Wood River Police Association Donates to RFM

The Wood River Police Association hosted their 11th annual trivia fundraiser event which benefits many organizations, schools, community events and families.  This year’s event, they played a 50/50 type game to raise money for Officer Blake Snyder.

Wood River Dispatcher and Police Association President, Rick Militello said that the Snyder family asked them to donate the money to a charity of their choice.  Militello and the other officers knew that Riverbend Family Ministries would be the perfect fit because it meant so much to Snyder.

“We knew donating the money to Riverbend Family Ministries was the perfect fit because he served on the board and felt very passionate about the work they do for the community,” Militello said.  “Since they also help protect the same community we protect, we’re confident that the money will go towards a good cause.”

The Wood River Police Association is an organization of active and retired employees of the Wood River, Illinois Police Department, founded in 2002.  Our Association is comprised of regular members who are employed by the City of Wood River Police Department in the positions of sworn police officer, police (911) telecommunicator, police records clerk, police cadet, secretary or any other position which falls under the chain of command of the Police Chief, and such persons who have duly retired or pensioned from such employment and have a membership in good standing at the time of their retirement.

Please Excuse the Mess!

We’re doing more than spring cleaning this week at our Wood River location.  For the first time since opening our doors in 2007, we are knocking down walls, making room for our ever-growing services.

“When we first found this building ten ye
ars ago, it used to be the Wood River firehouse and we just knew it was the space for us to turn our vision into a reality,” said Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous.  “Our goal was to always grow the services in this community, and with that, comes growing our space.”

Iskarous says a big reason why they need to expand their space is because Refuge just hired another therapist to and need to make more room for their therapy needs.

The new space will feature an updated data entry room for their volunteers and case managers, expanding client service space, new therapy room for Refuge and a new office space for a new Refuge therapist.

The building already has space for their Refuge… CASA partners, the Youth Violence Prevention Program, Client Service Department and a training room for all the parenting classes – which is also occasionally used for other training classes.

The construction starts this Spring and is projected to be completed by this summer.

 

Volunteers Keep the Wheels Turning at Riverbend Family Ministries

When you walk into the doors at Riverbend Family Ministries, you’ll most likely be welcomed by a volunteer.  During their regular office hours, Monday through Thursday 9am-1 pm, there’s always a volunteer either answering the phone, or greeting our clients and walk-ins for the day.

“We feel so blessed to have so many volunteers working here, honestly, they keep the wheels turning in our day to day operation,” said Riverbend Family Ministries Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous.  “I stop and think, they’re all doing this out of the goodness of their own hearts – we’re so fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers.”

Iskarous says each volunteer is also super encouraging and are here to listen to our clients, even if they just want to come in, have a cup of coffee and chat.

There are 23 volunteers throughout the week that work at RFM, most of them work in the Client Service Department or the Data Entry department.  Throughout the year, there are almost 150 volunteers that help out when there are special events.

The Client Service Department works one on one with our clients and their families needing aid with rental and utility assistance, job coaching, interview skills, resume writing and rehabilitation connections. Their goal is to provide training in basic life skills and tools to better their futures.

One of their Client Service volunteers, Mary Fisher decided to volunteer at RFM after retiring from a local school district.  “When I retired, I was looking for a way to volunteer in our community and to give back, I already knew Tammy through my job at the school and have worked with children and families and thought it would be a good fit.”

Like many of the volunteers here, Fisher sees clients that are seeking assistance in some way, whether it be help with utility bills or rent.  She says often times people just like to come in and talk about the current situation going on in their life.

“Our director is always looking for new ways to help families in this community, and I feel like that’s what makes this a place great,” said Fisher.

Another volunteer, Pam Coleson, who’s very passionate about the services RFM provides has been with them for more than five years.

“Every time I’m down here, I’m fulfilled and know that we’re making a difference, whether if we’re able to help or not, we help plant the seed and somebody else may come along and water that seed,” Coleson said.  “We’re here to help break cycles and let them know there is a different way to do things and they’re not alone.”

Riverbend Family Ministries provides resources and training for smaller non-profit organizations in the Madison County area.   They work together under one roof, providing families and individuals the tools they need to be self-sufficient.  Their collaborative method focuses on holistic efforts for children, youth and families who’ve experienced trauma, most often due to violence, addiction, poverty and homelessness.

Riverbend Family Ministries Receives Madison County’s Model Leadership Through Service Award

Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous receives award from Madison County Treasurer, Chris Slusser.

Madison County officials honored Riverbend Family Ministries (RFM) with the Model Leadership Through Service Award in the Organization category.  The award was received during the M.I.C. (Model Innovative County) Summit hosted by Madison County Community Development at the Lewis and Clark Nelson Campus in Edwardsville.  Madison County Treasurer, Chris Slusser introduced Executive Director of RFM, Tammy Iskarous and honored her with the award.

“I’m honored to introduce Tammy and honor her with this award because they’ve been serving the Madison County area for ten years now and have become a wonderful resource to this community,” said Slusser.  “I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to see them open their doors for the first time and serve on the board as their chairman in their beginning stages – and now, it has come full circle for me to honor them today.”

Riverbend Family Ministries provides resources and training for smaller non-profit organizations in the Madison County area.   They work together under one roof, providing families and individuals the tools they need to be self-sufficient.  Their collaborative method focuses on holistic efforts for children, youth and families who’ve experienced trauma, most often due to violence, addiction, poverty and homelessness.

“Before we opened our doors in downtown Wood River, I had a vision to house small non-profits under one roof so we could collectively serve the needs of our families in crisis,” said Iskarous.  “We call everyone that walks into our doors family.  We do that because a family is always there for you, in good times, and bad without judgement.  We are more than honored to accept this award and feel very blessed to serve the people of Madison County.”

Madison County Chairman, Kurt Prenzler and his team decided to nominate Riverbend Family Ministries for the Model Leadership Through Service Award this year because of their innovative ways of thinking.

“We chose Riverbend Family Ministries because they put action behind what they do,” said Prenzler.  “Even though they know they cannot depend on the state for funding, it doesn’t stop their perseverance, in fact, it challenges them to do more and be more innovative. Madison County appreciates how giving they are and the example they’re setting for others.’

Riverbend Family Ministries has 15 board members on their board of directors.  The current Board Chairman, Wiley Davis says the entire board is excited for this award and that it makes them even more motivated to look into the future of RFM.

“Riverbend Family Ministries exemplifies community leadership through service to children, youth and families in need,” said Davis.  “They take a holistic approach to mending broken lives. It is in close partnership with other agencies that specialize in training and counseling; providing necessary skills to get lives back on track. I am proud to be part of this organization and the work being done by Tammy, the board, the staff and the volunteers on behalf our community.”

Riverbend Family Ministries receives Leadership Through Service Award