Serve Illinois Newsletter - Summer 2011 


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Summer 2011 Serve Illinois Newsletter (PDF, 602 KB)


Chicago to Host 2012 National Conference

John Oliver from the Daily Show announces Chicago 2012. (Photo courtesy of The Points of Light Institute).

More than 4,000 attended the world’s largest gathering of volunteers and service leaders from June 6-8 to share solutions, best practices, and lessons for achieving greater community impact at the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in New Orleans. Illinois’ contingent included members and staff of Serve Illinois, non-profit leaders and program managers who participated in professional development, networking and immersion sessions. Some of the most significant portions of the conference had participants touring the areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleanians showed that with the support of volunteers they are growing stronger every day. The conference culminated with the announcement that Chicago was chosen to be the host city in 2012.

“By working together to serve others, we can overcome our nation’s most difficult obstacles. In Illinois, we have taken an innovative approach to addressing challenges faced nationwide, most recently by passing an historic education reform measure,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “We look forward to welcoming the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, so that we may continue working together to explore solutions to our nation’s toughest challenges.”

Local band welcomes conference attendees in New Orleans (Photo courtesy of Points of Light Institute).

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Governor Quinn in inviting participants. “As Chicago’s new Mayor, I am thrilled to invite you to the greatest city in the world. In Chicago we’re known for being a friendly city full of people willing to help others. That’s why we are so happy to host the National Conference on Volunteering and Service next year. I promise you all we’ll have a terrific and inspiring time here in Chicago. See you soon.”

The 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service is scheduled to be held at McCormick Place West from June 18-20. It will provide opportunities to learn, connect and be inspired through a range of plenary sessions, workshops, special events, service projects and more. “Service is one of the most valuable tools we have to address the challenges we all face,” said Neil Bush, chairman of the Points of Light Institute Board of Directors. “The National Conference on Volunteering and Service equips our service leaders to mobilize people, create effective and innovate programs and cultivate a strong ethic of service that recognizes that everyone can be part of the solution.”

Serve Illinois is excited to be a part of this momentous occasion and plans to make the 2012 conference a showcase of what Illinoisans are doing for others.

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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

Volunteers Advocate for Service at Dome Day

I want to thank the 100 national service members and volunteers who gathered at the state Capitol in Springfield for the Serve Illinois Commission’s annual Dome Day event, held on April 7 this year. The event served as an opportunity for volunteers from across the state to inform and educate their legislators on the importance of community service.

I was very pleased with the member turnout at the Capitol. Members from Illinois’ three national service programs – AmeriCorps, SeniorCorps and Learn and Serve – convened at the Capitol Rotunda to share stories of the impact and effectiveness their work has created. City year member Jeff Shafer began the day by addressing the crowd about the importance of service. Foster grandparent Jack Sunderlik and Illinois Public Health Association member Farrah Keong also each shared service experiences. Senator Kwame Raoul then took the stage to thank the crowd for their service and encourage volunteers to continue serving their communities.

Volunteers also attended roundtable meetings with members and staff of the General Assembly. Through these meetings, members engaged state level delegates in conversation about national service and active citizenship in Illinois, as well as increase legislators awareness of the programs operating throughout the state. It is our hope that, equipped with this knowledge of the importance of volunteerism, delegates will demonstrate increased support for both national and community service. I express sincere gratitude and appreciation to all members who attended Dome Day. Thank you for advocating for service and working to make a difference in Illinois.

Yours in Service,

Ted Gibbs, Executive Director
Serve Illinois Commission
Office of Governor Pat Quinn

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Message from the Chair

Warmer Weather Brings Increased Opportunities for Volunteering

Warmer temperatures and longer days provide the perfect incentive to get involved with volunteer activities this summer. Remember to post your volunteer opportunities on the online portal at the Serve Illinois website so volunteers can locate your organization and its service opportunities. The portal is accessible on right hand side of the homepage. Be sure to check out the portal to view volunteer postings in your area, as well. Take advantage of the nice weather and donate some time to a local organization!

