Friday, December 7, 2018

The Gift of Time

Time is the most precious commodity, the giving of one’s time in their community bestows many blessings and helps communities thrive. As the Director for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, I am in awe of the time many volunteers donate throughout their communities. As the holidays approach many organizations will hold community events to collect donations from canned goods to new toys and Dove Inc. is no exception. Agencies ask you to help purchase items needed to make a family’s holiday just a little brighter, a little more hopeful, filled with a little more love,  and boy do you ever rise to the occasion, and for that we are thankful but, we also cannot create the magic of Christmas for those in need without the gift of time from volunteers.

 As Christmas speeds towards us Dove Inc and Northeast Community Fund work together to make magic for more than 350 families. We accomplish this because of the time, gifts, and money so many donate. We have several volunteers who come to help year after years like Ms. Patty who sorts, counts, and pairs gloves and hats together, or past employees Theresa and Brandy who still find a way to be a part of Christmas Baskets every year, or Ms. Mona who comes and does whatever is asked of her. We have some wonderful and dedicated volunteers, but we can always use more. That is where you come in; we are encouraging you and your family to give the gift of time this Christmas. You are invited to share your time and help us make Christmas a little brighter for those in need.  

Volunteers are needed, and there are lots of opportunities for you and your family to get involved. December 17, 18, & 19 volunteers and staff will be sorting, counting, and shopping. December 19 & 20 volunteers and staff will be assembling gift baskets. Delivery Day is on December 22, starting at 8:30 a.m. and running until all baskets have been delivered (approximately noon) to families. You will start your day at Northeast to pick up the food portion of the Christmas basket and then head to First United Methodist Church for the toys before delivering to a family in need. There is no better feeling than to spread the gift of joy, won’t you share some time?
Charlie Gillaspie
RSVP Program Director

Friday, November 30, 2018

Mr. De

I recently had the honor to hear Frank DeAngelis speak. For those that don’t know Mr. De (as I comfortably referred to him as, because honestly, he is THAT guy. He was the principal to all of us in 1999 and we will always be his kids) he was the principal of Columbine High School from 1996 to his tearful retirement in 2014.  It was on April 20, 1999 that he became more than just the principal to Columbine High, he became the principal to us all and we became his kids.

I was a junior at Novato High School in Novato, California in 1999. I really have no idea what was planned for my day, but I do know whatever it was it did not happen. We were an hour behind Colorado timewise, and somewhere between 9 and 11 o’clock the school went into a weird, silent mode. 13 kids in Littleton, Colorado had been killed. Two armed teens stormed into their school, after their original plan of setting of bombs failed, and began killing their fellow students. We didn’t have phones. The only internet access was in the library. We got news from our teachers and eventually we all saw the news on various TV’s that had been wheeled into selected classrooms. What even was this? A school shooting? Who even does that?! We’re we safe? Is this going to happen here now too? There was no language to even describe what was going on. The word ‘Massacre’ got thrown around a little bit, but overall the weird, collective silence that was present at school was there because it was that simple; we didn’t have words for what had just happened. Teachers didn’t have words to describe what was happening. Various admin around the school could not find the right words. And without words or language, we could not process this tragedy. We just cried and stayed together. That morning we were all Columbine Students, crying over the loss of 13 fellow high school students.

The days and months following April 20 my high school and the community came together and honored and remembered Columbine. There was a school memorial service in the gym. We wore silver and blue clothing. We made silver and blue jewelry to wear. I even attended a church memorial service for the victims in town, and I know there were several more like it taking place. This was our tragedy, and we weren’t going to let it just get forgotten.

During this time there was a figure we looked to, whom became a familiar face that at times we even stated we needed to know what he was doing and if he was going to be on tv again soon to update us on what was going on. We needed to hear from him for simply nothing but support and reassurance. This man was Mr. De. For whatever reason, with all the news analysis going on, all the speculation going on as to why these kids decided to open fire on their school, all the parents of the lost kids speaking, the one person we NEEDED to hear from was Mr. De. He became our principal, the one we needed guidance and assurance from. And we all became his kids, because when he spoke, he was speaking to us. Not the media, not the other parents of the world, just us. I can’t really put into words why this connection to Mr. De mattered so much, and quite possibly maybe it’s because our principal was also called Mr. D, and no one could stand him, and he never did anything to help us, but here was the Mr. De that was the exact opposite of ours and to us, he was the good Mr. De. And we needed him. Over time we stopped seeing him on tv and life carried on as it does, but we never forgot about that day, and most of us never forgot Mr. De.

Columbine was my high school tragedy. And my peers around my age consider the same. Just yesterday I mentioned to a few friends I met Mr. De and the reaction from them all was the same ‘I remember that day like yesterday’. One even said simply “Damn. That’s heavy”. And that’s the best way to describe what we carry around, still being Columbine almost 20 years later. Heavy.

