SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner is declaring October 12, 2016 National Service Recognition Day. Almost 1,000 Illinoisans will pledge their continuing commitment to helping their communities at the 22nd Annual Illinois’ National Service Recognition Day event on Wednesday, October 12, 2016. The event will be in Springfield at the Prairie Capital Convention Center at 9 a.m. and is open to the media. There will be a parade to the Old State Capitol at 3:15 p.m.
The celebration will begin with service projects benefiting several Springfield organizations including, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois, the Central Illinois Blood Center, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and Habitat for Humanity. The volunteers will then receive training and recognition at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center. Five of the volunteers will be recognized with Alumni Awards.
At the Old State Capitol, Serve Illinois Executive Director Scott McFarland will lead the members in the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps pledges, where volunteers proclaim their commitment to a year of service to Illinois.
“Illinois’ AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers are working on the front lines to improve our communities,” McFarland said. “They dedicate millions of hours a year at more than 2,200 locations throughout Illinois. We are very proud of their service and we are honored to recognize their dedication to our state.”
The event will also celebrate a national milestone of the one-millionth AmeriCorps Member to serve since 1994.
Approximately 2,200 current AmeriCorps members have dedicated a year to helping communities meet their unmet economic, education, health, public safety, or environmental needs. Members receive a modest living allowance, student loan deferment, and training. Since 1994, 37,000 Illinoisans have served more than 52 million hours and have qualified for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $1.3 billion.
“I am proud to welcome these new AmeriCorps members into the national service family today – they are the heart of everything we do,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. “Today, they join a network of more than one million men and women who have joined AmeriCorps to make our country stronger. Thanks-A-Million to all the AmeriCorps members for their dedication, and we thank our outstanding partners who make their service possible.”
Senior Corps Members use their lifetime of experience to support communities through the RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companions programs. These 55-year-old and older volunteers serve as mentors, coaches, and companions to people in need. There are more than 11,000 Illinois seniors serving.
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40 member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state. The Commission is accomplishing this mission through the support of local community-based efforts to enhance volunteer opportunities and the administration of Illinois' AmeriCorps program. For more information on Serve Illinois, or to find one of more than 2,500 volunteer opportunities in the state, please visit www.Serve.Illinois.gov.
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