Friday, January 30, 2015

Reflections on the Point in Time Survey

(The Point in Time Survey is required by Continuums of Care that receive funding from HUD.  A 24 hour period of time during the last week of January, volunteers and staff memberss go out into the county to administer the survey and to get the most accurate count possible of the homeless in the area.  Below are reflections of two Millikin University Students who volunteered.)

Tamica Hatchett – Point in Time Count Reflection
Recently, I participated in the Point-In-Time homeless count for Macon County. I volunteered to help with counting the homeless in our community for many reasons but most of all because I have experienced homelessness and I realize how important it is to get this information and ensure continued funding and services for people who are homeless.  I was not exactly sure what to expect. Initially, I just thought we would be going to shelters in the community and gather information from them. I learned from the coordinator of the homeless count that we would be also looking for people who were living on the streets. We traveled to many different areas in the community and although we found evidence of people living in abandoned buildings, abandoned cars, and in wooded areas, we did not encounter any homeless individuals. This made me hopeful that perhaps the people who normally lived in these places were in an actual shelter for the night. Our group of volunteers did count individuals at a shelter of sorts. It made me sad to see so many people in a position that I was in myself not too long ago. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and I think a lot of people would benefit from seeing firsthand how homelessness affects our community. I look forward to helping with the count in the future.   

Basia Brown -Point in Time Count Reflection
The purpose of Point in Time count is to gather statistical evidence for grant proposals for our communities. Literally count how many of us have the unfortunate circumstance of spending the night in a place that is not home and spending the day pondering where the next bed will be. I was enlightened by the many stories of trial and triumph told throughout the day. Sorrow filled my mind and heart once hearing such stories of unjust and cruelty, but overwhelmed with joy to find some remain happy despite the circumstance. They say “those who have the less, give the most”. This statement could not be truer. I had to the pleasure of meeting various individuals who all gave me insight on the importance of our role and social services. It was surely reassuring. Homelessness’s stigma deprives individuals of their personality and value to society but individually those connotations can be proven false by embracing ones we disregard because permissible per society.  The purpose of the Point in Time Count was to numerically identify our homeless to improve lives.  Having the privilege to count stories allowed my personal motivation to manifest within the day’s purpose. Passion must drive our actions. Our actions must harvest progression. Progression must ignite hope.

Thanks to these two students and all the volunteers who participated.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Seeking Volunteers

It is the start of a new school semester and that means the BABES puppets and Volunteers are back n the classroom!

 The Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies program combines puppets, stories and discussions designed to help school children develop positive living skills.  Volunteers bring the six week prevention program to K-3rd grade students in area public and parochial schools.

The BABES program is imaginative and interactive, using colorful hand puppets and volunteers to teach positive ways to cope with a wide variety of issues that today’s children face.  BABES reaches the youngest children whose attitudes are still being formed. Children open up to the puppets in a way they may not with someone else.  This program allows for intervention at an early age.  Children are making choices which will form a foundation for the critical adolescent years ahead.

The BABES program is still seeking volunteer and could really use your help!  At the beginning of this school year 12 volunteers were not able to continue to help the BABES program. Some might return if things in their lives change, but most will not due to health reasons, personal issues, and moves out of state. We will miss them.  Also, 5 other volunteers may not be able to help due to work conflicts.

A volunteer training can be arranged if you are willing to make this commitment.   Email the Coordinator, Sandy Laesch at  if you are interested in the opportunity to make a difference in a child's life.

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.  Margaret Mead

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dove’s Domestic Violence Education & Volunteer Training

Have you have always wanted to learn more about domestic violence, and/or wanted to work with domestic violence victims and their children?  If so, please consider taking the Spring Domestic Violence Education and Volunteer Training.  It is required for anyone wanting to volunteer in any of the programs -- facilitation of support groups for adults and children, assisting with orders of protection, answering the hot-line, shelter coverage and more.  It is a worthwhile training for many professionals to gain knowledge and to be able to safely refer individuals to the Domestic Violence Program.

The training will take place in May in Decatur at Dove, 302 S. Union, Dean Simcox Conference Center.  This 40 hour training is approved by ICADV (Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence) and facilitated by Dove and other community agencies’ staff members. There is a $150 fee for the training and some scholarships available.

Individuals interested in making a difference in the lives of the women and children that Dove's Domestic Violence Program serves are encouraged to participate in this training.  Be an advocate for peace in your school, workplace or church.  This extensive training program is a must to volunteer in any area of the Domestic Violence Program.   Dove provides services to Macon, Moultrie, Shelby, DeWitt and Piatt counties.

Registration begins with a phone call interview to take place between Monday, March 9 and Monday, April 27.  Call 428.6616.

Registration is completed at a meeting on NOON on Tuesday, April 28, at the Dean Simcox Conference Room, 302 S. Union.  At that time you will need to fill out all the needed paperwork, show a photo I.D. and pay the $150 training fee. There will be a background check.

Must attend all training dates:
May 4 ending 20
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
May 4, 5, 6, 7
May 11, 12, 13, 14
May 18, 19, 20

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dove and NECF Christmas Basket Drive

A huge THANK YOU is in order for all the people that helped with the 2014 Christmas Basket Drive. We could not do it without the various volunteering elves that helped us bring Christmas to those that might not have had a Christmas. The elves included a range from those that made Christmas Stockings, sorted, counted the gifts, and construction of the bags, to just being a bright shiny Christmas face that week. We appreciate everything you did to make Christmas brighter for others!
Francie Johnson

More than 355 baskets were made to support 1200 plus individuals.

Doing our part to make a difference.

 With so much talk everywhere on issues of violence, once again a topic discussed at the CONO (Coalition Of Neighborhood Organizations) meet...