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  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

#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  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 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  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

#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

#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.

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...