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Poshard Foundation receives 'Neighborly' award

  • Glenn and Jo Poshard have been recognized for their efforts to help abused and neglected children.

    Glenn and Jo Poshard have been recognized for their efforts to help abused and neglected children.
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SUBMITTED BY BETH SPEZIA
WSIU public Broadcasting
updated: 7/10/2020 11:09 AM

With a mission of helping abused, abandoned and neglected children in southern Illinois, the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children has been bridging gaps and caring for children in need since 1999.
In honor of the work they do in the local community, Glenn and Jo Poshard have been honored with WSIU's "Neighborly" Award, inspired by Fred Rogers for his service as an educator and all-around great neighbor and community member.
Community member Robin Haller nominated the Poshards for the award.
Haller defines a good neighbor as "being there when your neighbor needs you: with all Jo and Glenn have done for the children of southern Illinois, I'm sure no one needs to enumerate their neighborliness. I have known them for many years and continue to be amazed at their kindness and generosity on so many levels."
The foundation, which is run entirely by volunteers, provides everything from grants to local organizations to specialized counseling to beds for kids, as well as ongoing training to raise awareness of child abuse and child abuse prevention.
Believing that "every child deserves a safe community, place, person and home," according to Jo Poshard, the nonprofit donates hundreds of thousands annually with the goal of eradicating child abuse.
"Child abuse is not something that makes communities comfortable. They want to sweep it under the rug, but we don't let that happen," said Glenn Poshard, noting that southern Illinois has two-and-a-half times more child abuse than other areas of the state, as well as greater poverty and drug addiction levels. "Every penny we take in goes to the kids because we are all volunteers."
The foundations for this critical work began many decades ago: at age seventeen, Glenn Poshard joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Korea, where his outfit was located close to the Sung Kwang Won Orphanage.
He and other members of the infantry division began collecting funds each month to support the orphans and donating their time as well. "We did everything we could and I knew that when I left Korea, it was just going to break my heart because I'd never see these kids again," he said, although he left even more inspired to serve others.
Fifty-five years later, Poshard reconnected with one of the orphans after reading about her in a journal article.
Professor Jini Roby, who had since been adopted by missionaries from Utah, is now an international authority on child abuse, neglect and abandonment. Roby subsequently visited Southern Illinois University to share her expertise and experience and is now among the Poshard Foundation's many donors.
The Poshard Foundation for Abused Children has also built shelters for kids and women in need.
Thanks to a nimble four-person executive board, the organization can quickly make funding decisions that make an impact in kids' lives and in the community.
Both retired for several years, the Poshards note that "At this stage of our life, this is our passion," according to Glenn.
They also praise others in the area who are doing everything they can to help kids: "The real unsung heroes are the social workers and case workers, who deal with a lot of trauma themselves in direct service to these children. We count on these people to let us know how we can help," Jo Poshard added.
To learn more about the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, visit PoshardFoundation.org or call 618-985-2828 ext. 8564