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"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!


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