SERVE Illinois Newsletter - Summer 2008 


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SERVE Illinois Newsletter - Summer 2008

Summer 2008 Serve Illinois Newsletter [PDF, 883KB]

New website launched

Includes matching portal for finding volunteer opportunities near you

The Illinois Department of Human Services and the Serve Illinois Commission are pleased to announce the launch of the new Commission website, "" The new website will serve as a primary resource for Illinoisans who are seeking information about volunteer connector agencies, volunteer leadership trainings, nonprofit resources and national service programs, including AmeriCorps.

The new website also includes a volunteer matching portal – a user-friendly menu on the homepage of – that acts as a central hub for the volunteer opportunities housed in 17 different state and/or national volunteer opportunity databases. Illinois citizens can go to and enter their area of volunteer interest and their zip code or county to find volunteer opportunities in their communities. Powered by the Network for Good, and in partnership with USA FreedomCorps, the portal currently includes nearly 40,000 volunteer opportunities available now in Illinois.

To learn more about the Serve Illinois Commission, AmeriCorps and other national service programs, or to find volunteer resources, organizations, or a way to help in your community, visit and get involved today!

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Notice of Funds Available: AmeriCorps*State Program Project Period 2009-2012

Visit Illinois Department of Human Services or after August 18th to view the Request for Proposals (RFP).

Bidders Conferences (required if submitting a proposal; see RFP for time and location): September 8th – Mt. Vernon, IL; September 10th – Springfield, IL; September 11th – Chicago, IL

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Message From the Secretary

We are very excited to announce the launch of the new Serve Illinois Commission web site, "" In our ongoing effort to facilitate partnerships, streamline access to services and to better coordinate programs under the Department of Human Services' umbrella, we believe the new site will become a valuable tool within the volunteer and community services arenas.

Finding and keeping reliable, skilled volunteers in the right volunteer positions remains an ongoing priority of organizations that use them. The new web site includes a volunteer matching portal that allows persons looking to contribute their time to find a volunteer opportunity in their community that matches their area of interest. Illinois is only the second state in the nation to partner with the Network for Good and USA FreedomCorps to make this free and user-friendly capability available online.

We hope this new web site, the information it contains, and the new volunteer matching portal will be utilized by both small and large organizations across Illinois. And, we continue to invite volunteer managers from these organizations to participate and accept leadership roles in the new Volunteer Management Network and assist the Commission in bringing together the stakeholders of volunteerism.

We know that volunteers, including stipended national service members like those in AmeriCorps, are vital to the success of human service organizations. Please visit or call the Serve Illinois Commission at 800-592-9896 TODAY to learn what you can do to promote volunteerism in your community.

Carol L. Adams, Secretary
Illinois Department of Human Services

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Message from the Chair

According to the recent "Volunteering in America" report released last month by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the nation has experienced an overall decline in volunteering rates over the past year. The report indicates Illinois and 41 other states have seen a slip in their volunteering rates among persons aged 16 years and older. One explanation for this general decline, according to the CNCS (and our own Serve Illinois Commission Executive Director, Scott Kimmel, who sits on the national work group that develops the report), is that the numbers are adjusting to more historical levels and are down from volunteerism's highest rates experienced after the country�s surge in civic engagement following September 11th and Hurricane Katrina.

Despite this overall decline, however, the Serve Illinois Commission believes some positive new initiatives are beginning to take hold in Illinois, including the new website noted on the cover of this newsletter. We are also pleased to report growing interest in the Volunteer Management Network meetings taking place in all regions of the state, as well as the imminent release of a new 2009-2012 Request for Proposals for the next AmeriCorps*State funding cycle.

Let me also take this opportunity to welcome one more program to the Serve Illinois Commission's AmeriCorps portfolio. Logan Square Neighborhood Association was recently awarded a new AmeriCorps*Competitive grant by CNCS. More information about Logan Square's AmeriCorps program which begins in September is available on page three of this newsletter.

We wish all our AmeriCorps programs the best for a successful 2008-2009 program year, and encourage all our readers to keep up their good service and volunteerism efforts across the Land of Lincoln.

