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Meet the 2018 Governor's Volunteer Service Award Winners

Awards on displayAs part of its National Volunteer Week festivities, Serve Illinois will present 25 Illinoisans and five businesses with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award during a special reception at the Old State Capitol on April 18, 2018 at 1 p.m. The award recognizes volunteers and volunteer programs that have made a difference in Illinois and highlights the importance of volunteerism and community service. Governor Bruce Rauner has proclaimed April 15-21, 2018 as National Volunteer Week in Illinois. This event is also a signature event of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

“Now in its 200th year, Illinois is a state that was truly​ born, built, and grown with the spirit of volunteerism and community service,” said Governor Rauner. “The individuals and businesses we’re honoring make the lives of thousands better. We are honored to have the opportunity to highlight their service.”

The Commission received more than 130 nominations in six categories (adult, AmeriCorps, business, senior, Senior Corps, and youth) from the Commission’s five service regions across the state (East Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southern, and West Central). Commissioners reviewed the applications and selected 30 award winners.

Join us at the Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference
April 26, 2018 - Bellecourt Manor in Belleville, Illinois

Attention all Illinois non-profit staff, volunteers, board members, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, churches, social and ​​civic service organizations, non-profit studies majors, and community servants: Please join us for a 25+ year community collaboration!​

The goal of the Southern Illinois Volunte​​erism Conferenc​e is to provid​​e training and support to those who devote their time and energy to volunteering in their community. We bring quality training to your backyard to ensure you have the tools you need to succeed.


 Volunteer of the Week

Jahmal Cole of Chicago

Jahmal ColeJahmal Cole is a tireless volunteer and role model. An advocate for education in Chicago, Jahmal is passionate about improving schools and is a frequent speaker at colleges in the Chicagoland area. Jahmal is a mentor to underserved teens, a leader of an army of civic volunteers, a lifelong explorer, and an author. He is the author of The Torch of Decency: Rekindling the Spirit of Community Organizations, "Athletes & MC's" and "50 Excuses: to not Follow your Dreams."

As a child, Jahmal spent time homeless in both Texas and Chicago. That time shaped his life from college to mentoring to founding the program, he said "I remember what it was like when I was 11 years old and homeless. I lived in the back of a U-Haul truck for like five months. We used to have tie a belt to the outside and leave a little space for air.” Jahmal explains "I never really got any opportunity to settle down and grow roots because every three to four months I’d be moving. But it taught me how to communicate, it taught me how to expand my world view. I love traveling. That’s why I travel to different communities now."

Jahmal said the tough times taught him about being a mentor and seeing the bright side of a bad situation. He founded My Block, My Hood, My City after working with teens in Cook County Jail who said they'd never been Downtown before. My Block, My Hood, My City provides youth with new experiences, exposing them to possibilities beyond their own communities. They help teenagers overcome the poverty and isolation they face, boosting educational attainment and opening them to opportunities that make a difference in their lives. Jahmal also takes them on trips to serve others. "Normally, we take them to do activities and eat a different food they’ve never tried," Jahmal said. "We’ve been taking them on a lot of cool field trips or explorations, but also part of our model is social. I wanted them to do something social and give back. I want them to learn how to give back to those in need."

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 Upcoming Events

4/26/2018​ Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference​​​
5/3/2018​ #ILGiveCommunity Day
5/18/2018​ AmeriCorps PER Due in EGrAMS

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