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Chicago Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums partners with Allstate to Make Big Impact for Chicago Public Schools

January 21, 2011

Volunteer Leaders for the Chicago Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums gather after a successful 2011 MLK, Jr. Day

The 2011 MLK, Jr. Day witnessed the Chicago Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums team up with Allstate to make it “a day on and not a day off.”  Through Allstate’s sponsorship of the project and the Chicago Chapter’s volunteer project management, 103 volunteers and 16 volunteer leaders honored Dr. King’s vision by serving at Cameron Elementary School and the Northwestern Settlement, and contributed a total of 406 hours of volunteer service.   Volunteers at Cameron Elementary helped label books in each teacher’s classroom to align with the updated labeling standard in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), organized teacher classrooms, and conducted a recycling drive for used electronics.  Volunteers at the Northwestern Settlement hosted a literacy fair to promote literacy in the West Town.

AmeriCorps alum, and project organizer Patti Kurtz perhaps summed the project up best, “We were able to pull off the project successfully with happy and busy volunteers, no accidents or trips to the hospital, and no complaints!  In the end, we were able to provide books and improve the literacy programs for 4 different local non-profits: CPS – Cameron Elementary, CPS – Juvenile Detention Center, Northwestern Settlement – Project YES!, and Open Books.”

Volunteers at the project signed a service pledge to continue their service beyond MLK, Jr. Day

Another successful element of the project was the inclusion of Cameron Elementary teachers in the day’s activities to help ensure the day’s service aligned with each classroom’s needs.  Cameron Elementary School teacher and AmeriCorps alum Kelly Snape was ecstatic about the day’s results.  “Thank you so much for coming into our school today.  I was able to find things in my classroom I thought I had lost years ago,” said Snape. Twenty participating teachers were also provided with a nice surprise- Allstate presented each of the twenty with a $50 gift card to be used toward school supplies for their classrooms.

The culminating event on MLK, Jr. Day represented two months of intensive planning and preparation on the part of the Chicago Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums, and AmeriCorps Alums would especially like to recognize alumni Patti Kurtz and Kelly Snape for leading the charge to make this project among the most successful 2011 MLK, Jr. Day projects.

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