Gov. Pat Quinn and the Serve Illinois Commission recognized Katie Brunk, AmeriCorps VISTA at Illinois College, with the Governor's Volunteer Service Award last week in Springfield.
The Governor's Volunteer Service Awards focus on economic opportunity, education, environmental conservation, disaster preparedness and response, and health and veterans affairs. Three Individual awards (Youth, Adult and Senior), two National Service Awards (AmeriCorps and Senior Corps) and one Business Volunteer Engagement Award were presented across five service regions in Illinois.
Brunk was a recipient of the National Service Award in the West Central region as an AmeriCorp member. Illinois College Professor Kelly Dagan nominated Brunk for her work with the Sonya Project, a reading buddy program at low-income elementary schools in Jacksonville.
“Katie combines both passion and an intellectual approach in her commitment to civic engagement,” Dagan said. “Katie is also able to think about the big picture while simultaneously engaging in attention to details when overseeing a project. These characteristics are not easy to come by, and she has been a huge asset to our office.”
As an AmeriCorps VISTA with Illinois Campus Compact, Brunk coordinates the Sonya Project and works with first generation college students at Illinois College.
“I am very honored to receive this award. As essential as the work that I do as an AmeriCorps VISTA is, none of the excellent volunteer programs I coordinate would be possible without the hard work of our student volunteers and our community partners.,” Brunk said. “By sharing information about my projects, the award has provided me with an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the important work we do in the Leadership Program, highlight the need for volunteerism and encourage others to get involved.”
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member, bipartisan board appointed by the governor, with programs administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state.