Serve Illinois Newsletter - Summer 2013 


  1. State of Illinois Home
newsletter coverSummer 2013 Serve Illinois Newsletter (PDF, 2.1 MB)


Illinois Volunteers Recognized with Governor’s Service Award


Sophia MarcollaSophia Marcolla, West Central Youth Award Winner, was the youngest of the awardees at 12 years old.
The fourth annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards ceremony was held Thursday, April 18, 2013, at the Governor’s Executive Mansion in Springfield. The event recognized 23 outstanding volunteers and five businesses from across the state for their service to their communities.


The reception included a welcome from Executive Director, Brandon Bodor, words from the Volunteer Recognition Chair, Barb Tubekis, and remarks from Fred Nettles, Serve Illinois Commission Chair. Merri Dee, a Serve Illinois Commissioner, served as master of ceremonies. Awards were distributed by Bodor, Tubekis, and Nettles.


ExcelonExelon Corporation was awarded with one of the first ever Business Service Awards.
Awardees were selected by Governor-appointed Serve Illinois Commissioners from a pool of over 180 nominations, an all-time high. Awards were distributed in the categories of Youth, Adult, and Senior, as well as the National Service Award Categories of AmeriCorps, and Senior Corps. New to the Awards this year was a Business Service Award, awarded to a for-profit business. Each category of awards was given to individuals and businesses from each of the five regions of Illinois.


The following volunteers were honored with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. To see photos and biographies of each recipient, visit

West Central Illinois Award Recipients: Dan Dietrich, Katie Brunk, Dan Thompson, Jim Fisher, Sophia Marcolla, and Hy-Vee on Harrison
North East Illinois Award Recipients: Daniel Sylvester, Melissa Rothman, James Adams, Artie Walter, Sarah Dynia, and Exelon Corporation Employee Volunteer Program
North West Illinois Award Recipients: Greg Noe, Jackie Whitworth, Judy DeBoever, Patricia Umland, Blake Matson, and Finnegan’s RV Center
Southern Illinois Award Recipients: Corinne M. Hansen, Evelyn Martinez, Kim Strellis, Howard Hagler, Paige Logan, and Old National Bank
East Central Illinois Award Recipients: Amy Hagen, Michael Murray, Ruth Hieronymos, and Illinois National Bank

Return to Top

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.

To be added to the mailing list, please e-mail us.

Return to Top

Message From the Executive Director


Photo of Brandon Bodor
This Summer Newsletter is centered on recognition, and I would like to start by recognizing the contributions of our outgoing Chair, Jill Heise. Over the last two years with her at the helm, she has impressively guided the Commission to accomplishing some important milestones. For example, Illinois has jumped six spots in the rankings to number 25 for volunteer rate among states; the Commission focused on expanding its service network through initiatives like Cities of Service, a coalition for which Illinois is now number 1 in the nation for mayoral representation; to promote the contributions of all sectors in service, the Governor and Commission now recognize the business community as a category in the annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards. On a personal note, I would like to thank Jill for her mentorship to me as a new Commission executive director.


The Commission is poised to build on the momentum that Jill has built. I have full confidence that the vision, enthusiasm, and experience that Fred Nettles and Don Baden bring to the table will yield many more significant milestones over the coming years.

As we expand the service infrastructure here in Illinois—a key tenet of our strategic plan—we welcome your partnership in that process. Whether you represent a municipality or public agency, a non-profit or religious organization, a large corporation or small business, we want you to invest in service here in Illinois. The result will be an Illinois that is recognized nationally as a leader, and that success will only breed more success for our residents and our communities.

Yours in Service,

Brandon Bodor

Return to Top

Message from the Chair


Fred Nettles
I am honored and excited to be elected as the new Chair of the Serve Illinois Commission. I am looking forward to the great things we can accomplish in Illinois over the next year.


The ultimate purpose of the Commission is to promote and support community service, and to stimulate new volunteerism and community service initiatives and partnerships. It is my personal goal to involve all volunteers in Illinois to help fulfill this mission.

Recently, in my quest to grasp the full scope of the Commission, I looked up the meaning of civic engagement. Civic engagement or civic participation is defined as individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern. The key to civic engagement is to empower individuals to discover their purpose and facilitate their gifting. As the new Chair of the Serve Illinois Commission, facilitating individuals’ gifting and talents is my first and foremost priority. My personal philosophy and greatest privilege is to help others find their place and release their potential to solve problems within their community.

The graveyards are full of great men and women who never became great because they did not give their ability responsibility. Sir Winston Churchill said that “the price of greatness is responsibility.” My job as a leader is to identify those who are willing to take the journey of discovery, equip them with the tools they need, and release them into their life assignment. One great author said “building a better you is the first step to building a better America.” My focus is to develop processes to help individuals to discover that “better you” and join them with others to solve problems.

