LeaderCorps Link Newsletter - Winter 2009

LeaderCorps Link Newsletter – Winter 2009 [546KB]

In This Issue

LeaderCorps Members 2009-2010

LeaderCorps Members 2009–2010
Fall Conference; November 11 – 13, 2009 at The Hilton, Springfield, IL


The mission of LeaderCorps is to connect AmeriCorps programs in Illinois through state, national, and global days of service and promote continued AmeriCorps alumni involvement.


The vision of LeaderCorps is to foster effective cross program communication and collaboration among AmeriCorps programs in Illinois.

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LeaderCorps Officers 2009–2010

Alex Byrd, President

Alex ByrdAlex Byrd, originally from Mansfield, Conn., is currently based in Round Lake with the Schuler Scholar Program. She serves as a scholar coach with the program at Round Lake Senior High School, working predominately with sophomore scholars, administering reading tutoring sessions with students twice a week. Byrd also teaches weekly after school workshops in writing, public speaking, and ethics.

Byrd graduated in May with bachelor's degrees in psychology and sociology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She previously interned with the National College Access Network, working with college access programs throughout the United States and Canada. She also volunteered with D.C. Today. . .D.C. Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization that helps public school students complete their mandated community service requirement through engaging students in after–school discussions and service projects throughout the district.

The Schuler Scholar Program was launched in 2001 by Jack Schuler and his daughter, Tanya Schuler Sharman, and was originally conceived as a vehicle for the Schuler Family Foundation to provide college scholarship assistance to bright, motivated high school students in order for them to matriculate to selective, private colleges and universities. The Schuler Scholar Program is proud to serve nearly 250 high school students throughout northern Illinois. For more information or partnership opportunities please visit The Schuler Scholar Program web site.

William Wetzel, Vice President

William WetzelWilliam Wetzel is an AmeriCorps VISTA currently serving as the volunteer and disaster coordinator with the McDonough County chapter of the American Red Cross in Macomb, Ill., serving approximately 34,000 people across the county. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supplies nearly half of the nation's blood, teaches lifesaving skills, provides international humanitarian aid, and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. Wetzel is helping the McDonough County chapter to establish a sustainable disaster response and volunteerism program.

Serving with the Red Cross is Wetzel's second year with AmeriCorps; in 2008 he served in class XIV, Perry Point Campus, of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, or NCCC. After an amazing year with NCCC, Wetzel is glad to have the opportunity to completely change gears and serve in an office as an AmeriCorps VISTA. His VISTA year has given him the opportunity to serve the community in which he lives.

"Having the opportunity to serve the people of McDonough County with the American Red Cross has been more rewarding that I can put into words."

Micaela Moran, National Days of Service Coordinator

Micaela MoranMicaela Moran is excited to be a serving a second year with Project YES! as the AmeriCorps leader. She grew up in suburban Chicago and graduated from Boston College in 2008 with degrees in elementary education and human development with a concentration in human services.

Following graduation Moran moved back to Chicago to serve with Project YES! and combine her passions for service and education.

Project YES!, a program of the Northwestern Settlement, connects caring adults with youth in and around Chicago's West Town community through mentorship, educational, service, artistic, and recreational activities in order to support their academic achievement, provide them with positive alternatives to destructive behaviors, and foster an ethic of service in the community.

Last year Moran served at Polaris Charter Academy, an expeditionary learning school, where she supported elementary students in the classroom and through a variety of experiential learning activities and service projects.

Now as the AmeriCorps leader, one of Moran's main roles is to facilitate service project planning among the seventeen other Project YES! AmeriCorps members.

René Edde, Secretary

René EddeRené Edde is currently serving her first term of AmeriCorps service as the teen mom advocate at Alternatives, Inc. in Chicago. She spends her programming hours between Simpson Academy for Young Women and The Night Ministry's RAPP Program. She recently launched a blog project, TeenMomShoutOut.org, in which she works with the young women on writing, journaling and encouraging them to find an outlet for personal expression.

Edde is an award–winning photojournalist who has worked with local and national publications, such as The Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, The Sun–Times Media Group, UNESCO, and Easter Seals.

