Deadline for 2005 Hometown Awards approaches

CHICAGO—The hard work and dedication of thousands of volunteers across Illinois whose efforts have greatly improved the communities in which they live are acknowledged each year through the Governor’s Home Town Awards.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is encouraging cities, towns and villages across the state to recognize the outstanding contributions of their communities by nominating distinguished volunteer efforts for the 24th Annual Home Town Awards. While the awards will take place next November, the time to submit nominations is now.

“Every day across Illinois, volunteers unconditionally give of their time, talents and resources to improve the quality of life for the citizens of their communities,” Blagojevich said. “Many times, however, those efforts go unrecognized. I want to encourage citizens throughout this state to nominate the work of their friends, colleagues and neighbors for the Annual Home Town Awards. Not only are the awards an exemplary way to recognize those outstanding efforts from the past year, they’re a great source of civic pride, boost local morale and serve as great motivation to continue doing the type of work that is so essential to fostering strong and vibrant communities.”

Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Governor’s Home Town Awards are presented in a number of categories, based on community population. Applications for awards may be submitted by a variety of community representatives, such as local governments, schools, community organizations, chambers of commerce, community action agencies, area agencies on aging and local job training organizations.

There are 10 project categories for which an application may be submitted, including Youth Involvement, Senior Citizen Involvement, Veteran Involvement, Economic Development, Parks and Recreation, Food Pantries/Meals, Clean-Up/Beautification, Homeland Security, Historical Societies/Sites and General. Applications are reviewed by a team of volunteer judges, who conduct site visits to finalist communities before deciding on winners. The judges also select one project from each population category to compete for the coveted Governor’s Cup, a traveling silver trophy that signifies the project deemed most representative of the spirit of Illinois volunteerism.

Past Governor’s Cup winners have ranged from a troubled youth center in Kankakee County to an emergency services and disaster program in Country Club Hills.

The deadline to apply for the 2005 Governor’s Home Town Awards is June 17. For more information, or to receive an application guidebook, contact Lou Ann Ladage at DCEO at 217/558-2838, (TDD: 800/785-6055) or e-mail:

From the June 1-7, 2005, issue

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