Serve Illinois Newsletter - Fall 2013 


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newsletter coverFall 2013 Serve Illinois Newsletter (PDF, 2.8 MB)


National Service Programs Gather in Springfield for Recognition Day

Brandon BodorBrandon Bodor, Executive Director of Serve Illinois, administers the AmeriCorps oath at the steps of the Capitol.
The 2013 Illinois National Service Recognition Day was held on October 8, 2013, 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 2013 Illinois National Service Recognition Day was held on October 8, 2013, 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.

Ronald McDonaldRonald McDonald, from Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Central Illinois, shows his excitement for service.
After lunch and break-out sessions, members then 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, members reaffirmed their Oath of Service to America. Brandon Bodor, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission, led AmeriCorps members in the oath, 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 communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state.

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Message From the Executive Director

Photo of Brandon Bodor
We are in the midst of some exciting developments in the world of service. At the Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service in June, I had the honor of speaking with one of the country’s finest public servants about some of those developments. Harris Wofford, the founding father of some of America’s most notable service programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps shared his vision for the future of national service in America. The core of our discussion revolved around two momentous topics: the Aspen Institute initiative known as the Franklin Project and the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service.

The Franklin Project initiative was born after General (retired) Stanley McChrystal expressed the need for civilian service opportunities to balance the heavy burden that those who commit to military service bear. I encourage you all to read the very compelling Franklin Project Plan of Action, a 40-page vision and blueprint that details how, and why, an expansion of domestic service opportunities to one million positions could be available for 18 to 28 year olds across America. Simply put, the plan calls on the nation to “link military and civilian service as two sides of the same coin.” On July 15, 2013, President Obama built on the work that he and the three presidents before him have done in support of expanding civilian national service opportunities in this country. He signed a three-page memo establishing the Task Force on Expanding National Service, through which 15+ federal agencies have been directed to assess how the innovative and entrepreneurial power of national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) can help some of the nation’s most complex issues.

Few ideas and ideals have the ability to transcend government priorities, community issues, and sectors, quite like service can. Harris Wofford said that it was always his vision to “democratize service” here in America. We certainly are not there yet, but the wind is blowing in the right direction, and I am honored to be a part of a Commission whose mission it is to keep the wind howling until everyone realizes their responsibility to serve. I hope you’ll join us in that effort.

Yours in Service,

Brandon Bodor

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Message from the Chair

Fred Nettles
During my time as Chair of the Serve Illinois Commission, I have met hundreds of extraordinary and hardworking people throughout Illinois. I want to personally thank you for your investment, commitment, and sacrifice.

As I reflect on your service, I am reminded of Les Carter, whose book—The Significance Principle—states that one of the keys to successful organizations is the significance principle. He defined it as being

“The basic, driving force of human behavior is the desire for acceptance, understanding, appreciation, and recognition. The need for significance is such a powerful aspect of our personality that it motivates us to identify with success and just as powerfully motivates us to avoid failure and conflict.”

This definition describes the operation and motivation of so many that I have met during my time with the Commission. The organizations that constantly shine in their community are those that recognize that the people who work for them are their most important assets. This can be summarized in this quote, “the way to find your own significance is to actively recognize the significance of others.”

I know some will say that those are nice words; however, what about our mission and our organization bottom line? I believe that our people must embody the mission and passion of our organization for us to serve the community effectively. As leaders, if those who work for us see that we have a servant leadership mentality, that mentality will become contagious throughout our organizations. I believe this is the foundation upon which we must build to serve our communities.

I encourage you today to empower your people, create an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding, appreciation and, most importantly, recognition. Ken Blanchard stated that “It’s more important for people to respect you than simply like you; so smile, listen, and make people feel important.”


Frederick D. Nettles, Jr.

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Massachusetts Governor Makes Good on Stanley Cup Wager with Governor Quinn

Governor Deval Patrick Joins Governor Quinn to Volunteer at Greater Chicago Food Depository

Governors Quinn and Patrick 1 Gov. Quinn and Gov. Patrick volunteered together after a friendly Stanley Cup wager. Photo credit: Greater Chicago Food Depository
Governor Pat Quinn announced on July 23, 2013, that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick had made good on their Stanley Cup wager by volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The two Governors made a wager on the outcome of the recent Chicago Blackhawks – Boston Bruins series for professional hockey’s top prize, and Governor Patrick paid his debt in full by helping an organization that assists hundreds of thousands of Chicago residents in need.

The Governors volunteered together at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which is a not-for-profit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in the Chicago area. More than 1.8 million Illinois residents face food insecurity, including 745,000 children. In some area communities, more than one in three people are food insecure.

Governors Quinn and Patrick 2The Greater Chicago Food Depository distributes an average of 150,000 meals every day. Photo credit: Greater Chicago Food Depository
“The Blackhawks may have won the Stanley Cup, but today’s volunteer work is a win-win for both Illinois and Massachusetts,” Governor Quinn said during their time at the Food Depository. “Governor Patrick is a good man and a good sport. We all respect the Bruins’ hard work and we appreciate Governor Patrick’s trip to Illinois today to make good on this friendly wager.”

