Today’s Friday Fave is a little different from those I’ve posted in the past. Before I get to the “fave” part, there are some not-so-pleasant facts I need to share…here goes.

The state of Illinois is facing some pretty devastating budget cuts that would drastically reduce or eliminate many statewide social services. The long list of agencies and organizations that would be affected provide services for millions of people, many of whom are children with disabilities.

The Hope Institute for Children and Families provides residential and educational services to children with multiple disabilities, and it is on that list. I have been ensured that my job as music therapist is not in danger, but some of the children at our school might not be so lucky. It these cuts are not restored, services for many of our students may not be funded and they might be sent home. An incredibly alarming scenario, not just for Hope but for the parents and students who depend on the care that Hope provides.

But everyone at Hope, and those involved with the other social service agencies in Illinois, has faith that doors will not be shut and children will not be denied the support upon which they depend. And that brings me to the “fave” part of this otherwise somber post, which is community support.

I have been amazed at the efforts of our community here in Springfield and across the state to stop these devastating cuts from ocurring. Two weeks ago a huge rally at the capitol building was organized, and many social service organizations united to show our legislators just how dedicated they are to what they do, and how far they are willing to go to keep doing it.

Letter-writing and telephone campaigns have been in effect since the budget cuts were announced, and through the beauty of email, Facebook, and Twitter, I’ve watched as people have responded and participated in such campaigns, whether or not they are affiliated with an affected social service agency. What a beautiful thing.

The legislators won’t be in session again for another two weeks, so it could be a while before we have any definite answers about the future of Illinois. But I am sure that in the meantime, the community will continue to write letters to the editor, email and call their representatives and senators, and so on. And that makes me proud to be a part of it, despite our sad political state.

For more information about the Hope Institute and how it could be affected by the budget crisis, visit their Facebook page.