All the best,

Dave Lawrence, Chair
Serve Illinois Commission

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Happenings: Commissioner Honored by United Way

Julian Brown, Corporate Contributions Manager at Nicor Gas and a Serve Illinois Commissioner, received the Francis Wisebart Jacobs Award from United Way of Metropolitan Chicago at its annual celebration June 27th at the Chicago Hilton. The Francis Wisebart Jacobs Award recognizes an employee campaign leader who demonstrates commitment and innovation in coordinating workplace campaigns.

Brown has been managing Nicor's United Way campaign for 12 years. In 2007, he challenged Nicor employees to make a difference every day by not only supporting United Way, but by volunteering in the community. He also helped establish Volunteer Day at Nicor, now an annual event.

"Brown is not only a longterm Nicor employee, but a generous donor, volunteer and advocate whose resourcefulness, and creative spirit makes Nicor's one of the most successful United Way campaigns in the region," said Janet Froetscher, United Way president and CEO.

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Happenings: Welcome: Logan Square AmeriCorps

The Serve Illinois Commission would like to welcome its newest AmeriCorps*State program, which received nationally Competitive Funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service earlier this year. Logan Square Neighborhood Association of Chicago will launch its AmeriCorps program in September, for the purpose of training "Parent Tutors" to assist the public schools in the Logan Square neighborhood. In this densely populated community that is 71 percent Latino, 52 percent foreign-born or non-citizens, and where 94 percent of students qualify for reduced/free lunch programs, many children face language and cultural barriers that affect student performance and increases the need for tutoring services. Logan Square has a track record of increasing student performance through its parent volunteer program, and with the addition of new AmeriCorps volunteers, seeks to expand the Parent Tutor program to at least six more at-risk schools.

Congratulations Logan Square!

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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

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

Commission staff

  • Scott Kimmel, 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

AmeriCorps Alumni More Civically engaged, More Apt to Pursue Public Service Careers According to Study

Key findings from this eight-year longitudinal study that followed over 2,000 AmeriCorps alumni who served between 1999 and 2000 include:

  • 60 percent of AmeriCorps alumni choose to work with a nonprofit organization or public agency.
  • 80 percent of AmeriCorps members reported that their service exposed them to new career options.
  • Members who served in AmeriCorps are more satisfied with their lives eight years later than individuals who did not serve.
  • 86 percent of AmeriCorps alumni report being satisfied with their professional careers.
  • Over 66 percent of AmeriCorps Alumni report that their service was an advantage to them in the job market.

Other AmeriCorps facts:

  • Nationally, more than 540,000 people have served in AmeriCorps since 1994, providing more than 705 million hours of service.
  • In Illinois, more than 18,500 people have served in AmeriCorps since 1994, providing over 25 million hours of service.
  • Since 1994, over $52 million in Education Awards have been issued to Illinoisans who serve in AmeriCorps.
  • Last year, over 2,000 people performed AmeriCorps service in Illinois. These AmeriCorps members mobilized or managed 1.7 million volunteers.

The Longitudinal Study was released by the Corporation for National and Community Service on May 13, 2008 to correspond with National AmeriCorps Week. More information can be found at the National and Community Service's Research and Policy web page.

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LeaderCorps Update

Illinois LeaderCorps closed out the 2007-2008 program year at Starved Rock Lodge on June 17-19 with a "Life After AmeriCorps" theme and celebration of National AmeriCorps Week successes.

The program for the event included time for reflection upon the members' year of service in AmeriCorps and upon the LeaderCorps program in particular, as well as practical training from AmeriCorps Alums related to staying involved after the AmeriCorps service year has ended. Leaders also shared the results of an Illinois AmeriCorps alumni survey drafted and tabulated in recent months by LeaderCorps. Wednesday evening featured an alumni networking event and panel, with discussion on the development of AmeriCorps Alums chapters around the state.

The recent LeaderCorps survey results demonstrated great interest on the part of Illinois alums in staying involved with AmeriCorps programs, members and networking with other alums. Some 67 percent of respondents expressed interest in finding volunteer opportunities in their communities to stay involved in service post-AmeriCorps.