The Greater Chicago Food Depository distributes an average of 150,000 meals every day through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. It also provides innovative training programs that provide people with the tools to break their individual cycles of poverty. For more information, visit

“Like all Chicagoans, we were thrilled to see the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup,” Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository said. “We welcome the service efforts of Governor Quinn and Governor Patrick as we’ve seen a 70 percent increase in the number of people served at pantries during the past five years.”

The Greater Chicago Food Depository co-chairs Governor Quinn’s Illinois Commission to End Hunger. It is one of the Serve Illinois Commission’s 30 AmeriCorps programs, whose members are part of the 2.8 million people in Illinois who contribute more than 360 million hours valued at more than $8.3 billion annually.

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Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service

Commission Members

  • Frederick D. Nettles, Jr., Chair, Springfield
  • Don Baden, Ed. D., Vice-Chair Fairview Heights
  • Jane Angelis, Ph. D., Carbondale
  • 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
  • Jill C. Heise, Chicago
  • John Hosteny, Chicago
  • Nancy K. Jameson, Macomb
  • Christopher A. Koch, Springfield
  • Marc J. Lane, Chicago
  • Howard L. Lathan, Chicago
  • Debra Martón, Chicago
  • Bob McCammon, Lake Villa
  • Garry McCarthy, Chicago
  • Jenné Myers, Chicago
  • 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
  • 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
  • Sue Zellers, AmeriCorps Program Officer
  • Karla Kunzeman, Volunteer Programs Manager
  • Mike Stehlin, Training Officer
  • Lois Barnhart, Inclusion Officer
  • Lanie Cooper, Graduate Public Service Intern
  • Courtney Abbott, Graduate Public Service Intern
  • Cynthia Sandoval, Policy Dunn Fellow
  • Lilliane Webb, New Sector AmeriCorps member

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Volunteers Renovate Two Little City Homes

Volunteers at Kindness WeekVolunteers helped to clean and update homes during Koenig & Strey’s Kindness Week.
This summer, Little City Foundation partnered with real estate company Koenig & Strey for two home makeover volunteer events. For more than 50 years, Little City has provided personalized programs and services to children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the Chicagoland area. Little City owns and operates 14 community integrated living arrangements (CILA) in the northwest suburbs. Up to eight individuals live in a CILA home with 24/7 care and support.

To raise funds for materials for the two homes, Koenig & Strey utilized one of Little City’s available business opportunities and hosted a Shred & Dump Day, providing local residents with a secure way to dispose of important documents and other items. The event raised over $3,000 in donations which were used for mulch, flowers, pots and light fixtures.

Volunteer landscapingAn organized “Shred and Dump Day” helped to raise over $3,000 to pay for outdoor renovations.
More than 30 volunteers from Koenig & Strey helped update the homes by painting, gardening, adding new flooring, replacing appliances and performing general clean up duties. In addition to Koenig & Strey, employees from volunteered their time to paint both homes.

“We’re excited to give back to Little City, when we found them we knew it was meant to be,” said Managing Broker and Chairman of the Koenig & Strey Foundation Joe Stacy. “This is going to be a long-term relationship and we’re going to keep coming back to these homes when we can. We’re looking forward to getting to know the residents that live in the homes; they’ve become our new adopted family.”

This event took place during Koenig & Strey’s Kindness Week where offices reach out to their local communities to give back. Little City is looking forward to many more successful volunteer events with Koenig & Strey.

“These types of volunteer activities mean a lot to the individuals living in the homes,” commented Little City Volunteer Manager Catrina Johnson. “The adults are proud to come home to their newly renovated home.”

For more information on Little City, visit
For available volunteer opportunities, visit

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Serve Illinois Welcomes New Staff

The Serve Illinois Commission would like to welcome three new faces to the Commission staff.

Sue Zellers is joining our AmeriCorps team as a Program Officer and will be assisting in the oversight of our 29 AmeriCorps State programs throughout the state. Sue has over 25 years with the State of Illinois, with the last nine years spent working at CMS. She has two adult sons and three grandchildren who keep her very busy. Sue enjoys spending time with family and vacationing with friends in the Caribbean.

Cynthia Sandoval is originally from Venezuela, and attended law school there for two years before she transferred to Lake Forest College in the Northern Chicago suburbs where she double majored in International Relations and Political Science. Before coming to the Governor’s Office as a Policy Dunn Fellow, Cynthia interned for Senator Dick Durbin and later worked as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm in Chicago.

Lilliane Webb comes to Serve Illinois as part of the first Chicago cohort of New Sector Alliance’s RISE program, an AmeriCorps State and National program. Lilliane has always been fascinated by the social sector and education related issues, and previously completed an internship with District of Columbia Public Schools and is an AmeriCorps alumna of Jumpstart. Lilliane is also a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is a diehard Michigan football fan.