I also want to remind you of the upcoming Regional conferences. Keep in mind four conferences will be taking place in the next few months – the Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration on August 12 (ICOVA:; the Southern Illinois Volunteerism conference on September 29 (SIVC:; the Northwest Illinois Volunteerism Conference on October 7 (NWIVC:; and West-Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference on October 27 (WCIVC:

Registration is available online, as is additional information about each conference, including keynote speakers and agendas for each day. I strongly encourage you to attend at least one of these conferences. The East Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference took place on June 16 in Champaign. Thank you to all who attended! On behalf of the Serve Illinois Commissioners, thank you for your commitment to service.

Yours in service,

Jill C. Heise

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Loyola University Among 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Recipients

Each year, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, initiated in 2006, recognizes institutions of higher education for their dedication to and achievement in community service. The President’s Honor Roll increases the public’s awareness of the contributions that colleges and their students make to local communities and the nation as a whole.

The Corporation for National and Community Service this year recognized more than 600 colleges and universities for their outstanding, innovative and effective community service programs. The Corporation administers the Honor Roll in cooperation with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Among the six national Presidential Awardees was Loyola University in Chicago. Loyola’s Madonna Scholars High School Intervention program produced a 100 percent college acceptance rate for 80 female at-risk participants; 68 percent of them received scholarships upon graduating from high school. The Target New Transitions program also provided 4,608 hours of mentoring to middle school students transitioning to high school, and Loyola’s Math Tutoring program engaged 253 fourth- to eighth-grade students and improved their confidence and academic performance.

Other Illinois colleges and universities were commended for their achievements by being named to the Honor Roll and Honor Roll with Distinction. Those institutions are:

Honor Roll with Distinction
  • DePaul University- Chicago
  • Illinois College of Optometry- Chicago
  • Midwestern University- Downers Grove
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville- Edwardsville
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology- Chicago
Honor Roll
  • Adler School of Professional Psychology- Chicago
  • Bradley University- Peoria
  • Columbia College Chicago- Chicago
  • Concordia University Chicago- River Forest
  • Dominican University- River Forest
  • Eureka College- Eureka
  • Illinois College- Jacksonville
  • Illinois Institute of Technology- Chicago
  • Illinois Wesleyan University- Bloomington
  • McHenry County College- Crystal Lake
  • Millikin University- Decatur
  • North Park University- Chicago
  • Northern Illinois University- DeKalb
  • Rockford College- Rockford
  • Roosevelt University- Chicago
  • Southern Illinois University- Carbondale- Carbondale
  • Trinity Christian College- Palos Heights
  • Trinity International University- Deerfield
  • University of Illinois-Springfield- Springfield
  • Western Illinois University- Macomb

Congratulations to all recipients of this prestigious honor. To read more about the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, visit and click on “Higher Education Programs.”

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Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service

Commission Members

  • Jill C. Heise, Chair, Chicago
  • Andrew Barbeau, Vice Chair, Chicago
  • Jane Angelis, Ph.D., Carbondale
  • Donald Baden, Ed.D., Fairview Heights
  • Lawrence Benito, Chicago
  • Julian Brown, Naperville
  • Mary Ellen Caron, Chicago
  • Jocelyn D. Cheng, Chicago
  • Becharo Choucair, M.D., Chicago
  • James Dixon, Springfield
  • Merri Dee, Chicago
  • Judy Donath, Springfield
  • Kathy Engelken, Des Plaines
  • Alvin Goldfarb, Ph.D., Macomb
  • John Hosteny, Chicago
  • Nancy K. Jameson, Macomb
  • Christopher Koch, Springfield
  • Howard L. Lathan, Chicago
  • Michael Mangan, Mt. Prospect
  • Bob McCammon, Lake Villa
  • Arlan McClain, Dixon
  • Frederick D. Nettles, Jr., Springfield
  • Genita C. Robinson, Chicago
  • Fred Rodriguez, Ph.D., Western Springs
  • Giraldo Rosales, Champaign
  • Cynthia Sims, Ed.D., Carbondale
  • John Sirek, Chicago
  • Judy Swinson, Centralia
  • Barbara Tubekis, Winnetka
  • Albert D. Tyson, Ill, Chicago
  • Gloria Verastegui, Gilberts
  • Steven S. Wolfe, Glen Ellyn

