Serve Illinois Newsletter - Fall 2012 


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newsletter coverFall 2012 Serve Illinois Newsletter (PDF, 3.35 MB)


Hundreds Gather in Springfield for Recognition Day

Bill Basl

Bill Basl, director of AmeriCorps, spoke to volunteers about the importance of their service to Illinois.

The 2012 Illinois National Service Recognition Day was held on October 18 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center and the State Capitol in Springfield. Nearly 1,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members from across the state took part in the event, which recognized programs and energized members for the upcoming service year.

The celebration began with lunch at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, and several speakers provided encouragement and professional development messages for members. Speakers included Bill Basl, the national director of AmeriCorps, and Chad Pregracke, a nationally known environmentalist. A new feature was added to Recognition Day in the form of break-out sessions, with 10 sessions offered throughout the day. A food drive and blood drive were also hosted by the Central Illinois Community Blood Center; AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members donated enough blood to help over 100 people!

Recognition Day Parade

Nearly 1,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members marched to the Capitol and reaffirmed their Oath of Service to America.

After lunch and break-out sessions, members began their march from the Prairie Capital Convention Center to the State Capitol complex. The march was led by city police cars and a fire engine. Many programs marched with banners displaying their program name; other members carried small American flags.

On the steps of the Capitol, at the base of the Abraham Lincoln statue, Commissioner Frederick Nettles led AmeriCorps members in the Oath of Service to America, reaffirming and proclaiming their commitment to a year of service to Illinois.

The Serve Illinois Commission hopes members left the event with a renewed commitment to service and a feeling of excitement for their upcoming year of service.

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Serve Illinois' Mission

The mission of the Serve Illinois Commission is to improve Illinois communities by supporting and enhancing traditional volunteerism and community service and the administration of the AmeriCorps program.”

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Message From the Executive Director

Photo of Brandon Bodor

Welcome to Serve Illinois’ fall newsletter. While it has only been three months since our summer publication, it seems like we have packed in a year’s worth of activities here at the Commission! We have made strides on many fronts, and we are proud to report on a few of those here in this newsletter.

We are excited to welcome a new team of commissioners this fall, recently appointed by Governor Quinn. The group of 40 is comprised of proven leaders across all sectors, dedicated to service in Illinois. Jill Heise has an all-star team behind her, and I am confident that this group can change the world in the next two years. Check out a press release and the amazing biographics of the new team at While you are there, I encourage you to engage in one of the 100,000+ volunteer opportunities available to you from our volunteer search database!

During the summer newsletter, a few short weeks after joining Serve Illinois, I mentioned that service is part of our fabric in this nation. I said that it is more than just something we do; it is who we are. I wholeheartedly agree with this premise, and I would like to take it a step further. Service is the defining characteristic – the lifeblood – of America’s greatness. In this issue, and the issues that follow, I am proud to highlight at least a few of the many examples of why that is the case!

Yours in Service,

Brandon Bodor

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Message from the Chair

Photo of Jill Heise

Everyone can serve! Truer words were never spoken, and there could not have been a more fitting theme for this year’s National Service Recognition Day. The many who convened in Springfield for Recognition Day, again, reinforced the power of the volunteer movement in Illinois.

After much planning and coordination, the Commission released a fantastic Inclusion Public Service Announcement in September. Featuring Commissioner Merri Dee, award-winning pianist Chris Errera and Quad Cities Red Cross member Rich Burroughs, the PSA powerfully reinforces the message that everyone can serve. Thank you to Morning Star Media Group for their support, and much deserved recognition to Serve Illinois’ Disability Outreach Coordinator, Lois Barnhart, who led this PSA from idea to completion! Check it out at, and be on the lookout for the PSA on the airwaves soon.

I am so proud to be a part of Serve Illinois, and I am simply in awe of the new cohort of Commissioners appointed by Governor Quinn. We have learned from our surveys that the vast majority of Illinoisans are interested in helping their communities to solve problems; the gap is that too many do not know where to serve. Our goal is to help remedy that gap, and to continue to deliver the important message that everyone can serve!