But I also gained something yesterday. Something that I didn’t know I needed. I received closure. And I received it from the one person I needed it from. When Mr. De started to speak, I went still. I couldn’t move. I started to shake. My heart began racing. For an hour and 20 minutes I didn’t see or hear anything but him and the words that were coming out of his mouth. I relived April 20, 1999. But I got the “then what” answered. I got the reassurance that he did do all that he could for all the surviving students. He was visiting those wounded in the hospital persistently and never gave up on them. He made sure that all those that were in school during this tragedy made it through their daily lives at school. He did what we all knew he would do. Because he is our Mr. De, and that’s how he rolls. And we are his kids.

After he spoke, and I got myself together while others were heading off to various other workshops taking place, I shouted “Hey, Mr. De” like I had done it a million times. And he reacted as if I had. We spoke, and I thanked him for closure and he made sure to tell me to call him when I am in Colorado to go to lunch and he would take me to the Memorial. Consider that done Mr. De.
Liz Mackey
Piatt County Domestic Violence Coordinator

(staff attended the Common Ground Conference, hosted by the Judicial District in Effingham in November 2018)

Friday, November 9, 2018

2018 Heritage and Holly Historical Home Tour

The Heritage and Holly Historical Home Tour has been a part of the Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition for many  years. Formerly a fundraiser for NWRAPS, it was given to Dove in 2017 because of our long association with neighborhood groups and because of the Anna B. Millikin Home, Shelter and  office space for Dove, right in the middle of the historic west end. 

This fundraiser will support all the programs of Dove - what a fun way to support to do that and to enjoy this holiday tradition!

Tickets are on sale for the 28th Annual Heritage and Holly Historical Home Tour, in Decatur, Illinois. The 2018 event will be held the weekend after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday the 24th, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

$18 Advance Tickets are available at the following locations through 1:00 p.m., November 21:

  • All Things Beautiful, 219 N. Main Street
  • Dove, 302 S. Union Street
  • Land of Lincoln Credit Union, 4850 Prosperity Place, 3130 E. Mound Road, 2890 N. Oakland Ave.,
  • Novel Ideas, 480 E. Main Street
  • Wildflour Artisan Bakery, 256 W. Main Street (who can accept Debit/Credit cards)

To link to the online site, visit

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1360 West Main, is the first stop of the tour. A $20 day-of-event ticket can be purchased there. The tour will feature seven stops, decorated for the Holiday Season in the Historic West End of Decatur.

One of the sites on the Tour

Friday, November 2, 2018

Can you help?

Jesus once said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and in the years doing Christmas Baskets at Dove, Inc., I’ve found that to be true.

I look at my life, at my home, and I know that I’m more fortunate than a huge percentage of the world’s population. I have a loving family, a house to live in, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, a job that I love, food on the table each day, a dependable car to get me where I need to go, and relatively good health. I am beyond grateful for all that I have.

I’m also grateful for the knowledge and awareness I have of those who aren’t as fortunate as I am, because it puts me in a better position of helping.

Did you know that the nationally, the average age of a homeless individual is 9 years old? According to, more than 40 million families in the United States struggle with food insecurity, never knowing if or when they’ll have their next meal, let alone receive a gift for Christmas. The numbers are certainly overwhelming to look at or contemplate. But we can’t let that overwhelming feeling render us helpless.

We may be unable to help every single person or every family in need, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help at all. There’s an old story about a boy who was tossing stranded starfish into the ocean when an older man came along and asked him what he was doing. He told him he was saving them by throwing them back into the water. The older man scoffed, saying he couldn’t possibly save all of them. The boy threw another starfish back into sea and replied, “Maybe not, but I just made a world of difference for that one.”

Are you able to assist one person or one family, in receiving a gift or food for Christmas? Can you donate a (new) children’s toy for our basket drive? A can or two of food for someone to eat or a new pair of gloves and a hat to help keep someone warm? There are so many ways you could make a world of difference for one person or family by donating or volunteering at our Baskets drive. Please consider joining us in assisting families in our community this year.
Angie Williams - Christmas Basket Coordinator

Friday, October 19, 2018

27th Annual Coats for Kids!

2018 Coats for Kids drive has begun and we will be collecting new and good, used coats for families in need through November 30. Participating Cleaners will make sure the coats are clean and fresh and ready for the clothing rooms to distribute. (All addresses Decatur unless noted otherwise.)
WAND and Dove have teamed up each year to collect the coats!  The clean or new coats are taken to participating clothing rooms for families to choose. 
Donate and make it a warmer winter for everyone!



