The past couple weeks have been very busy with lots of events and preparation for such. We went to Springfield for the National and Community Service Recognition Day where all of the Illinois AmeriCorps, Vistas, RSVPs, and Fostering Grandparents programs met and heard from a few speakers, were given the chance to give blood, and went through breakout sessions. After that we all met back together and marched down the streets of Springfield to the Capitol Building where we all recited the AmeriCorps Oath. It’s always an exciting event and a good experience for all of the members involved.
That weekend a couple of members helped at the Special Olympics Bowling, another awesome event that can be life changing. Volunteers help the participants bowl, give hugs and high fives, and help hand out awards. It’s an all day event that is not only very special to the teams and coaches participating, but then also for the volunteers.
Then came the Keepsacks Chaos. The office was full of members helping prepare bags for the hygiene kits and also activity bags for children. We were able to send out at least a hundred activity bags with a book, a coloring book, crayons, a toy, and either a beanie baby or a hot wheels car. This was the first year that we were able to put those together and it was a lot of fun working together trying to make these the best we could. We had a need of 1,200 blankets and nearly one thousand hygiene kits this year and we are still working on numbers of how many we achieved. A few days before we did last minute shopping and also got lunch arrangements figured out. The week before Keepsacks was crazy busy, but that’s what we love!
Keepsacks itself was the 19 and a success. We had many volunteers including girl scouts, high school groups, and college groups. Everyone was kept busy assembling hygiene kits, sorting blankets, and even making more blankets! We had close to twenty shelters that we helped this year which is awesome! Like I mentioned before, we don’t have numbers yet but as soon as we do, we’ll let you know!
Now, the upcoming events!
The East Bluff is doing a Deterrence Walk on Wisconsin with police officers, church officials, and those in the neighborhood. At nine o’clock we will take to the streets to show that not only crime happens on the streets after dark! In the past weeks, crime has hit a high and we’re showing the city that we are not going to just lay down and take it. We have people who are proud of where they are from and want to keep it safe. Feel free to join us! We are meeting at the UU church and riding over the East Bluff or you can meet us at the Glen Oak School Parking Lot.
The following weekend on November 2 starting at 9 AM The East Bluff Planting New Growth project is taking place. Many of us volunteers will be planting daffodil bulbs so that in the spring they bloom. This will signify new growth and new beginnings in this neighborhood. We had generous donations and our Vista Zack has done all of the coordinating. There will also be a clean up to get some of the garbage up off of the street. We want those in the East Bluff to be proud of their neighborhood and not be ashamed.
As you can see, AmeriCorps Fostering Transitions has been very busy! We plan on staying that way as we start up our Preschool Literacy Project for the year and also begin working on an AIDs/HIV awareness day. If you have any questions or would love to help us with any of our upcoming events, feel free to let us know!