Wednesday, September 28, 2016

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

For those of us who work with domestic violence victims, we understand the dynamics that surround this unforgiveable crime. For victims - it is a personal violation to their person that will affect them for the rest of their lives. 
One of the most difficult and frustrating matters is the lack of education that so many have about domestic violence which causes them to re-victimize the victim. Victims are constantly blamed for the abuse and judged by those who have absolutely no understanding of the causes and effects of domestic violence.
How many of you have asked the most unacceptable question of "Why don=t they just leave?"  or voiced the statement "They must like it or they would leave." Sadly, it has nothing to do with either of these!! Instead, one should wonder or ask "What are the barriers that are keeping the victim there?"  and "How can we best assist the victim and let them know this abuse is not their fault and there are options they can choose to help remove them from their dangerous situation?"

Domestic violence is a crime that in not only committed in the United States, but worldwide. It happens every day, every hour, every minute and every second. In fact, every 9 seconds in the U.S., a victim is being assaulted or beaten. Anyone can be the victim or the abuser. It affects all of us - our neighbors, family members, co-workers, friends, and even those sitting in front or beside you in Church each Sunday. It occurs in dating relationships, marriages, with family members, those one has lived with, shared a child with, or even in caretaker situations. Many people blame domestic violence on substance abuse. Although substance abuse can often play a big part and intensify the abuse, it does not cause it. All abuse is caused by one thing - POWER AND CONTROL - and the abuser goes to any degree to use it to get what she or he wants. 

This intolerable crime leaves everlasting scars of pain and fear for the victim, as well as their children. Domestic violence dates back to even the 17th and 18th centuries. Generations are affected by its affliction. Sadly, each day these crimes are being unreported and often swept under the rug or some people still have the mindset that it=s not their business to get involved. 

As we come upon this month of October, recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let=s make a determined effort to search our own personal minds and hearts and decide what we, as individuals, and as a community, can do to help end this unjustifiable, deplorable crime!! As a couple suggestions - donate to our program by simply going to our website at, volunteer for our program, become a member of our Committee Against Domestic Violence. Pay attention who you vote for and learn who supports the rights of domestic violence victims and whose primary purpose is to hold abusers accountable and protect all victims of domestic violence and their children! 

And lastly, help us fill every pew and plan to attend our annual Candle lighting Ceremony on Thursday, October 13th, 7:00 p.m., at St. James Catholic Church, 742 E. Clay. This is a very powerful event where we mourn for and with those who have suffered and died at the hands of domestic violence, and celebrate the survivors and those who work tirelessly day after day to help put an end to this crime.

Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director

Friday, September 23, 2016

And the winners are……

Last week Dove Inc. Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Macon and DeWitt Counties held their 40th Annual Volunteer appreciation Luncheon to celebrate the volunteers who do so much in our communities. Every year we accept nominations for outstanding volunteers for our Recognition of Service Excellence (ROSE) award. We then honor one man, woman, couple, and volunteer station at our luncheon. This year the selection committee had their work cut out for them with all of the wonderful nominations but ultimately had to choose just one for each category.

Our ROSE award winner in the men’s category was Mr. Kenneth “Dick” McQuality who has been an RSVP volunteer since 2007. He currently volunteers twice a week at the Cancer Care Center with Decatur Memorial Hospital. His nominator wrote “he is always very helpful, courteous, and friendly with the patients and their families” and we couldn’t agree more.

The ROSE award winner for the women was Barbara Higdon. Barbara has been an RSVP for over 16 years and has logged an impressive 8959 service hours in our community. Currently Barb serves at several different locations spreading love and dedication to many places including The Good Samaritan Inn, NorthEast Community Fund, Meals on Wheels, and Grace United Methodist Church just to name a few. Barb is a true inspiration.

In our Couple category this year, who were indeed missing in action during our luncheon because you guessed it they were volunteering!!  Dedicated to serving our elderly ROSE award winners Thomas and Virginia McNutt skipped our event to help transport others for Friends in Action in DeWitt County. No worries though we were able to catch up with them and hand them their much deserved award later the next day. We hope they can join the fun at next year’s celebration.

Of course we also celebrate our volunteer stations and this year’s winner is certainly a worthy recipient.  The Economy Shop. This thrift shop is under the umbrella of Grace United Methodist Church for over forty years and is run entirely on volunteers. The Economy Shop is one of our longest serving stations as records show they have offered volunteer opportunities to RSVP volunteers for over 27 years!! This station uses profits from their thrift store to better our communities by supporting other local agencies such as MAX and Oasis Day Center for the homeless. A true collaboration within the community. 

Congratulations again to our ROSE Award winners Dick McQuality, Barb Higdon, Tom and Virginia McNutt, and the Economy shop for all that you do in our communities. You are shining examples of how we can all make our world a better place one hour at a time.  