Participating Cleaners

Classic Cleaner, 2474 N. Main

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, Decatur
  • 664 W. Eldorado
  • 115 Magnolia, Forsyth

Drop off sites

Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin

Decatur Township Offices, 1620 S. Taylorville Road

Good Samaritan Inn, 920 N. Union

GT Church, 500 S. 27th

Illiopolis Christian Church, 302 Anne Street, Illiopolis


  • Brettwood Plaza
  • South Shores Plaza
  • Airport Plaza

Land of Lincoln Credit Union

  • 2890 N. Oakland
  • 3130 E. Mound
  • 4850 E Prosperity Place

Longcreek Township, 2610 Salem School Road


  • 2340 Mt. Zion Rd.
  • 350 N. Water
  • 1355 W. King
  • 333 E. Pershing Rd

Richland Community College, #1 College Park, Decatur

Soy Capital Bank and Trust

  • 560 E. Pershing
  • 455 N. Main
  • 4825 US Route 36

St. Teresa High School, 2710 N. Water Street

Texas Roadhouse, US 51 North

WAND, 902 Southside Drive

Friday, October 12, 2018

Home Should Never Hurt

I was recently driving home on a beautiful fall evening, one of those days when a perfect blue sky was giving way to a beautiful sunset.  As I admired the glorious colors of fall as evening approached, I also noticed the warm lights coming from neighborhood houses, making them all look inviting.  I pulled into my driveway and felt that familiar feeling………………it feels so good to be home.  Home should be that place where everyone is comfortable and knows that they are loved and wanted and accepted.  Sometimes the chaos of dinner, homework, ballgames, housework can intrude on the peacefulness of home, but even with that, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz was right……………. . there’s no place like home.

Unless……. you live in a home where domestic violence exists.  When you live there, you probably drive home without noticing the beauty around you.  You are not anticipating being at home with joy; you face it with fear.  What am I walking into?  What have I done wrong today? ……I don’t think there was anything, but I am sure there will be.  No one feels comfortable, loved, wanted or accepted.  This environment is difficult for everyone, but especially for children.  Kids are often afraid to have friends over because they have no clue what may happen in their home.  They can’t concentrate on homework, so they fall behind at school.  Meals are chaotic or sometimes non-existent, so they may go to bed hungry.  Sleep deprivation is common because they may be afraid to fall asleep or awakened by an incident of abuse.  Studies show that being subjected to trauma at a young age can alter the normal brain development of a child.  Sometimes these kids become bullies at school or become the victims of bullies.  Unless their living conditions become known to the school their teachers may never know what is causing their inability to concentrate, to stay awake in class or to learn as other kids do.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to learn when you are hungry, tired, angry or traumatized.

Domestic violence is a crime that happens in the home.  It has long been considered to be the business only of the people who live in the home.  Friends and neighbors notice signs, but traditionally have ignored them.  Ignoring the violence is not the answer.  Domestic violence is everyone’s business.  If you hear or see evidence of abuse, call law enforcement.  A victim may not want to talk about the abuse but let he or she know that you care and are available if needed.  Befriend the children of the family so that they know you are a safe and caring adult.  Make referrals to your local domestic violence agency.  Join with us as we attempt to end domestic violence and to be sure that everyone has a safe, healthy and happy home.


Macon County                                 217-423-2238 (Crisis)                     217-428-6616 (Business)

Dewitt County                                 217-935-6072                                   217-035-6619

Moultrie County                              217-728-9334                                   217-728-9303

Piatt County                                     217-762-2122                                   217-762-2123

Shelby County                                  217-774-4888                                   217-774-3121

Susie Kensil
Shelby County Coordinator
Dove's Domestic Violence Program

Friday, October 5, 2018


“Why do they stay in that relationship?”  “What is wrong with them?!?”  “Do they like it??!!”   “You would think they would leave if they didn’t like it!!”   “Why would someone stay with a person who constantly puts them down, calls them names, hurts them over and over physically, emotionally and even sexually?”

Sound familiar??  There is no easy answer to these questions.  Sadly, these are thoughts and questions that some have about domestic violence victims.  How wrong they are in their way of thinking!!   I can guarantee we will never meet the victim who tells us they “liked it”!! 

I would like to challenge your way of thinking – instead of asking and dwelling on “Why do they stay or why don’t they leave”? – I would like to rephrase that question to “What are the barriers that are keeping them in that relationship?”

Think about when they first met.  Things could not have been better.  He/she was charming, affectionate, thoughtful, romantic, and respectful.  Things gradually began to change when one began to notice another person from the opposite sex looked at them.  They noticed a twinge of jealousy come over their partner.  Over time, one began having to justify their every move – where they were going, who with, when they’d be back, who they talked to, etc.  As their partner began to want every minute of their time, they realized they were having to cancel plans with their friends, family members, or perhaps certain activities they had always enjoyed – all because their partner made them feel like they should be spending their time with them – not everyone else.  Suddenly, they began to feel isolated and very alone.

Leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim.  The abuser sees they are becoming independent and is losing control of them so they lash out even more.  There are so many barriers that keep a victim in the relationship.  Fear itself – knowing the abuser better than anyone, they know what the abuser is capable of doing.  Many religious and cultural beliefs make a victim’s decision to stay.  Often, the victim does not feel they deserve anyone better; they feel it is their responsibility to change the batterer and to nurture the relationship.  Statistics show that victims return to their abuser an average of 5-7 times before they leave for good.  The number one reason they return is hope for change.  The batterer is very good at making empty promises and pushing the right buttons. 

In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I challenge all of you to become educated – learn about the dynamics that surround a domestic violence victim and their children!  How much do you know about this unjustifiable crime??  Did you know that every 9 seconds a woman is being beaten or that 50-70% of men who abuse their partners also abuse their children, or that 23% of female victims are pregnant.  Did you know that according to multiple studies that examine homelessness among mothers and children, that more than 80% had previously experienced domestic violence and that between 22-57% of all homeless women report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness??

I am asking you all to make a determined effort to attend one of the Candlelighting Ceremonies in October in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Take your stand against domestic violence in your communities.  Let your friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors know that domestic violence is a crime and should NOT be tolerated. 

Times and dates are as follows are on the website and the previous blog post.

Teri Ducy
Domestic Violence Program Director

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Join us at the Candlelighting Ceremonies

Please mark your calendar and join us at one or all of our

Annual Candlelighting Ceremonies,

in recognition of

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

All our events are open to the public.

Shelby County
Thursday, October 4, 7:00 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church, 201 N. Chestnut, Shelbyville

DeWitt County
Thursday, October 11, 6:00 p.m.

Christ Lutheran Church, 701 S. Mulberry St., Clinton

Macon County
Thursday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.

New Vision Church, 550 N. Van Dyke St., Decatur

Piatt County
Wednesday, October 24, 7:00 p.m.

1st Presbyterian Church, 214 S. Charter, St. Monticello

Moultrie County
Thursday October 25, 7:00 p.m.

United Methodist Church, 216 W. Jefferson St., Sullivan


Friday, September 21, 2018

What is different?

As we are approaching yet another October – being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month – I have to wonder.  What is different?  What has changed?  Are things better?  Worse?  Are we making progress in our neighborhoods, our community, our world?

I recall back over my nearly 28 years of working in this field of domestic violence.  I was ignorant when I began.  I even asked those same questions in my head – “Why would someone stay in this type of relationship?  Why don’t they just get out?”  I had the “new energy” of wanting and believing that I could fix things – I would do all I could do to make things perfect for that victim – so that when they left shelter – or left our building from a counseling session, they would now understand and move on – knowing that they deserved way more than what they had been settling for in their relationship.  It was time to turn a new leaf.  Time for change.  Before Dove developed and implemented a Code of Ethics Policy, I admit that I was in that “fixing” mode of having the mindset that I wanted to do all I could do to help that client – such as going through all my household things at home and bringing in items that I no longer used or needed, calling the shelter on my off hours multiple times to check and see how my assigned client was doing (as if she couldn’t operate without me being there), etc.  Oh how quickly I learned that there was so much more involved for a victim of domestic violence to understand that as much as they want to, they cannot change or fix their abusive partner.  Nor could they turn their feelings for their abuser off and on like a faucet.   It’s a process.  It takes time.  It doesn’t happen overnight. 

I remember wanting to learn everything I could about this thing called domestic violence.  I attended as many trainings as I was able.  I soaked it up like a sponge.  I wanted to be a good listener and good advocate.  I wanted to learn how to best provide the most important options with a completely non-judgmental attitude.  Another thing I learned very quickly – almost immediately – my problems in my own personal life were nothing.  Oh how just coming to work every day, put things into perspective.  I realized how very blessed I am. 

I recall in the early 90’s, our domestic violence program, law enforcement, and the state’s attorney were not on the same page.  There was a lot of work to do.  Thankfully, it was about the same time period, that Coordinated Community Response teams began to form.   I recall sitting around large conference tables with people  like Decatur Police Chief Mark Barthelemy, Sheriff Lee Holsapple, State’s Attorney Larry Fichter, our program director back then, Barb Mills, Fred Spannaus – Dove’s ED at the time,  Craig Mandernach and the now late, Larry Troy, who both developed and implemented AIM (Alternative Interventions for Men) our batterer program.  Things began to change – laws began to change – the Mandated Arrest Policy was implemented – which was a huge breakthrough – to no longer turn to the victim when arriving at the scene of a domestic incident and asking the victim if they wanted the perpetrator arrested.  

Dove’s domestic violence program in Clinton began in 1990 by our own Linda Staff, now retired from Dove, but remains active today in facilitating a weekly Bible study group to our clients.  In 2000, we opened offices in Sullivan, Shelbyville and Monticello.   Shelby, Moultrie and DeWitt County communities all continue to be very receptive and supportive to each of our programs.  Although we only were able to keep our Monticello office open for about a year and a half, I am happy to say in March of this year, we have re-opened an office in Monticello and things are going very well.

