Governor's Volunteer Service Awards 2010

The following are recepients of the 2010 Governor's Volunteer Service Awards.

Southern Illinois Award Recipients

Joshua Greene

Josh has assisted in providing a class on the life stages of the butterfly to 4-H students, a four day workshop with hands-on educational horticulture projects to low income housing children, designed a "Spooky Garden Walk" for community children each Fall, and assisted in presenting a worm composting class at the Midwestern Herb and Gardening Show, one of the biggest events of its kind in the region. For his dedication to community service and sharing his knowledge with others, particularly children, Joshua Greene was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Youth on April 12, 2010.

Dale Fowler

Five years ago, as a member of the Board of Saline County United Way, Dale Fowler conceived the notion of a local "community impact fund" whereby pressing community needs could quickly be addressed. A major off-shoot of this program, also conceived by Mr. Fowler, is the "Coats for Kids" program. In a county where over 30% of children under 18 live in poverty, the need for this program stems from the literally hundreds of school children in the area who come to school in excessively worn or inadequate clothing. In the Coats for Kids program, confidential referrals received directly from school personnel are provided to the United Way Board, which purchases the requisite clothing and delivers the items to schools for discreet distribution to the identified children.

Since it began, Coats for Kids has provided assistance to over 1,000 Saline County children. The program incurs no overhead costs and is funded through both regular and annual events, as well as the United Way and several local organizations.

For this volunteer service to the Saline County Schools and the children they seek to teach, Mr. Fowler was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Seniors in Education on April 12, 2010.

Jo Poshard

Jo Poshard founded, with her husband Glenn, the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, and her continued volunteer work since its inception. After retiring, Mrs. Poshard decided to combat the abuse, neglect, and poverty she had witnessed among students when she taught elementary school.

As a full-time volunteer director, Mrs. Poshard has supervised over 100 volunteers and raised over $2.3 million to help agencies in southern Illinois care for children. She is also responsible for the construction of a $600,000 shelter for abused women and children, and has helped build other shelters throughout the southern part of the state. She also established a $25,000 per year scholarship program for the next 20 years at Southern Illinois University for students from abusive backgrounds who have successfully overcome their circumstances to succeed and who need financial assistance.

For all of this, Mrs. Poshard was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Seniors in Health on April 12, 2010.

East Central Illinois Award Recipients

Nicholas Jordan

Nick has collected Christmas cards as a recycling project for the past two years for St. Jude's Ranch for Children. He places bins at area schools during the month of January to send to St. Jude's, where the children cut the front out of the cards and glue them to cardstock, to create new Christmas cards as a fundraiser for the organization. Nick also works with local unions to apply for grants to subsidize the cost of postage to mail the cards to the Ranch.

The environmental benefit of the project is significant: in the past two years, Nick has collected and mailed over 600 pounds of cards that are not placed in local landfills, but instead are recycled. In addition, the children at the ranch benefit and Nick hopes the project will become a well-recognized method of recycling. He is currently making plans for the project to continue after his graduation from high school.

For this, Nicholas was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Youth in Environmental Conservation on April 12, 2010.

Grant Michael Reed

Grant is a Student at the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Founder of the Illini Medical Screening Society. Established in the Fall of 2008, the Illini Medical Screening Society (IMSS) is unlike any other undergraduate student health organization currently in existence at the U of I.

The IMSS is a student-run mobile health clinic that provides free medical screening service to the uninsured and low-income citizens of Champaign County, where up to 20% of county residents live below the poverty level, and anywhere from 11-29% of the population do not have health insurance. IMSS has 150 student volunteers, and has evaluated over 300 individuals with 21 screening events in just over a year. Throughout, Grant has remained dedicated and professional in order to create a sustainable, successful service to the community. For this, he was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Health on April 12, 2010.

Mike Clagg

Mike Clagg volunteers at the Ballard Nature Center, where he has served since the center opened more than ten years ago. Mr. Clagg serves in a variety of capacities at the Nature Center. By working hand-in-hand with Boy and Girl Scout groups, grade school students, and other volunteers and learners, Mr. Clagg has maintained trails, built bridges, provided repair services, lawn care, built displays, and supervised volunteers, among other tasks. He is also largely responsible for Outdoor Day, which includes lessons on raptors, reptiles, and bugs; historical re-enactments; and many other activities.

Mr. Clagg's extraordinary volunteer service is credited with making Ballard Nature Center a place that meets the needs of local community members: a place for teachers to bring students on field trips, a place for individuals to exercise or relax, a place for families to gather in reunion, a place of discovery and learning, and overall, a place that "leaves no person indoors." For this, Mr. Clagg was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award in Environmental Conservation on April 12, 2010.

West Central Illinois Award Recipients

Christina Campos

Since completing training in September 2008, Cristina has worked with beginning level English Language Learners which includes native and nonnative English language speakers. Cristina has helped many of the adult learners she has worked with to see the possibilities that lie ahead for them, if they are willing to work hard. She is an excellent example, as Cristina became a U.S. Citizen last year.

In addition to her work as a volunteer tutor, Cristina is enrolled as a full-time student at Carl Sandburg College, has played on the soccer team for two years, started a competitive community college bowling league, and serves on the Board of Trustees as the Student Trustee. Outside of school, in addition to working two part-time jobs, Cristina leads a dance troupe, Mexico Lindo, as she volunteers her time to teach traditional Mexican dances to anyone in the community.

She gets to know her students, figures out their learning style and needs, and is remarkably patient as she repeats, reviews, explains, and does whatever it takes to help the students gain understanding. Cristina is always focused when tutoring, never runs late, and communicates clearly.

