Welcome to the Building Futures YouthBuild AmeriCorps blog!
If you are a returning and avid reader of the Building Futures blog you are familiar with our member’s commitment to volunteerism. If you are new to our blogs, you will begin to pick up on a reoccurring theme demonstrated by this post and pictures, which illustrate just how the Building Futures young adults are very active in bettering their communities. That’s what the AmeriCorps of Building Futures is all about – giving back to your community and serving others.
October 21, 2015 Building Futures participated in the Illinois National Service Recognition Day in Springfield. The National Service Recognition Day was a time not only in Illinois but nationwide where AmeriCorps programs were recognized for their commitment to service.
The National Service Recognition Day was held by the Serve Illinois Commission. According to serve.Illinois.gov, the Serve Illinois Commission is a 40 member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the now Governor Bruce Rauner. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State.
The Commission is accomplishing this mission through the support of local community-based efforts to enhance volunteer opportunities and the administration of Illinois’ AmeriCorps program. The Serve Illinois Commission funds 26 AmeriCorps programs across the state with approximately 1,700 AmeriCorps member positions. These members serve 60 counties in more than 300 host sites.
The commission’s vision is to create an atmosphere where volunteering becomes the norm, and citizens realize they have the ability to effectively change their communities. The commission works to expand volunteer opportunities throughout rural, suburban and urban Illinois, and involve all citizens of Illinois regardless of race, age, gender or abilities.
L&C Building Futures services individuals, between the ages of 16-24, were the youngest AmeriCorps organization members in attendance. This is an example of the commitment of Lewis and Clark Community College as the sponsor of the Building Futures program in changing the lives of young adults and the community.
Building Futures member Margaret Wisnasky engaged the audience in a riveting speech about her experiences as an AmeriCorps member, during the event. Margaret bravely spoke in front of hundreds of people.
Margaret has grown to be a leader and spokesperson for the Building Futures program, informing supporters and the general public about what it means to be a Building Futures member.
In addition to conducting the National Service Day for AmeriCorps members, the Serve Illinois Commission has named 2015 as the “Year of the Volunteer in Illinois,” identifying Illinois citizens as the difference makers. So, even if you are not an AmeriCorps member, you can still make a difference, you can have an impact and you can be a part of a positive change.
According to serve.illinois.gov, the 2013 Volunteering and Civic Life in America report shows that 2.57 million Illinoisans demonstrated their commitment to improving their communities by volunteering. This ranks Illinois the top volunteering state out of the eight most populated states. Volunteerism throughout Illinois will increase during the year by celebrating community service and connecting and strengthening the already extensive network of organizations involved in service.
Even though we are drawing near to the end of the 2015 year, there are still opportunities for you to make a difference. Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner. Volunteering is as simple as contacting local food pantries, churches or faith based organizations, or googling volunteer opportunities in your city. Please join Building Futures and the Serve Illinois Commission to change Illinois into a better place for every resident.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King