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Mental Health Committee Needs to Know

Do you belong to an organization, club, church, or professional group which welcomes speakers? The Mental Health Committee is compiling a list of groups in order to ask if a League person can come speak about the current state of mental health services in McLean County. It’s part of the League action effort to educate the community about mental health.

If you belong to such a group, we need your help in developing our list. Please send contact information, including the name of the club, contact person, and a phone number, if available to Julie Sullivan at JulianaLou@aol.com.   If you have questions, please give Julie a call at 309-663-4425.

Wine Tasting & Social

Tuesday, December 2

Click here for more information.

Laura Furlong and Martha from Marcfirst

Our Next Meeting
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Drinks and Dialogue
2014 Election - A Look at Who Voted, Who Didn’t and Why

5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

A. Renée
306 N. Center St., Bloomington
Please click here for directions.

The 2014 election brought a wave of change. For our next Drinks and Dialogue we will take a look at Who Voted, Who Didn't, and Why. Join us as we discuss age, race, gender, and socioeconomic diversity, and the restrictions and challenges voters faced. We will also identify the "takeaways" from this year's election and think about what can be done to have a more fully engaged electorate in the future.

To help you prepare for our discussion, please see the PowerPoint and recorded webinar on 2014 Voter Turnout from the non-partisan organization, Nonprofit VOTE:

Who Turned Out in the 2014 Midterm Elections

And, the following blog highlights some examples of challenges voters faced on Election Day 2014:

Brennan Center Blog

Join the discussion and enjoy a glass of wine, December 10 at 5:30 pm at A. Renée.

Hidden McLean County
Developmental Disabilities and Formerly Incarcerated Women

About thirty members and guests attended the November 18th membership meeting which was a continuation of our "Hidden McLean County" series. Laura Furlong and Mary Riddle from Marcfirst and Mary Campbell and Kristin Manzi from Labyrinth led the discussion about the services their agencies provide to their clients.

Marcfirst serves the developmentally disabled and Laura stressed how these services are provided throughout an individual's lifetime. They include (among many other things):

  • Providing housing options that allow adult clients the opportunity to maintain their independence
  • Working with clients to gain vocational skills and find employment in the community
  • Providing support for clients and their employers in their work environment
  • Identifying and working to correct any situations in the community that create a barrier for their clients in leading a full and productive life

Martha and Vickie, both clients of Marcfirst, related their personal stories of how Marcfirst helped them achieve these goals and delightfully demonstrated the good Marcfirst does in the community.

Labyrinth Outreach Services to Women is a not-for-profit organization that provides long-term supportive services to women from McLean County who have been incarcerated or are on probation. Its goal is to collaborate with local social service agencies to assist the women to remain free of future court involvement and to significantly reduce recidivism in McLean County. They are presently renovating two houses in Bloomington to serve as transitional housing for up to 10 women, an office for the organization’s counselor and a group meeting space for Labyrinth clients and other groups.

Mary and Kristin were accompanied by Wanda who talked about her struggles in adjusting to life after being put on probation and how the organization helped change her attitude toward life's possibilities. Her most urgent challenge at the moment is completing her GED work and finding gainful employment. Much of the discussion focused on the difficulty of someone with a record finding a job.

Thanks to all, both presenters and audience, for their participation in this very informative evening.

Link to Marcfirst website.

Link to Labyrinth Outreach website.

Links to Events of Interest

League Praises Immigration Step

November 10, 2014

Washington, D.C. - The League of Women Voters of the U.S. reacted to today’s announcement by President Obama that he is using his executive authority to limit deportation of many undocumented immigrants.

"President Obama’s executive order is a good and important step toward a realistic and humane immigration policy for the United States," said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.

"The order focuses mainly on families - keeping them together rather than breaking them up through unnecessary deportation," MacNamara said. "The League has exhaustively studied this issue and agrees that deportation is not appropriate for unauthorized immigrants who have no history of criminal activity." The League believes that immigration policy should focus on meeting the economic, business and employment needs of the U.S. and promoting reunification of immediate families.

"Congress still must act on a comprehensive immigration policy," added MacNamara. "The President’s executive action, while a good start, is just a temporary first step. Congress needs to stop pointing fingers and get to work on this vital issue. Congress should face reality and act humanely in the long run best interests our nation."

"The President’s action is a positive step forward on immigration policy because it is a humanitarian effort aimed at families, but more needs to be done," concluded MacNamara.

Drinks and Dialogue Explores Victims’ Rights Amendment

On October 8, about fifteen interested Leaguers came out to learn more about the November 4th ballot initiatives and hear from local and state advocates of the victim’s rights amendment on the ballot otherwise known as Marsy’s Law.

Jennifer Bishop Jenkins, Director of Mary’s Law for Illinois and Nicole Kirstein, Senior Director for Prevention and Empowerment Services at the YWCA, shared background information and features of the law