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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich Encourages Communities Across Illinois to Nominate Outstanding Volunteer Efforts for the 26th Annual Home Town Awards

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today invited Illinois’ cities, towns and villages to proudly recognize the outstanding contributions of their communities by nominating their distinguished volunteer efforts and accomplishments for the 26th Annual Home Town Awards. Each year, the Governor’s Home Town Awards recognizes Illinois’ hardworking and committed volunteers who greatly improve the communities in which they live.

"Illinois is filled with a tremendous number of dedicated individuals who work everyday to make a difference in the lives of others and improve the quality of life within their communities. Because these deeds too often go unrecognized, we are encouraging people throughout the state to take this opportunity to nominate the efforts of their friends, colleagues and neighbors for the 2007 Home Town Awards," Gov. Blagojevich said. "These awards not only recognize the selfless contributions of our many talented and hardworking volunteers, but also help encourage civic pride, boost local morale and help motivate continuing volunteer efforts that are so vital to building strong and vibrant communities."

Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Governor's Home Town Awards are presented in a number of categories based on community population. Applications for awards may be submitted by a variety of community representatives, including local governments, schools, community organizations, chambers of commerce, community action agencies, area agencies on aging and local job training organizations.

There are six project categories for which an application may be submitted, including Youth Involvement, Senior Citizen Involvement, Veteran Involvement, Parks and Recreation, Clean-Up/Beautification and General, which includes submissions that are not more appropriately placed in one of the other specific categories. Applications are reviewed by a team of volunteer judges, who conduct site visits to finalist communities before deciding on winners.

Judges will select one project from each population category to compete for the coveted Governor’s Cup, a traveling silver trophy that signifies the project deemed most representative of Illinois’ spirit for volunteerism. Past Governor’s Cup recipients have included a summer camp for mentally and physically challenged adults and young people in Adams County, an Emergency Services and Disaster Program in Country Club Hills, a youth center for families in crisis in Kankakee, and the Champaign County Center for Women in Transition, which was the 2006 Governor’s Cup winner.

"Communities are made stronger and more vibrant by the exceptional leadership of Illinois’ volunteers. Through their tireless efforts and commitment to their communities, our volunteers are helping to attract investment, create jobs and support growth and innovation. Gov. Blagojevich and I strongly encourage people across the state to take this time and help us recognize these truly remarkable efforts by submitting nominations for this year’s Home Town Awards," DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.

The deadline to apply for the 2007 Governor’s Home Town Awards is June 15, 2007. For more information, or to receive an application guidebook, contact Lou Ann Williams at 217/558.2838 (TDD: 800/785.6055) or email LouAnn.Williams@illinois.gov.



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