The Public Square

WILL - The Public Square - September 19, 2008

Teri McKean of ABC Counseling on fundraising to support child sexual abuse counseling

From January of 2000 to the present, there have been over 75,000 reports of child sexual abuse in the state of Illinois, not taking into account the large percentage of unreported cases. Studies show that 1 in 3 girls, and 1 in 5 boys, will be sexually abused by the age of 18; more than 80% of these youth will have been abused by someone they know. The problem of child sexual abuse is pervasive and it does not affect just one race, religion or socioeconomic status. Sexual abuse does not discriminate in these ways and instead can, unfortunately, affect any child.

ABC Counseling & Family Services has made it their mission to help the youth affected by sexual abuse. Since first forming in 1992 in Normal, ABC has served more than 2,500 families and has grown from one office to four, including one here in Champaign. The staff of ABC strives every day to bring justice, healing and wholeness to the people they serve and aim to enhance the quality of people's lives. It is the hope of ABC that one day their services will no longer be needed.

As a non-profit, ABC relies heavily on community support. ABC is pleased to announce their second annual fundraising event to specifically benefit the Champaign-Urbana community! Putt Fore Kids is a family friendly event to be held this Saturday, September 20, from 9am to 1pm at Old Orchard Links in Savoy. Any ticket purchased includes miniature golf, pizza, drinks and entry into a raffle. This event also features a silent auction with a variety of packages. You can help combat child sexual abuse by attending this event. For more information, please contact our office at (217) 403-0790. You may also visit our website,, for more information about ABC or to donate via Paypal.

If you have concerns about a child you know, you may contact ABC at (217) 403-0790 or you may contact the DCFS hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE to report incidents of child abuse.

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WILL - The Public Square - September 12, 2008

Walter Matherly on Health Care Reform

My name is Walter Matherly, and I am a volunteer with the Champaign County Health Care Consumers.

As the elections approach, we once again begin to hear about the rapidly escalating cost of medical care in the United States. Perhaps the most daunting concern I see for me and my own family in the upcoming years is making sure our health care is affordable.

Health care reform is sorely needed, and any proposed health plan needs to be comprehensive and fiscally responsible. We need to treat health care as a basic human right, and deliver a plan that benefits everyday people.

Specifically, health coverage must be guaranteed to the entire population, thus correcting the errors inherent in the present private insurance patchwork.

Similarly, a just system must eliminate co-payments and deductibles, which often act as hurdles to accessing health care services.

Finally, a comprehensive health care system must be able to pay for itself from the beginning. The present method employed to do this by the private insurance industry includes many excessive, unnecessary, and redundant marketing and actuarial costs that a new program should eliminate.

It is the good fortune of Illinois residents to have a piece of legislation in the General Assembly that would provide for just such as system. House Bill 311 – the Health Care for All Illinois Act – would create a single-payer health insurance program for all Illinois residents. The program would provide coverage for doctor, hospital, long term, and mental health care, as well as dental, vision, and prescription drugs. The program created would have no premiums, co-payments, or deductibles. And finally, this program would pay for itself by eliminating wasteful private insurance administration and profit, which currently accounts for over 24% of every health care dollar spent.

You can learn more about this legislation at a Community Legislative Hearing scheduled for Thursday, September the 18, 2008 at 6 p.m. at the Illinois Terminal Building, 45 East University Avenue in downtown Champaign. Please come, listen, and talk. Understand what promises to be the most critical issue to emerge from the elections.

For more information, contact Champaign County Health Care Consumers at 217-352-6533 or visit

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WILL - The Public Square - September 05, 2008

Conrad Wetzel on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

My name is Conrad Wetzel. I am a resident of Champaign and a member of AWARE, the local Anti-War Anti-Racism Effort. My concern is about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its effects on our troops and our community.

War greatly disrupts the lives of our U.S. military personnel, their loved ones, and their communities. This has never been made more evident than by the large number of men and women who currently suffer from PTSD as a result of their military experience in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a terrifying ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened, such as those to which our troops are exposed in warfare. People with PTSD repeatedly re-experience that ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, reminiscent of the trauma. Various severe physical symptoms are also common in people with PTSD. These effects of PTSD make our veterans' re-entry into civilian life very difficult. Many have been unable to obtain adequate medical and counseling services through the Veterans Administration, taking a heavy toll on the veterans themselves and their families and communities. Some are even reluctant to seek help, following instead a progression of self-medicating with alcohol, then job loss and homelessness.

Learn about this little understood trauma of war and its effect on the lives of people living in our community at a panel presentation at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 7, at the Urbana Free Library Auditorium. The panel will include returned veterans, who suffer the effects of PTSD, along with professionals who provide counseling for such veterans and their families. This panel presentation, entitled "PTSD: Our Troops, Our Community," is cosponsored by AWARE and the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Please join us for this important panel at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 7, at the Urbana Free Library Auditorium.

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