Western Courier

6th National Annual Service Recognition Day

Marc Ramirez, Assistant News Editor

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The people of Macomb celebrated the sixth annual National Service Recognition Day on April 3. Last year over 4,520 elected officials from around the country participated in the recognition day. Of those officials, 128 were from Illinois.

April 3 was a day where elected officials could recognize the efforts that National Service volunteers have been doing in their communities. The Corporation for National and Community Service, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and Cities of Service sponsor the National Service Recognition Day.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Warren and McDonough County and the West Central Illinois Arts Center have recently paired up with Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and Fifth Ward Alderwoman Gayle Carper, in joining AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers and AmeriCorps State members for a local service project. “Bigs,” “Littles” and volunteers will all be paired up to create laminated placemats that will be donated and become apart of the YMCA senior meals program.

In collaboration with Western Illinois University, the local community has benefitted from the service members for several years through programs like the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Peace Corps Fellows/AmeriCorps Program in Community Development and MAPPING the Future of Your Community/AmeriCorps VISTA programs.

The community has utilized these programs to help serve in various different efforts across the county. AmeriCorps VISTA programs places individuals who live in urban areas across the state to help work on helping in poverty alleviation initiatives. The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs also referred to as IIRA, currently have 10 VISTA volunteers assisting in different rural areas across Illinois, two of which are in Macomb. Both VISTAs, Mallory White and Sarah Baca, are currently collaborating with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and are hoping to continue successfully expanding in the local and outlying towns such as Bushnell. Macomb will soon be hosting 10-12 Associate VISTA volunteers this summer to assist in summer feeding programs ran though the YMCA and Genesis Gardens.

The IIRA at WIU also manages an AmeriCorps State Program through the Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development. The program has been recruiting returned volunteers into a two-year graduate fellowship program at Western. Currently there are seven Peace Corps Fellows/AmeriCorps State members serving in The City of Macomb, Wesley Village, Beu Health Center, Western Illinois Regional Council, Illinois Cooperative Development Center, Small Business Development Center and the IIRA.

Being in this degree program, fellows are to serve full and part-time AmeriCorps assignments in rural areas, running local development efforts, business retention and expansion projects, tourism development, health education, volunteer management and disaster preparation.

The CNCS engages millions of Americans annually in service at over 50,000 locations through the various organizations that run through Macomb. National Service participants have been addressing the most pressing difficulties facing U.S. counties and local communities, ranging from getting students prepared for the real world and jobs to supporting veterans and military families and preserving the environment and helping communities recover from natural disasters.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
6th National Annual Service Recognition Day