I am personally encouraged by the service happening across the state, which is greatly shown in this issue of the newsletter. My hope is to continue to inspire an increase in service in Illinois.


Frederick D. Nettles, Jr.

Return to Top


Several Illinois Colleges Recognized on President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.

Sophia Marcolla

The 2013 Honor Roll recipients were announced at the American Council on Education’s 95th Annual Meeting Leading Change on March 4, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The 2013 Honor Roll includes several Illinois colleges, including:

  • Augustana College, Rock Island
  • Bradley University, Peoria
  • Concordia University Chicago, River Forest
  • DePaul University, Chicago
  • Dominican University, River Forest
  • Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
  • Elmhurst College, Elmhurst
  • Eureka College, Eureka
  • Governors State University, University Park
  • Illinois College, Jacksonville
  • Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington
  • Lake Forest College, Lake Forest
  • McKendree University, Lebanon
  • Millikin University, Decatur
  • Monmouth College, Monmouth
  • North Central College, Naperville
  • North Park University, Chicago
  • Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
  • Rockford College, Rockford
  • Roosevelt University, Chicago
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago
  • Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights
  • Trinity International University, Deerfield
  • University of Illinois Springfield, Springfield

Return to Top

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
  • Karla Kunzeman, Volunteer Programs Manager
  • Mike Stehlin, Training Officer
  • Lois Barnhart, Inclusion Officer
  • Lanie Cooper, Graduate Public Service Intern
  • Adam Weiner, Dunn Fellow, Local Government Liaison

Return to Top

New Faces

Serve Illinois Commission Elects New Leadership


Fred NettlesFred Nettles, Chair of the Serve Illinois Commission.
The Serve Illinois Commission would like to introduce the newly elected leadership of the 40-member governor-appointed Commission. During their first meeting of 2013, the Commission elected Frederick D. Nettles Jr. and Don Baden as the new Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Nettles and Baden will champion the Commission in their efforts to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state during the next year.


Nettles is the Founding Pastor of Living Word Fellowship Ministries, a vibrant, spirit-filled multi-racial Church that ministers to both the heart of its members and the community as a whole. Nettles was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois. He has been married to Wanda Nettles for thirty years and they have one daughter, LaTrice. He is the Senior Pastor of Living Word Fellowship Church and CEO of Living Word Fellowship Ministries in Springfield.


Don BadenDon Baden, Vice-Chair of the Serve Illinois Commission.
Baden is a retired Professor of Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. For sixteen years, he served as Director of AmeriCorps/East St. Louis. He currently serves as the President of the Fairview Heights Library Board and volunteers in a variety of community agencies. Father of three, and grandfather of six granddaughters, he resides in Fairview Heights with his wife, Elaine.


The Commission thanks Nettles and Baden for their commitment to the Serve Illinois Commission, and looks forward to fulfilling the vision of their new leadership. Congratulations Fred and Don!

Return to Top

Member Spotlight

IPHA AmeriCorps Member Puts Training to Good Use


Alex BolesAlex is serving her AmeriCorps hours with the Macoupin County Health Department.
On her way to work one morning in January, Alex Boles, an IPHA AmeriCorps member at Macoupin County Health Department, came upon a two vehicle accident that had just occurred. Without hesitation, she stopped her vehicle and ran to the vehicles to check on the people involved. While there were a few other bystanders who had stopped to assist, Alex took charge and began to delegate duties. She announced that she was trained in First Aid and CPR and gave bystanders tasks such as calling 9-1-1 and gathering blankets and other materials from her vehicle. She demonstrated excellent First Aid skills including checking the scene for potential dangers, asking the victims questions to assess injuries, and providing the victims with anything she could to keep them warm (including her own coat). A nurse who happened to be traveling to work stopped to assist and Alex was able to update the nurse on the situation.


IPHA AmeriCorps Program Coordinator Jennifer Hopper was extremely proud of Alex and her courage, skills, and kindness, and said she was “very proud to say that she is an IPHA AmeriCorps member. [Alex’s story] shows how important it is to be trained in CPR and First Aid and to continue to get re-certified because you never know when you might need to use that training; and it demonstrates how selfless Alex, and AmeriCorps members in general, are and how they demonstrate the AmeriCorps motto of ‘getting things done’.”

Great job, Alex!

Return to Top

Volunteer Spotlight

Pat Ferrell of Peoria Named National Big Brother of the Year


Pat Ferrell and JamirJamir, left, and Pat, right, were matched together just over four years ago.
Pat Ferrell of Peoria has been named the 2013 National Big Brother of the Year by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.


