll not regret it.

Dave Webb
RSVP Volunteer

*from the 2014 Dove Annual Report - all programs

Friday, April 10, 2015

We love our volunteers!

Without volunteers Dove would not be what it is today. I remember reading when Dove started it had one paid position and VISTA volunteers that were paid a stipend by the government and a few dedicated volunteers who were willing to help people in the community that wanted to help themselves and their children to enrich their lives.

The Domestic Violence Program is a 24 hour crisis program that utilizes volunteers in a variety of ways. Volunteer’s help with clerical, childcare during groups, answering the hotline with shelter coverage, maintaining the libraries, help with the process of getting orders of protections and transporting clients is just a few  of the ways they help. We love our volunteers for the commitment they have shown to help those in need.

Patty PlatoDomestic Violence Program Shelter Coordinator

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Invent the Future!

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." –Immanuel Kent

Community services and neighborhood volunteers work on inventing the future every day.  They take the pro-active approach to making the community a better, safer place to live. They set up and host events in their neighborhoods and help encourage our local youth to utilize these activities as a healthy alternative to wandering the city streets.

In the past six months, 237 volunteers around Decatur have participated in activities such as National Night Out, fall festivals, Christmas parties, after school help for youth, spring and Easter celebrations, community forums and an assortment of others.

Every day I hear stories about all the hard work volunteers are doing and about all the positive things that are happening because of this hard work.  Many people in the area are quick to knock Decatur as being a terrible place, but when I look around I see so many people involved in projects to engage, nurture and encourage those who need help, to educate and raise awareness for various causes, who make the world a better place on a daily basis.

Thank you to each and every one of you who volunteers, and who make a difference in SO many ways. Whether it’s once a year or once a day, you’re all special and deserve all the recognition that can possibly be given.

Please continue inventing the future in unique, wonderful ways!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Spring!

The official start of spring was March 20th! Spring has many definitions, but the one I prefer is the following: to come into being, rise, or arise within a short time. It only seems too appropriate that springtime was the setting for Jesus’s death on the cross and His resurrection, doesn’t it? In three very short days He conquered death, wiped us clean of all our sins, and rose again!!! So spring means so much more than warm weather and tulips! Spring is a chance to start over, to rise, and to begin again. With that said, I want to challenge everyone this spring as they are out in their yards, walking around town, or just enjoying the beautiful spring days to simply say hi to others you meet. Take the time to get to know your neighbor and others in your community. Victims and survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault are more likely to share their experiences to family members, friends, or neighbors before they ever call a hotline or the police. We never know what another person might be going through and a simple hi could let others know you are there to help and that you are a safe person to talk too. By building these relationships with others you help build a stronger and safer community that doesn’t tolerate violence. By simply talking with others we can inform people about domestic violence and the services that are out there to help both victims and survivors of domestic violence. Encourage those who have been affected by domestic violence to join a support group, seek counseling, or share their story. A simple hi can start that difficult conversation with a friend or neighbor and then you can help them get to the resources they need to start over and rise above the violence they are experiencing. Hurry! Spring has already started! Who could you say hi too?

                                                        -Megan Neaville, DeWitt County Outreach Specialist

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...