Mattoon, Ill. (WCIA)
The Chamber is very excited to share that Mattoon in Motion is hosting its second Peace Corps Fellow/AmeriCorps Member through Western Illinois University’s Fellows Program in Community Development. The Fellows Program is a two-year graduate fellowship for returned Peace Corps volunteers and AmeriCorps Alumni and is managed through the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs with financial support from AmeriCorps.
As part of their degree program, Fellows serve an eleven-month internship in a rural community leading local development projects. Our new Fellow will be helping Mattoon in Motion continue its successful overall mission to secure the future growth and development of Mattoon.
Carlos Ortega was Mattoon in Motion’s first Peace Corps Fellow and did an outstanding job in helping in the development of Elevate, CCIC, Inc. which is supported in part by Google.org. Elevate is the entrepreneurial/co- working space in the Cross County Mall that is also the home of ClassE. They have helped launch numerous local entrepreneurs in starting and enhancing their businesses. After his Fellowship and AmeriCorps service, Carlos became the executive director of Elevate.
Elevate, CCIC, Inc. is one of the many success stories of Mattoon in Motion, which has been operating since 2017. Other developments of Mattoon in Motion include the Tree Commission, the Bike Trail committee and the new Sports Complex Plus committee.
Alexander Benishek is a Peace Corps Fellow/AmeriCorps Member with Western Illinois University. Pursuing a Masters Degree in Community Economic Development, he will be serving with Mattoon in Motion in order to support new community projects and bridge economic gaps within our neighborhoods.
Alex is a native of Sarasota, Florida. He attended the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, being elected to the position of Student Body President and eventually earning a Bachelor’s Degree in History.
Alexander is no stranger to public service. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Alexander served in the country of North Macedonia with a focus on community economic development and youth. Through his service in AmeriCorps and VISTA, Alexander has a background in non-profit coordination related to homelessness, food insecurity, and educational issues in Alamosa, CO; Tallahassee, FLA; and Macomb.
Before his service, Alexander also spent some time managing political campaigns throughout Florida. Alexander enjoys recording music, biking, cooking spicy food, and (most importantly) playing with his formerly feral adopted kitten, Revan. Alexander looks forward to getting to know the people of Mattoon and learning about how we all can work together to help make Mattoon an even better place live.
Mattoon Chamber of Commerce
1518 Broadway Avenue
Mattoon, IL 61938