On March 16, 2023, the RiverBend Growth Association Young Adults Committee paid a visit to RiverBend Family Ministries where we mimicked the daily routine of some of their associates as well as simply helped in any way we could have. Some of the ways we helped were with things like stocking/organizing the resource room (also named Walgreens by Tammy) filled with things like toothpaste, diapers, deodorant, and other basic items that are necessary for living. We also organized/cleaned one of the main areas on the main floor to prepare for one of their important meetings concerning what was going on and who needed help throughout the area. Every person we came in contact with displayed kindness, compassion, sincerity, and diligence within their work, which allowed for a very welcoming and respectable atmosphere.
Can you imagine opening your house to hundreds of people each and every day? As the woman in charge of Riverbend Family Ministries, “Mama Tammy,” more formally known as Ms. Tammy Iskarous, does not just that, but also opens her heart to all those that reach out to her as well. Just this year, the heart-warming organization managed to help over two thousand families in one way or another. Crazily enough, those numbers compared to the population of the Village of Roxana stand quite analogous (The population being 1,452 people). Those statistics alone show the dedication that Riverbend Family Ministries truly has to their work.
One of the main nonprofit organizations under the care of Riverbend Family Ministries is Amare, NFP. Amare, NFP’s mission is to provide help and emotional support to the people and families in the community with struggles of drug/alcohol addiction and the effects that come with it.
The second nonprofit organization incorporated under Riverbend Family Ministries is CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children). CASA’s main goal is to provide special care and observations for any abused or mistreated children so that they don’t go unnoticed under the government’s social service system and that kids are placed in appropriate foster homes.
The third nonprofit organization is the Client Service Department (CSD). The Client Service Department provides a lot of help for people that are struggling with housing, utilities, transportation, or the fundamental skills of life by training, rehabilitating, and assisting them into a better lifestyle. For example, some of the things they provide people with are things like help setting up a resume, learning important financial and career skills, and so much more.
The fourth nonprofit organization in RFM is Pathways Counseling. Pathways Counseling is a group of people that provide Christian and emotional counseling to individuals who are experiencing mental health issues from things like relationship problems, the loss of a loved one, or children in distress.
The fifth nonprofit organization represented through RFM is Refuge. Refuge is an organization directed toward providing therapy for children from birth until they’re 11 years old who are experiencing things like abuse and cruelty. They help by providing therapy to these kids and their families while also providing proper education throughout the community for the prevention of these harmful vulnerabilities to violence and abuse.
The sixth nonprofit organization in RFM is Warm Neighbors Cool Friends. Warm Neighbors Cool Friends helps people gain responsibility and personal growth that are struggling with higher payments on a fixed income. This organization also helps reimburse those people struggling with sickness, disability, and unemployment. Keep in mind, this organization is not made to give people free money, but to help them get on the right track to make sure they can have the ability to help themselves financially in the future.
The seventh nonprofit organization is Group Interventions. Group Interventions provide a safe environment for women and children facing abusive relationships or living in abusive homes. They do this by managing group sessions for people that cause the abuse in these relationships and homes to make sure they are rehabilitated enough to not make these decisions ever again.
The eighth nonprofit organization is SOAR (Students Learning the Ongoing Approach to Resilience), a youth development program. The Program has a similar objective to that of Refuge. However, the services they provide are designated for children of ages 12-17. It was intended to entice teens towards making their own decisions and safe decisions at that. That would mean avoiding abusive behavior or situations that they may have experienced in the past. Weekly meetings are held, each holding ten sessions created to educate the youth on empathy, positive relationships, problem-solving skills, and many other important life skills.
Lastly mentioned, yet not of any less importance, is the nonprofit organization Metro East Every Survivor Counts (previously called Call for Help). It resides under the sexual assault division of help services that are provided by Riverbend Family Ministries. This organization can be found in five counties: St. Clair, Madison, Jersey, Monroe, and Randolph. The dedicated staff works to provide support, advocation, and counseling for those having experienced sexual assault. As of November 2021 until now, services have been imparted to 315 survivors that became clients. As well as that, 464 non-client crises have been adhered to through this non-profit. Support is required for proper healing, and these services are here to supply that.
While we were at Riverbend Family Ministries, we learned one of the many great reasons why this organization is a perfect home and loving support system for the community. While listening to Tammy inform us about what RFM does, she showed and taught us about the tree they have painted on their wall with handprints surrounding it. Each individual handprint came from a child they helped and it represents what each child wants to grow up to be after receiving the heart-touching support from Riverbend Family Ministries’ open arms. This is just one of the many reasons why you should come by this warm-welcoming organization and show your support. But, if you’re in need of any support that this organization offers, then don’t hesitate to ask because they will be there for you 24/7 no matter what.
After experiencing the kind and heart-warming growth that Riverbend Family Ministries has endured, we here with the Riverbend Growth Association Young Adults Committee encourage everyone at home to show your support for this amazing organization. The are many ways you can affect a person’s life in the most unexpectedly amazing way possible through this organization. For example, you can come help with something as big as volunteering to become an advocate for abused/neglected children or just popping in one day and helping with something like cleaning/organization of important materials. There’s also always the option of making a money donation which will be spread amongst the organizations to make sure that everyone and everything is accounted for in a loving/supporting manner.
Call RFM at 618-251-9790 or visit their location at 144 E. Ferguson Avenue in Wood River IL 62095.