Peer Court targets first time juvenile offenders between the ages of 10 and 18. This program provides opportunities for youth offenders to complete a comprehensive sentence that includes community service work, jury duty, a taekwondo class, tour of the Public Safety Building, and apologies or essays. Through the community service work, youth learn valuable job skills such as time management, work expectations, and are introduced to a variety of job-related fields. The community service work and taekwondo also offer the opportunity to learn the health benefits of exercise. Peer Court works with approximately 100 youth offenders per year.
The mentoring program serves children between the ages of 5-18, and most have risk factors including growing up in a single-parent home, living in poverty and struggling with academic issues. Mentoring relationships develop positive attributes and the survival assets that are critical in assisting children to grow into successful adults. Through One-To-One mentoring relationships, we are helping the children in our program achieve socioemotional growth and character development, the avoidance of risky behaviors, the avoidance of the juvenile justice system, and educational success and graduation from high school.
The heart of the Scouting program since its inception has been the physical and mental development of young people through an experience in the outdoors. Throughout Vermilion County, IL and Fountain County, IN, the Boy Scouts have programs for all youth ages 5 to 20. The Scout Advancement program is designed to provide a well-rounded educational experience in citizenship efforts, life skills, career options, and recreational adventures. At all levels of the Scouting program, young people are taught the value of taking care of time management, outdoor conservation, and financial stewardship.
The target population are all children (at-risk kids) ages 6-18. We aggressively provide supplemental educational assistance through Power for Life, consisting of four premier programs: Power Hour, Power Learn, Power Prep and Power Ahead. In Power Hour, Club youth complete homework with the assistance of staff and volunteers during their first hour at the Club. If they have no homework, we provide group high-yield learning, fun activities (Power Learn), they read, complete worksheets, or participate in other group learning program areas. By completing daily work and additional academic exercises, members not only obtain academic competency, but also establish structured and productive study habits, perform better in school, and gain an understanding that hard work leads to success in life.
CASA places volunteer advocates in the court system with abused and neglected children. These volunteers advocate for the physical, emotional, educational, and developmental well-being of their assigned children. CASA volunteers undergo the highest standard of training, must complete continuing education credits, and provide a unique service no other agency provides. The core of their mission is to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of their children that they serve. There is a great need for their services in Vermilion County, and in order to serve all children, we need more volunteers. The money from United Way does just that, helps recruit and train more volunteers.
United Way Funded Programs at Crosspoint Human Services:
Mental Health Services – Programs and services tailored to outpatient psychiatric care of children and adolescents 5 years of age and older align with United Way’s Behavior Health Support objective that promotes our community to have healthy emotional and mental health. Crosspoint’s experienced staff will help families and children cope with mental health issues like depression and grief, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral problems, family conflict, blended family issues, and serious trauma.
Domestic Violence Prevention & Intervention programs touch each impact category by providing education to adults and children who have experienced violence. In turn education leads to employment and income for self-sufficiency. Finally, a family free from violence and within its own home can devote time and resources to enhancing its health.
Infant Development Program focuses on education by providing universal evaluations and developmental therapy to delayed children under the age of three. The focus is to reduce or eliminate the long-term effect of developmental delays or disabilities.
Homeless Transitional Housing programs touch each impact category by providing education to adults and children who have experienced being homeless. In turn education leads to employment and income self-sufficiency. Finally, a family that is not homeless and within its own home can devote time and resources to enhancing its health.
They provide professional and affordable counseling services to residents of Vermilion County. United Way funding is utilized to supplement the cost of services of clients who are uninsured or underinsured, regardless of their ability to pay. Counseling services increase family stability, decrease risk-taking behaviors, and expand the coping skills of participants.
Community Action Program of Western Indiana, MAC transportation program, provides transportation to and from medical providers and facilities. If this priority has been met, we transport to grocery stores, social service agencies, and senior centers. Their targeted population is the elderly and disabled population in Fountain and Warren Counties in Indiana.
CRIS plays a critical role in our community. Poverty continues to be a top concern in Vermilion County, while at the same time, our population is rapidly aging. The Meals on Wheels program serves the frailest of our senior population. Four nutrient-dense meals, each meeting 1/3 of the daily nutritional requirements, are delivered twice weekly. The meals are frozen to provide safe delivery and flexibility for our recipients. When seniors come to CRIS, Senior Information and Service/Coordinated Point of Entry is their standard starting point. Through SIS assistance, seniors are connected to the programs that offer the education, financial stability, and healthy aging information/services that best match their needs. Home delivered meals and other referral services provided by CRIS are vital resources, as they serve to protect seniors’ health and independence.