Coordinated by LeaderCorps, the AmeriCorps Food and Clothing Drive collected some 600 boxes full of food and clothing items for distribution agencies in their communities during National AmeriCorps Week. Highlights of the week included corporate partnerships with local grocery stores and banks, and Jewel Osco stores in Chicago. Programs also participated in an AmeriCorps/Serve Illinois Commission display in the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, as well as a 15+ program "job fair" showcasing AmeriCorps and other National Service volunteer programs.


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: Illinois Campus Compact

At Loyola University in Chicago, students, faculty and staff have utilized the resources provided by Illinois Campus Compact (ILCC) to coordinate community-based opportunities, including service learning courses and community-engaged projects in order to enhance student learning and the level of engagement both on-campus and in the community.

In 2007-2008, several Loyola students were awarded grants through the ILCC raise Your Voice Fellowship, designed to support student efforts around civic engagement and community service. The fellowship funded two separate student projects, one titled "CTA: Community Transforming Art," and the other titled the "What's Your Passion? Campaign."

Emily Wilk, a junior Social Work major, initiated the "CTA: Community Transforming Art" program in an effort to connect with the broader community by collaborating with local artists, Chicago Transit Authority officials and Rogers Park residents to create transforming, powerful and representative art to be displayed at a local public transit station. The ongoing project is titled "Piece by Peace," demonstrating the commitment to piecing together a sense of collaboration while showcasing the diversity and unity of the Rogers Park community.

Undergraduate students Carey Eichenlaub and Tabitha Smith coordinated the "What's Your Passion? Campaign" in order to "determine issues that most excite the passions and interests of the Loyola community," according to Eichenlaub. With the data collected, the students plan to combat the apathy and sense of disconnect that can affect students' levels of involvement and engagement in democracy. As Eichenlaub describes, through this campaign, the Raise Your Voice Fellows will "�focus on creating opportunities for students with similar concerns to gather and discuss the issues, and possibilities for involvement." The Fellows hope to use their research to inform programming and course offerings, in order to engage students in relevant issues.

– Submitted by Kathy Engelken, Illinois Campus Compact

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The Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration held May 8 & 9, 2008 featured NBC5-Chicago News Anchor Zoraida Sambolin who provided tips for reaching out to the media, and getting coverage for nonprofits and volunteer programs. The conference also featured Katie Campbell of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration, who conducted a workshop session on this national certification program. ICOVA also arranged for a keynote presentation by international volunteer management expert Martin J. Cowling, a native of Melbourne, Australia. Over half of the attendees at ICOVA attended for the first time and over 65 percent of this year�s attendees had been in the field for two years or less. Congratulations to the 2008 ICOVA Steering Committee on an outstanding conference.

The Illinois Volunteer Management Network � Northeast Region met in Oak Brook, IL on May 22. The inset photo features some of the 30 participants at this initial meeting, including representatives of the Serve Illinois Commission, Corporation for National and Community Service, and Volunteer Centers of Illinois.

Upcoming regional Meetings:

West Central region

September 10, 2008, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
City Hall – Community room,
Macomb, IL

Northwestern region

September 25, 2008 10:00 a.m. - NOON
Sauk Valley Community College,
Dixon, IL

Northeastern region

Late October / Early November
Date, Location TBD

Southern region

November 17, 2008, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
University of Illinois extension,
Mt. Vernon, IL

East Central region

December 9, 2008, 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Decatur Public Library,
Decatur, IL

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Program Feature: AmeriCorps East St. Louis

On April 19, three AmeriCorps/East St. Louis members, one alum and six area supporters of AmeriCorps set off for Ocean Springs, Mississippi to assist in ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. AmeriCorps members Tamekia Burns, Mindy Garner and Joyce Manning, along with 2006-2007 AmeriCorps alum Will Summers participated in this weeklong venture. After two and a half years, over 75 percent of the homes damaged or destroyed by Katrina have not been repaired or replaced.

