AmeriCorps volunteers step up in time of need

INA, Ill. (March 31, 2020) — Despite the challenges of practicing social distancing, Rend Lake College students are still finding ways to contribute to the local community during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.

Several students found different volunteer opportunities as part of the Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps’ ongoing initiative. The program is a local partnership between RLC, John A. Logan College, Kaskaskia College and Southern Illinois University.

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Volunteers, including Kelsi Ham, distribute lunches at Opdyke Belle-Rive school. 
              91065101 1775683779233913 3140381942537519104 nEmma Newell helps assist a visually impaired person through the Be My Eyes app. 

Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps Director Megan Rounds said there are currently 58 members serving across Southern Illinois. She said it has been challenging coming up with ways to serve from home with minimal contact, but the volunteers have risen to the occasion.

For example, Rend Lake College’s Kesli Ham, along with other volunteers, helped distribute lunches at schools in the Mt. Vernon area. The initiative helped ensure students who relied on school lunches could still find a meal while schools are closed. RLC’s Emma Newell found an opportunity to assist through the website bemyeyes.com. The site allows Newell and other volunteers to connect with the visually impaired via video calls. This can help blind or low-vision people with things like checking expiration dates on food, distinguishing colors, reading or navigating their surroundings. And members Gabrielle Piercy and Olivia Wiggs have been able to find ways to continue helping students with their tutoring efforts from a stay-at-home environment.

AmeriCorps volunteers continue to find new ways to help despite the limitations communities currently face. To learn more about the Land of Lincoln program contact .


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