The Financial Assistance Program at the Danville Family YMCA allows families to use the facility at a cost that is achievable for them. The goal is to increase the number of youth and adults to live healthy lifestyles and avoid risky behaviors.
The G.I.R.L. Outreach Program serves students in statistically low-income areas through community partners. The curriculum is designed to encourage girls to achieve 5 outcomes proven to benefit the lives of girls, encourage leadership and contribute to socio-emotional health and long-term success in life, personally and academically. These outcomes include positive values, challenge seeking, healthy relationships, community problem-solving, and a strong sense of self.
The Prevention Department at Rosecrance has presented the “Too Good For Drugs” and “Too Good For Violence” curriculums as the evidenced-based, ten session curriculum in Vermilion County for the past nine years. Using these curriculums, our services meet the health impact category by helping youth live healthy lifestyles and avoid risky behaviors. We educate Vermilion County youth on alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and help youth develop healthy decision-making skills.
Your United Way dollars go to help fund the Rent/Shelter Assistance program that provides emergency/temporary shelter assistance.
The Prevention Education Program through the Survivor Resource Center provides education to area children and adolescents with vital information on topics such as body safety, internet and social media safety, healthy relationships, bullying, and sexual harassment. The research based, age appropriate programs provided work towards the prevention of sexual abuse and sexual harassment by providing knowledge and skills to students throughout Vermilion County.
WorkSource provides social and vocational services to persons with disabilities in Danville and throughout Vermilion County. They offer Vocational/Educational programs in-house and out in the community, with the philosophy that working provides a source of achievement and self-worth that enable a person with disabilities to live independently in our community. They also provide a Day Program and Home-Based Services for those persons with moderate to severe disabilities. While work and total social and vocational independence is not the main goal, they challenge their Day Program Consumers to participate in their in-house vocational program.
Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) sends age appropriate books to the homes of any child, from birth to five years of age whose family applies, living in Vermilion County, IL, Fountain County, IN and Warren County, IN at no cost to the family. These books are top of the line children’s books and kick start a child’s education.
The PATH Crisis 2-1-1 line is a call center where someone can simply dial 211, much like 911, and receive help on the other end in the form of information to resources. Most calls are for people needing help paying their utilities or rent, needing a homeless shelter, or a food pantry. Of the 876 calls taken from Vermilion County residents last year, over 150 of those were for crisis intervention, suicide, emotional support, or someone looking for counseling services in our area. Being able to dial three digits, 211, is a lifeline to many from Vermilion County.
Empowering Families Program
Affirming Potential (AP) allows participants to reflect upon the four key areas of their lives, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health. Mid-way through the class, neighbors are given a self-assessment to help them decide which area needs the most work. Once they have identified their greatest challenge, class facilitators help them to build a dream, set goals, and learn how to identify the steps they need to take to successfully achieve those goals. As we transition from TM classes into the Empowering Families Program, AP will become the foundation. Based on the self-assessment, we will create a customized curriculum to help them achieve the goals and dreams they envision.
Through this program participants will:
• Depict how money affects our relationships and community.
• Discover what our priorities are and assess how our use of money fits with it.
• Define internal and external obstacles to good financial management.
• Set long and short-term savings goals.
• Develop a monthly spending plan.
• Manage debt and consider appropriate uses of credit.
• Recognize the need to plan for emergencies and generate strategies for coping during those emergencies.
• Planning for long-term change.
Helping someone through their financial struggles is only the beginning of the changes needed in their lives. Often, they do not know how to set boundaries in their relationships. Without boundaries we don’t know how or when to say “No”. Not just how, but to say it without doing damage to the relationship. We need boundaries at home, at work, at church, in all our relationships. Saying yes, to something we know we should not, often affects our finances by giving and doing what we can’t afford. A recent participant came to the realization her significant other was more focused on his addiction than on her. She set rules forbidding drugs in her house. He has since moved out. Another family learned of the financial hardships that arise from payday lenders. They are now working to eliminate payday loans and free up more money to cover bills and to start an emergency fund.
The VCCAC serves child victims of abuse and their non-offending caregivers by providing services through a comprehensive, child-focused approach in a safe, neutral, environment. By bridging the gaps between law enforcement, the Department of Children and Family Services, prosecutors, and service providers during an investigation, VCCAC reduces the number of times a child has to retell their story.