Jill C. Heise

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Governor Quinn and Serve Illinois Commission Announce $8.4 Million Federal Grant for 29 AmeriCorps Programs at nearly 300 Sites

AmeriCorps Member

AmeriCorps members work to better the communities in which they serve.

Governor Quinn and his Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service announced in September that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has awarded $8.4 million to enable 1,200 volunteers in 29 AmeriCorps programs to better serve Illinois communities. The announcement came on the National Day of Service and Remembrance, a day when the victims and heroes of 9/11 are honored.

AmeriCorps Members

AmeriCorps members gather in Springfield each year to reaffirm their commitment to service.

“On this sacred day, I am humbled to recognize the fine work that Illinois volunteers do each and every day across the state,” Governor Quinn said. “Service is in our fabric as a state, and this AmeriCorps grant will help grow our commitment to selflessness and service in Illinois.”

The federal grant will go towards services in Illinois including tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, preparing communities to respond effectively to emergencies, and building connections between immigrants and their nonimmigrant neighbors. CNCS is the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps – its goal with the grant is to develop and expand volunteer organizations across the country. The Serve Illinois Commission, a part of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Office of the Governor, administers the AmeriCorps programs in Illinois.

“Our AmeriCorps volunteers in Illinois are on the front lines of service, directly addressing the most challenging problems that communities face,” said Brandon Bodor, executive director of Serve Illinois. “These volunteers are the bedrock of our volunteer infrastructure in the state. Since 1994, more than 26,000 Illinois AmeriCorps members have served more than 30 million hours.”

For a full listing of funded organizations, please visit

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Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service

Commission Members

  • Jill C. Heise, Chair, Chicago
  • Jane Angelis, Ph. D., Carbondale
  • Don Baden, Ed. D., Fairview Heights
  • Kathleen Blair, Woodridge
  • Julian Brown, Chicago
  • Barb Byrne, Monmouth
  • Bechara Choucair, M.D., Chicago
  • Merri Dee, Chicago
  • Evelyn J. Diaz, Chicago
  • James Dixon, Springfield
  • Robert Dwyer, Kenilworth
  • Kathy Engelken, Chicago
  • Alvin Goldfarb, Ph. D., Macomb
  • Amanda Guinn, Belleville
  • John Hosteny, Chicago
  • Nancy K. Jameson, Macomb
  • Christopher A. Koch, Springfield
  • Howard L. Lathan, Chicago
  • Michael Mangan, Arlington Heights
  • Debra Martón, Chicago
  • Bob McCammon, Lake Villa
  • Garry McCarthy, Chicago
  • Jenné Myers, Chicago
  • Frederick D. Nettles, Jr., Springfield
  • Hannah Porter, Macomb
  • Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago
  • Robert “Al” Riddley, Springfield
  • Joseph Rives, Ph. D., Moline
  • Giraldo Rosales, Champaign
  • Anne Schuman, Morton Grove
  • Cynthia Sims, Ed. D., Carbondale
  • Ilya Sheyman, Waukegan
  • Stephen Silberman, Hanover
  • Lonnette Stonitsch, Evanston
  • Ruth Thompson, Rushville
  • Barbara Tubekis, Winnetka
  • Jeff Turnbull, Peoria
  • Heather Way, Chicago
  • Jennifer Witzel, Mt. Vernon

Commission staff

  • Brandon Bodor, Executive Director
  • Scott McFarland, Deputy Director
  • Lisa Fernandes, AmeriCorps Program Officer
  • Karla Kunzeman, Volunteer Programs Manager
  • Mike Stehlin, Training Officer
  • Lois Barnhart, Inclusion Officer
  • Lanie Cooper, Graduate Public Service Intern
  • Adam Weiner, Local Government Liaison Intern
  • Ana Golovashkina, New Media and Marketing Intern

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New Faces You Should Know

Governor Quinn Names New Members to Serve

Serve Illinois Commission

For a full listing of commissioners, please visit

Governor Pat Quinn named 20 members to the Serve Illinois Commission. The Commission, supported by the Illinois Department of Human Services, enhances and supports community volunteerism and administers the AmeriCorps State program in Illinois.

