Seeking Outstanding Volunteers to be Honored at Executive Mansion
SPRINGFIELD - Nominations for the 2014 Governor's Volunteer Services Awards are being accepted until February 14th. These awards recognize individual volunteers in order to honor those who provide selfless service to the state and to highlight the importance of volunteerism and community service in the state of Illinois. Businesses which support community service will also be recognized. This program is a part of Governor Quinn's longstanding commitment to honoring volunteers and promoting volunteerism throughout Illinois.
According to Volunteering in America, at least 2.73 million Illinois residents performed some volunteer activity or community service in 2012, an impact valued at $6.6 billion - enough money to purchase three space shuttles and the Chicago Cubs, with some money still left over.
Last year's Governor's Volunteer Service Awardees included West Central Region 7th-grader Sophia Marcolla, who organized "Picks for Pups" to help the Quincy Humane Society; James "Major" Adams, a WWII Veteran from Northeast Illinois who mentored countless youths at Chicago's Henry Horner Homes; Jackie Whitworth, an AmeriCorps VISTA in Freeport, who organized a community group for low income residents and an afterschool writing program for youth; Senior Corps member Ruth Hieronymos of Atlanta, Ill., who has been a Foster Grandparent in two second grade classrooms for eight years; and South Beloit's Finnegan's RV Center whose "Vets' Roll" project transports aging veterans to Washington, D.C., for the chance to visit the National Memorials that commemorate their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their fellow service members.
Individual awards will be presented to one youth (18 years and under), one adult (19-54 years old) and one retiree/senior (55 years and older) in each of the Commission's five service regions across the state (Northeast, Northwest, East Central, West Central and Southern). National Service Awards will be presented to one AmeriCorps and one Senior Corps member in each of the five regions. One award will be provided to a for-profit business in each of the five service regions. Within each category, applications will be given special priority based on six areas: economic opportunity, education, environmental conservation, disaster preparedness and response, health, and veterans affairs.
Nominations are due to Serve Illinois by February 14, 2014. Visit Serve.Illinois.govfor the nomination forms and more information. Recipients will be selected and notified by April 1, 2014. Governor Quinn and the Serve Illinois Commission will host a ceremony to honor recipients on April 28, 2014 at the Executive Mansion in Springfield.
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member, bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing traditional volunteer activities and supporting national service programs, including the Illinois AmeriCorps program.
"All citizens have an opportunity to recognize their ability and help strengthen their communities through voluntary service. Through Serve Illinois, we expand volunteerism throughout rural, suburban and urban Illinois, and involve people of all backgrounds, cultures and ages," Serve Illinois Executive Director Brandon Bodor said.