Governor Pat Quinn Proclaims National Service Recognition Day in Illinois
Nearly 1,000 to be Sworn-in During Ceremony Honoring the State’s National Service Volunteers
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed October 18, 2012 as National Service Recognition Day in Illinois, an occasion that was marked by a parade and a ceremony in which nearly 1,000 Illinoisans pledged their continuing commitment to helping their communities through national service.
The “Everyone Can Serve” ceremony, held at the Illinois State Capitol, honored Illinois’ AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve program members for their work in strengthening their communities through volunteerism. Keynote addresses were delivered by Bill Basl, national director of AmeriCorps, and Chad Pregracke, founder of the non-profit Live Lands and Waters.
As part of the ceremony, volunteers were sworn in with a pledge that reaffirmed their commitment to national service for another year. The ceremony was followed by a parade that stretched from the Prairie Capital Convention Center to the Lincoln Statute at 2nd and Capitol Streets.
“National service comes in many forms, each of them an excellent opportunity to make a real difference in communities. We want to emphasize that everyone has something valuable to offer,” said Brandon Bodor, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. “Illinois has a strong tradition of volunteerism and coming together to address problems. It’s what makes our communities, our state, and our nation so great. When everyone commits to serving in some way, the impossible becomes possible.” More than 84,000 people of all ages and backgrounds are volunteering with more than 2,600 national and local nonprofits, schools, faith-based organizations and other groups. That total includes 2,600 AmeriCorps Members, 17,000 Senior Corps volunteers and more than 64,000 Learn and Serve America students.
National Service Members serve their communities in many diverse ways, including by helping to improve education, protect public safety, safeguard the environment and promote civic engagement.
AmeriCorps members dedicate a year to helping communities meet their unmet human service, education, public safety or environmental needs. They receive a modest living allowance, student loan suspension and training. Full-time members are also eligible to receive health insurance. Members who successfully complete their service receive an educational award of up to $5,550 to help pay for college, graduate school, vocational training or to pay off student loans.
The Serve Illinois Commission, part of the Illinois Department of Human Services, administers the AmeriCorps*State programs in Illinois and is charged with enhancing and supporting community volunteerism. Serve Illinois is funded in part by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. The Serve Illinois Commission currently supports 29 AmeriCorps programs throughout the state. In addition to today’s event, please keep an eye out for television public service announcements about the “Everyone Can Serve” campaign.
Serve Illinois sponsors www.Serve.Illinois.gov, a valuable statewide resource for volunteers. The website serves as the primary resource for Illinoisans seeking information about volunteer agencies, trainings, nonprofit resources and national service programs, including AmeriCorps. The website includes a user-friendly volunteer matching portal where you can search for a volunteer opportunity in your area. For more information on AmeriCorps or Serve Illinois, please visit the website at www.Serve.Illinois.gov or call 800-592-9896.
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