While studying commercial photography at the Art Institute of Atlanta, her desire for a more elaborate education in photojournalism led her to Columbia College Chicago where she followed a self–designed course of study allowing her to concentrate on new media journalism.

She has worked on in depth stories and with various non–profit organizations while living in India and Nepal. While in Nepal, she also taught English and leadership training courses at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and school.

Edde was awarded the 2006 scholarship from the Association of Women Journalists and later served on the organization's board.

She joined PICTURE THIS Projects to explore using the power of photography to promote social change and understanding.

Working on finding new ways to use audio, video and the web to present strong community–focused stories, she is interested in the potential of using new media and web technology to create sustainable media projects for development organizations and the non–profit sector.

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LeaderCorps Members 2009–2010

Christi Buttron, ABC AmeriCorps

Christi ButtronChristi Buttron is a representative of ABC AmeriCorps in Dixon, Ill.

ABC AmeriCorps works with children, youth and families in education programs and community based agencies to increase academic and life skills.

Buttron is currently serving her second term with AmeriCorps at the YMCA of Sterling. She is working in after school programs and childcare. In her first term, she served at the Dixon Park District where she helped maintain local parks, planted trees, helped care for injured or abandoned wild animals and kept the Nature Center open at Lowell Park.

Volunteering has been a big part of Buttron's life. Some of her previous volunteer experiences include helping on Habitat for Humanity trips, bringing non–perishable food items and clothes to a Navajo Indian reservation and helping various other organizations.

Buttron received her associate's degree in Arts and Science from Sauk Valley Community College in the fall of 2009.

Akeya Channell, West Suburban PADS

Akeya ChannellAkeya Channell was born and raised in Chicago, Ill. She attended Chicago Vocational High School studying horticulture. She attended Alabama State University and majored in political science and public administration. After graduation in 2007, she moved to Florida and worked one year for the Walt Disney Corporation. Following her return to Chicago in 2008, she served her first year of AmeriCorps service with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago as a National Preparedness and Response Corps member.

As a second year AmeriCorps service member, Channell is the LeaderCorps representative for West Suburban PADS, an organization that fights to end homelessness. She is a case manager for the Rapid Re–housing Program. The goal of that program, which is funded through national mandated stimulus funds, is to rapidly re–house homeless individuals that are staying in the PADS shelters.

Patricia Crowell

Patricia CrowellPat Crowell is energetic and passionate about everything she does. She is a mom, a daughter, a wife, a friend and a lover of life.

Crowell was a cosmetologist, then decided to make a career change worked in a self contained behavior disorder classroom for the Rockford Public School System. Later she worked in a residential environment for Juvenile delinquents, she began the first girls group at The MILL.

Crowell later worked at training coordinator at The American Red Cross, teaching Rockford elementary students about natural disasters. Later she worked as director of a homeless program for women and their children, before deciding to take time off to travel the world with her husband. She spent one year traveling before accepting an offer she could not refuse; to work with children and get things done.

Crowell is now an AmeriCorps member ready to serve Illinois. She is chair of the Violence Collaborative "Governance Team", the person who implements the programs within the Safety Networks Grant and the AmeriCorps member who teaches the anti–bullying program in Kennedy Middle School.

Sonya De La Torre, CAAELII

Sonya De La TorreSonya De La Torre is from Chicago, Ill. She started her first year of service with AmeriCorps in August.

De La Torre loves working in non–profit organizations because she likes to help people. When in high school she did her community service at Gads Hill Center, a non–profit organization.

This summer she worked at Erie Neighborhood House as a supervisor and is now working at Onward Neighborhood House teaching computer classes to adults.

De La Torre now works with the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latinos in Illinois (CAAAELII) as volunteer coordinator; recruiting, deploying and supporting volunteers. Starting in January De La Torre will be helping her community and working for her seventh year as a tax professional with H & R block.

De La Torre graduated with a bachelor's degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics from Northeastern Illinois University. She plans to go back to school for her master's in computer graphics or for web design certification.

Rita Doublin, Lessie Bates

Rita DoublinRita Doublin joins LeaderCorps as a representative of Lessie Bates in East St. Louis, which serves St. Clair County, Ill.