The award honors long-term mentors whose volunteer service exemplifies how Big Brothers Big Sisters improves the odds for thousands of vulnerable children across the country. Ferrell will receive the award at the national Big Brothers Big Sisters conference this June in Denver, Colorado.

Earlier this year, Ferrell was also named the Illinois Big Brother of the Year. Ferrell serves as the president of the board of the Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. He works for RLI, Inc.

When Pat was matched with his “Little Brother” Jamir just over four years ago, Jamir was quiet, introverted, and struggling in school. During the first year of their match, Jamir was dealing with some difficult family issues. His grades were slipping and he wasn’t himself.

“I could sense a lack of self-confidence. He regularly skipped school and failed to turn in homework, resulting in Cs and Ds on his report card. I made a deal with him that if he turned in all of his homework and had no unexcused absences for three straight weeks, I would bring him lunch from his favorite restaurant,” Ferrell said. “He made all As and Bs on his next report card. He has continued to keep his GPA above 3.0. He just needed someone to show interest and hold him accountable.”

“I have witnessed firsthand the impact that can be made in the lives of our children,” Ferrell said. “I believe in this organization. In addition to becoming a Big Brother four years ago, I also now serve as president of our local Big Brothers Big Sisters’ board. It has been a very rewarding experience.”

About Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters operates under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides a system of ongoing evaluation and support, which is proven by independent studies to help families by improving the odds that “Littles” will perform better in school and avoid violence and illegal activities, and have stronger relationships with their parents and others. Headquartered in Philadelphia with a network of nearly 400 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves a quarter million children annually. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer today at

Return to Top


Top Illinois Youth Volunteers Honored for Service


Paige LoganPaige uses personal experience to combat bullying.
Paige Logan, 18, of Altamont and Jashira Bolden, 13, of Belleville were named Illinois’ top two youth volunteers of 2013 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 18th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).


Paige, a senior at Altamont High School, became a leading voice against bullying on the local, state and national level after she won a local pageant in the eighth grade and then experienced attacks online and became the subject of gossip and rumors from classmates - and, in some cases, even from their parents. Paige decided that she had to do something to keep the same thing from happening to others, so she began traveling to schools and universities to speak about bullying, and won grants to conduct a leadership camp and an anti-bullying program in her county. While the public is now more aware of the problem, Paige says bullying is more complicated today than ever before. “All day it happens at school and then when you think you are safe in your own home, you’re not,” she said. “Because of the use of cell phones and social networks, bullying is now a 24-hour event.”


Jashira BoldenJashira has a passion for helping those in need.
Jashira, an eighth-grader at Unity Lutheran School, is the founder and CEO of an organization that conducted a series of fundraisers to benefit five homeless shelters in East St. Louis. “I decided to raise money for the less fortunate because I knew that everyone didn’t have the funds to provide for themselves,” said Jashira. She discussed her desire with her parents, and then began planning fundraising activities. Her first effort – selling partnership cards from Krispy Kreme – raised $250, which she used to purchase bath sets for homeless adults and toys for their children. Next, she collected more than $1,000 from a variety of donors and put together 70 Easter baskets for residents of three local shelters, containing soap, towels and other items. The following year Jashira organized a fundraising dinner, and last year raised money by hosting a fashion show. With her proceeds, she has provided food and gifts to shelter residents, and she has even helped pay some of the shelters’ bills.


As State Honorees, Paige and Jashira each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2013.

Distinguished Finalists

The program judges also recognized eight other Illinois students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

These are Illinois’ Distinguished Finalists for 2013:

  • Mark Crenshaw, 18, of Eureka
  • Jake Herb, 16, of Barrington
  • Isha Jog, 17, of Schaumburg
  • Ingrid Lustig, 18, of Lake Bluff
  • Alex Marck, 18, of Freeport
  • Michael Bryant Powell, 18, of Belleville
  • Jen Rubino, 18, of Park Ridge
  • Matthew Williams, 15, of Vienna


Return to Top

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


Return to Top

Thank You


Brad Phipps
The Serve Illinois Commission and Staff would like to thank Jill Heise for her leadership and dedication as the Chair of the Serve Illinois Commission. Jill has worked to further the progress and success of the Commission and will continue to do so as she steps down from her Chair position. Thank you, Jill, for your service!


Return to Top

Upcoming Days of Service

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top

Adobe's Acrobat Reader is required to view documents provided in PDF format. To request these documents in an alternative format (e.g., text-only, large print, Braille, etc.), please e-mail Serve Illinois or phone 800-592-9896 or TTY 888-261-2713.

Copyright © 2013 State of Illinois