Yes – progress has been made but there is still much to be done.  Domestic violence is still very alive in our communities.  Nearly every day, you can hear on the news or read in the newspaper of another domestic incident.  There may still be some of you today who ask that dreaded question “Why don’t they just leave!?” or even worse “they must like it or they would get out!”   As I said earlier – it’s a process.  Leaving one’s abuser is the most dangerous time for a victim.  We talk to clients on a regular basis who tell us one of the very reasons that keeps them with the abuser is fear.  Hard to understand?   Well….it is basically a way of saying although they are miserable living with their abuser or being with their abuser, at least they know where they are – and they are not walking on eggshells in complete fear of wondering where they are, what they are doing, and what is going to be that next thing that actually sets them off.

So – what are you personally willing to do to help put an end to this crime that is affecting your friends, family members, church family, co-workers, classmates, neighbors?  Will you stand by and watch and listen to things happen?  If you hear that a child is being affected by a home that is filled with domestic violence, what will be your response?  Will you be a good listener, a supporter, one who is a safe person to talk to?  Do you know your local domestic violence program’s hotline number?  Do you personally support your local domestic violence program – financially or through volunteering?  Be a voice – stand up against domestic violence!  It’s a crime!  You could be saving a person’s life.  Get involved.  It IS all of our business!!!  We can’t do it alone – but we can tackle this together.  Refer to our program.  Our 24-hour domestic violence hotline is 217.423.2238.  Check out our website at and help support our mission at Dove.

Teri Ducy, Director

Dove Domestic Violence Program

Next Week, check back for the Upcoming Candlelighting Ceremonies to be hosted in the five counties Dove serves.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Coupons for Overseas Military Families ECOM

Have you heard the news? We have sent 1,900,642 coupons to families overseas with your help!!!! We are still going strong and would love to hit our goal of 2 million coupons by the end of 2018 but we still need your help. We collect manufacturer coupons only, please no store specific or restaurant coupons. We ask that they not be expired for more than one month. This gives us time to collect, clip, sort, and ship to families and they have more time to use them. Families can use manufacturer coupons up to 6 months after their expiration dates. Postage donations are always welcomed. One box cost $17.40 to ship and can contain up to 25,000 plus coupons.

Friday, August 31, 2018

See You In September

As we embark on the busiest month of our year (September) for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), I cannot help but feel thankful and blessed. Thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who help to make our communities better. Blessed to be the Director of a National Service Program who harnesses the wisdom and talent from some of the most wonderful people one could ever hope to meet.  I have met lifelong homemakers, mechanics, scientists, and accountants, teachers, and farmers, our volunteers come in all shapes and sizes and range from 55 and older.  I have met men and woman who can crochet the most beautiful afghans. Talked with service groups who provide scholarships to children. I have seen the handy work of skilled woodworkers and I am always amazed at how generous and loving each volunteer I meet is to me and our community. 

I look forward to September even though I know how busy the month will be because of the vast amount of time I will get to spend with them. Be it our "Short Stacks for a Tall Cause" fundraiser with Applebee’s on the 8th, or Cruise 11 in downtown Decatur on the 9th, or my favorite visiting and mingling with our volunteers at our annual volunteer appreciation luncheon. The luncheon is when I get to thank our volunteers and honor them in person. I get to see the volunteers who I have not seen in a year because they are so busy. I get to be a part of announcing the R.O.SE. Award winners and brag to all who are listening, how awesome our volunteers are, and I am honored to be doing so again this year.

Yes, I am thankful and blessed to be learning, serving, and honoring some of the greatest volunteers around, and I thank them for a job well done we could not do this without you.

Charlie Gillaspie

RSVP Director

Friday, August 24, 2018

What’s in a Number?

Every day we encounter numbers, lots and lots of numbers. From the date on our calendars to the mileage odometer in our cars we see numbers daily. Some numbers make us smile such as the Christmas countdown my coworker Angie Williams keeps. Angie is great at keeping a countdown to Christmas. As the Christmas Basket Coordinator, it is essential for her to track but secretly between you and me she LOVES Christmas!!
Numbers are part of life, but we often overlook their significance. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program has lots of numbers that are important to us and to our community. Like the number 42, this is the number of years Dove, Inc. has sponsored the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, a National Service Program that serves others in our community. Or the number 10, did you know that 10% of our active volunteers are Veterans who served our country. We also have 76, which is the average age of volunteers who performed volunteer hours this last fiscal year. We have significant numbers too such as 354, the number of volunteers who submitted their hours to us to record. From that, we have 256, which is the number of volunteers who volunteer at two or more stations during the last year.
The Independent Sector values a volunteer’s time at $26.02 per hour served, which gives our program a value of 1.6 million dollars of services in the community that volunteers performed, and that’s just the hours we captured from those who have enrolled in our program. This does not count the active volunteers under the age of 55 who are volunteering in their community or those above 55 who have not yet enrolled in RSVP.  Our program goal is to keep those 55 plus healthy, active, and engaged in their community by providing meaningful volunteer opportunities. There are volunteer opportunities that harness their expertise, talent, and passion for giving back to others in the community.   90 is the number of partner stations one can choose when volunteering in the community. You pick where, when, and how often you would like to serve.
1963, this number represents the birth year for all people who will turn 55 this year and become eligible to join our National Service Program. Is this your number?
Charlie Gillaspie
RSVP Director