“I am pleased to appoint these selfless Illinois citizens to the Serve Illinois Commission, which is dedicated to involving our young people in community service,” said Governor Quinn. “Now, more than ever, we need to band together to get our children off the streets and more engaged in our communities.”

On October 17, a meeting was held in Springfield for the commissioners to meet and get acquainted. Many of the commissioners stayed and helped prepare for Recognition Day.

The members of the Serve Illinois Commission are appointed to threeyear terms. They meet three times per year around the state and the members serve on subcommittees which meet more frequently.

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NCCC team Strengthens Mississippi Palisades State Park


The Great River Outreach (GRO), a faith based organization, recently sponsored work to build community capacity through the AmeriCorps Maple 2 team of the National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC). Based for six weeks at a campsite in the Mississippi Palisades State Park in rural Carroll County, the ten person team strengthened conservation, historic preservation, eco-tourism, emergency preparedness and disaster mitigation, youth development and infrastructure rehabilitation efforts. The team also developed skills ranging from construction, to protection of endangered species, to environmental decision-making processes.

Eight organizations hosted the volunteers’ service learning projects including: USDA, Army Corps of Engineers, Upper Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the cities of Savanna and Mt. Carroll, Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, Carroll County 4H, the Rotary and Substance Education Coalition.

The GRO and the NCCC’s partnership addressed critical needs such as an emergency preparedness gate marking project on both sides of the Mississippi River from Dubuque to Moline, mitigated flash flood losses, improved trails, prevented future soil erosion and humanized a variety of ongoing economic and social service efforts.

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Volunteer Spotlight

Remembering Inspirational Community Leader, Jeanne Bradner

Jeanne Bradner

Jeanne Bradner was a community leader and political activist whose skills in organizing volunteer efforts led her to write three books on the subject.

Jeanne Bradner, born Jeanne Hunt, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied music before moving to Chicago in 1953. While being involved in the Young Republicans organization on the Near North Side of Chicago, she met her husband, Bob. They were married in 1958 and moved to Winnetka in 1967. By the time she had three children, Jeanne no longer pursued a career in music, although she continued to sing in the Christ Church choir in Winnetka for many years.

Her concerns for certain issues and the process of good government, as well as her interests in volunteerism and organization, soon led to her involvement with the League of Women Voters. She was president of the Winnetka/Northfield/Kenilworth chapter in 1973, and secretary of the Illinois statewide league in the mid-1970s.

Jeanne became a district coordinator for the late U.S. Senator Charles Percy’s successful re-election campaign in 1978, and in 1979, won her first election as a Winnetka village trustee. She was a village trustee for four years, and was village president for two, two-year terms from 1989 to 1993.

In the early 1980s, Jeanne worked as the director of development and marketing for a group then known as the Association for Retarded Citizens of Illinois.

As a member of Illinois Governor Jim Thompson’s administration, she directed several volunteer and community service efforts. In 1986, she ran the state chapter of Hands Across America, an effort to raise awareness of hunger and homelessness throughout the nation.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush appointed her regional director of ACTION, a federal domestic volunteer agency.

She became nationally known as an expert on volunteer and nonprofit management – speaking, consulting and writing on the subject, and teaching related courses at Harper College in Palatine. Her books include Passionate Volunteerism, Leading Volunteers for Results and A Board Member’s Guide.

Mrs. Bradner, 80, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on June 14. She is survived by her husband, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

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New Location for North West Illinois Volunteerism Conference a Success


The North West Illinois Volunteerism (NWIV) Conference took on new dimensions in 2012. It was held in the Quad Cities for the first time, at the historic Butterworth Center in Moline.

NWIVC Registration

The 2012 NWIV conference was the most well attended to date, with over 90 participants.

The conference was a collaborative effort with Serve Illinois, the Mississippi Valley Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (MVDOVIA) and the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, making it a bi-state conference. This collaborative partnership made it possible to have nationally known author and volunteerism expert, Betty Stallings, as the keynote speaker. Stallings also did a plenary workshop in the morning. Attendees received Stallings’ latest book and support materials with their conference registration.

Afternoon breakout sessions focused on topics such as disabilities inclusion and intergenerational volunteer programs, as well as a session for management professionals on how to hire the best volunteer management staff.

