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Ball makes children feel like royalty

DeKALB – There are a lot of charity fundraisers out there. When Youth Service Bureau decided four years ago it needed a new fundraising event, organizers decided to set themselves apart by making children the stars.

“There are golf outings, there are black-tie fundraisers,” executive director Jason Nicol said. “We wanted something that was family friendly and would support our mission to serve youth.”

The result was the Royal Children’s Ball, a gala event held in Altgeld Hall, the “castle” on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Friday will be the fourth annual event.

Since it began in 2011, attendance at the ball has grown from about 360 to more than 500, Nicol said. Children between the ages of 3 and 10 are most likely to enjoy the event, he said.

“I think what makes it such a great and unique event is that it has different activities,” said Lisa Becker of Sycamore, who has attended the ball with her family every year since it began. “If the music is too loud for a kid, or they’re not into dancing, there’s a craft table. Girls can get their hair done. There’s ice cream and finger food. There’s something for every kid to do.”

Becker said her daughter, Lily, 2, most enjoys hitting the dance floor.

“She was born to dance,” she said. “She loves dancing with the other kids and loves that the music literally does not stop.”

Although the royal theme brings out its share of little princesses, Becker said it’s not a girly event. She has seen plenty of boys dressed as knights, princes, even Batman, she said.

The event supports the services offered by Youth Service Bureau, which provides youth and family counseling and other services like parenting classes, court diversion and runaway and lockout services. Becker, a school psychologist with DeKalb School District 428, said the programs are vital to the community.

“They are very much a needed resource in the community, and they provide services to kids in all of DeKalb County,” she said.

Nicol said no one is turned away for an inability to pay, but many of the families who come to YSB are on a sliding-fee scale because they can’t afford the full cost of counseling. Events like the Royal Children’s Ball help to cover the difference, he said.

If You Go

What: Royal Children’s Ball

When: 6-9 p.m. Friday

Where: Altgeld Hall, Northern Illinois University

Information: Tickets are $15 each or $12 each for groups of six or more. Call 815-748-2010 or visit for tickets or more information. A limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

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