Rebecca Ginsburg at Danville Correctional Center was named recipient of the Illinois Department of Corrections 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award. From left are Acting Director Gladyse C. Taylor, Rebecca Ginsburg, Assistant Warden of Programs Victor Calloway and Coordinator of College Programs Mary Nichols, both at Danville Correctional Center, and Senior Policy Advisor Cory Foster. Manager of Volunteer Services Marcy Morris is featured in back.
SPRINGFIELD - April 19, 2011 – Rebecca Ginsburg at Danville Correctional Center was named the recipient of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award at a recognition ceremony held today in Springfield. Ginsburg was among volunteers of the state's 27 adult correctional centers and its adult transition centers, who were being honored for their outstanding leadership and dedicated efforts in providing positive change in the lives of inmates.
“I commend all of the agency’s volunteers for their commitment in making a significant impact on the incarcerated men and women at IDOC,” said Acting Director Gladyse Taylor. “This year’s theme, “Be the ‘U’ in Volunteer,” serves a special purpose for the betterment of mankind, both inside and outside the prison walls. A major goal of IDOC is the successful reentry of inmates into society. The agency’s volunteers assist us in working toward that goal by providing inmates with valuable programs and services that help them successfully reintegrate back into the community.”
Ginsburg is being recognized for numerous outstanding achievements at Danville Correctional Center. Ginsburg, who serves as director of the Educational Justice Project (EJP), has been the driving force behind the project that has offered a variety of programs to Danville Correctional Center inmates since 2008. The project, which began with a handful of volunteers offering reading groups and a few upper-division college classes, now consists of 50 volunteers who provide a constant, positive presence at the facility. During the past year, some 80 students were enrolled in the University of Illinois college classes through EJP. Volunteers also manned EJP Resource Rooms, providing course and computer tutoring services. Ginsburg additionally provided a Guest Speaker Series through which authors and experts spoke on a variety of subjects. Math, science, writing and publishing workshops were added this year as part of the EJP as well.
Ginsburg’s vision for the EJP goes far beyond providing educational opportunities to students. She sees the program providing connections back to the communities and families of the students being served. EJP also encompasses a community component called FACE, in which volunteers reach out to family and friends of the Danville students and keep them apprised of the academic and artistic achievements of the students through quarterly newsletters and community meetings.
Additionally, Ginsburg was key in developing the Language Partners component of EJP, in which non-English speaking students have an opportunity to participate in English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring. The goal is to help those students develop English language skills to allow them to take the TABE test and enter GED classes.
The impact of Ginsburg’s volunteerism is summarized in an excerpt of her nomination, stating that “she brings enthusiasm, commitment and compassion that are contagious and inspiring.”
At IDOC, volunteers assist in various ways, ranging from mentoring and meeting the religious needs of inmates to offering alcohol and drug rehabilitation such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Volunteers tutor, hold church services and Bible studies as well as parenting, art, music, poetry and literacy classes. At IDOC, thousands of volunteers provide programs and services that otherwise would not be available to the incarcerated men and women. During the past year, volunteers donated nearly $5 million in time and goods to the incarcerated. Those interested in the Volunteer Services Program at IDOC can contact Marcy Morris, volunteer services manager, at 217-558-2200 ext. 6101.
IDOC operates 27 prisons throughout Illinois in addition to work camps, boot camps and adult transition centers. The agency is committed to operating a safe and secure prison system as well as enhancing prison-based treatment, prevention programs and the successful reentry of inmates into society which will lead to lowering recidivism rates.