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Nearly 13,000 AmeriCorps volunteers honored

Gov. Bruce Rauner is declaring Oct. 12, 2017, National Service Recognition Day. Almost 1,000 Illinoisans will pledge their continuing commitment to helping their communities at the 23rd Annual Illinois’ National Service Recognition Day event on Thursday, Oct. 12. The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Bank of Springfield Convention Center in Springfield and is open to the media. A parade to the Old State Capitol starts at 11 a.m.

The Serve Illinois Commission will kick off the celebration by recognizing service projects benefiting several Springfield organizations. The commission will present awards to volunteers and honor all military veterans for their continued service. Attendees then will parade to the Old State Capitol where the commission will swear them in for their year of service.

At the Old State Capitol, the national director of AmeriCorps, Chester Spellman, will lead the members in the AmeriCorps pledge. The new members then will return to the Bank of Springfield Convention Center for training sessions until mid-afternoon.

“Illinois’ AmeriCorps volunteers are working on the front lines to improve our communities,” said Scott McFarland, executive director of Serve Illinois. “They dedicate millions of hours a year at more than 2,200 locations throughout Illinois.”

Approximately 2,600 current AmeriCorps members have dedicated a year each to helping communities meet their economic, education, health, public safety or environmental needs.  Members receive a modest living allowance, student-loan deferment and training. Since 1994, 39,000 Illinoisans have served more than 55 million hours totaling more than $1.4 billion in impact. Many have qualified for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $1.3 million for college or student loans. Senior Corps members — 55-year-old and older — serve as mentors, coaches and companions to people in need. More than 11,000 Illinois seniors serve in this capacity.

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member, bipartisan board appointed by the governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. For more information on Serve Illinois, or to find one of more than 2,500 volunteer opportunities in the state, visit