Rita began her service in June working as a mentor for summer youth programs, her main function is to serve as a tutor.

Currently, Doublin serves with approximately thirty members from the community and SIUE. The main focus of the program is to assist students to improve literacy, homework completion, and social skills.

Lessie Bates is a leader in mentoring programs with national recognition. Mentors work one–on–one with children ages 6 to 23 with the aim of creating a positive impact on the lives of their community.

The program has expanded to include 18 schools as well as a food pantry for displaced and at risk individuals of the area. There are also programs at college campuses, where students can get involved in group programs that meet a few times a month.

Jaci Entwisle, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Jaci EntwisleJaci Entwisle joins LeaderCorps as a representative of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley, which serves 13 counties in Illinois and one county in Iowa.

Entwisle works as the customer relations coordinator for the organization's main office in Davenport, Iowa, where her main function is to inform interested parties about the benefits of the program.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a leading mentoring program with national recognition. Mentors work one–on–one with children ages 6 to 18 with the aim of creating a positive impact on the lives of their Littles.

Entwisle is currently a senior at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. She will be graduating with degrees in theatre and English, and minors in business management and Arabic studies.

Entwisle also works for the Handicapped Development Center in Davenport, helping those with disabilities gain independence and valuable skills. She hopes to continue serving with Big Brothers Big Sisters for a second year, but is also looking to travel abroad for work or study.

Leah Guenther, Academy of Urban School Leadership

Leah GuentherLeah Guenther is a LeaderCorps representative from the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL).

Guenther is currently training to be a high school English teacher in a Chicago Public School turnaround school.

Before joining AUSL, Guenther was director of Academic Approach, a tutoring company located in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Prior to that position, she founded and served as the executive director to 826CHI, a non–profit writing lab and tutoring center in Wicker Park, Chicago.

Guenther is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but came to Chicago to study at Northwestern University where she received her Ph.D. in English.

April Hightshoe, Southeastern Illinois Juvenile Justice Council

April HightshoeApril Hightshoe enjoys her family, she is married and has two children.

Hightshoe earned her associates degree in information processing from Wabash Valley College in 1996.

April is currently working as a VISTA with the Southeastern Illinois Juvenile Justice Council Project. This project is through CraWaLa in Lawrence County.

CraWaLa's mission is to improve the quality of life within its participating counties by helping reduce crime, delinquency and recidivism.

Hightshoe is currently working in the faith based community on re–entry and burn–out assistance programs. She looks forward to learning all she can during her service with AmeriCorps.

Following her service with AmeriCorps, Hightshoe would love to continue to work with non–profit agencies and working with the Juvenile Justice Council.

April loves to shop clearance racks, enjoys working with the public and she also is very dedicated in speaking out against Teen Dating Violence.

Blake Johnson, Springfield Urban League, Inc.

Blake JohnsonBlake A. Johnson grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, later moving to Springfield in 2006.

After completing high school in Springfield, Johnson continued his education at the University of Illinois at Springfield as an English major, minoring teacher education.

Currently Johnson works with the Springfield Urban League, Inc. and the 21st Century Afterschool Program as an afterschool tutor and mentor.

Johnson's prior participation in the Project Mid–state Student Support for Teaching Scholarship Program, along with internships with CDF Freedom Schools, have helped him to discover his love and passion for working with children. The CDF Freedom School model is focused on the empowerment of youth through reading, writing, and literature.

Quiletta Jordan, Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Quiletta JordanQuiletta Jordan was born and raised in Chicago, Ill.

After finishing high school, Jordan began helping her mother with the family business, before starting her own family.

Jordan started volunteering at her son's school in the fall of 2001. After volunteering with the school for nearly six years, he was offered a job. She was unable to accept this position due to transferring her son to a new school. It was this transfer that brought her to the parent mentor program through Logan Square Neighborhood Association. In 2008, Jordan was promoted to the parent tutor program though LSNA and partnered with AmeriCorps.

This is Jordan's second term with this program. The program was designed to help students with low academic scores to raise them. The program also helps parents to get more involved in their children's school and homework. Jordan enjoys working with children of any age and feels that she is good at her current work in this field.