Commission staff

  • Ted Gibbs, Executive Director
  • Lisa Fernandes, AmeriCorps Program Officer
  • Karla Kunzeman, Volunteer Programs Officer
  • Scott McFarland, Resources & Information Manager
  • Emily Fox, Graduate Public Service Intern

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Numbers you should know

Continuing Resolution Secures Funding for FY11

A Continuing Resolution signed by President Barack Obama will provide funding for the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. The budget will supply the Corporation for National and Community Service and its programs with about 94 percent of its FY 2010 funding. This funding demonstrates the important role national service plays in America and the necessity of volunteerism efforts in communities. Although the budget will still allow CNCS to engage millions of volunteers in efforts to strengthen communities and their citizens, cuts to several CNCS programs were made.

  • AmeriCorps State and National grants were reduced by $22.5 million, to $350 million for FY 2011.
  • RSVP grants were diminished by $12.6 million dollars to $50.4 million for FY 2011.
  • Learn and Serve America Funding was reduced by $39.5 million, which eliminated FY 2011 funding for the program.

Overall, the continuing resolution provides $1.077 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service, but overall, this funding is still subject to an additional 0.2 percent rescission that will be applied to all non-defense federal agencies. According to Patrick A. Corvington, Chief Executive Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service, CNCS is reviewing the legislative language and other guidance from Congress as they formulate their implementation plans for this continuing resolution, which comes more than halfway into the fiscal year. As the CNCS staff develops these plans, it will aim to minimize the impact of the reductions on grantees, participants, and the communities and individuals they serve. Corvington said CNCS remains committed to service-learning and wants to work with programs to develop creative means to carry this important work forward.

Other pertinent areas affected by the continuing resolution are listed below:

FY2010 Enacted FY2011 President’s Request FY 2011 Enacted* Difference between President’s Request and Enacted
AmeriCorps State and National $372,547,000 $488,033,000 $349,300,000 ($138,733,000)
Training and Technical Assistance $7,500,000 $13,000,000 $7,485,000 ($5,515,000)
Training and Technical Assistance $7,500,000 $13,000,000 $7,485,000 ($5,515,000)
Disability Grants $5,000,000 $6,000,000 $4,990,000 ($1,010,000)
State Commission Administration $17,000,000 $18,000,000 $16,966,000 ($1,034,000)

* Incorporates a 0.2% across the board rescission to all CNCS programs.

Contact Us!

The Serve Illinois Commission is interested in learning what you and your organization did for the AmeriCorps Week. To share your story (and any event photos,) please e-mail Your organization may be featured in the next newsletter!

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LeaderCorps Update

LeaderCorps Members Make the Most of Last Meeting

LeaderCorps members listen intently as fellow members voicesuggestions concerning collaboration efforts between organizations for AmeriCorps Week.

LeaderCorps members convened on April 26-27 for their last meeting of the year. Meetings were held in Malta and Springfield. The meetings focused on sharing plans for AmeriCorps week and building connections between organizations. As each member shared his or her organization’s plans for AmeriCorps Week, other members who had done similar projects in the past offered suggestions and pointers.

Later, members brainstormed potential organizations that could serve as partners during AmeriCorps week festivities and discussed ways to ask community leaders to participate in the events. Samantha Copeland, LeaderCorps secretary, delivered marketing and promotion suggestions at both meetings. At the Malta meeting, Daniel Ready, National Days of Service coordinator, shared ideas for recruiting volunteers for AmeriCorps Week. He touched upon ways organizations can utilize their resources to their fullest potential and how to retain members.

After discussing AmeriCorps Week plans, members were invited to share their service experiences from the past year. Members reflected on their most memorable experiences and shared stories with the rest of the group. Each member also shared plans, which ranged from serving another year with AmeriCorps to entering the work force to pursuing graduate or doctoral school. Before the meeting concluded, members filled out a LeaderCorps End of Year Review to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the LeaderCorps organization and offer suggestions for ways LeaderCorps could improve.