As stated in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Annual Progress and Services Report 2021, Child Advocacy Centers “play a critical role in the coordination of investigative activities”. Vermilion County is one of the last counties in Illinois to develop a Child Advocacy Center, but is also one of the counties with the highest incident rates of child maltreatment. Vermilion County is the 12th highest county of 102 counties to have substantiated or indicated reports of child abuse. We rank 7th highest in victims who get revictimized within 6 months after indicated (fosteringcourtimprovement.org, 2014) (see attached chart). Our agency focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to provide resources and specialized services to our children and families affected by child abuse. Bringing all disciplines together to have one interview in an office that is neutral and comfortable for the child will gain better results and decrease re-traumatization. “As research has shown that this multidisciplinary approach to investigation is best practice and results in a higher prosecutorial rate, enhanced investigations and increases the well-being of families and child victims” (DCFS Annual Progress and Services Report, 2021)
Children are referred to VCCAC through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or local law enforcement when abuse is suspected. If you suspect abuse, call your local police department, 911, or the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at 1800-25-ABUSE (1800-252-2873).
Many times, individuals and families impacted by trauma need intensive services to assist in their recovery and healing. Gateway Family Services of Illinois provides Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP) to improve relationships and to help individuals and families to heal from trauma. Gateway utilizes the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) from Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD., Principal at the Neurosequential Network and Senior Fellow at ChildTrauma Academy and the Natural Lifemanship model of trauma focused-equine assisted psychotherapy based on the neuroscience of human and horse brain development, the impact of trauma, and the role of relationships in recovery and healing. Sessions incorporate science-based principles for building healthy, connected relationships aimed to help individuals and their families, including the implementation of Equine Connected-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EC-EMDR). This comprehensive approach addresses the impact of trauma that has taken place throughout one’s development to help individuals and their families achieve success and healing in all arenas of their lives.
Gateway Family Services incorporates mounted work (riding horses) in sessions to assist individuals and families with improving self-regulation skills and increasing intimacy between horse and human, as well as providing an opportunity to process trauma and strengthen their human relationships. According to The Natural Lifemanship Institute, “Studies show the functionality of the brain in people who have experienced trauma (such as abuse, neglect, combat, or natural disasters) is often compromised due to disorganization of connections in the brain. This often results in individuals struggling with emotional regulation and impulse control and the ability to appropriately handle even minimal stress.” Gateway Family Services utilizes the rhythmic, patterned, repetitive movement inherent in riding a horse to create, increase and reorganize connections in the brain, thereby increasing the brain’s ability to manage emotions and impulse control. The horse is able to provide the rhythm required to effectively heal the impact of trauma on the brain until the individual is able to independently provide that rhythm.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, Equine Therapy /Animal-assisted Therapy "has shown to be effective in treating patients, including combat Veterans, with PTSD, depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders and other chronic mental illnesses."
Trauma is something that we cannot escape. It is impacting each one of our lives. It may be with our co-workers, our friends, those we teach, those we lead or even our own family. Locally, trauma permeates our county and impacts the way individuals build relationships with themselves and with others. Staggering statistics (taken from the Vermilion County Community Health Plan) demonstrate the impact of trauma in our state and Vermilion County: suicide is the leading cause of death in Illinois; drug arrests increased steadily since 2012; child abuse and neglect rates in Vermilion County are double the rates of the entire state of Illinois; and crime is the highest rate, surpassing all the surrounding counties.
These staggering statistics show the dire need for intensive, trauma-informed services to be provided in Vermilion county. The unique and innovative services provided by Gateway Family Services help individuals and families heal from the trauma they have experienced. As they heal, the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, crime, and drug addiction begins to change, as well. The funds granted would enable Gateway to increase the services offered to help children and families heal. We know that when individuals find personal healing, they are far less likely to pass along the abuse and neglect to the next generation. Through United Way granted funds, it would not be like throwing a pebble into the water: there is significant immediate benefits, as well as countless ripples that are nearly impossible to measure or count.
Individualized: Our services also include neuro metrics from the Neurosequential Network led by Bruce D. Perry, MD. PhD. These metrics allow our team to identify areas of the brain that have been impacted by trauma. We then develop individualized plans to meet those needs to build a healthier future for the individual and the family. Intensive: Our individualized approach includes working closely with all of the systems of the individual or family—home, school and community. Our intensive approach works to help create a healthier system for the individual and family in order to ensure greater success. Innovative: Our comprehensive approach makes our agency one of the most unique in the state of Illinois. Our clinical team has extensive training and experience in treating trauma. Our training and approach have significant focus on the traumatized brain.