The Carmi Rotary club met on Thursday to hear an update from Sheryl Woodham from the Guardian Center.
Sheryl told the Rotarians that the Guardian Center covers an eight county area in Southern Illinois: Crawford, Edwards, Gallatin, Lawrence, Richland, Saline, Wabash and White. In the past year, those eight sites were involved in nearly 200 interviews with potentially abused children.
The club was shown truly horrible statistics from those interviews. Most disturbing, 94 percent of the abused children were familiar with the abuser. Of those cases, parents and other relatives accounted for a large percentage of the incidents.
Sheryl explained a term used by the state: paramour. She told the club that was a fancy term for boyfriend or girlfriend of the child’s natural parent. In any allegation of abuse from a paramour, the incident becomes a priority for case workers.
Another sad statistic Sheryl passed along; only 38 percent of abused children ever report the abuse. That is why training in schools is so important, to let children know that it is ok to report, and what the steps are to let someone know about the abuse.
Sheryl told the club that funding is always an issue, and this year is no exception. Two major state grants provide a large portion of the Center’s operating capital. Unfortunately, with the state of our state, this year money is not coming as in year’s past. In fact, the grants are supposed to be paid quarterly, but this year, no payments have been made since before July of 2019. The money is earmarked, but for whatever reason, has not been released. This has caused the Center to move money around to be able to cover expenses. As Sheryl stated, having to depend on the state of Illinois is not a very comforting proposition.
With a slow-down in state money, community support is even more important. Sheryl said that the Center has several fund-raisers during the year, including the Candy Corn 5K and two other 5Ks last year, one in Galatia and one in Grayville. The annual Spring banquet is being replaced this year by something totally new. The details are not ready to be released yet, but stay tuned, it’s going to be something really different.
The other major fund-raising possibility is the Guardian Center’s Circle of Friends program. This is a monthly giving program for anyone interested in helping fund this very needed organization. Once signed up, a set amount is deducted from your bank account and the money goes directly to the Center to help cover some of the costs not covered by state grants.
In club business, Sheri Logan won the 50/50 drawing but was not lucky enough to pick the winning ball to claim the day’s cash prize. Morris McCall was named the day’s phantom.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Circle of Friends can contact the Center at 382-8247 for more information.
Next week’s Rotary meeting will feature a slide presentation showing the new look for Huck’s Convenience Stores. The company recently opened a new store in Seymour, Indiana featuring all new décor. Folks from the Martin and Bayley office will be on hand to show this amazing new look.
The Carmi Rotary club meets every Thursday at noon at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Carmi. Anyone wishing to learn more about this civic organization is welcome to attend a meeting or speak with any Carmi Rotarian
Story provided by Randy Adams