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November 25, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Urges Illinoisans to Volunteer Time and Talents during the Holiday Season
Serve.Illinois Connects Volunteers to Statewide Opportunities

CHICAGO Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Serve Illinois Commission in encouraging Illinoisans to give back to their communities and serve an organization of choice during the holidays. With www.Serve.Illinois.gov, volunteers now have a new and resourceful search portal that connects them to 40,000 volunteer opportunities throughout Illinois. 


“The holidays can be a difficult time of year for many, especially in these economic times,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “There are many people in need this time of year and it is always important to remember those less fortunate and those in need of assistance to provide for their loved ones.  With the Serve.Illinois website, it’s easy to find a volunteer opportunity in your area.” 


Persons interested in volunteering can visit the Serve.Illinois homepage and just select the zip code or county in which they live or work, as well as your area of interest - whether working with animals, the environment, children, education, or health issues.  The search results will generate ongoing, one-time, and even from-home volunteer opportunities.  Select an opportunity and contact an organization near you for more information and to apply to become one of their volunteers.


“Many special projects are taking place this time of year, due to the numerous food drives for Thanksgiving and toy drives for Christmas. These organizations are in need of your skills, life experience, and enthusiasm to help your fellow citizens,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.  “And, you too will benefit from the opportunity to serve your community and donate of your time and talents this holiday season.”


Volunteers of all ages can participate in assembly-line preparations of food baskets at social service agencies, serving hot meals at faith-based shelters, preparing care packages for troops overseas, or assisting with the collection and distribution of local toy and clothing drives for children in need. 


For example, if you type in keyword “holiday,” and search in Cook County, you will find gift drives, a request for a photographer, and special event coordination, among other opportunities.


Research shows that communities with higher rates of volunteering result in decreased crime, improved governmental services, and higher educational achievement among other things.  In addition, evidence supports the idea that those who engage in their communities on a regular basis live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.


Visit www.Serve.Illinois.gov today to find a volunteer opportunity today.  The Serve.Illinois website is a project of IDHS and the Serve Illinois Commission: "Building Stronger Communities Through Service."


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