As City Year Chicago traveled to Springfield to celebrate Illinois’ AmeriCorps Opening Day, the day was made extra special for us all as Jamar Beyonu (pictured above), Impact Director at City Year Chicago, was recognized as the 2015 AmeriCorps Illinois Alumni of the Year!
Jamar first served with AmeriCorps through City Year Chicago in 2002 as a corps member, and returned to the program in 2003 as a Team Leader. Following his second year with City Year, Jamar attended DePaul University, where he received his degree in Sociology in 2008.
Upon receiving his degree, Jamar returned to work on City Year Chicago’s staff as an Impact Manager – responsible for overseeing the service of 2 City Year school teams. In 2012, Jamar transitioned to his current role as Impact Director, where he oversees 6 school partnerships, which includes both traditional CPS and Diplomas Now Turnaround school initiatives. Currently in his 10th year with City Year Chicago, Jamar manages 3 Impact Managers and a total of 45 AmeriCorps members, while consistently supporting professional development initiatives in collaboration with both City Year staff, and Deloitte Inc. (one of City Year’s National Leadership Sponsors).
When asked about the impact that serving with AmeriCorps has had on him, Jamar stated "So much of my passion in life is based in my interest to provide service to others. Taking part in AmeriCorps through City Year has helped me to more clearly articulate that passion in the areas of civic responsibility, education, and leadership development for young people from all backgrounds and economic levels of our country.”
He later reflected, in regards to national service; “This is some of the most difficult and fundamental work that our society struggles with, and I thank AmeriCorps for providing myself and so many passionate people with the opportunity to deliver on these pivotal needs."
This year, nearly 900 AmeriCorps members serving in Illinois will gather in Springfield to pledge a year of service to our parks, our communities, and our schools in a commitment to national service.
The AmeriCorps Alumni of the Year Award program is coordinated by the Serve Illinois Commission on National Service and the Leadership Committee of the Chicago Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums. There are four awards, dedicated to the four branches of service; AmeriCorps, NCCC, Senior Corps, and VISTA.
This recognition highlights the achievements of alumni whom have served in Illinois, and will be an ongoing addition to future AmeriCorps Recognition Day celebrations.