While serving with AmeriCorps, Jordan is also in her first year of college working toward her bachelor's degree.

Stephen Kielbasa, Belleville AmeriCorps

Stephen KielbasaStephen Kielbasa was born into a military family in California. He has lived in many states but spent most of his young adult life in Illinois.

His family lived overseas in Germany for three years where he developed an interest in other cultures including the diversity of his own family; including his American father and Taiwanese mother.

He completed is B.S. in construction engineering management at Purdue University and managed the construction of hospitals. He has since returned to school to pursue his passion for music and is completing an A.F.A. in Vocal Performance.

Kielbasa's participation in AmeriCorps has been a lingering goal and he is proud to to serve with Belleville Americorps, whose mission is to serve the local school district and communities.

Kielbasa works as the volunteer coordinator with the Franklin Neighborhood Community Association. He manages programs involving tutoring, after–school and extracurricular programs.

Following his service year he plans to return to the professional workforce and study sustainable construction while continuing to study music and develop several other personal interests including political involvement and learning Spanish.

Kyle Mahoney, City Year Chicago

Kyle MahoneyKyle Mahoney was born in Dallas, Texas in 1987 and later relocating to the Dallas suburb, Van Alstyne.

Mahoney attended Aquinas College, in Grand Rapids where he completed double majored in philosophy and english, as well as earning two minors in writing and sculpture. While at Aquinas, Mahoney served as the news editor of the school paper and the president of the community service club.

Mahoney serves as the civic engagement project leader for City Year Chicago. Supported by a team of corps members and coached by their program manager, Kyle envisions, designs, and implements service days Mahoney serves because he wants to use the privileges and opportunities he has been given to ensure that others receive privilege and opportunity.

After City Year Kyle plans to attend DePaul University for a master's degree in nonprofit management. Mahoney plans to start his own nonprofit that provides LEED–certified general contractor services to other non–profit organizations.

Megan McCarthy, American Red Cross

Megan McCarthyMegan McCarthy grew up in Naperville, Ill. She attended college at Loyola University Chicago.

After a few years in corporate America, McCarthy felt the need for a change. She grew tired of watching the news every night, seeing the devastation and tragedy, and doing nothing.

In September of 2009, she began her service with the AmeriCorps in the American Red Cross Safe Families program. McCarthy now spends her time teaching life–saving classes, like CPR and community disaster education, to under served communities.

Along with her fellow AmeriCorps members, McCarthy is working hard to educate Illinois about preventing, preparing for and responding to emergencies. She is proud to serve in the Illinois LeaderCorps as a representative of the Safe Families Program.

Joy McFadden, The Children's Home

Joy McFaddenJoy McFadden is a senior at Robert Morris University completing her bachelor's degree in business administration.

This is her first year of service with AmeriCorps and she is working with The Children's Home Fostering Transitions Program in Peoria.

The Children's Home has been helping children and families in central Illinois for over 140 years through education, counseling and support.

McFadden works directly with the Good Beginnings program, which is designed to provide teen and first time moms with resources from the beginning of their pregnancy until their child is five years old.

Helping the mothers to find employment, get into school, to continue or finish their education and to find housing are the core of McFadden's work. Her AmeriCorps program has had the opportunity to engage in service projects throughout the agency and within the community.

"It has been an amazing experience serving with AmeriCorps and I am excited for all the great things to come in the future."

Amanda McKenzie, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Amanda McKenzieAmanda McKenzie was raised in the Southern Illinois town of Marion. She graduated from Marion High School in 1998.

McKenzie joins LeaderCorps as a representative from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois working with Prisoner and Family Ministries. She works in the schools, primarily with those students who have family members that are incarcerated. In addition, she works with Storybook, a program in local county jails along with state and federal prisons. Storybook is a statewide LSSI program that assists inmates to record books which they read and send them to their children to help establish or maintain communication. McKenzie also works with reentry, helping to equip prisoners with the resources and skills needed.

McKenzie enjoys music, drawing and painting, writing, and cooking. She has a background in restaurant management, among other things, but has a passion for helping people.

