SECRETARY OF HUMAN SERVICES
DESIGNATE HOWARD PETERS HONORS
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS VISTA VOLUNTEERS
VERNON, IL, MAY 8, 1997 -- Gov. Edgar's Secretary of Human Services
designate Howard Peters will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon on
Thursday, May 8 honoring 15 VISTA volunteers for their service to at-risk
families in Southern Illinois.
The luncheon will commemorate the completion of a two-year collaboration
between Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and the Illinois Department
of Children and Family Services to strengthen families at risk of DCFS
intervention through support, training and advocacy. The celebration
will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Ramada Inn.
DCFS Director Jess McDonald will preside over the event, which will
be attended by the volunteers, their supervisors and representatives
from each day care center.
is gaining national recognition as public officials stress the importance
of reaching out to those less fortunate," said Peters, who is a
former VISTA volunteer. "The work of these volunteers over the
past two years has touched the lives of so many - and for that we can't
thank them enough."
program, which was funded through approximately $200,000 in federal
grants, was brought to Southern Illinois through the joint efforts of
DCFS Southern Regional Administrator Tony Jenkins and community day
care center directors. The volunteers were selected and trained by DCFS
and VISTA, and then placed at day care centers in communities throughout
the region. The volunteers helped link unstable, at-risk families with
resources for parents, trained them in parenting and other life skills
and acted as special assistants for their particular day care centers.
project represents an excellent partnership between federal and state
governments and the private sector," Director McDonald said. "When
families become independent and empowered, children are less likely
to be abused or neglected. Everyone benefits from a collaboration such
is a national service program that places volunteers in disadvantaged
communities to help residents become more self-sufficient. Volunteers
live in the communities they serve, creating programs that can continue
after they complete their service. In addition to a monthly stipend
and health insurance, volunteers are eligible for an educational award
of up to $4,725 per year for two years.
in the Southern Region appreciate the work that VISTA has done for our
children and famflies," Jenkins said. "The benefit of its
services will be felt by the community for years to come."
is a listing of the VISTA volunteers and their host day care centers:
Carrier and Trena Walton - Delta Foundation Child Care Center in Cairo
Denbo - Effingham Child Development Center
Strobel - Fayette County Child Care Center in Vandalia
Drone - Hamilton County Family Resource Center (Community Unit School
District 10) in McLeansboro
Shaw - City of Carbondale's Eurma Hayes Child Care Center
Smith - Wayne County Volunteers for Youth in Fairfield
Mason - Children's Activity Center in Sandoval
Kessler and Nellie Long - Marion County Child Development Center in
Hubler - A.B.C. Child Development Foundation in DuQuoin
Shook - Sunrise Preschool and Child Care Center in Anna
Redman - Red Caboose Day Care and Learning Center in Carmi
Doggett - Local Area Network #2 in Harrisburg
Akers, Project Manager - DCFS Marion Area Office