Illinois Imagines

Photo contributed

Members of the Illinois Imagines Committee, Kaitley Davis, The ARC, Kristina Germain, self advocate, Kami Garrison, ISAS, Kim Harwood, Options Center for Independent Living, Jo Milton, ABRA, Tammy Barragree, ISAS and Amy B, self advocate, prepare for the July 26 open house.

The public is invited to a party on Friday.

Iroquois Sexual Assault Services is hosting the Illinois Imagines Hawaiian Retreat Open House on that day.

The event is from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and from 4-6 p.m. at the ISAS Office, which is located in Jefferson Plaza on Illinois 1 in Watseka.

The open house will feature games, raffles, giveaways and food.

Kami Garrison, prevention coordinator at KC-CASA/ISAS, said they invite the public to attend and have a good time, while learning about organization and the work it does.

“The goal of the open house is that persons with disabilities can see our building and get to know our staff which would hopefully make them feel safe if they ever had to report abuse,” she said.

While the event is geared for people with disabilities and their family members, anyone in the community is invited to attend.

At noon and again at 5 p.m., some team members will be taking part in role playing that shows what it is like if a person had to report abuse to a police officer or nurse, she said. For those activities, members of the Watseka Police Department and a nurse from Presence hospital will be performing with clients from The Arc of Iroquois County.

She said it is hoped that the skits will help persons with disabilities see what that situation can look like and how reporting the abuse to a police officer or nurse is important.

“We know persons with disabilities are at a high risk for being abused,” she said, ‘but our numbers are not showing that they are reporting.” By bringing awareness about how to report and the importance of reporting, she said, it is hoped that those who need to report abuse will start to do so.

The Illinois Imagines Committee has been organized since 2012, and has recently been more active.

“The purpose of this group is to strengthen the response for persons with disabilities that experience sexual violence. The team consists of staff members from ISAS, The ARC, ABRA, Options Center for Independent Living, as well as several self-advocates that attend to give a voice to persons with disabilities,” Garrison said.

The event is open for people to come and go during the event times of 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

“The goal of the open house is that persons with disabilities can see our building and get to know our staff which would hopefully make them feel safe if they ever had to report abuse.” she said.