Following this passion is what led McKenzie to AmeriCorps. She intends to go back to school following her service. She hopes to continue volunteering with LSSI and in her community.

Annaly Pardino, Project MORE

Annaly PardinoAnnaly Pardino is 19 years old and lives on the North side of Chicago. She has a Chihuahua named Sparkles and a pair of love birds, Pauly and Madeline.

In 2008, Pardino graduated from William H. Wells Community Academy High School where she was a part of an after school program, CASA. She volunteered in shelters and distributed food to the homeless. She also volunteered at an animal shelter.

After graduation from high school Pardino attended Wilbur Wright Community College. After withdrawing from college, Pardino held several jobs and learned more about herself and where she was headed.

One of her high school teachers always inspired her to be the best. During a visit to him, he reminded her of the importance of her education. It was at this time that her sister–in–law gave her a flyer about the AmeriCorps program, which she couldn't pass up.

She is now a part of LeaderCorps and a proud representative of Project MORE.

Allison Payne, Literacy Volunteers of America

Allison PayneAllison Payne works with Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, a resource and referral center for adult literacy.

In addition to connecting volunteers and students with local literacy centers, LVI also places volunteer tutors at six of the Illinois Youth Centers.

Payne is the Communications Associate for LVI and a tutor for incarcerated youth at IYC–Chicago.

When not working with Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, Payne enjoys spending time with friends and family. She also enjoys riding her bike and playing tennis.

Following her AmeriCorps service, Payne is planning to attend graduate school for a master's degree in library and information science.

Brittany Potter, The Greater Chicago Food Depository

Brittany PotterBrittany Potter was born and raised in Chicago, Ill.

Potter has volunteered with Jack & Jill of America for most of her life. She has also volunteered in the food pantry at her elementary school, St. Columbanus School. Through her volunteer work, she has helped to organize and distribute food to hundreds in her community.

She is currently an AmeriCorps representative for The Greater Chicago Depository which provides food to different host sites all across the city. She is fortunate to continue her work at the food pantry at her elementary school's church for her AmeriCorps service. She is responsible for the volunteer committee, helping to recruit new volunteers and guide them through the training that they need to help at the food pantry.

Her first year of college was spent at Illinois Wesleyan University for Track and Field, but Potter is currently a student at. When not at work Brittany likes to spend time with her family, especially her siblings. She enjoys working out, writing poetry, and fishing. She is looking forward to possibly serving a second year with AmeriCorps.

Hong Rickett, Illinois Central College

Hong RickettHong Rickett is currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at ICC, Illinois Central College, in East Peoria, Ill.

VISTA members at ICC believe that education is the key to bringing people out of poverty.

As an international program coordinator, Rickett's primary daily activities include; developing student cultural activities, assisting with hosting international students, and assisting with study abroad and international center activities.

Rickett's first year serving with VISTA and has been an incredible experience. ICC is the first school that Rickett attended when she first immigrated to the United States, attending for two years for general education courses before transferring to Bradley University. She graduated in 2007 with a bachelor's in family and consumer science and retail merchandising, She continued at Bradley for her graduate studies in the Masters in Business Administration, graduating in May of 2009.

"As a member of VISTA, I am very honored to have such an opportunity to serve the nation by contributing to the success of the community, as well as professional growth through learning."

William Ryan, Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps

William RyanWilliam L. Ryan (Bill) was raised in the Southern Illinois town of Olive Branch.

Upon graduation from high school in 2001, he attended Nashville Auto–Diesel College (NADC) in Nashville, TN. After completion of NADC he was employed in the automotive field until 2004.

In 2004 Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in Washington, D.C. and Virginia Beach. In 2008 he received an honorable discharge from the navy.

After his discharge, he enrolled at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where he is currently studying political science and classics. He is expected to complete both programs in the spring of 2011.

Currently, he is serving as a member in Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps. Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps is composed of approximately fifty members from eight community colleges and SIUC. The main focus of the program is to assist K–12 students to improve literacy, homework completion, and social skills.