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National Service Spot Light

AmeriCorps Members Thank Communities Through AmeriCorps Week Projects

Across the state, AmeriCorps members worked together to share their “My AmeriCorps Story” during the fifth annual AmeriCorps Week, which took place May 14 - 21. Members, alumni and friends thanked communities that support AmeriCorps’ work by implementing various service projects in those communities. Volunteers were invited to join AmeriCorps members in celebrating their community work and helping with service projects across the state. Various types of projects were conducted, ranging from health promotion to landscaping to youth services.

Several projects emphasized beautifying the surrounding community. West Suburban PADS collaborated with Chicago Cares to plant beans and flowers in the Fulton Street Flower and Veggie Garden. Volunteers also removed mulch and prepared the garden for the installation of a greenhouse. Members of Asian Human Services worked together with Friends of the Chicago River to pick up and remove trash/debris from the banks of the Chicago River and a surrounding nature trail. Similarly, Safe Family AmeriCorps members engaged in gardening, trash removal from a Chicago beach, park cleanup, prescription drug disposal outreach, and support of the Jane Addams Hull House Farm.

Many projects also emphasized health issues. PCC AmeriCorps members sewed nursing covers to support breastfeeding in the Austin community. A speaker addressed the benefits of and barriers to breastfeeding, and the 120 nursing covers sewn at the event were distributed to patients of the PCC AmeriCorps Breastfeeding Intensive Coaching Program. Another area of emphasis for many projects was youth and community building. Project MORE hosted a “Money Bonanza”, which was a family event where children and parents were given the opportunity to participate in financial literacy activities and games.

Meanwhile, the Children’s Home in Peoria utilized a $10,000 grant from Erie Insurance’s ERIE Giving Network to build a playground (consisting of accessible play areas for various ages and ability levels) for students attending Kiefer School – a private K-12 school operated by Children’s Home for children and youth with special learning problems coupled with emotional and/or behavior disturbances.

To see a complete list of AmeriCorps Week service projects, visit

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Outstanding Volunteers Recognized with Governor’s Volunteer Service Award

Dr. John Fendrich displays the award he received for his service as a volunteer tutor to several organizations through the Tazewell County RSVP.

Springfield, IL – Twenty-five volunteers from across the state were honored April 6 with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for their exemplary service to their communities.

The award ceremony took place at the Governor’s Mansion and included lunch, a message from the Governor’s Office, and a welcome from Ted Gibbs, executive director of the Serve Illinois Commission. The recognition ceremony followed, with Merri Dee, a Serve Illinois Commissioner, serving as master of ceremonies. Awards were distributed by Gibbs and Jill Heise, Chair of the Serve Illinois Commission.

Awardees were selected from a pool of over 150 nominations. Awards were distributed in the categories of Youth, Adult, Retiree/Senior and National Service Award Categories were Learn and Serve, AmeriCorps, and SeniorCorps. A panel of judges from across the state, comprised of Governor-appointed Commissioners, selected the award recipients.

The following volunteers were honored with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award:

Southern Illinois Award Recipients

Mallory Dawn Hammell; Carl DauBach; Ben Taylor; Jean Dominguez; Amy Simpson

East Central Illinois Award Recipients

Abigail Westendorf; Derrick Stapleton; Bobby Hall; William Nesbitt; Ed Gaskill; Beverly Bazemore

West Central Illinois Award Recipients

Robin Forney; Billy Stlegemeier; Isaac Pizzo; Dr. John Fendrich

Northwest Illinois Award Recipients

Ezekiel D. Hartman; Edward Leach; Patricia Crowell; Ed Mitchell

Northeast Illinois Award Recipients

Andrew Katcha; Virginia Neuckranz; Thomas Neuckranz; Tyler Maly; Joy Martin; Paul Gantz

The Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards are distributed annually by the Serve Illinois Commission. This year marked the second year of the award ceremony.

