Friday, July 31, 2020

Anniversary Reflection

It is hard to believe that in just a couple of weeks it will have been twenty years since I walked into the Dove Domestic Violence Program office in Shelbyville for the first time.  Interviews and the actual hiring had been done from the Dove offices in Decatur, so a few days before I was to start my job, I had to go on a driving tour of Shelbyville to find the office.  If you are familiar with our town you are no doubt laughing by now….it is by no means a large city.  The office is located very well for privacy for our clients, however, on the outskirts of town.  I walked in that morning alone;  one of my coworkers from another county would arrive soon to begin to show me the ropes.  I was excited, nervous, had little clue what I was going to be doing and I wasn’t 100% sure I knew how to do whatever that turned out to be.  The permanent office had been in existence for about four months, but my position had been vacant for about half of that time, so I knew I was starting almost from scratch.  My then-supervisor had worked part-time in the county for a couple of years so some of the community was aware of what our services were. Being a female, with no set agenda right at that moment, I began to rearrange the furniture a bit to make it more my style. I was soon armed with a list of things I could bring from home to make it a more comfortable setting for my clients.  If you must pour your heart out to a stranger, you might as well feel at home while you do it.

One of the very first things I learned is that Dove is an incredible organization to work for and with.  Although I work in this county alone, I never feel that I am alone.  I know that support and answers are always only a phone call or an email away.  If I am perplexed about something, there is always someone in the organization who has an answer for me.  My coworkers have become a second family over the years.  There have been births and deaths and other major life experiences, and always the support has been there from everybody.  There have been major upheavals as an organization over the years, but we have always pulled together to make things work despite the curves that were thrown at us.  Our mission statement says that Dove strives for justice, equality and understanding among all people; that sentiment begins at home.  Dove employees are treated in that manner always.

Once I began to figure out just what the job might be, our growth began quickly.  The fact that I am a native of Shelby County was helpful, as was the support of the law enforcement and court communities and other local agencies.  I also received a lot of training from other employees and from the many training opportunities offered over the years.  Dove employees are very well trained in their areas of expertise.  

Looking back, twenty years seems like a long time, but it seems like yesterday when I walked in this room for the first time.  There have been so many people, so many stories, so much heartbreak and so much happiness that has happened in all those years.  Clients who were successful, clients who came back when things got scary again and clients who were happy enough with our services to refer other friends and family.  There have been staff members who became friends and moved on and staff members who have remained who are still almost like family.  I have changed for the better from doing this work and my life has been enriched by it.  Some things, though, have not changed.  I am still excited to walk through that door every morning, and I still never know exactly what I will be doing on any given day.  That is part of the charm of the job for me.  I do know, however,  that I can handle whatever walks through the door, either on my own or with the help of one of those phone calls or emails to someone else.  I am grateful for Dove, for all my coworkers, and for the chance to make a positive difference in someone’s life every day……………. even if it is just mine.
Susie Kensil, Shelby County Domestic Violence Coordinator

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Shout out to our RSVP & SCP Volunteers!

 Did you know that Dove started July 7, 1970 in partnership with several churches in the area with a focus on helping others? Today Dove has grown to include numerous programs all working together to uphold Doves mission and serve our communities. 

Dove is a coalition of religious organizations, volunteers, and advocates that seek to coordinate efforts to address unmet human needs and social injustices. Dove works for justice, equality and understanding among all people.

As the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Director I am in awe of all that Dove programs accomplish every day. Without the help and support form partner churches, area organizations, donors, and volunteers Dove would not be as successful as you make us!

From programs that have been hosted by Dove for years to the just starting Senior Companion Program Dove works to stay up to date with the needs of others. They do that by changing to adapt to the times. Today is no different from yesterday. Our mission is still the same. It has carried us through the first 50 years, and we look for it to carry us through the next 50.

As loyal supporters and volunteers we challenge you to help us celebrate in your own way.
  • Tell 50 family, friends, or neighbors about Dove and the services they provide
  • Collect 50 items to donate to our Homeward Bound or Domestic Violence Programs
  • Help to fundraise on Dove’s behalf to help us keep the important programs serving five area counties
  • Collect enough coupons and funds to send the next 50 boxes of coupons overseas
  • Make it your mission to collect 50 items for any one of our events
  • Collect 50 coats with you church for Coats for Kids, supply 50 rolls of wrapping paper for the Christmas baskets
  • Commit to volunteering for 50 days or hours in 2020. 

Join us in celebrating Dove’s 50th anniversary in a golden way.

