Volunteer Center, Riverview seek FY21 county funding

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

With the Jones County Supervisors preparing for the next budget year, two more entities presented their Fiscal Year 2021 funding requests to the board at their Jan. 21 meeting. 

Amy Keltner, coordinator of the Jones County Volunteer Center, requested $4,000 from the county: $1,000 toward the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program and $3,000 toward the Transportation Program. 

“Our numbers look good with growth,” shared Keltner. 

The Transportation Program serves non-emergency medical trips for clients in Jones County. Keltner said it’s a great companion to JETS. The program boasts 150 clients with 17 drivers. The drivers use their own vehicles and are reimbursed 48.5 cents per mile by the Volunteer Center for their mileage. 

“Last year we had a $32,000 pay out to our drivers,” said Keltner. 

Because the Transportation Program serves predominantly older clients, Keltner said some have passed away, causing a decrease in clientele. 

“I’m working on some marketing,” she said of getting the program out in front of the public. “We do work with JETS on the needs they can’t meet and vice versa.” 

The numbers are remaining steady with VITA. Keltner said they typically serve 150 to 160 families and individuals each tax season. However, last year was an exceptional year with 186. 

“We’ve seen a 100 percent return rate on all of our volunteers,” praised Keltner of VITA. “And we’ve added three more.” 

She plans to increase the hours offered for VITA clients, even extended it to a couple of Saturdays. 

Of the funding request overall, Keltner said she has a lot of equipment needs and replacements to make within her office, as well as upkeep and marketing. 

Melissa Hill and Clare Dieter with The Riverview Center, as well as Sheriff Greg Graver, talked about all that Riverview does for Jones County. 

“We provide 100 percent free and confidential services to people in 14 counties affected by sexual assault,” prefaced Hill. 

Hill said Riverview is requesting $6,000 from Jones County in order to continue their services for the people of Jones County. 

Last year, Riverview provided 400 hours of services to 29 Jones County residents. Those included trauma services, advocacy, counseling, accompanying clients to court, filing no-contact orders, connecting clients with other services. 

“We never ask clients for their financial information,” Hill said of their free services. “We serve anyone no matter their financial situation.” 

In addition, Riverview has also provided educational programs for 1,300 students in Jones County school districts. They also offer free trainings for law enforcement. 

“We work closely with local partners and law enforcement and district attorney offices,” Hill said. 

One of those partnerships include SART (Sexual Assault Response Team). SART works with victims affected by sexual assault. 

“We want to make the process as smooth as possible for the people we deal with,” said Hill. 

Hill said with the funding request, they’re looking to increase services in the area. 

Graver told the board that the Sheriff’s Department is heavily involved with Riverview. He even spoke at one of their recent training sessions. 

In addition, Graver praised County Attorney Kristofer Lyons for also seeing the benefits of being involved with Riverview and SART. 

Dieter said her role revolves around prevention, especially with children in the schools. She carries out the Care of Kids program that teaches prevention of sexual child abuse with preschool-aged kids. 

“It’s all about how to say ‘no,’” she said. 

Dieter has been in Sacred Heart, St. Patrick’s, Olin and Headstart. 

“As a sexual assault advocate, we go into the schools,” added Dieter. She said they are also there to provide therapy for the kids, creating a relationship with the kids “that goes beyond the trauma.” 

Supervisor Wayne Manternach asked if Riverview had a local office. Hill said they’re closest office is in Marion. They maintain four offices in their 14-county region. She said people in Jones County find out about their services through referrals and through such agencies as Jones Regional Medical Center. 

Graver said one of his department’s policies is to always pass along Riverview’s contact information if his staff is ever involved in a sexual assault case. 


Subscriber Login