Jacob Smith, PCC Community Wellness Center

Jacob SmithJacob Smith is originally from central Ohio. He graduated from Miami University with a degree in dietetics in the spring of 2008 and moved to Chicago shortly thereafter.

Smith is currently serving as the team leader for the PCC Community Wellness Center AmeriCorps program where he is in his second year of service.

PCC Community Wellness is a Federally Qualified Health Clinic system that serves primarily under served and uninsured patients from neighborhoods and suburbs on the far west side of Chicago.

The focus of PCC's AmeriCorps program is the prevention of obesity through the promotion of healthy lifestyle habits both in the clinic and in the community. The program consists of AmeriCorps members working on teams. The members serve as breast feeding peer counselors, promoting the benefits of breast feeding to expectant and new mothers and their families, and they serve as healthy lifestyle coaches, promoting healthy diet and exercise habits with patients in PCC clinics, local schools and other community organizations.

Members of both teams work intensively to set goals and follow–up on a regular basis with patients through phone calls, home visits and other meetings.

Miguel Solis, AmeriCorps of McHenry County

Miguel SolisMiguel A. Solis was born in Santa Barbara, Cal. He moved to Illinois in 1999 and graduated from high school in the spring of 2009.

He is currently attending McHenry County College. Miguel hopes to transfer to Western Illinois University to study forensic chemistry. His goal is to graduate from college in the spring of 2012.

Solis is currently serving as a service member for AmeriCorps of McHenry County. AmeriCorps of McHenry County is partnered with the Mental Health Board of McHenry County. The program focuses on elementary and middle school students with behavior disorders and/or mental disabilities.

Solis works for an after school program in Marengo. He helps students in first through fourth grades with homework as well as improving their math, reading, and spelling skills.

Scott Spiegler, Public Allies Chicago

Scott SpieglerScott Spiegler was raised in San Diego, Cal. Upon graduation from high school in 2004, Scott attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he majored in community studies and education. Upon receiving his degree in 2008, Scott moved to Chicago and began working in the public school system as a tutor.

After one year of working in the schools, Scott realized his passion lied in non–profit work. He decided to join Public Allies, Chicago and was placed in an apprenticeship at the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS). The mission of NRS is to keep America's runaway and at risk youth safe and off the streets, through crisis–intervention techniques employed in a call center fielding over 100,000 calls per year. Scott also works in data–technology resources as well as communications and development.

Upon completion of his service with Public Allies, Scott plans to attend graduate school to get his master's degree in social work and public health. Scott plans to continue his work in the non–profit sector.

Lindsey Sturch, Jumpstart

Lindsey SturchLindsey Sturch is a sophomore majoring in history at DePaul University in Chicago. She was born in Dunoon, Scotland, though she has lived most of her life in Illinois. She graduated from high school a National Honors Society member and has been inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars while at DePaul.

This is Sturch's second year as an AmeriCorps and Jumpstart member. The Jumpstart program is dedicated to ensuring that every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. The program sends college students to low–income communities for a full school year of individualized mentoring and tutoring, focusing on building language, literacy, social, and emotional skills.

"The need for volunteering has been instilled in me since a very young age and I am excited to continue this work this year as a Leadercorps member and also in my community in Chicago."

Jonathan Sung, Asian Human Services

Jonathan SungJonathan Sung graduated from Ohio State University in 2007 with a degree in political science. Throughout 2008 he traveled the country following several presidential campaigns. Sung aspires to attend law school and to run for public office.

Sung currently works with Asian Human Services, AHS, in Chicago. AHS exists to provide client–centered, quality and compassionate services to Asian immigrants and other under served communities. Over the past 30 years, Asian Human Services has become the midwest's largest pan–Asian health and human service agency.

Asian Human Services has several dimensions; including a community health center, an English literacy program and finally, a role at Passages Charter School.

Sung currently holds a position facilitating the after–school program in addition to in–school tutoring alongside two other AmeriCorps members.

Clyde Thomas, F.O.R.U.M

Clyde ThomasClyde Thomas was born September 21, 1989 in Chicago. He enjoys writing poetry, building things, and exploring his creativity. Growing up in the Inglewood area of Chicago, Thomas had a tough childhood.

