Editor's Notebook: 'Nothing better than random acts of kindness'

By KATHY BALCAZAR - kbalcazar@shawmedia.com Published: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 3:05 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 3:19 p.m. CDT

"An Evening of Random Acts" on Sept. 10 netted about $30,000 for the Random Acts Matter organization in St. Charles.

RAM raises funds to help provide random acts of compassion and care on a referral basis. The group was founded by Jim Di Ciaula.

I was one of about 75 volunteers who assisted with the event. I was a celebrity bartender along with St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina; Rob Mondi of Abby’s Breakfast and Lunch; Paul Lencioni, president and general manager of Blue Goose Market; Gloria Kelley, executive director of CASA Kane County; Joe Schuldt, bartender at Rox City Grill; and Marlaine Smith, manager of Jeans & a Cute Top Shop in St. Charles and Mrs. Northern Illinois.

We were honored to serve beer and wine to guests during "An Evening of Random Acts," which was a sold-out event.

"There's nothing better than random acts of kindness," Marlaine said. "You can just change someone's world by doing something nice for them."

West Chicago resident Christine Welch, founding officer of Simply Baked, was a guest at the event. Her company has donated gluten-free treats to middle schools through RAM.

"It's so good that Jim and other people are looking for ways to bring community and people together so there's less disparity," she said.

Joe noted to me that he knew a lot of people in the crowd during "An Evening of Random Acts," and he said they represented a good cross section of St. Charles.

Jim echoed those thoughts.

" ... We had representation from government, [civic] agencies, businesses, other nonprofits and individuals in our community," he commented. "It really was a representative fabric of our community, and RAM's vision is all about community helping community. It begins and ends with community, and that is what [the] night was all about."

To learn more about RAM, visit www.randomactsmatter.com. To view a video of Jim speaking at the event, visit www.kcchronicle.com/video. And to view photos from the event, visit janetthompson.zenfolio.com/91017.

Watchdog event

The Northern Illinois Newspaper Association, the Northern Illinois University Department of Communication and the Better Government Association are co-hosting an event from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 21.

"How to Be a Better Watchdog: FOIA and Your Rights" will take place in the Cole 100 auditorium on NIU's main campus in DeKalb.

Speakers will include Matt Topic, an attorney at Loevy & Loevy in Chicago and the outside general counsel for the BGA, and Annum Haider, a civic engagement and research analyst at the BGA.

"BGA watchdog training teaches you how to keep an eye on government and find out what’s happening in your community," states the BGA website. "In this training, experts will help you understand government, the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act."

The event is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is required.

For more information, visit www.bettergov.org/events, call 815-753-7009 or email jakst@niu.edu.

Kathy Balcazar is weekly group editor for the Kane County Chronicle, Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove Herald and Suburban Life Media, and is a member of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Board. Contact her at kbalcazar@shawmedia.com or 630-845-5368. Learn more about NINA at ninaonline.org.