SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed May 6-10, 2013 as Senior Corps Week in the state of Illinois. Senior Corps connects volunteers 55 and older with people and organizations to serve as mentors, coaches or companions to those in need.
"We view volunteerism in Illinois as an intergenerational connector, a way to bring people of different ages together,” said Brandon Bodor, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. “Senior Corps and other national service programs are the institutional backbone of that. From support to veterans to disaster preparedness to tutoring and mentoring, Senior Corps volunteers are a constant source of community resilience. This is a week to honor and applaud them for the exceptional work they do every week of the year.”
Senior Corps currently links more than 400,000 Americans nationwide to service opportunities. In Illinois, more than 17,000 seniors contribute to three Senior Corps programs: Foster Grandparents (1,200 members serving one-on-one as tutors and mentors), Senior Companions (430 members helping homebound seniors and other adults maintain independence in their own homes), and RSVP (15,400 members providing a wide array of volunteer service to more than 2,000 community organizations).
Senior Corps programs across the state will conduct service projects and informational sessions to increase the awareness of the value of volunteerism. For detailed information on projects in your area, contact John Hosteny, Illinois Director for the Corporation for National and Community Service at (312) 353-1960.
On April 18, Governor Quinn and the Serve Illinois Commission recognized several exemplary Senior Corps members at the 2013 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards in Springfield. Five of the 23 individual awardees represented Senior Corps programs, including:
• Jim Fisher (Quincy): Jim has been an RSVP member for the last nine years, and every Tuesday and Wednesday he transports disabled veterans from Quincy and the surrounding area to Iowa City, Iowa for medical care at the VA.
• Howard Hagler (Belleville): A United States Army veteran, Howard assists other veterans with trips to the local VA hospital, and in the past five years Howard has contributed over 3,700 volunteer hours of service with the Senior Companion Program.
• Ruth Hieronymous (Lincoln): A dedicated Foster Grandparent for almost eight years at Washington-Monroe Elementary School in Lincoln, Ruth’s commitment to the program stems from her belief that consistent mentoring has a profound impact on violence reduction.
• Patricia Umland (Moline): Pat volunteers in a variety of ways at Genesis Illini Hospital, from teaching education on advance directives and living Wills to knitting for Genesis Hospice to championing heart disease awareness through the QC Heartbeats program. She has been a proud RSVP member since retirement.
• Artie Walter (St. Anne): Artie proudly serves Head Start students with over 1,250 hours per year. He is the longest serving Foster Grandparent volunteer in Kankakee and Livingston Counties with almost 22 years of dedicated service.
To view Governor Quinn’s Senior Corps Week proclamation, or to find volunteer opportunities in Illinois, please visit www.Serve.Illinois.gov. To learn more about Senior Corps, please visit www.SeniorCorps.gov.