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Lorene King – Community Volunteer – Receives Paul Harris Fellow Award

Katie Neidetcher and Lorene King (Paul Harris Fellow)

Lorene King was recognized on June 3 by The Rotary Club North for her myriad volunteer activities. She is now a Paul Harris Fellow, an award that is bestowed on individuals who perform volunteer service and do not seek recognition or reward other than helping others. Paul Harris Fellows are honored with a donation to International Rotary, with the donation to be used for global community projects. She was nominated by Katie Neidetcher, a Rotary member who met Lorene when the two were participating in community workshops at Peoria Public Schools Administration Building a few years ago.

Lorene has been involved in over ten different volunteer roles. Most notably, she recently secured a 300-thousand-dollar grant from the Federal Cares Act called the Pandemic Health Navigation Program to do contact tracing and educate and serve individuals needing assistance with housing, medicine, food, or transportation while coping with quarantine or isolation status related to COVID-19.

Lorene has served in multiple roles for the city, including the recently formed City/County Commission on Racial Justice and Equity, as well as the City of Peoria Police Advisory Committee, and in the past, the Human Services Commission, and Jim Maloof’s “Forward Peoria” Grassroots Movement.

While Lorene’s career was focused on student support services, she continues to support others through her volunteer efforts. She has a long-term involvement with students at Manual High School via the AVID Program, helping to expose them to the operations at Peoria City Hall and the County Courthouse. She created a curriculum to teach leadership skills to sophomores, juniors, and seniors to help them succeed post-graduation; advised them on improving their academic scores while reviewing their quarterly grade reports. This year, during Black History Month, she shared with Manual students who were reading a book on integrating the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, her experiences in attending segregated schools in Memphis through high school. She was the advisor for medical students at the U of I College of Medicine to provide hands-on activities to students at Manual, like suturing and dissection skills.

She led medical students in volunteer community activities, such as providing blood pressure checks at the annual Black Arts Fair and Martin Luther King Luncheon. She served as the medical liaison for Central Illinois Community Wellness Committee Project to reduce obesity and improve health in tri-county public schools. She served on the Diversity Committee at ICC and recruited students from different cultures to get engaged in student activities. Lorene also coordinated health discussions at area churches.

Lorene is also a very active member in her church, having served in many leadership roles in the 30+ years that she has been a member of Bethel UMC, where she served as Evangelism and Church Council Chair and now at University United Methodist Church where she is the Team Leader for Congregational Care, including assisting with the monthly Worship and Communion Service at Buehler Home.

Lorene is actively engaged in the Peoria NAACP and has been since becoming in the civil rights movement in Peoria right out of high school and attending the March in Washington D.C. in 1963. She is a contributing writer for the Traveler Weekly Newspaper and hosts a weekly half-hour radio show for WPNV discussing community health topics. Recently, she completed her 3rd degree and second Master’s at Bradley University in Nonprofit Leadership.