CARTERVILLE -- An annual grant distribution ceremony took place at John A. Logan College Monday, and 30 area social service agencies received monetary awards totaling $100,000 from the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children. Director Jo Poshard presided over the news conference, which took place in the JALC Board Room. Grant checks were presented to agencies that provide services to abused children in the region.
Some of the local agencies benefiting from the funds include: Lutheran Social Services of Illinois in Marion, CASA of Williamson County, Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, and Williamson County Family Crisis Center in Herrin.
Jo Poshard was eager to discuss the purpose of her organization and grateful to the many supporters who attended the conference.
"I would say one of the things we do is to raise awareness of child abuse in the southern region. Our rates are double and triple that of the state average," she said.
Poshard wants to urge everyone to get involved if they become aware that a child is in an abusive situation and not leave everything up to law enforcement.
"You may be the only life line to safety that child has. Every child dreams of a great childhood -- many have childhoods we would consider a nightmare."
Mentors4Kids Program Coordinator Katharine Bovenkerk oversees a mentoring agency in the six southernmost counties of Illinois. Bovenkerk's agency was singled out by Poshard as a worthy cause in need of volunteers.
"Kids in the community need support and a positive role model," said Bovenkerk.
Mentors4Kids currently has 29 mentors. Anyone interested in becoming a mentor may visit the website at email@example.com in order to learn more about the program.
The Poshard grants are especially welcome in light of recent cuts in state funding. Longtime Poshard Foundation volunteer Phyllis McCowen says the grant allocations are always generous.
"They try to give at least a $100,000 a year. I think they do a wonderful job."
Poshard is thrilled to assist agencies that need more help than the state can currently provide. The money will be used in myriad ways and will have a lasting effect on thousands of young lives.
"Children need normal experiences, like going to a ballgame," she said. "Making their lives better in any way we can -- that's what these checks are for."