SPRINGFIELD – The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Commission) is reminding Illinoisans it is accepting nominations for the seventh annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards. These awards recognize individual volunteers and highlight the importance of volunteerism and community service in Illinois. The Commission will also recognize for-profit businesses that support service.

"Each year, 2.6 million Illinoisans take time out of their busy lives to help their neighbors," said Scott McFarland, Executive Director of Serve Illinois. "These volunteers are helping keep children safe, keeping our environment pristine, helping people find jobs, and so much more. They improve and save lives each and every day, and with these awards, we recognize the best of Illinois."

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The Commission will present individual awards to one youth (18 years and under), one adult (19-54 years old), and one retiree/senior (55 years and older) in each of the Commission's five service regions across the state (Northeast, Northwest, East Central, West Central, and Southern). The Commission will present National Service Awards to one AmeriCorps member, one Senior Corps member, and one for-profit business in each of the five service regions. The Commission will give special priority within each category based on economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, disaster preparedness/response, health, and veterans and military families.

Nominations are due to Serve Illinois by January 29, 2016. Please visit www.serve.illinois.gov for the nomination forms and more information. The Commission will select and notify recipients by March 18, 2016, and will host a ceremony to honor recipients on April 13, 2016 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40 member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 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. For more information on Serve Illinois, or to find one of more than 2,500 volunteer opportunities in the state, please visit www.Serve.Illinois.gov.

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