Youth program gets $150K boost
The people who help many local teens find their way along the rocky road to adulthood are breathing little bit easier since receiving a generous leg-up from Naperville Township.
A $150,000 award given to 360 Youth Services by the township last month will help continue the nonprofit’s work in supporting area youth and their families.
Among the agency’s programs is a residential facility on Naperville’s far east side for high school-aged boys who can no longer live with their families. The organization also runs a highly regarded transitional housing program for homeless young adults that helps them work toward independence and self-sufficiency.
The program was imperiled a year ago when 360 was notified that its federal funding had been eliminated. A community fundraising campaign gathered more than $80,000 in donations, and the grant money was partially restored, helping to keep the doors open.
The township funds are deeply appreciated all the same.
“We are committed to listening to and evaluating the needs of the public and providing services, which are responsive to the health, safety and general welfare of the entire township,” Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra said in a press release. “360 is an ideal fit for our mission.”
Not Nervous ...
Just good at public speaking
Recently, Naperville residents Cassie Moore and Mike Vein became the toast of the town — not in the celebrity sense, mind you, but as winners of the Area Toastmaster Contest on Sept. 21 at Naperville City Hall.
Both are members of a local chapter of the nonprofit group that operates clubs throughout the world to help others improve public speaking, communication and leadership skills.
Vein said he won the Best Evaluation division, which requires that contestants hear a short speech and then prepare a critique of it within a few minutes to help the speaker improve on what he just did. Vein said he doesn’t personally fear public speaking but joined the group three years ago to develop his speaking and leadership abilities.
“We work on prepared speeches, providing oral evaluations, and do ‘table topics’ or off the cuff things,” he said. “I’m not doing this because I avoided speech class in high school.”
Moore won the best humorous speech after talking for almost 7 minutes about a true event that happened to her involving a disastrous spa experience.
“I called it, “The Dead Sea Mud Wrap Spa — I Wish I Were Dead” speech, which was a truly personal story about a terrible spa day,” she said. “I still feel my heart pounding when I get up there, but on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being I need Valium, I’ve dropped from about a six on the anxiety scale to a four.”
Both winners will move on to the division contest, followed by district competition if they advance.
Award worth singing about
Young Naperville Singers have even more to sing about. Recently, the group’s Chamber Singers earned second place nationally in the youth/high school chorus division of the 2013 American Prize competition.
“This award is a tremendous honor,” said Angie Johnson, Young Naperville Singers music director. “Our choirs are filled with extraordinary young people who are passionate, dedicated and love to sing.
The chorus was selected from applications reviewed this summer from all across the United States.
The American Prize is a series of competitions designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings.
“We are delighted with the award and will continue to invest in the lives of children,” Johnson said. “Choral music is a wonderful tool to build community, build leaders and build character.”
Three’s a charm
NCC prof’s next caper ready to be solved
Middle school-age students waiting to see what happens next in the Charlie Collier Snoop for Hire series are in luck. “The Copycat Caper,” the third book written by Naperville author John Madormo hit bookshelves Sept. 26.
“The response to the series has been overwhelming and unexpected,” said Madormo, who is an assistant professor at North Central College. “It’s gratifying when readers and reviewers like your work, but it’s really something special when the educational community embraces your efforts.”
“The Copycat Caper” finds Charlie, a sixth-grade private investigator, auditioning for the school play.
“He really has no interest in acting, but when he learns the girl of his dreams has been chosen for the female lead, he’s all in,” the author said. “Meanwhile, a local radio station is replaying episodes from an old-time radio program. It isn’t long before Charlie notices that crimes taking place at businesses around town mirror the crimes occurring in the old-time radio series.”
Charlie has a caper on his hands, and he’s the perfect young man for the job. You’ll have to read it for yourself to see why.
The author will sign copies of “The Copycat Caper” at 2 p.m. Oct. 19 at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, 123 W. Jefferson. For more information, visit www.charliecolliersnoopforhire.com.
More for tween
Suspenseful reading for young readers
Young adult readers looking for a taste of espionage, virtual world versus reality and a lot of suspense are going to line up for best-selling author James Dasher, who will appear at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in Naperville to promote the first book in his new Mortality Doctrine series titled, “The Eye of Minds,” which the author says offers a plot line that combines elements of movies, “The Matrix meets Inception.”
“I think the new book really appeals to a large audience, because it has so many facets to it,” Dasher told The Sun. “There is extremely advanced technology, virtual reality, gaming, suspense and a twist-filled story. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I can’t wait for people to finally get their hands on it.”
Kathy Dunn, who serves as the agent director for the Random House Speakers Bureau and Children’s Books Publicity, said Dasher already has plans to release the second book in the fall of 2014 and that computer geeks are going to love the main character who is a computer hacker.
“In the story, the virtual world starts to affect the real world and people begin dying,” Dunn said. “The only way authorities are going to be able to find the cyber-terrorist is to use a hacker themselves.”
Dasher said he looks forward to his trip to Naperville this fall.
“Naperville is easily one of my favorite places to visit on book tour, and I always look forward to it,” he said. “Anderson’s Bookshop is fantastic, of course, but I also love the town itself -all those beautiful homes and porches and trees everywhere. It’s a storybook town for a guy who loves stories.”