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Fundraiser treats children like royalty

DeKALB – Children will be the guests of honor at a royal-themed fundraiser Friday night hosted by the DeKalb Youth Service Bureau.

The third annual Royal Children’s Ball is designed to make every child who enters feel like a prince or princess, said Jason Nicol, the bureau’s executive director. The event will feature dancing, food, a magician, a royal salon for children to receive fancy hair styles, an arts and crafts area and a royal gauntlet.

“It’s an obstacle course,” Nicol said of the gauntlet. “You go through the obstacles, defeat the dragon and save the princess.”

To top it off, the ball will be at Altgeld Hall at Northern Illinois University – the building that looks like a castle. Families will be able to get group pictures of them with a royal throne, and trumpet players from DeKalb High School will be present.

“They get really excited,” Nicol said. “It’s something for the kids to get dressed up for. We’ll have entire families dressing up in gowns and suits.”

Nicol and his family get in on the act, too. This year, his daughter has a dress for the occasion.

“Last year, I tried to go as a Robin Hood thing. I didn’t pull it off quite well,” Nicol said. “So I am sticking with a suit and tie this year.”

Children are able to participate in raffles with prizes including a family pass to Disney World, and tickets to Chicago Cubs or White Sox games, Nicol said.

The bureau is a nonprofit counseling organization that whose employees work with children and teenagers on a variety of issues, including anger management, drugs and alcohol intervention and helping with teenagers who have run away or been locked out of their homes.

“All of our programs are geared toward early intervention with the idea of keeping kids from getting into more trouble or developing more significant mental health issues,” Nicol said.

Nicol said they sold 365 tickets their first year and 450 tickets their second year. This year, he is estimating that at least 450 tickets are sold.

“Last year it snowed, and we still have over 400 people show up,” Nicol said.

Tickets are available at the bureau’s website,, or by calling it at 815-748-2010. Tickets are $15 a person, but groups of six or more get a discount if they call for tickets, Nicol said.

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