Charlie Gillaspie
RSVP & SCP Program Director

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dove is Fifty

Most of us were around in 1970. It’s normal to ask what were you doing on July 7, 1970. Avoiding an embarrassing answer for you, here’s what was happening. We remember we were in a very unpopular war. Protests sprung up everywhere. Young men left the US for Canada. The country was unsettled. The Aswan Dam in Egypt was being constructed. The USSR and France were conducting nuclear tests. Northern Ireland was in conflict. The US would soon launch Venera 7, for a 1st soft landing on Venus.

However, a bright spot shined right here in Decatur. DOVE was formed. Eight churches agreed to support a new ministry to be called Disciples on Volunteer Enlistment (DOVE). First Christian (Bethany), First Christian (Blue Mound), Central Christian, First Christian and Prairie Avenue Christian Church (Decatur), Harristown Christian, Illiopolis Christian and Niantic Christian. Ray Batman was the first DOVE Coordinator with a whopping first budget of $6,380. His office was in the furnace room of Decatur First Christian. There were 18 volunteers and 128 program participants in tutoring, sewing and cooking classes.

The treasurer’s report from November 1972 read balance $17.09. Pledges are needed. Were they wondering if it was worth the effort? Was it time to throw in the towel? No. The board had a two-hour meeting and came out with a decision to buy a house. A house on East Locust was purchased for a new headquarters. By 1973 the budget increased to $14,000 and they bought a typewriter. 1974 Nancy Jo Batman becomes secretary. A year-round system for collecting foodstuffs was initiated and DOVE becomes the sponsor of the VISTA program.

Three regional churches (Presbyterian, United Methodist and United Church of Christ), join in supporting DOVE in 1975. The next year DOVE initiates RSVP. Fred Spannaus becomes the second Executive Director in 1978.

The DOVE house in redecorated for the ten-year anniversary in 1980. RSVP has grown to over 400 volunteers and the overall budget is $125,000.

In 1980 Fred Spannaus included in his annual report a synopsis of the first ten years. ”What I found is this: Ten years of steady, Consistent progress. No single year viewed in isolation, looked very spectacular. But … a pattern was there. Each year took our work of the previous year a step or two forward; each year provided one or two good ideas which bore fruit in the next. For as surely as we’ve enjoyed no exceptional year, we’ve suffered no bad year. It was impressive, this ten-year flight of steadily ascending stairs. The history of DOVE is consistent, dynamic and progressive. Far from being a problem, this is perhaps one of our ministry’s strongest assets. Our past demonstrates the long-term sense of commitment shared among the hundreds of folks who have been vital parts of DOVE.”

As we look back on DOVE’s past this remains the guiding focus of DOVE today. Consistent progress. 

Guest Submission
Dave Webb
Serving on Dove's Board of Directors as the RSVP Program Representative and on the Anniversary Committee

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

needed then, vital now

Dove hosted a Press Conference, outside, 10:15 a.m. the morning of July 7.  Dove is commemorating its 50th Anniversary this year.  7/7/70, the first Coordinator, Ray Batman reported to work to begin this ministry of Dove.

As luck would have it, the warning sirens which usually are tested at 10:00 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month in Decatur, were late, going off about 10:17.  This needed test pretty much rang the whole time Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director,  was sharing her 2 minute speech at the Press Conference, and made it pretty hard to hear.  So below is her comments:

Good morning.  As I think about the overall theme of this special day – in recognition of Dove’s 50th Anniversary,  “Needed then….Vital now” – I find this to be very fitting.  

Back in the early 70’s – which was at just the beginning of the domestic violence movement – there were no shelters – only safe houses in some communities – private homes who allowed a woman to stay maybe for a night or two……Domestic violence was  a “just a family matter” – abusers were told to “just go drive around the block” – leave each other alone – this is a civil matter” – shelters worked in their own silos – law enforcement had their silo – State’s Attorneys offices had their own  - and so on……..

Were services needed back then??  Absolutely!!!

Fast forward to today – New Laws – Coordinated Community Response Teams – collaborations formed – nearly 60 DV shelters across the state of IL alone – offering a variety of comprehensive trauma informed services, close partnerships with law enforcement – VITAL SERVICES – services that were indeed needed back then in the 70s before anyone truly worked with and understood the dynamics of domestic violence and how this crime affects all victims and their children, and the many barriers they were faced with.

Add on top of that COVID-19 – a time when more than ever – our services are more vitally needed now than ever before – victims being isolated in their homes with their abuser, with less resources being readily available, less chance for privacy or ability to call the police – basically a prisoner in their own homes.

Happy 50th Anniversary to Dove – a time to celebrate the many programs our agency has offered and continues to offer to those in our community – those who are vitally in need – as we work toward justice, equality and understanding among all people!!

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...