Thumbs up: To the 307 Northern Illinois University students who volunteered their time to help tidy up nearby homes as part of Rake Across DeKalb on Nov. 10. The event, in which NIU students help rake leaves at homes where the residents would have difficulty doing so for themselves. Event organizer Destiny McDonald, the assistant director for community service at NIU, said that participation more than doubled from last year. The event shows another way that NIU and the students it brings to the DeKalb community truly are an asset. We thank the students who volunteered their time to help.
Thumbs down: To all the key players in the scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus. The scandal involves Petraeus’ affair with Paula Broadwell, allegations of cyber-stalking made against Broadwell by Florida socialite Jill Kelley, and Kelley trying to use an honorary position to claim “diplomatic protection.”
Then we have an FBI agent who allegedly became obsessed with the case and sent Kelley shirtless photos. And Kelley is alleged to have exchanged flirtatious emails with another Gen. John R. Allen, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan. To add some intrigue, Broadwell has classified material on her computer at home without proper authorization. A soap opera writer couldn’t come up with a better storyline. Unfortunately, this involves real people, many of whom have immense responsibilities tied to our national security and defense. We need to trust that these leaders have sound judgment in the most difficult circumstances, but that’s tough to do at the moment. This is disappointing and we expect better.
Thumbs up: To a win-win situation. Youth Experiencing Success in School is a partnership between Sycamore High School and 10 community service agencies. The in-school component allows agencies like the Youth Service Bureau to reach kids who need services. The out-of-school component engages students with activities to sharpen their life skills, and connects them with agencies they may continue to volunteer with. There also is a component for parent education. The school, agencies, students and parents all benefit from this kind of program.
Thumbs up: To Boy Scouts in DeKalb Troop 33 who are planning to spend their Thanksgiving break helping Superstorm Sandy survivors. They are collecting supplies, such as nonperishable food and toiletries, here in DeKalb County and will take them in a trailer to New Jersey. The troop has participated in similar relief trips for other natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, and we’re glad to see the community and the Scouts are continuing the good work. We expect it will be a meaningful experience for both the boys and the people who receive their help.
Thumbs up: To the members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sycamore and their “faith in action.” The church is hosting three fundraisers this weekend to benefit Katie Meier, a former member of St. John’s. She is in stage two of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and has been through 12 cycles of chemotherapy and 18 days of radiation. She is not covered by her insurance provider and has racked up more than $100,000 in medical bills. A craft show with more than 50 vendors will be at the church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. We wish them much success in their fundraisers.