Kewanee & Galesburg shine in competition for Governor’s Hometown Award

State Representative Dan Swanson praised two local communities nominated for the 2017 Governor’s Hometown Awards program- the Henry County community of Kewanee and the Knox County community of Galesburg.

“I am extremely proud to have two communities, Kewanee and Galesburg, in this competition this year,” said Rep. Dan Swanson. “The fact that two communities are nominees from the 74th Representative District demonstrates the commitment of so many hardworking volunteers in our region who care deeply about the communities in which they live, work and play.”

The community of Kewanee was nominated for their “Step Ladder Tutoring Program”. Step Ladder Tutoring Program has targeted middle school (ages 12-14) special education, borderline, and struggling general education students needing academic assistance as the main focus. The Step Ladder Tutoring Program utilizes the experience and expertise of certified middle school teachers as site coordinators, plus a network of community volunteers, peers, high school, college students and AmeriCorps members as tutors. During the 2014-2015 school term, all eighth-grade students participating in the Step Ladder Tutoring program got promoted to the ninth grade. 75% of students improved skill mastery in core subject areas of math and reading and 80% of students improved attendance rates and their attitude toward school and learning.

The community of Galesburg was nominated for their “Galesburg Heart & Soul” project. Galesburg Heart & Soul project is a resident-driven community revitalization effort developed and tested by the Orton Family Foundation. Its objective is to allow residents to voice what they value most about their hometown to build a stronger and healthier community. The process collected the input of residents from different walks of life and builds an action plan to guide all stakeholders to develop a healthier and more economically vibrant community for all. It teaches residents how best to engage their community. The Governor’s Hometown Award Program gives formal recognition to those who contributed to projects that improved their community’s quality of life. These projects are sponsored by local units of government that had strong volunteer support, met a need, and made a definitive impact, thereby generating a positive outcome in the community and by extension, the state. The program is administered by the Serve Illinois Commission, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

Fourteen communities were nominated with the Community of Galesburg being a nominee and the community of Kewanee being one of four finalists for the Governor’s Cup Award. The Governor’s Cup Winner was announced on November 8th in Springfield as Macon County with their “WSOY Community Food Drive” project.