April 30, 2014

JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Representatives from 29 different Southern Illinois agencies were presented with checks from the Poshard Foundation Tuesday at John A. Logan College for the work that they do to enhance the lives of abused, abandoned and neglected children.
 
More than $71,000 was awarded in all, mostly from funds that had been raised last fall at the Poshard Foundation Brunch.
 
“We are very grateful to each of our donors,” said Jo Poshard, co-founder of the organization. “As Child Abuse Prevention Month winds down, it is clear that 30 days isn’t enough time to sound the alarm for abused children in our region. Child abuse is on the rise in Southern Illinois.”
 
Poshard said she is proud of the work done by case workers and agency representatives whose top priority is tending to the needs of abused children and taking advantage of whatever financial resources are available to them to improve the lives of those abused.
 
“The case workers and agency workers are in the trenches every day on behalf of these children,” she said. “The things that they witness that happen to children are things that most of us could only imagine in our worst nightmare. I can’t imagine doing what they do every day and trying to maintain some balance. These workers deserve all the credit. We are thrilled to do anything we can to help them, not only today but throughout the year.”
 
Poshard said it’s a “wonderful feeling” to know that the monies raised will benefit children directly.
 
“This money is used to help the agencies bridge the (funding) gap,” Poshard said. “There are many things that abused children need – special counseling, therapeutic camps, and even beds to sleep on to get up off the floors and patio cushions. These are things that the agencies don’t always have funding for. That’s where we want to be the safety net for them.”
 
Because child abuse is up in the region, Poshard said it is more important than ever to talk about the problem.
 
“We need to raise people’s consciousness about it. Our kids are in trouble right here in Southern Illinois,” she said. “That’s why prevention is so very important. We are donating more money than ever before to agencies coming up with prevention projects. Intervene now before the abuse occurs.”
 
Michelle Bradley, regional director of Caritas Family Solutions in Carterville and Mount Vernon, said the extra money from the Poshard Foundation is greatly appreciated.
 
“It largely goes to provide counseling programs for families that otherwise couldn’t afford it,” she said. “That’s at least four or five additional families that we can now serve.”
 
Bradley said Caritas also provides foster care, pregnancy care, adoption services and all types of systemic therapy.
 
Those agencies receiving funding Tuesday include: Anna Bixby Women’s Center in Harrisburg; Baptist Children’s Home in Carmi; Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale; Cairo Women’s Shelter; Caritas Family Solutions; CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Franklin, Jefferson, Saline, and Williamson counties; Children’s Medical Resource Network in Anna; Family Counseling Center in Vienna; Family Crisis Center in Herrin; Hoyleton Ministries; Lutheran Social Services of Marion and Illinois Prison & Family Services of Marion; Mentors4Kids of Harrisburg; PAVE of Centralia; Williamson and Perry-Jackson Child Advocacy Centers; Pregnancy Matters of Carbondale; Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless in Marion; The Amy Center of Mt. Vernon; The Guardian Center of Carmi; The H Group of West Frankfort; The Night’s Shield in West Frankfort; The Women’s Center in Carbondale; Two Rivers Advocacy Center in Anna; and United Methodist Children’s Home in Mt. Vernon.