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October 27, 2000

Governor Ryan Proclaims "Make A Difference Day" in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan has proclaimed Saturday, October 28, as the 10th Annual "Make a Difference Day" in Illinois. This event is the largest community service effort in the nation, rallying corporations, government leaders, charitable organizations and everyday Americans into action on the same day. It is sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine in partnership with the Points of Light Foundation.

"Our nation was built upon a spirit of volunteerism," Ryan said. "The talents and energies of volunteers continue to be one of our greatest resources. Volunteers are truly America's unsung heroes. Having a nationally recognized day gives everyone a chance to be a hero and give a helping hand to those in need."

During the Americorps Swearing-In ceremony held in Chicago today, First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan saluted two individuals who are truly "Making a Difference." Twins, Danita and Anita Ivory are encouraging others to donate 5,000 teddy bears to hospitalized children.

"You are two very special women to have undertaken such a wonderful effort on behalf of children. May this bear project take you to places you never dreamed you would go," said Mrs. Ryan after making her own donation of twin P.J. Hugabee Bears.

Additional donations for the Ivory's bear project can be made at the Chicago Sun Times, 401 N. Wabash and DePaul University at 1 East Jackson on the 11th Floor.

Among those promoting "Make a Difference Day" are the members of the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (ICVCS). Activities of the ICVCS fall into three main areas: national service programs, Illinois' Promise and volunteerism. The commission works to ensure that its efforts in each of these areas benefit all Illinois residents, especially children and youth.

"The Commission has written to every mayor in Illinois, encouraging each one to join the Governor and proclaim October 28, 2000 as "Make a Difference Day in their communities, explained Helen D. Shumate, Chair of the ICVCS. "We want to harness the spirit of volunteerism that already exists in our communities and build upon it to achieve maximum results."

The ICVCS works cooperatively with, and receives staff support from, the Illinois Department of Human Services in carrying out its activities.

"We are pleased to work with Governor Ryan and the Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service to remind all our colleagues, friends and neighbors of the many opportunities that exist to serve others," Department of Human Services Secretary Linda Renee Baker said. "'Make a Difference Day" simply provides an incentive for all Illinoisans to give of themselves to improve the quality of life throughout the state."

Promoting and strengthening the traditional volunteer sector in Illinois has been a priority of the Commission since its inception in 1979. Last year, a record 2 million volunteers participated in, and an estimated 22 million people benefited from "Make a Difference Day" in Illinois.


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