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Program Feature

Belleville AmeriCorps: An Agent for Change in Southern Illinois

Established in 1995 as a partnership with Franklin Neighborhood Community Association, Belleville School District 118, Southwestern Illinois College and the City of Belleville, Belleville AmeriCorps began as an agent for change. Members were recruited to tutor students, rehabilitate homes, promote neighborhood beautification and convene neighborhood watch groups. Since then, more than 869 members have served almost 500,000 hours. Members have:

  • Tutored more than 10,000 Belleville District 118 students
  • Tutored and mentored more than 4,000 campers from the Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Raab, Jefferson and 17th Street neighborhoods, as well as Lebanon Kids
  • Recruited, trained and supported more than 8,500 volunteers who contributed more than 41,500 hours

Because of the strength of the partnership with the Belleville AmeriCorps program and the vision of neighborhood and school leaders, Franklin School in District #118 has been named a school of excellence and a Spotlight (High Performing, High Poverty) School every year since the award was given in 2003. The Franklin Neighborhood Community model has been replicated throughout the state and recognized as an indicator of success in high poverty schools.

Ben Taylor, 2nd term AmeriCorps member and LeaderCorps representative, tutors a student at Jefferson Elementary School. Members are able to tutor students one-on-one to meet their individual needs.

Members, who are assigned to different sites, get together on the weekends to blitz the community with service. AmeriCorps has developed a reputation in the community to mobilize volunteers and help tackle service needs. Members multiply their efforts by bringing friends, students, community members and partners to serve alongside them in community beautification projects, food co-ops, home rehabilitation projects, environmental efforts to recycle, parks and recreation events, and National Days of Service.

Gearing up for the summer, Belleville AmeriCorps is picking their summer camp minimum time members to staff three local summer camps designed for at-risk students who often do not have the resources to attend day camp. Camps are offered on scholarship or at a reduced rate to students; the fee for the entire eight weeks often costing no more than $40. Members will tutor and mentor more than 300 students while exposing them to experiential learning situations, opportunities to play, outlets for creativity, and safe situations to grow and learn.

Students from Henry Raab Elementary School in Belleville work together to clean up the landscaping around their school. The students volunteered as part of Belleville AmeriCorps’ 9/11 Day of Service last fall.

Seen as a highly coveted summer service opportunity, members also gain skills and great insights. Members often describe the summer as the best experience they have ever had. Students feel the same way, as evidenced by the sheer number of applicants each year who apply because of their experience with an AmeriCorps member in a camp or school setting. These former students turned AmeriCorps hopefuls often reflect that they fondly remember the AmeriCorps member that “changed their life” or “helped them through a rough time.”

For more information about the program, visit, or call 618.641.5709. Qualified individuals with disabilities and those from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Belleville AmeriCorps provides reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals and conducts all activities in fully accessible settings.

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Training and Professional Development

Find a Volunteer Opportunity Today! Visit

In addition to the searchable portal of more than 71,000 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.

Save the Date 2011 Volunteerism Conferences

  • Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration August 12, 2011; Chicago, IL
  • Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference September 29, 2011– Mt. Vernon, IL
  • Northwestern Illinois Volunteerism Conference October 7, 2011; Dixon, IL
  • West Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference October 27, 2011– Macomb, IL

More information will be available at

Commissioner Recognized for Promoting Fair Low Income Housing


Bob McCammon
On March 4, Bob McCammon, executive director of Youth Conservation Corps, and governor appointed Commissioner for Serve Illinois, was recognized by the Jobs for Progress/Fair Housing Center of Lake County for Youth Conservation Corps’ active role in promoting fair housing to low income communities within Lake County. McCammon was presented with an award for this service at the 1st Annual Fair Housing Awards Banquet in Waukegan. The Youth Conservation Corps is a not-for-profit organization in Lake County. Its mission is to provide developmental services to youth and young adults so they may become productive citizens. In particular, The YCC AmeriCorps Clean Energy Service Corps and YouthBuild program provides development services to low-income, young adults ages 16-24 who are working toward their GEDs or high school diplomas. The program allows these individuals to learn job skills by building affordable, green housing and working on deconstruction and weatherization projects for low-income community members. Emphasis is placed on leadership development, community service, and the creation of a positive “mini-community” of adults and youth committed to each other’s success.


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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. 07CAHIL001. 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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