Friday, August 17, 2018

More On MAX

My name is Pastor Shane Hartman. I have had the opportunity to coordinate the MAX program for the last five years. In that time, between the MAX program and Ameren's Warm Neighbor Cool Friends, MAX has had the opportunity to help over 5000 families with close to a million dollars of financial assistance.

I have been able to help seniors get medicine, help people keep their homes, help struggling students complete their GED’s, keep water on for Moma’s and their babies, help people get out of the cold or heat for night, give the gift of new glasses, help people get teeth pulled, assist people with bus passes and keep the lights on for many.

Don’t tell my boss, but I have the greatest job ever. I get to directly impact people’s lives in the moment of their crisis. When people come into my office there are having the worst day of their lives. Hopefully, when they leave they have hope and a little joy in their lives. 

This is only possible with the generous support from churches, foundations, and generous people in the Decatur Community.

Thank you for the opportunity, Pastor Shane “THE MAX GUY”

MAX locations:

Site:  Decatur First United Methodist Church, 201 W. North, Decatur
Hours:  Monday - Thursday, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Site: Dove Clinton Office, 803 W. Leander, Clinton
Hours:  Tuesday Mornings, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Warm Neighbors Cool Friends
Site:  Homeward Bound Offices, 788 E. Clay, Decatur
Hours: second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Site:  The Good Samaritan Inn, 920 N. Union Street, Decatur
Hours:  second and fourth Fridays of each month, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Site: Prairie Avenue Christian Church, 2201 E. Prairie, Decatur
Hours:  Wednesday Mornings, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Friday, August 10, 2018

However, there is good news...

Domestic violence has long been an issue that was shoved behind closed doors and preferably never discussed.  Society’s attitude was that it was a personal issue or that what happened in the home was only the business of the people who lived in the home.  Fortunately, over the past decades that idea has begun to change.  Domestic violence has begun to be considered the crime that it is, and people are beginning to realize that it truly is everyone’s business.  The revelation of all the abuse cases in the entertainment industry has given birth to the #metoo and #enough movements.  Press coverage of all types of abuse has increased dramatically and victims of both sexes are feeling safe enough to come forward with their stories.  This is a refreshing and long-awaited change.

Just four short years ago, domestic violence was virtually ignored in the world of collegiate and professional sports. In February 2014, Ray Rice, a Baltimore Ravens running back, attacked his fiancĂ©e (now wife) in an elevator in a New Jersey casino.  They were both arrested, and Rice was later charged with a felony.  The charges were dropped at a later date.  The Ravens suspended Rice for two games.  There was some press coverage and some criticism of the NFL for not taking the problem of domestic violence seriously.  In September 2014 TMZ located photographs from casino security cameras detailing the extent of the physical abuse inflicted by Rice.  As proof of the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” news media and social media erupted.  Rice was suspended again by the Ravens and eventually his contract was terminated.  It was unfortunate that it took the photos to bring about justice.  The outcry in the press, especially sports media was long and loud.   This incident caused the NFL to strengthen its domestic violence policy; cases since Rice have been handled in a more fair and uniform manner most of the time.

College sports have had their share of abuse cases over the years. Historically they were dealt with quietly, or not at all.  In recent years, however, cases of abuse have been handled more openly, especially when the media and social media become involved.  Several high- profile coaches and university officials have lost their jobs due to their handling, or more accurately not handling, these cases.  Last week one of the biggest names in college football was placed on paid suspension.  Urban Meyer, currently head coach at Ohio State University, has won multiple national championships; his current team had just been chosen as a favorite for this season.  The university acted swiftly when the details of the domestic violence incidents were made public by a media source.  Five years ago, that would certainly not have happened.