An organization called F.O.R.U.M. (Fulfilling Our Responsibility Unto Mankind), led him to regain focus following a childhood tragedy and guided him to successfully graduate from high school.

Clyde Thomas is now part of AmeriCorps Illinois serving with the same organization that helped him in the past, F.O.R.U. M. He is working directly with Project C.H.A.N.G.E. (Creating Healthy Alternatives Through Nonviolence Guidance and Education). Project C.H.A.N.G.E. is focused on teaching and helping communities develop healthy, intelligent, and productive lives without violating themselves, their families and their communities.

Thomas feels that his life has gone full circle, and he plans to be a part of this organization as long as possible.

Jessica Wade, Peace Corps Fellows WIU

Jessica WadeA native Kentuckian, Jessica Wade is the LeaderCorps representative for the Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development at Western Illinois University.

The Fellows Program is designed for returned Peace Corps Volunteers who are pursuing graduate studies at WIU. While obtaining their graduate degree, fellows complete an 11–month AmeriCorps assignment focused on community development.

Jessica began her AmeriCorps service during September 2009 in Carthage, IL. Her community development position involves working with immigrant integration, tourism and economic development.

Jessica will graduate from WIU in the spring of 2009 with a master's degree in recreation, park and tourism administration with an emphasis in community development.

Having completed 2 years of Peace Corps service in Suriname, South America, she is pursuing opportunities for development work abroad.

Tiffany Williams, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois

Tiffany WilliamsTiffany Williams was born and raised in Springfield. She currently lives in Jacksonville, where she serves as a LeaderCorps member representing the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois; Project SAVE.

Tiffany is a graduate of Jacksonville High School, class of 2001. Upon graduation she attended Illinois State University where she majored in vocal performance and acting. While living in Bloomington, she received her cosmetology license at Hair Masters Institute of Cosmetology.

Tiffany currently serves as the site director of the after school program at Jefferson Community Resource Center where she is completing her second full time AmeriCorps contract.

Tiffany recently had the honor of being selected to sing the National Anthem at the AmeriCorps National Day of Service Program in Springfield.

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LeaderCorps Fall Conference

Held November 11 – 13, 2009 at The Hilton, Springfield, IL.

LeaderCorps Fall ConferenceWhat began as a quiet meeting room on the top floor of the Springfield Hilton, slowly boomed into an energetic and excitement filled room, as more than thirty LeaderCorps members met for their annual fall conference in November.

Dale Evans guided the group through a series of sessions designed to foster team growth and build leadership skills over the course of the two day conference.

Elections were held, committees were formed and the LeaderCorps members steadily worked together to lay the foundation for their upcoming year of service.

From working to define leadership to dimensions of sustaining it, and from networking to remembering the all important "thank you"; no topics were left behind during the two days full of activities and break out sessions.

drumming circleAfter spending most of the day Thursday networking and slowly building friendships and foundations, the culmination of the evening was met with a gathering of music, poetry and expression as the members met together to form a drum circle.

The talented group of LeaderCorps members is as diverse in their creative abilities as they are in their backgrounds and skill sets. This diversity shone as talents were displayed. Tiffany Williams, Stephen Kielbasa and Jacqueline Entwisle dazzled the group with their vocal performances, Clyde Thomas provoked thoughts with his spoken word, and the entire corps provided the steady rhythm with drums, bells and more.

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  • January 8, 2009 – Group & Committee Conference Calls
  • January 18, 2009 – MLK Service Day
    Don't Forget to Register Your MLK Day Service Project!!!
  • February 5, 2009 – Group & Committee Conference Calls
  • February 2009 – Midyear Conference (Dates TBD)
  • May 9–15, 2009 – National AmeriCorps Week
  • May 19–21, 2009 – LeaderCorps Year End Event

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Alumni Committee Update

We are working to effectively mobilize a network of AmeriCorps alumni currently living in Illinois! We aim to engage alumni to carry on the AmeriCorps spirit of service. For more information please contact William Wetzel.

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Marketing Committee Update

Video Production Beginning!

Coming to your program soon!

We are planning site visits for filming, so please be on the lookout for updates and information to follow!

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