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Peace Corps Fellows and AmeriCorps Program Celebrates Impact of National Service in Macomb

April 20, 2021

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MACOMB, IL -- On April 6 Western Illinois University's Peace Corps Fellows and the AmeriCorps Program joined Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and local leaders across the country in an annual, nationwide initiative to highlight the impact of national service in tackling local problems.

During this year's event, the Peace Corps Fellows and AmeriCorps Program unveiled and dedicated a bench to residents at Prairieview Townhomes in honor of the long-time partnership with the Housing Authority of McDonough County. The bench was a result of much planning, collecting, and sorting of plastic caps in support of Build a Better Block Macomb's Caps to Benches Program. The program offers special thanks to PCFs and full-time AmeriCorps Members, Miranda Lambert and Cortnie Schierman for coordinating the project, and to Dan Curtis, of Habitat for Humanity of McDonough County, for picking up and delivering all of the benches.

"We're so grateful for all that you're doing in our community - you've always given 100 percent to the city - thank you," said Mayor Inman. "We're happy to be here today celebrating your service."

Mayor Inman concluded the ceremony by reading a proclamation marking April 6, 2021 as National Service Recognition Day in Macomb.

The Peace Corps Fellows and AmeriCorps Program at Western Illinois University is a two-year graduate fellowship program for returned Peace Corps volunteers. The program is managed through the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) and offers students an opportunity to pursue graduate studies with an emphasis on rural community development.

As part of their degree program, Fellows serve an 11-month internship and full-time AmeriCorps service assignment in a rural community, leading local development projects, such as: downtown revitalization, business retention and expansion, tourism development, health education, volunteer management, and disaster preparedness. Fellows work to build local capacity, mobilize people and make sustainable progress.

There are currently 17 Peace Corps Fellows enrolled in the program. Of them, 12 are serving in Macomb/McDonough County, and five are serving other rural communities in west and central Illinois. Nine are first year-graduate students, completing graduate assistantships, and eight of them are second-year graduate students, completing full-time AmeriCorps service assignments. Collectively, they have logged over 10,000 hours of community service since the start of the academic year.

National service participants address some of the toughest challenges facing our nation. AmeriCorps members and VISTA volunteers continue to be instrumental in our country's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. National service members and volunteers across the nation are helping distribute vaccines, working at food banks, mentoring youth, and supporting community development initiatives across the country. AmeriCorps members make our communities better places to live; let us all pledge to do our part to strengthen our country through service and volunteering.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations