SERVE Illinois Newsletter - Summer 2009 


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SERVE Illinois Newsletter - Summer 2009

Summer 2009 Serve Illinois Newsletter [PDF, 1.4MB]

Spring Brings Flurry of Service Events Statewide and Nationally

Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed the week of April 19-25, 2009 "National Volunteer Week" in Illinois. The national theme of the week was "Celebrating People in Action." The week provided the opportunity for program managers and public officials to give thanks to the volunteers who dedicate their time and/or resources to helping others in their community.

The annual Dome Day event took place in Springfield during National Volunteer Week on April 22, 2009 at the Illinois State Capitol Complex. The purpose of Dome Day is to demonstrate and build awareness of the impact of volunteer service in Illinois. Approximately 265 people attended the event including 33 National Service programs (AmeriCorps, SeniorCorps, and Learn and Serve America), and 75 meetings were held with legislators and state officials to discuss service in Illinois. Excitement was high as just the day before, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The Act is expected to tremendously expand national service programs across the United States, as well as provide funding for nonprofit capacity-building activities. For more information on the Serve America Act, see page 4.

In conjunction with these events, Governor Quinn also signed a proclamation declaring April 22 as "Service Awareness Day" at the Capitol, and May 9-16, 2009 as National AmeriCorps Week in Illinois.

To learn more about the Serve Illinois Commission, AmeriCorps National Service or to find volunteer resources, visit and get involved today!

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Message From the Secretary

As the cover story indicates, there has been a flurry of activity since the beginning of 2009 especially in the area of national and community service. In fact, in just three months, two significant bills have passed the U.S. Congress that support programs like AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. Here in Illinois alone, there are over 73,000 participants in national service programs! Also serving our state are nearly 2.7 million volunteers in agencies, schools, and religious institutions who stand to benefit from the capacity-building initiatives of the Serve Illinois Commission, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the recent Serve America Act.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the "Recovery Act") provided over $2.8 million to distribute across the current Illinois AmeriCorps portfolio administered by the Commission. This provided an immediate boost in the number of AmeriCorps members serving in these programs. Soon after, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act passed Congress in bipartisan fashion, reauthorizing the CNCS for the first time in 15 years. The President has since proposed nearly 30 percent in increased funding for CNCS and its programs, including nonprofit capacity-building initiatives and seed money for the replication of social innovations for solving some of our country's toughest problems (See more about CNCS proposed funding on page 4). The act takes effect on October 1, 2009, and implementation details are still forthcoming, pending Congressional appropriations.

These challenging times call for the public, private and nonprofit sectors to "step up" and fill needs where they exist. Individuals can "step up" too in their school, church, or neighborhood by focusing on the needs of children, the elderly, the poor and others who might be less able to care for themselves and most vulnerable to the effects of a national recession and increased demands for services.

Visit today to learn how you can make a difference in your community and let's keep serving!


Carol L. Adams, Secretary
Illinois Department of Human Services

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Message from the Chair

The Serve Illinois Commission, through the Illinois Department of Human Services, has applied for $1,350,000 ($450,000 per year for three years) in grant funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service under the FY2009 Community-Based Learn and Serve (CBLS) funding opportunity. If funded, this project would be instrumental in establishing the state level infrastructure required to support service learning in the Department's Teen REACH (Responsibility, Education, Achievement, Caring and Hope) grant program. This approach will enable the Commission and the Department to involve tens of thousands of elementary, middle and high school students in service learning projects and to support an in-depth evaluation of service learning.

As mentioned in other parts of this newsletter edition, the Commission also received over $2.8 million to place additional AmeriCorps members in existing AmeriCorps programs across the state, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passed by Congress this past spring. Nearly 300 members will be engaged in expanding existing services or addressing a new focus area such as employment and skills training or financial literacy.

The Serve Illinois Commission continues to reach out across the State of Illinois to involve all of Illinois' citizens in service activities and programs. Recently, new pages were added to our website regarding the Commission's outreach to special needs populations through the AmeriCorps Disability Outreach Project administered by Kreider Services of Dixon, Illinois. For information and resources about this project, visit:

If you are interested in learning more about the Commission or to volunteer for an organization near your home or place of work, visit and search by interest area, zip code and/or county to find opportunities near you. If you are a volunteer or nonprofit professional and would like to learn more about the Commission's capacity-building activities including volunteerism conferences or other professional development opportunities, again visit or call 800.592.9896.

In Service,

Howard Lathan, Chair
Serve Illinois Commission
Associate Director, Chicago Area Project

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21 Illinois Colleges Receive the 2008 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Award

The Corporation for National and Community Service created the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Award in 2006. The Honor Roll Award recognizes universities and colleges for their exemplary service learning and community service efforts locally and nationwide. A select number of institutions receive the award each year and it is the highest federal award that a university or college may receive.

The universities and colleges throughout Illinois receiving the outstanding award include Benedictine University, Bradley University, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Elmhurst College, Illinois College, Illinois Wesleyan University, John A. Logan College, Kaskaskia College, Knox College, Loyola University Chicago, McKendree University, Midwestern University, North Central College, North Park University, Northern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Trinity Christian College, Trinity International University, University of Illinois at Springfield, and Western Illinois University.

Congratulations Illinois Honorees!

Tayler McGillis of Toluca, Illinois, and Madelyn McGlynn of Belleville, Illinois, were recently recognized for outstanding community service.

Tayler McGillis

McGillis was recognized for protecting the environment. Since 2004, McGillis has recycled around 23,000 pounds of aluminum, which generated $18,000 to be used to benefit his community and local charities.

Madelyn McGlynn

McGlynn was recognized for taking care of animals. She works to build awareness for homeless and abused animals and does so by holding an annual art contest for the Humane Society in the Belleville Area.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States' largest youth recognition program based solely on community service. The awards honor young people in grades five through 12 and are presented in conjunction with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

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Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service

The mission of the "Serve Illinois" Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is to improve Illinois communities by supporting and enhancing traditional volunteerism and community service and the administration of the AmeriCorps program.

Commission Members

  • Howard L. Lathan, Chair, Chicago
  • Rosemary Keefe, Vice Chair, Lincolnshire
  • Don Baden, Fairview Heights
  • Andrew Barbeau, Chicago
  • Dan Bassill, Chicago
  • Julian Brown, Naperville
  • Jocelyn D. Cheng, Chicago
  • Walter Grady, Chicago
  • John Hosteny, Chicago
  • Nancy Jameson, Carthage
  • Chris Koch, Springfield
  • Dave Lawrence, Savoy
  • Terry Mason, Chicago
  • Bob McCammon, Waukegan
  • Arlan McClain, Dixon
  • Sheryl McGill, Chicago
  • Arlene J. Mulder, Arlington Heights
  • Kelly Reffett, LaSalle
  • Fred Rodriguez, Ph.D., Western Springs
  • Jody Weis, Chicago
  • Todd Stroger, Chicago
  • James Tyree, Chicago
  • Steven Wolfe, Wheaton

Commission staff

  • Ted Gibbs, Executive Director
  • Lisa Hooker, AmeriCorps Program Officer
  • Ebone Lott, AmeriCorps Program Officer
  • Scott Niermann, Volunteer Programs Manager
  • Scott McFarland, Resource & Information Manager
  • Eden Lawson, Graduate Public Service Intern

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Numbers You Should Know

CNCS Set to Receive Funding Increase

President Obama has submitted his FY 2010 budget request to Congress for the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the funding agency of national service and related programs. This budget request includes funding proposals for new and continuing programs authorized under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which was signed by the President on April 21, 2009.

The chart below, prepared by the Corporation for National and Community Service, indicates some of the key funding areas for continuation and/or expansion. The 2008-2009 Class of Illinois LeaderCorps convened for their Year-End "Life After AmeriCorps" Conference at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois.

CNCS FY 2010 Budget Request Summary

  FY 2009 Enacted 1 FY 2010 Request Difference in Dollars ($) Difference in Percentage (%)
Total Program Expenses $811,639 $1,053,316 $241,677 29.8%
Learn & Serve America $37,459 $39,500 $2,041 5.4%
AmeriCorps NCCC $27,500 $26,300 -$1,200 -4.4%
AmeriCorps State & National $271,196 $372,547 $101,351 37.4%
AmeriCorps VISTA $96,050 $97,932 $1,882 2.0%
National Service Trust $131,075 $195,637 $64,562 49.3%
State Commission Administration Grants $11,790 $16,000 $4,210 35.7%
Senior Corps $213,785 $220,900 $7,115 3.3%
Senior Corps RSVP $58,642 $63,000 $4,358 7.4%
Senior Corps Foster Grandparents Program $108,999 $110,996 $1,997 1.8%
Senior Corps Senior Companion Program $46,144 $46,904 $760 1.6%
Innovation and Demonstration $14,753 $5,500 -$9,253 -62.7%
Social Innovation Fund n/a $50,000 $50,000 n/a
Volunteer Generation Fund n/a $10,000 $10,000 n/a
Evaluation $3,891 $6,000 $2,109 54.2%
Training / Technical Assistance n/a $8,000 $8,000 n/a
Disability Grants $4,140 $5,000 $860 20.8%
Salaries and Expenses $71,715 $88,000 $16,285 22.7%
Office of the Inspector General $6,512 $7,700 $1,188 18.2%
Total CNCS Request $889,866 $1,149,016 $259,150 29.1%
  • 1 – Does not include $201 million in funding from the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009.
  • Adapted from:

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LeaderCorps Update: LeaderCorps Class of 2008-09 Holds Year-End Conference

On May 20-22, the 2008-09 class of LeaderCorps Illinois met for one final training retreat. The retreat took place at the Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois to discuss "Life After AmeriCorps."

The event began with an evening AmeriCorps alumni networking session. LeaderCorps Members had the opportunity to learn from the alums' experiences and enjoyed hearing their stories of service. The group also discussed the importance of civic reflection, based on the article "What We Don't Talk About When We Don't Talk About Service" by Adam Davis.

The next day began with a service project. At Matthiessen State Park, LeaderCorps Members joined volunteers from a local bike club in making their land more bike-friendly. Some created new trails while others rerouted a bridge. After a morning full of hard work, it was gratifying to see how much progress was made together.

Facilitator Jeff Birdsall spent the rest of the day helping Members prepare personal mission statements that reflected their values and life goals. The exercise helped those leaving AmeriCorps to focus on goals after their term of service. Birdsall, also discussed tips for effective interviewing. LeaderCorps Members will take "Life After AmeriCorps" training back to their programs and assist other Members with meaningful reflection and planning for the next phase in a life of service.

– Submitted by Erin Wethern of Illinois Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA and Dave Sweeney of Literacy Volunteers of Illinois Project VOCAL program.


The mission of LeaderCorps is to connect AmeriCorps programs in Illinois through state, national and global days of service and to promote continued AmeriCorps alumni involvement.

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National Service Spotlight: Learn and Serve Students Travel to Asia

As part of the first annual Youth Conference on Leadership, Service Learning and Global Citizenship, students from Harry D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin, Illinois traveled to Doha, Qatar and participated in "Project Ignition Team." Along with select students from Qatar schools, the Illinois team led by Driving Instructor Eliseo Saldivar promoted safe driving and seatbelt usage utilizing service-learning techniques.

According to Qatar's local English daily newspaper, The Peninsula,

"... Displaying placards written with lipstick and eyeliners carrying messages such as 'Kids + No Seatbelts = Death' and 'Thank You For Wearing Your Seatbelts,' the students, numbering about 25, braved the scorching late morning summer heat for at least three hours as they stood at the side of the road flashing the messages they wanted to convey at the drivers passing by."

Participating students observed children riding on parents' laps without a seatbelt, as well as busy intersections that were quite dangerous due to multi-lane roundabouts.

The local report continued,

"... At the end of the activity, the students came up with ideas to promote safe driving, such as producing a 30-second video animation in slow motion to show the negative impact of accidents; a school competition for students doing a safe driving campaign in public places like restaurants and malls; and urging authorities to impose a stiffer penalty for seatbelt violations."

The Youth Conference on Leadership, Service Learning and Global Citizenship was a partnership of National Youth Leadership Conference and Reach Out to Asia, a charity initiative which began in November 2005 and operates within the framework of the Qatar Foundation. According to their website, the Qatar Foundation is "built on the principle that a nation's greatest resource is the potential of its people," and the foundation "aims to develop that potential internationally through a network of centers devoted to progressive education, research and community welfare."

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State Capitol Conference Held to Promote Older Adult Volunteerism

The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA), in collaboration with the National Governors Association (NGA), hosted A Day of Celebration and Conversation about the Civic Engagement of Older Adults at the State Capitol on May 11, 2009. The event, which included breakout sessions on education and training, employment and service, highlighted experts who then worked with participants to develop a blueprint for engaging older adults in Illinois.

This initiative began in June 2008 when Illinois was selected to participate in the NGA Policy Academy on the Civic Engagement of Older Adults. For the past year, IDoA has led this statewide effort, working with a 12-member core team and a 36-member advisory team, to develop strategies to get older adults in Illinois engaged in civic activity in their communities. The group had a particular interest to increase the proportion of seniors who are employed or participate in volunteer activities.