Courtney Abbott graduated from Illinois State University last May with a degree in Public Relations and joins Serve Illinois as a Graduate Public Service Intern from the University of Illinois at Springfield where he is completing a degree in Media Communications. During his internship, he will be assisting with the AmeriCorps monitoring and fiscal administration. Courtney grew up in Chicago and began volunteering in high school and has continued to do so through his collegiate career.

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Governor Quinn and Serve Illinois Announce $7.5 Million Federal Grant for AmeriCorps Programs

Begins yearlong 20th anniversary celebration of AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps Illinois Logo
Governor Quinn and his Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service announced that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has awarded $7.5 million to enable 900 volunteers in 28 AmeriCorps programs to better serve Illinois communities. The announcement comes at the beginning of a yearlong 20th anniversary celebration for the program. <p“twenty />

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 non-immigrant neighbors. CNCS is the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, and 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. Illinois AmeriCorps members have served more than 37 million hours; which has impacted the state to the tune of $858 million in impact.”

AmeriCorps programs receiving funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service:

  • Academy for Urban School Leadership – Chicago
  • American Red Cross, Safe Families – Chicago
  • Asian Human Services – Chicago
  • Chicago Bar Foundation, Illinois Justice Corps – Chicago
  • Children’s Home Association of Illinois, Fostering Transitions AmeriCorps – Peoria
  • City Year – Chicago
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository – Chicago
  • Illinois Public Health Association – Springfield
  • Jumpstart Illinois– Chicago
  • Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, AmeriCorps/East St. Louis – East St. Louis
  • Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, Project VOCAL – Chicago
  • Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Prisoner & Family Ministries – Marion
  • Northwestern University Settlement Association, Project YES! – Chicago
  • PCC Community Wellness Center – Oak Park
  • Public A llies, Inc. – Chicago
  • Public Health Institute of Metro Chicago, Healthy Communities Corps – Chicago
  • Rend Lake College, Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps – Ina
  • Sauk Valley Community College, ABC AmeriCorps – Dixon
  • Schuler Family Foundation, Schuler Scholar Program – Chicago
  • South Suburban Training & Rehab Services, Healthy and Able Program – Chicago Heights
  • Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville AmeriCorps – Belleville
  • Springfield Urban League, AmeriCorps/ Youth Corps – Springfield
  • Teach For America – Chicago
  • University of Illinois Board of Trustees, Project MORE – Chicago
  • West Suburban PADS, Career Passport and Housing Program – Maywood
  • Western Illinois University, Peace Corps Fellows Program – Macomb
  • Western Illinois University – Quad Cities - Moline
  • Youth Organization Umbrella – Evanston

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Illinois College Students Improve Jacksonville Community in 20th Annual Service Blitz

Paige Logan
The tradition of sharing and caring through service in the Jacksonville area was on display Sunday, August 25, 2013, when about 300 first-year Illinois College students, faculty and staff tackled a variety of projects throughout the community.
Service Blitz Volunteer First year students participate in the Service Blitz during their first week at Illinois College to engage them in the tradition of sharing and caring through service. Photo credit: Illinois College
Since 1993, new students at Illinois College have engaged in a Service Blitz during their first week of school. New students and faculty members spend a day immersed in the Jacksonville community making a difference and joining in the tradition of sharing and caring. It is a great chance to build bridges and become engaged in the surrounding community. This year, the college celebrated 20 years of the service event.

Teams pulled weeds, wielded paint brushes, and did general cleaning at the Chamber of Commerce office, Community Park, Ebenezer Cemetery, Morgan County Fairgrounds, Western Illinois Youth Camp, Prairie Land Heritage Museum, Bob Freesen YMCA, Nichols Park, Pony Colt Park, The Nursery School, and the Imagine Foundation’s Asa Talcott House.

Lori Large Oldenettel, IC’s coordinator of community engagement and service who helped organize the event, said many of the first-year students enjoyed their experience and expressed interest in returning to the sites where they worked in order to provide additional service in the future. “Several site coordinators invited students to come back to provide service individually or with a group they are affiliated with,” she said.

New IC President Barbara Farley said community service is a big part of the college’s mission. “I’m really proud of our students,” she said.

About Illinois College: Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, IL. With an enrollment of nearly 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Visit or call 217-245-3048 for more information.

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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 Web links, photos accompanying a story and professional development resources are also encouraged.

Training and Professional Development
Save the Date

2013 Volunteerism Conferences

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Mark Your Calendars!

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Logo
Mark your calendars for the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Opening Day Celebration on September 12, 2014. The Serve Illinois Commission will be celebrating AmeriCorps’ 20th Anniversary and recognizing all National Service members at the beginning of their year-long commitment to service. Join us on September 12, 2014!

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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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Copyright © 2013 State of Illinois