Friday, January 29, 2016

"What is this thing called Dove?"

We’re looking back today!

This article is from the April 1987 DoveTales Newsletter, written by then editor Nancy Jo Batman. Tried to recreate the article exactly as it was typed in the original newsletter.




" W H A T    I S    T H I S    T H I N G    C A L L E D    "D O V E" ?

     "Oh, I didn’t know you had a Domestic Violence too." . . . "You work with kids too?" . . . "Gosh, I didn’t know all those volunteers that work in the RSVP program were part of Dove too!"
      As noted elsewhere in Fred’s "ORTS" column, some of you may be reading this and have no idea why. In fact, you may have asked, "what is this thing called Dove?" This is a primer course for you and a refresher course for our faithful volunteers and supporters.
      Dove, Inc. is a social-service organization supported by 37 congregations representing 12 denominations in Decatur and the surrounding area. Dove has a staff of 29 persons, include 13 VISTAs and a volunteer force of more than 650!
      Dove was started in 1970 by Sunday School class members in eight Disciples of Christ congregations in the area who were interested in the task of Reconciliation: building bridges and forging constructive relationships to heal the hurts caused by social injustices in this society. Dove was originally an acronym for Disciples On Volunteer Enlistment. It was changed to Dove, Inc. in 1972 as we went "ecumenical". Dove’s first office was a furnace room in the basement of First Christian Church (where the first Coordinator, Ray Batman, had his office). The first year’s bookkeeping was a snap, as the total budget was $6,000. Dove’s budget for 1987 is $516,867.
     A total of 78 volunteers were recruited from churches that first year and were teamed up with poor people in cooking, tutoring and sewing classes. Sue Simcox, Core Director, was one of the original Sunday School members who realized this area needed more coordinated effort to help people in need, as well as give Church person a chance to do something with the love God had put in their hearts.
     Dove now has four program areas: the Core Program (Clothing Room, Dove PreSchool and Mother-to-Mother); the Domestic Violence Program (offering a 24-hour Hotline as well as shelter and other services and directed by Barb Mills); the Youth Program, (offering alternative education, drug and alcohol prevention and career readiness and directed by H. Levi McClendon III); and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, directed by Denise Gallup. Fred Spannaus is the Executive Director of Dove.
     In addition, Dove is the Decatur area sponsor for VISTA - Volunteers In Service To America, a program which has volunteers working with urban and rural poor, victims of violent crime, youth and the aging.
     Dove serves over 2,000 individuals each year on an ongoing basis and reached another 3,000 indirectly or on the one-time-only basis.

     As Dove enters its 17th year of service we are full of enthusiasm, idealism and energy. (Aren’t all teenagers?)

      This quotation by Albert Camus has been used many times in Dove brochures and other publications. It sums up our philosophy better and this article does:

                                        "Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.

                                          Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.

                                          Just walk beside me, and be my friend"

     If your group or class would like to know more about Dove and its specific programs, please call us at 428-6616. We’ve got a lot of folks around here who love to talk!




Some things have changed, sadly we’ve lost Nancy Jo, Sue Simcox and Barb Mills, but many who still work here are grateful to have worked with and known each of them. Others listed we don’t know. Former Executive Director Fred Spannaus, still consults and is key to helping us get the funding from HUD for the Continuum of Care. Ray Batman, first coordinator and later Executive Director retired about 4 years ago.

Please check our website - unheard of then - at to catch up on current programs and staff at Dove, some listed here and some new.

And the last paragraph still holds true, give us a call to speak to your group or class, 428.6616. We still have a lot of folks around here who LOVE to talk!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Volunteer Training Scheduled for the Domestic Violence Program.

Have you always wanted to learn more about domestic violence, and/or work with victims of domestic violence? If so, please make a point to sign up for our upcoming Domestic Violence Education and Volunteer Training. This Training will be held April 11-27, Monday - Thursday, from 1:00 to to 5:00 p.m. The training will take place in the Dean Simcox Conference Center at 302 S. Union, Decatur. Cost is $150. Scholarships may be requested if absolutely unable to pay.

Volunteers are so important to the program. Volunteers work along side staff members to help adults and children in the program move forward to a more positive, peaceful life.

Registration for the training is between February 15 and April 4. Call Barb Blakey, Director of Volunteers and Community Relations to start the process or for additional information. 428.6616

Friday, January 8, 2016

What if?

As I reflect on 2016 and the New Year lying before us - my mind can't help but wander.  Looking back over another year, I dream about all the "what ifs?"  I thought I'd take a moment to share some of those "What If" thoughts-
  • What if our community really and truly did not tolerate domestic violence in any shape or form?
  • What if those who commit the crime of domestic violence are punished to the fullest extent of the law?
  • What if we our community is really able to take notice at the significant amount of increases in domestic violence cases that are taken to trial?
  • What if victims could stand their ground, without fear, without retaliation, without regret as they take those courageous steps to taking back control of their own lives?
  • What if everyone felt safe to disagree with the ones they love, having no fear when they choose to agree to disagree?
  • What if our community made a determined effort to educate themselves on the facts of domestic violence?
  • What if citizens of Macon County who are called to a jury on a domestic violence case could be well prepared by understanding the dynamics that surround domestic violence victims?
  • What if children no longer have to live in fear or instability due to the abusive environment they've been raised in?
  • What if we did NOT pick up our local newspaper almost every single day and read about yet another domestic violence incident?
  • What if men, who are also at times victims of domestic violence, felt comfortable enough to approach our program requesting services without feeling shamed or embarrassed?
  • What if our local schools REQUIRED that teen dating violence/healthy relationships/bullying be taught in our schools, beginning in grade school and continuing through high school?
  • What if those who had the extra time, would step forward, and make a conscious decision to complete the required domestic violence training in order to be a program volunteer?
  • What if our program had an ample number of committed volunteers to cover any and all holidays so that staff can have that time off?
  • What if the State of IL would balance their budget B but NOT on the backs of victims?
  • What if all our key officials, especially those in power B  held perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their behavior each and every time B and these key officials genuinely understood the full effects and cause that domestic violence has on victims? What if all clergy from all religious backgrounds came together as a whole to take a stand against domestic violence and intentionally and regularly spoke on this topic from their pulpits?

I could go on and on.   It's a New Year.  What steps will you take to take a stand against this intolerable crime of domestic violence?  Do any of the above "What Ifs" personally speak to you?  Do you want to do your part to help put an end to domestic violence OR  if you, or someone you know, needs support from an abusive relationship, please call our 24 hour hotline at 423.2238.  Help is available.

Teri Ducy, Program Director
Domestic Violence Program

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