The combination of having several partners, Betty Stallings as keynote, and the unique dynamic of the Quad Cities’ location, created the North West Illinois Conference’s best participation to date, with over 90 participants. Because the Quad Cities is host to so many people from all over the world, the theme “Serving Dynamic Communities” was especially appropriate. Many attendees expressed a desire to have the conference in the Quad Cities again.

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Program Feature

RSVP Participates in a Day of Service to Honor and Remember 9/11

Mayor Houston and Volunteer

Mayor Houston of Springfield thanked volunteers for their service.

On Tuesday, September 11, volunteers from the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for Sangamon, Menard and Logan counties of Illinois partnered with local businesses and other national service programs, including Foster Grandparents and AmeriCorps, to have a Day of Service – a tribute to remember 9/11. The staff from AARP in Springfield was also kind enough to spend their day volunteering for this event.


Over 1,000 bags were filled by volunteers for homebound seniors.

The Day of Service, titled, “I Will. Be Ready.,” combined the I will remember September 11 phrase along with Be Ready from FEMA’s Disaster Preparedness campaign. With September being Disaster Preparedness Month, this seemed like a fitting combination. Over 80 volunteers donated their time to help pack over 1,000 basic disaster preparedness kits for homebound seniors, as well as veterans in central Illinois. Each kit contained non-perishable foods, safety items and basic medical supplies, along with an educational brochure from FEMA that explained how seniors should prepare in case of a future disaster or emergency. The last item placed in each kit was a small American flag, which symbolized the unity of our country after the tragic events that happened 11 years prior. Each kit also had a letter explaining the Day of Service, and asked that recipients pay it forward by sending a card or letter of thanks to an active military member.

Springfield Mayor J. Michael Houston was gracious enough to stop by and thank volunteers for their service and hard work. He also signed a proclamation at the event to mark September 11, 2012 as a Day of Service and remembrance in the city of Springfield. It was a great project to remember 9/11 in a positive way. The volunteers and organizations are already looking forward to next year’s event.

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Training and Professional Development

Find a Volunteer Opportunity Today! Visit

In addition to the searchable portal of more than 140,000 volunteer opportunities statewide, hosts a wide variety of volunteer resources:

  • Ability to Post Volunteer Opportunities
  • Statewide Volunteer Management Network Conference & Meeting Information
  • National Service Program Information (AmeriCorps, Senior Corps & Learn and Serve America)
  • Volunteerism Research & Volunteerism Web Links
  • Featured Volunteer Stories
  • Serve Illinois Calendar of Events

We want to hear from you!

If your agency is currently preparing for upcoming volunteerism or national service events, or if you have recently completed an event and would like to share your story, we want to hear from you. For newsletter or website publication consideration, please send information to us. Web links, photos accompanying a story and professional development resources are also encouraged.

Training and Professional Development
Save the Date
2012 Volunteerism Conferences

  • East Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference :
    June 13, 2013 – Springfield, IL
  • Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration:
    August, 2013 – Chicago, IL
  • West Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference:
    TBA, 2013 – Macomb, IL
  • Northwest Illinois Volunteerism Conference:
    Fall 2013 – Moline, IL
  • Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference:
    Fall 2013, 2012– Mt. Vernon, IL


    Lanie Cooper

    The Serve Illinois Commission would like to welcome Lanie Cooper, our new Government Public Service Intern from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Lanie is from Beardstown and is pursuing her master’s degree in Public Administration while working with the staff at the Serve Illinois Commission. She is a recent magna cum laude graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville where she received a Bachelor of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership as well as Philosophy. As a former AmeriCorps member, Lanie is a great addition to the Commission staff, and we look forward to working with her.

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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
    815 E. Monroe St.
    Springfield, IL 62701
    E-mail Serve Illinois
    Phone: 800.592.9896
    TTY: 888.261.2713

    Illinois AmeriCorps Disability Outreach Project: Meeting the needs for AmeriCorps Members of all backgrounds and abilities.

    This material is based upon work supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service under AmeriCorps Grant No. 1OCAHIL001. 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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