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April 25, 2001

Governor Ryan Announces State Points of Light Award to Recognize Outstanding Volunteers

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the Governor's Points of Light Award to recognize and honor citizens for outstanding community service. The award will be presented to 12 Illinoisans each year who demonstrate exemplary volunteer service to their communities.

"The unselfish work of volunteers continues to be vital to the success of our nation," Ryan said. "More than 109 million adults now volunteer, contributing nearly 20 billion man hours that translates into an estimated $225 billion in service. While their actions go largely unrecognized, volunteers are truly America's heroes."

The Governor's Point of Light Award is a state adaptation of the national Daily Points of Light Award program created by former President George Bush. The Daily Points of Light Awards are designed to honor those who have made a commitment to volunteer service.

The Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, a part of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), will oversee the program, the fourth of its kind in the nation. The award will be presented four times a year to 12 people with no age restrictions. Nomination forms will be sent to volunteer centers, government officials and community agencies this spring. The Commission's Points of Light Ad Hoc committee will judge the nominations and recipients will be honored at an annual reception.

Governor Ryan proclaimed April 22-April 28, as Volunteer Week in Illinois. During this week, dedicated men, women, and young people throughout Illinois will be saluted for their efforts and their commitment to serve.

"Every day countless volunteers across the state address the fundamental necessities of others, help educate our youth, protect our environment, and care for those in need," said DHS Secretary Linda ReneƩ Baker. It's important for all Illinois citizens to get involved in their communities and help bring this year's theme, Change the World - Volunteer! to life."

National Volunteer Week began in 1974, when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteerism. Sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and the national network of Volunteer Centers, National Volunteer Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers at the local, state and national levels.


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