Rock Island will be one of the communities honored on Wednesday when the state of Illinois hands out this year's Governor's Hometown Awards. The King Center will receive an award for the strong support it receives from volunteers.
The award is for the KING Program, which stands for "Kids Engaged in National Growth." Executive director, Jerry Jones, says more than 300 people donate their time.
"Some volunteers simply want an opportunity to meet with a child and help them with their school work or engage in recreational activity. Others come to us with a fully-formed dream that actually fits in with the things that we're doing."
It started 19 years ago as an after school program, but has since expanded to include the Metropolitan Youth Drill Team, the Rock Island Boxing Club, and other activities.
"Kids need help and guidance. They need an adult to be engaged in their life so that they have a better chance at success. Of course that is an investment for all of us. The trite line in 'children are the future,' but it's true. If we can invest in them then we're investing in a better future."
The awards will be presented Wednesday afternoon at the Old State Capitol in Springfield. Rock Island is one of 14 winners, and will receive a plaque and a road sign listing its achievements.