All Things Local
Summary: We speak with public service researchers and workers across communities about topics and issues affecting their local towns, villages, cities, and neighborhoods. Hear ideas and challenges from people working in local government and nonprofit organizations. Brought to you by the School of Public and Global Affairs at Northern Illinois University. Hosted by Dr. Alicia Schatteman, Associate Professor.
Welcome to Episode number 6 of the All Things Local Podcast, and my second in my new role as acting director of the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies. In this episode, I interview Amanda Christenson the Superintendent of the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education. Although she has an extensive teaching background, you might be surprised at what she really wanted to be when she grew up. Hint, it wasn’t a teacher. She does her work with a social justice lens. The regional office of education does so much behind the scenes for DeKalb County children and I hope you learn as much as I did. We hear about the extent of collaboration with nonprofits and governments to carry out the vision and mission of the ROE. Enjoy the episode!
Welcome to Episode number 5 of the All Things Local Podcast, and my first in my new role as acting director of the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies. In this episode, we learn all about the Egyptian Theatre from its executive director Alex Nerad. The Egyptian supports the quality of life of this region which attracts residents, businesses, and visitors. You might be surprised to know that the Egyptian Theatre has a $2 million direct economic impact every year, thanks to the 40,000 visitors to the theatre and it will turn 90 years old in December. Alex reminds us that the theatre is a community centre, welcoming all generations, from all walks of life. It’s where community conversations happen. Hear about exciting plans ahead with a $4.5 million renovation. Enjoy the episode!
On this episode, I interview Dan Templin from the DeKalb County Community Foundation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Growing up in Peoria, we’ll hear how Dan spent his time at Northern volunteering with local nonprofits and then graduating with a degree in psychology. Eventually administration found him very early in his career, first at the Dekalb County Youth Service Bureau when he became an executive director at just 26, and then he jumped at the chance to get involved in the nonprofit sector more broadly by moving to the DeKalb County Community Foundation. He truly loves working in what he calls the field of generosity.
In this episode, number 3 of the All Things Local podcast, I speak with Dan Kenney, Founder and Executive Director of the DeKalb County Community Gardens https://www.dekalbgardens.org. We hear about his childhood experiences growing up in a farming family, his passion for social justice sparked by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King in the 1960s, and how he sees access to food as a social justice issue. We learn how government, nonprofits and individuals have come together to address issues in the Annie Glidden North Neighborhood in DeKalb through community engagement. Dan challenges all of us to see people for people, not others, not them and us. He truly believes in service to others. I know you’ll enjoy this episode!
Welcome to episode number 2 of the All Things Local Podcast. On this episode, I speak with Deanna Cada from the DeKalb County Mental Health Board. We learn about what the mental health board actually does in our community to improve access to mental health services and the overall quality of life for all residents. Hear about the new Mental Health Court, mental health first aid, and how the mental health board responds during a disaster such as the tornado in Fairdale. Deanna offers tips to those studying or working in local government. She shares memorable stories that affected her own commitment to public service and she even shares lessons from her first job at Dunkin Donuts, reminding us how important relationships are as well as the importance of looking at any situation from multiple perspectives.
On this first episode, I am joined by Paul LaLonde, Vice President of Operations and Human Resources for the Voluntary Action Center. Paul graduated with an MPA from Northern Illinois University in 2009. He discussed his career path in public service, as well as his organization’s role in providing public transportation across five counties in Northern Illinois. Paul notes that transit "is a perfect example of governance in action" as VAC works with all levels of government.