As a domestic violence advocate who is also a sports junkie, I have followed this story daily.  Zach Smith, an OSU assistant coach, also worked for Coach Meyer in Florida.  He was first accused of abusing his wife in 2009; at that time, friends and family urged her to drop charges against him. Meyer and his wife allegedly counseled with the couple at that time, but there was no disciplinary action taken against Smith.  There was another incident in 2015; Coach Meyer was asked about this incident at a recent media event.  He not only denied that it happened but asked the reporter why anyone would make something like that up.  Zach Smith, however, had been fired from OSU the day before, right after the reporter had filed his first story about the incident.  Within the next few days, the reporter printed evidence that not only had the incident happened, but that Meyer’s wife was aware of it and presumably Meyer was as well.  I watched with interest mixed with disgust when the alleged perpetrator gave an interview portraying himself as the victim and his wife as the aggressor; this did little to explain all the bruises in her pictures or his text messages apologizing for the abuse.  The university is investigating; it will be some time, if ever, before the entire truth is known. Who knew what and when did they know it?  Why was Zach Smith fired nine years after the first incident and three years after the second and how many other incidents were there in between?  Do the officials at the university really believe that perpetrating domestic violence is an offense that would cause someone to be fired only when the press finds out about it?  If people knew about these incidents, why was nothing done to protect his wife and children?  Possibly there are more questions than we will ever have answers for. 

There is good news in this situation, however.  Society is currently in a state of mind that they are no longer going to ignore situations like this.  The press and especially social media are not going to be quiet any longer.  Professional teams and university officials can no longer afford to refuse to act, especially once these situations become public knowledge.  OSU may have been late in acting, but the action they finally took was severe. While we don’t know what the eventual outcome will be, we can at least be encouraged that there has been some action taken.  It was especially encouraging to listen to sports media for the past few days.  Male and female reporters alike were quick to jump to the defense of the victim and to condemn the actions of the abuser and those who tried to cover it up. Several of the male commentators were even more eloquent in her defense that were the females.  While I watched the abuser’s interview with disgust, I had to smile at the look of total disbelief and disdain on the face of his interviewer; I am sure the look on my face was similar. We can be encouraged that we are making some progress as we try to ensure that domestic violence is treated like any other crime and that victims are respected for their courage and not blamed for the abuse.  Maybe, just maybe, we finally have come a long way, baby.
Susie Kensil
Shelby County Coordinator

Friday, July 27, 2018

1.9 Million

Since October of 2012, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has been collecting, sorting, and shipping coupons to families overseas in support of the Expired Coupons for Overseas Military Families or (ECOM). Military families do not have access to manufactures coupons overseas. Having no coupons is a challenge since they have limited shopping options and often must pay more for the same item that we do in America. The bonus for families stationed overseas is if they can get their hands on manufactured coupons they can use them up to six months past the coupon expiration date at the commissaries/PX/store on base. This helps the families stationed overseas save money that can be used for other needed items for their families, including those ever-expensive phone calls back home to their cherished loved ones.

When RSVP started this project, it was just a small way to help a few families. No one ever imagined the incredible response to the call for coupons. In short, we underestimated the generosity of everyone’s willingness to share their coupons and share you did to the tune of 1.9 million coupons that have been shipped to bases all over the World. Places like Japan, Italy, Belgium, Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom have all benefited from your generosity. 

However, we have a goal and a lofty one at that. We would love to hit that 2 million coupon mark by the end of this year and with your continued support we can!

So how does it work?

 We serve as the location for coupon donations from RSVP volunteers, community members, churches, and more who want to help support our Military families. Simply drop off or mail us your unused manufactures coupons (sorry no store specific or restaurant coupons permitted) only manufactures to 302 S. Union St, Decatur. This is our hub for volunteers who then help sort and cut coupons for shipment to a base overseas. Coupons must be checked for expiration dates to ensure we send coupons that families can still use.  We then package the coupons and prepare the paperwork to have the box shipped to a base and deliver to our local post office for mailing. Each box can contain as many as 23,000 coupons.  It can typically take up to one month to fill a box for shipping. That means we must fill no less than five boxes before years end to hit our goal of 2 million.

How you can help

You can send us manufactures coupons. Please send only coupons that have only been expired for one month or less.

You can volunteer to help sort or cut coupons (in our office or at your home)

You can help provide the funds for shipping ($17.40 per box)


Thank you for your continued support

Charlie Gillaspie

RSVP Director

Friday, June 29, 2018

National Domestic Violence Counts Report

The 12th annual Domestic Violence Counts Report is in.  On 9-13-17, 1,694 out of 1,873 (90%) identified domestic violence programs in the US participated in the National Census of DV Services.  The following are some of the figures that represent the information provided by these 1,694 participating programs during this 24-hour period.


             72,245 victims were served in one day

             40,470 adult & child victims of DV found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local DV programs

             31,775 adult & child victims received non-residential assistance and services that included counseling, legal advocacy and children’s support groups

             20,352 hotline calls were answered (an average of 848 calls per hour or more than 14 calls per minute)

             In the past year, 531 of the programs surveyed (31%) laid off or left unfilled 1,077 staff positions nationwide.  Most of these positions (62%) were direct service providers, such as shelter staff or legal advocates. 

