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Illinois State AmeriCorps members highlight service for AmeriCorps Week

Stevenson Center students and AmeriCorps members volunteered at Heartland Head Start.

Stevenson Center students and AmeriCorps members volunteered at Heartland Head Start.

AmeriCorps Week is an annual celebration of all the work that AmeriCorps members do for the people and communities they serve. AmeriCorps members are committed to getting things done, and this week strives to recognize and show appreciation for their immeasurable contributions to our nation. Since the creation of AmeriCorps in 1994, over a million individuals have served and completed 1.4 billion hours of service.

AmeriCorps members from Illinois State University, a recognized AmeriSchool, celebrated AmeriCorps Week with a service project at Heartland Head Start.

Juan painting

Juan Zamarripa volunteered at Head Start, providing manual labor services.

Heartland Head Start has supported McLean County families since 1965. It has grown from a small program that served 60 families, to now over 400. Heartland Head Start addresses the needs of low-income children and their families with a comprehensive program that assists from prenatal care through 5 years of age. Nationwide, Head Start has served over 13.1 million children and families through approximately 1,400 community-based nonprofit organizations and school systems.

Head Start receives about 80 percent of its funding from the federal government but also relies on private and local support. During their service event, AmeriCorps members from the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development at Illinois State helped contribute toward the 20 percent of the non-federal funding required for Head Start programs with manual labor that the organization cannot always provide on its own.

Nine Illinois State student volunteers engaged in simple, but meaningful projects such as painting doors, shampooing carpets, and deep cleaning. After volunteers spent a couple hours on these activities, the building looked clean and renewed. The volunteers who participated were eager to help this local organization in any small way, and are proud of the work accomplished.

Juan Zamarripa is an AmeriCorps member and Applied Community and Economic Development Fellow in applied economics with the Stevenson Center.