Dozens of AmeriCorps volunteers from around the country rolled up their sleeves in Peoria this month, some helping residents turn a neglected room in a low-income housing complex into usable space for a children's room and a resident store, while others painted vibrant murals at a residence for seniors. The day of service marked the close of a national leadership conference hosted by LISC AmeriCorps, and leaves the community with resources that will be a source of pride for years to come.
PEORIA — A little-used part of the Taft Homes office building was bustling with activity Wednesday afternoon.
In a few hours, the room was transformed from underutilized and cluttered to a space for new Peoria Housing Authority programs, thanks to the work of a few dozen volunteers.
“It hasn’t been used for years,” said Yvonne Long, PHA director of modernization and development. “We’re bringing it back to life.”
A second-floor space previously used as a small resource center now has a revitalized children’s room and an upcoming resident store, where Taft residents will be able to use “Taft Cash” earned for volunteer work to purchase household items.
Across town, even more volunteers were working to complete five murals in a single afternoon at Sterling Towers.
The projects are part of a day of service that marks the end of a four-day leadership conference for more than 100 LISC AmeriCorps members.
Greater Peoria LISC, or Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the local branch of a national organization that supports not-for-profits and encourages community development in distressed neighborhoods, played host to about 150 service members from cities such as Chicago, Boston, Kalamazoo, Mich., and Los Angeles. Continued[+]...