Sometimes change happens an hour at a time

Hometown Highlights

The Community That Said YES When Ask to “Step Up”

August 2019

Vermilion_County_-_Step_Up_-_Picture_5.jpgWhat happens when a diverse group of community leaders gather together to fill in the gaps?  A lot! Lives have been saved, connections made, communities impacted, families brought back together, youth empowered. When citizens were ask, “Will you step up to tackle the toughest challenges in our community?”  The answer was a resounding “yes.”  What follows is a unique story that came from that single question.

Step Up Vermilion County was launched in August of 2017 at a Global Leadership Summit when the summit attendees were invited to Step Up and unite to lead Vermilion County in a positive direction. The first Step Up Vermilion County meeting was held on September 29th, 2017. At that meeting, and all following Step Up Vermilion County meetings, every sector of the community has been represented including government, social service, law enforcement, media, business, churches, healthcare, education, and nonprofit organizations. The bi-monthly Step Up Vermilion County meetings average around 100 people, with 243 individuals involved in 2018.

As the community representatives came together, a mission developed. It reads, “Step Up Vermilion County exists to bring the community together to identify and address current challenges facing the county and empower growth and development, creating positive outcomes in economic, educational, social and spiritual arenas.”

At the September 29th, 2017 the Step Up Vermilion County members did a SWOT analysis. As a result the groups top issues were identified: Parenting and Family, Drug and Substance Abuse, and Mental Health.  This became the focus of “Step Up” Vermilion County.  A group of over 200 community leaders worked on these key issues in 2018 to create success stories that continue impacting lives in Vermilion County today. Together they have impacted over 60,000 lives and continue to do so.


  • Central Illinois Community Health Network Growth: The CICHN database increased by more than 200% during 2018 as a direct result of the Parenting and Family Workgroup efforts. The number of participating agencies increased from 20 to 65 during 2018. The CICHN database is utilized daily by Vermilion County agencies to post agency announcements, share client needs, post area alerts, and even collaborate on case work. Based on the data that can be pulled from the CICHN database, 2582 client cases of assistance have been recorded.
  • Transformation Thursday Classes through Love INC: In 2018, 38 participants graduated from these courses that included money management, positive discipline and parenting, setting boundaries, and self-worth. More than 70 volunteers from 20+ churches provided approximately 150 hours of volunteer service to these families.
  • Rosecrance and District 118 Partnership: Through the partnership, developed as a result of Step Up Vermilion County, Rosecrance is able to provide the Too Good For Drugs curriculum to District 118 students. This evidence-based program teaches the fundamental elements of social and emotional learning through developmentally appropriate activities that set the foundation for a healthy adolescence. As a result of the partnership, nearly 400 elementary students in District 118 received this educational material.
  • StepOne Service: Through multiple conversations with Step Up Vermilion County leaders involved in local health care, it was determined in 2018 that there was a need for inpatient medical management of withdrawal symptoms in Danville. The culmination of this work and research in 2018 resulted in OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center providing an in-patient, hospital based, withdrawal service for adults who require medical management of withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or opioids. This service in Vermilion County at OSF SHMC is through a contract with StepOne agency.
  • Step Up Vermilion County Car: The Step Up Vermilion County Car is managed by Second Church of Christ. The car transports Vermilion County Residents to inpatient treatment centers that are outside of the county. In 2018, 15 residents were transported by Step Up Vermilion County volunteers to treatment centers using the car.
  • Addiction and Recovery Resource Cards: In 2018, over 10,000 cards were printed and distributed throughout the county by Vermilion County Police Officers. When individuals that the officers interact with are seeking treatment options, officers now have a suitable way to make sure that they are giving out accurate information about local resources
  • 211 Utilization: As the Mental Health Workgroup created a marketing plan for 211 in our county, the number of calls to the line trickled upward. As a direct result of their efforts, sharing and updating the 211 services list, the number of calls increased from 724 calls in 2017 to 877 calls in 2018. That is an increase of 153 calls.
  • Mental Health Awareness Week: Members of the Mental Health Workgroup worked with the Danville city council to pass a mayoral proclamation declaring the first Mental Health Awareness Week in Danville and Vermilion County for the third week of May in 2018 and annually.
  • Increase Number of Mental Health First Aid Trainings: The Vermilion County Mental Health 708 board received a grant to teach the Mental Health First Aid curriculum in Vermilion County. As a result of the Vermilion County Mental Health 708 Board and Step Up Vermilion County’s efforts, 42 Mental Health First Aid trainings were held in 2018, with 586 people trained to be first responders in a mental health crisis.

For more information, contact:

Deanna Witzel
Step Up Vermilion County Leadership Team
PO Box 2507, Danville, IL 61834
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I want to take this opportunity to welcome you to the recently updated Illinois Family Resources website. One of the exciting changes for the website is the addition of the Hometown Highlights page. Each month a different community/local program or project that supports families experiencing substance use disorder (SUD’s) issues will be highlighted. The page will offer a resource to persons seeking ideas for making a difference in their own family and communities as well as for those seeking help.

If you are interested in submitting a program or project for consideration, please contact the Coordinator.

I also want to thank you for your past support of the Illinois Family Resource Center.

Nancy J. Phillips, M.S.Ed., CAADC, CFPP
Coordinator, Illinois Family Center