The members stayed in dormitory type rooms with 170 other volunteers from all over North America in Camp Victor, a disaster relief organization based in Ocean Springs. For the first three days, the crew worked in an old home which had received water damage during the hurricane. The house was repainted inside and out, the windows were all re-glazed and electrical repairs were made. The final two days were spent putting skirts on mobile homes damaged by the storm. On Sunday, the team made a field trip to New Orleans and was stunned to see the amount of damage which remains in the city.

In reflecting on their experience, the AmeriCorps members expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to see the Katrina damage and to play a small part in the recovery effort. They all encouraged other AmeriCorps programs to participate in this effort which will continue for a number of years in the Gulf Coast region.

– Submitted by Don Baden, AmeriCorps east St. Louis

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Welcome new Serve Illinois Commission staff members

Scott McFarland

Scott McFarland grew up in the Quad Cities Area of Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History with a Teacher's Certification from Western Illinois University in 2006, and his Masters of Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2008. For the past two years, he has served as the Graduate Public Service Intern at the Serve Illinois Commission and now fills the role of Resource & Information Manager. An Eagle Scout, Scott takes great joy from camping, community service and teaching. He also has five years of governmental experience from the National Archives in Washington DC, Senator Obama's Moline Office and at the Department of Human Services. As a full time staff member at the Serve Illinois Commission, he hopes to continue living by his motto, "better yourself by serving others."

Eden Lawson

Eden Lawson of Athens, Illinois, joins the Illinois Department of Human Services at the Serve Illinois Commission as a Graduate Public Service Intern. A 2008 graduate of Benedictine University at Springfield College in Illinois, Lawson holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration and Organizational Behavior. During her college years, she served as the President of the Build a Better World Club and participated in a service trip to Mexico to teach English, hygiene, math, art, sports and health to underprivileged children. She is presently seeking a Master's Degree in Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Lawson looks forward to pursuing her passion of making a positive difference in people's lives through volunteerism in her new position.

Ebone D. Lott

Ebone D. Lott recently filled the AmeriCorps Program Officer vacancy at the Serve Illinois Commission. Born and raised in Decatur, Illinois, the present Springfield resident received her Associates in Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from Benedictine University at Springfield College in 2008. She is presently pursuing a Bachelor's degree. Lott began her career in state government in 1995 where she has held positions within the Departments of Public Aid, Insurance and most recently as a Human Services Caseworker with the Department of Human Services. Prior to joining the Serve Illinois Commission, Lott has served in many volunteer organizations. Lott is a mother of three, and is an avid reader and gardener.

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Training and Professional Development

Local Volunteer Management Associations

Volunteer Centers

Volunteer Centers of Illinois (VCI) is a coalition of Illinois volunteer centers that have historically been affiliated with the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network. For more information, visit

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Save the Date!

Illinois AmeriCorps Opening Day

October 16, 2008 – Springfield, IL

Mid-Central Volunteer Coordinator's association � Half-day Workshop Featuring Connie Pirtle of "Ask Connie" at

September 12, 2008, 8:00 AM - 2:00 p.m. Bloomington, IL
For more information, contact:

Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference

October 2, 2008, 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn & Conference Center

This daylong conference features a slate of workshops on volunteering, volunteer management, disaster preparedness, disability inclusion and other topics.

This year's program includes a panel discussion featuring Ellen Ferber, Vice President, Northern Region of the Points of Light/Hands on Network regarding trends and news from the national volunteerism arena. Keynote speakers will be Mark Kiesling, News Anchor - WSIL (ABC local affiliate) and Dr. Ella Phillips Lacy, Retired SIUC Professor & Award winning Peace Corps volunteer.

West Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference

October 30, 2008
Wesley United Methodist Church
Macomb, IL
Visit for more information

International Volunteer Managers day

November 1, 2008

Directors of Volunteers in agencies (DOVIA) Conference

November 6, 2008
Figge Art Museum
Davenport, IA
Visit for more information

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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
Email Us
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 No. 05PTHIL001. 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 Service or the AmeriCorps program.

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