Charlie Gillaspie, RSVP Director

Thursday, September 15, 2016

School is Back in Session


We are now  half way through September, which means school is back into full swing. Parents are rushing to get their kids ready and out the door each morning, school buses are busy running their routes, and teachers are caught up in the stress of planning lessons and adjusting to a new class full of students. In the midst of all this stress we cannot forget to slow down and observe our surroundings and for teachers observe the very students that fill their classrooms each day. Teachers are often the first to notice a change in a student who could be experiencing domestic violence in their homes. These students could suddenly become withdrawn or depressed; or they could go the complete opposite and start acting out or become aggressive with other students. Along with changes in behavior, you often may see the child victim’s grades drop, incomplete assignments, extreme tiredness, and even physical signs of abuse on the child’s body. 

A teacher who is suspicious that a student of theirs could be living in a dangerous home, often don’t know how to approach the situation or even what to say. This is where domestic violence programs like Dove, can help. Dove provides prevention programs such as BABES (Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies), a program for Kindergarten through 3rd grade students, in which the trained volunteers use puppets to talk about difficult topics such as positive self-esteem, making good choices, drugs and alcohol, domestic abuse, inappropriate touching, and safe adults they can talk to if they ever feel in danger.  There is also the Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program that is for Junior High and High School level students which teaches them what a healthy relationship versus an unhealthy relationship looks like. It gives the students resources and the knowledge they need if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation or even one of their friends who could be in a violent relationship or home.

All of our trained volunteers and presenters are always excited to work with teachers and school counselors to help coordinate efforts and resources if they ever find one of their students in trouble. Our teachers are wonderful individuals who teach our children and look after them every day of the school year. Your dedication and passion know no bounds and you know your students better than most people and spend a lot of time with them. If you are ever suspicious please talk to your school counselors and don’t be afraid to make a report. You could be the first person to recognize abuse and help that child seek counseling and help or even save their life. Thank you teachers for all that you do!!

Megan Neaville

DeWitt County Dove Outreach Specialist

Friday, September 9, 2016

40th Annual Appreciation Luncheon for RSVP!

As I prepare for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) 40th Annual Appreciation Luncheon* scheduled for next week I am in awe of all that our RSVP volunteers have accomplished this last year in Macon and DeWitt Counties. I am excited to be celebrating 40 years with some amazing volunteers, staff, stations, and sponsors of our program.

This year the RSVP Advisory Council and staff have worked hard to make this year’s event special. Our guest speaker City of Decatur Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe is just as excited to be sharing this mile stone with all of the volunteers. Dolci-Note’ will be on hand to share their wonderful talent and of course we have pie for all our guests after lunch.

It takes lots of hard work and preparation to make the RSVP Appreciation luncheon a success and year after year we have had some fantastic sponsors that support this event. Some of our repeat contributors are Kroger’s South Shores who donate the wonderful R.O.S.E. Award flowers so that each winner knows how very special they are. Grace United Methodist Church who have allowed us to use their dinner trays so that volunteers can safely get back to their tables from our buffet line. Our host sight Tabernacle Baptist Church who allow us to take over not only their gym but gives us full access to their wonderful kitchen, and always has an extra room or two when needed for our entertainers. Our monetary friends Jeanne Hansen and Mr. and Mrs. Dale Gillaspie. This year Mari Mann Herbs joined in the fun by allowing us to buy some wonderful spices at cost in order to drive home how our volunteers are truly the “spice” of life and our communities.

This year with some extra special friends that have help staff round up some AWESOME prizes for our volunteers from some great businesses in Macon and DeWitt Counties.   There is a movie basket that includes tickets to the Avon Theater, a readers dream basket with items from Novel Ideas New & Used Books and Gifts, Authors J. D. Webb and Millikin Professor Dr. Randy Brooks. A relaxing spa basket from Avon Representative Betty Clark that also includes manicure and pedicure certificates from Nails by Tina. A few really great craft items from Sheryl Whisman and Megan Neaville and that’s not all. Texas Roadhouse prepared two favorable baskets alongside Olive Garden’s basket. Coffee Corner (who makes a great cup of joe) sent over a goody basket too good to be true.  Cheddars and Buffalo Wild Wings sent over some certificates that will help a volunteer enjoy their business with smiles on their faces. Oh and did I mention some of these baskets are nestle in a wonderful Longaberger Basket courtesy of our very own Sheryl Whisman the DeWitt County Coordinator.  

Yes this year’s 40th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon for RSVP volunteers with the RSVP of Macon and DeWitt Counties are in for a great adventure this year. We can’t wait to celebrate with you all.

Charlie Gillaspie
RSVP Director

*Please note we are no longer taking reservations for this event.

Charlie Gillaspie and Sandra Harmison after the September 6th Decatur City Council Meeting
Declaring September to RSVP Month!

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