Nearly 1,000 to be Sworn-in During National Service Recognition Ceremony in Springfield
Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed October 13, 2011, as National Service Recognition Day in the state of Illinois, and congratulated Illinois' AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve programs on their service in strengthening communities through volunteerism. In a ceremony on Thursday, nearly 1,000 Illinoisans are rededicating themselves to a year of helping their communities through national service.
The Serve Illinois Commission, part of the Illinois Department of Human Services, administers the AmeriCorps state programs in Illinois, and is charged with enhancing and supporting community volunteerism in all its forms. Serve Illinois is funded by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. The Serve Illinois Commission currently supports 33 AmeriCorps programs throughout the state.
"AmeriCorps is an excellent opportunity for people to volunteer their time and talents and give something back to their communities," said Ted Gibbs, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. "Illinois has a strong tradition of volunteerism and compassion for those in need. AmeriCorps volunteers make a real difference in the communities in which they serve."
The volunteers will be sworn in at a ceremony held at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, October 13, 2011. The members will parade from the Prairie Capital Convention Center to the Lincoln Statute at 2nd and Capitol Streets at 2:45 p.m. The parade route will follow Adams, to 7th, to Capitol.
More than 86,000 people of all ages and backgrounds are serving with more than 2,570 national and local nonprofits, schools, faith-based organizations, and other groups. This includes 2,600 AmeriCorps Members, 19,000 Senior Corps volunteers and over 64,000 Learn and Serve America students.
National Service Members serve their communities by improving education, protecting public safety, improving health care, safeguarding the environment, providing disaster relief and promoting civic engagement.
AmeriCorps members dedicate a year to helping communities meet their unmet human service, education, public safety or environmental needs. They receive a modest living allowance, student loan deferment and training. Full-time members are also eligible to receive health insurance. Members who successfully complete their service receive an educational award of up to $5,350 to help pay for college, graduate school, vocational training, or to pay off student loans.
Serve Illinois sponsors www.Serve.Illinois.gov; a valuable statewide resource for volunteers. The website serves as a primary resource for Illinoisans who are seeking information about volunteer agencies, trainings, nonprofit resources, and national service programs including AmeriCorps. The website includes a user-friendly volunteer matching portal where you can search for a volunteer opportunity in your area.
For more information on AmeriCorps or Serve Illinois, visit the website at www.Serve.Illinois.gov or call 800-592-9896.