For Ms. Cristina Campos' volunteerism, she was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Adults in Education on April 12, 2010.

Jack Larson

Mr. Jack Larson lives across from Lombard Middle School. Ten years ago he volunteered at Lombard and became a mentor to one of the neediest boys in school. It was during this time that he became aware that children need to be engaged with their school in order to be successful in school and build their self esteem. He thought there was no better way to engage a child than through the Band Program. He was then determined to find a way to get instruments into the hands of students whose families could not afford an instrument. In addition, Mr. Larson has seen firsthand the conditions of students' clothing, particularly shoes, and later instituted the "Shoe Project" to provide kids with new shoes and socks. This, too, helps them be successful in school and helps students realize that they are important and that their community cares about them.

In addition to the programs he began, Jack also volunteers for the Fish Food Pantry, the board of Prairieland Hospice Foundation, and has served on the Galesburg Elections Commission. It is important to note that his programs are well supported because the community of Galesburg trusts Jack Larson to use the money wisely and strictly for the students. His nominator describes him as “one of the grandest men in Galesburg” and one with a “selfless spirit in his heart.” He is further described as “the ultimate model of how a person should give back to their community.”

For his exemplary spirit of community service and volunteerism, Jack Larson was presented with the Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Seniors in Education on April 12, 2010.

Northwest Illinois Award Recipients

Brad Foreman

Brad Foreman became involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley in 2003 as a mentor to an 11-year-old, whom he mentored through high school graduation and still keeps in touch with today.

Later, Brad became a member of the Board of Directors, served as Board Chair, and currently co-chair of the Endowment Campaign. Mr. Foreman has been a tireless advocate for the program, particularly in engaging corporate CEOs and major philanthropists to ensure volunteers and financial resources to drive the mission and vision.

Foreman also helped establish the Quad Cities Mentoring Center, a $750,000 capital campaign, which serves as the corporate headquarters and a resource center for organizations, companies, and families seeking assistance in establishing a mentoring program.

For this outstanding volunteer and Board service, Brad Foremen was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for education on April 12, 2010.

Janis Haugen

As President of the Arc of Rock Island County Board, Jan Haugen is improving the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities, including building awareness of abilities, promoting this awareness, and building a broad base of financial support. Jan's personal commitment to recruit and manage over 100 volunteers for the Quad City Parrot Head Club's major annual fundraiser paid off at nearly $30,000 in 2009. A well connected citizen, Jan was willing to serve at this level because she knew the value of partnering with such a large community organization and the impact this partnership would have on The Arc. She is tirelessly advocating and searching out funding opportunities for The Arc, actively soliciting sponsorships and new donors, even if outside her comfort zone.

Jan's efforts on behalf of The Arc are extraordinary, whether through church and community partnerships, new property searches for group homes, recognition events, speaking with elected officials and the media, or simply peeling wallpaper and painting when needed. Ms. Haugen's passion and enthusiasm draw people into service for the agency and command respect from other volunteers, family members, and individuals served. Her love for the individuals The Arc serves is particularly authentic and infectious.

For this dedicated and heartfelt service, Janis Haugen was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Seniors in Economic Opportunity on April 12, 2011.

Northeast Illinois Award Recipients

Katelyn Mucci

In addition to three years of volunteerism with existing Hanover Township programs, serving as the Township's Committee on Youth Vice-Chair, and in an advisory capacity to the Township Board of Trustees, last year Katelyn worked with other community leaders to found a group called "Neighborhood Leaders United" in response to community gang violence. The group's objective is to create positive change by planning activities and events, and by developing leaders in the community. Katelyn's strong leadership skills enabled her to emerge as the group's leader and keep the group focused on their mission.

Katelyn's natural leadership skills set her apart from others. She is not afraid to take the lead in any context, and is always respectful of others. She has good instincts, is a great role model for students and youth, and people respond well to her leadership. For this service to her community, she was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Youth in Education on April 12, 2010.

Matthew Cross

Matthew Cross, a full-time student working toward his doctorate in clinical psychology, volunteers at the Safer Foundation. Safer Foundation's mission is to reduce recidivism by providing a spectrum of services to individuals with a criminal record in an effort to assist them in their transition to becoming employed, law-abiding members of the community.

During his time volunteering, Matthew has spent two days a week working in the Resource Room, which is where clients make the first contact with the organization. His ability to connect with others – despite the cultural differences between him and a majority of Safer's clientele – helps to motivate clients to take responsibility for the direction of their lives. Matthew earns the respect and trust of clients by embracing the opportunity to listen to each individual's story and forges a connection by empathizing with them. He works one-on-one with individuals in order to help them identify strengths and overcome barriers to employment. Many individuals are gainfully employed because of Matthew's direct contributions. For this, he was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Economic Opportunity on April 12, 2010.

Sandy DeChant

Ms. DeChant is a retired teacher who leads an after-school environmental service club through Chicago Conservation Corps, a program of the Chicago Department of Environment. The club accomplished nearly 300 hours of service in the 2009-2010 school year, both empowering learning experiences and providing direct service to the community. Under Ms. DeChant's leadership, this club conducts audits of the school regarding issues such as waste management and energy conservation. Based on their findings, the club designs plans to address identified needs. Examples include starting a battery recycling program, pursuing grants to start composting at the school, and maintaining a school garden.

For this community engagement and volunteerism, Ms. DeChant was presented a Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Seniors in Environmental Conservation on April 12, 2010.