In addition to the experts who led the breakout sessions, participants also heard from The Honorable Deanna Demuzio, State Senator, on behalf of Senate President John Cullerton; Linda Hoffman of the National Governors Association, Center for Best Practices; Bob Gallo, state director of AARP; and a keynote address by Merri Dee, former WGN TV anchor from Chicago and state president of AARP.

Efforts for next steps were also announced with a proclamation from Governor Pat Quinn. The proclamation, "Launch of 2010: The Year of the Engaged Older Illinoisan," states that the year 2010 will mark a celebration of engaged citizens in communities and neighborhoods across the state with events that encourage participation in learning, service, and work. Planning for those events will begin in January 2010.

(Source – Illinois Department on Aging)

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Program Feature

AmeriCorps*VISTA Members Make Huge Impact in Respective Communities

In November 2008, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Serve Illinois Commission launched an AmeriCorps*VISTA program dedicated to furthering the development of social safety net and capacity-building programs.

While still a very small program, these four AmeriCorps*VISTA Members have already had a huge impact in their respective communities and region:

  • Zachariah Green of Alexander County ACTION and the DHS Team Illinois project is promoting community improvement and empowerment through his work with local groups in Cairo.
  • Betsy Minor of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network is working to create a volunteer court watch program that will assist those who have been victims of domestic violence.
  • Stephen Silberman of the Savanna Vision Network and DHS' Team Illinois project are partnering with local groups and agencies within Savanna in order to build a stronger community.
  • Beckie Stroud of I Sing the Body Electric program at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System (Mattoon) is the East Central Illinois Volunteer Management Network Field Coordinator, and is co-chair of the first annual East Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference.

Other VISTA Members not a part of the DHS-Serve Illinois program but who partner regularly with the Commission include:

Governor Appoints Serve Illinois Executive Director

Governor Pat Quinn has appointed Ted Gibbs, a former AmeriCorps volunteer, to be the Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. While serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer, Gibbs taught junior high in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago and received a Masters Degree in Education from Loyola University Chicago School of Education. After completing his two volunteer years, Gibbs served as a Senior Education Policy Advisor to then Lt. Governor Quinn, coordinating the statewide Illinois Learn and Serve America program. The program engages over 52,000 K-12 students across Illinois in curriculum-based service learning projects. In 2007, Gibbs was appointed as a voting Commissioner on the Serve Illinois Commission.

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Training and Professional Development

Find a Volunteer Opportunity Today! Visit

In addition to the searchable portal of over 51,000 volunteer opportunities statewide, hosts a wide variety of volunteer resources:

If your agency has upcoming volunteerism or national service events, Web site links or professional development resources for web or newsletter publication, please E-mail Serve Illinois for consideration.

East Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference

The East Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference (ECIVC) was held on June 11, 2009 at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. Nearly 140 volunteer leaders from Bloomington to Effingham, and Springfield to Danville attended this first annual event. Martin J. Cowling of People First – Total Solutions from Melbourne, Australia provided the morning keynote, emphasizing that people are the key to success or the very reason for failure of a project, strategy, or company, including volunteer programs. Cowling presented a breakout session highlighting the ways staff can unknowingly sabotage the very programs they seek to manage and see flourish.

The Illinois Volunteer Management Network partners, working with the Serve Illinois Commission, launched this first annual event in their region in order to provide volunteer management professional development opportunities to those in the East Central part of the state.

Steering Committee partners include:

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
  • Champaign-Urbana Area Project
  • Community Foundation of East Central Illinois
  • Eastern Illinois Food Bank
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Lumpkin Family Foundation
  • McLean County Museum of History
  • Mental Health Center of Champaign County
  • Mid–America Preparedness
  • Parkland College
  • Pope for Peace Foundation/Gladys Pope
  • Richland Community College – Project READ
  • RSVP of Champaign County
  • Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
  • Serve Illinois Commission
  • U of I Extension, 4–H Youth Development
  • United Way of Champaign County
  • University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign

Save the date

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Upcoming Days of Service

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Contact Us

Serve Illinois is a publication of the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism & Community Service. Send articles for submission and suggestions to:

SERVE Illinois Editor
Illinois Commission on Volunteerism & Community Service
535 W. Jefferson, 3rd Floor, Springfield, IL 62702
E-mail: E-mail Serve Illinois
Phone: 800.592.9896
TTY: 888.261.2713

This material is based upon work supported by the Corporation for national and Community Service under AmeriCorps Grant nos. 07CAHIL001 and 07CDHIL001. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Corporation for National and Community Service or the AmeriCorps program.

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