             On Census Day, 102 of the participating DV programs (6%) were impacted by, or still recovering from natural disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes, or flooding. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Summer Hours Set for MAX

MAX, Macon County Assistance eXchange, is a joint effort  to provide a centralized location to provide monetary support to persons in the community who have a verified emergency need.
MAX provides a systematic way to verify their needs and respond in a timely manner to those needs.  Financial support is from area congregations, individuals and foundations. 
 MAX also works with AMEREN IP to distribute funding through the Warm Neighbors Cool Friends Program, which assists persons with payment of their power bills, in Macon and DeWitt Counties.

Most people seeking help are sent to MAX from the 211 program, social service agencies and area congregations with anticipation of helping clients.   Others seeking assistance have learned about the program from family, friends and public/social media.
MAX Volunteers work with those seeking assistance, helping them fill out an application for assistance.  The client then meets with the Coordinator to review the need.  The application is reviewed and verified, then appropriate decisions on granting requests, up to $300 are made.  A person may be helped once every 366 days.
No cash is ever given, when assistance is granted, a check is issued to the vendor or landlord.  Other requests are referred to appropriate agencies. And other resources are shared with the clients as needed (food pantries and clothing rooms sites, etc.)
New Summer hours are the follow, designed to reach out to those in need:

Site: Decatur First United Methodist Church, 201 W. North, Decatur

Hours:  Monday - Thursday, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Site:  Dove Clinton Office, 803 W. Leander, Clinton

Hours:  Tuesday Mornings, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. - Warm Neighbors Cool Friends


Site:  Homeward Bound Offices, 788 E. Clay, Decatur

Hours: 2nd and 4th  Thursdays of the month, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Site: The Good Samaritan Inn, 920 N. Union Street, Decatur

Hours: 2nd and 4th  Fridays of each month, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


Prairie Avenue Christian Church, 2201 E. Prairie, Decatur

Hours:  Wednesday Mornings, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Picture of Decatur First United Methodist Church, home base for the program. 
New this summer, additional location and times.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Isn't it time you put your talent to work?

Volunteering is sometimes viewed as an entirely selfless act, with the assumption that you’re sacrificing your time and resources to help others without any benefit to yourself…

But, as many of us that volunteer already knows, this is far from the truth. Although our primary goal through volunteering may be to help others, we also know that the experience of helping others feels incredible! Volunteering in your community can help the older American stay healthy, active, and connected to their community. That is why Dove’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is a vital part of Macon and DeWitt Counties. We help volunteers 55 years of age or better find meaningful volunteer opportunities that fit a volunteer’s passion, expertise, and time. Volunteers willing to serve ensures that needed services are available to those in need.

Before getting started with a volunteer opportunity, it’s important to ask yourself what you’d like to learn or accomplish from volunteer service.  If you jump into an opportunity that doesn’t resonate with what you’re already passionate about on some level or doesn’t align with your current skills or interests, you could walk away with a negative volunteer experience, which would be a shame! When you decide to join a service organization, it is essential for you to bring with you a positive attitude, a compassionate heart, an open mind, and the motivation to help others this will help to ensure you will have the best possible experience.

Dove's RSVP has 42 years of experience matching volunteers with their passions at local non-profit, proprietary health centers, or governmental agencies. The program is successful because we have over 400 volunteers who make it their purpose to serve in their communities at more than 75 partner volunteer stations. Our partner stations rave about our volunteers because they know these volunteers are the best of the best when it comes to experience, dedication, and perseverance. Isn't it time you put your talent to work? To get started give the RSVP office a call in Macon County 217.428.6616 or in DeWitt County 217.935.2241 to learn more about what you can do for yourself and others who need you. 

Charlie Gillaspie
RSVP Program Director

Friday, May 11, 2018

Engage at Every Age

Older Americans Month 2018: Engage at Every Age

For 55 years, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been observed to recognize older Americans and their contributions to our communities. Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, every May offers opportunity to hear from, support, and celebrate our nation’s elders. This year’s OAM theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes the importance of being active and involved, no matter where or when you are in life. You are never too old (or too young) to participate in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotion well-being. Dove RSVP has opportunities for older Americans to engage in their communities in Macon and DeWitt Counties. We offer a variety of opportunities that are tailored to all ranges of abilities. Isn’t it time for you to engage?

It is becoming more apparent that remaining socially engaged can improve the quality of life for older adults. Dove RSVP will use OAM 2018 to focus on how older adults in our area are engaging with friends and family, and through various community activities. We want to share with others all the services our seasoned Americans do every single day.

Come share your wisdom and experience with future generations and give back to others. RSVP makes it easy to get started just give us a call at 217.428.6616 and tell us where your passion lives.

Charlie Gillaspie
RSVP Program Director

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...