Kindness throughout Naperville celebrated by KidsMatter, Collaborative Youth Team

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It was a week of surprises around Naperville, as local groups celebrated those in the community who make their kindness count.

“I was just so shocked, I mean I wasn’t expecting it, so it was such a wonderful surprise, it took me definitely a few seconds to even recognize what was going on,” said Marion Ruthig. “It feels amazing to be recognized about spreading kindness and sharing that out into the community.”

Make Kindness Count initiative

Ruthig was one of 11 community members and groups to receive recognition last week from KidsMatter and the Collaborative Youth Team’s Make Kindness Count initiative. Residents nominated people who they believed spread kindness to those around them, and award recipients were chosen by the Collaborative Youth Team.

Those honored included a Naperville police officer, the Neuqua Valley High School Chess Club, and even Prairie Elementary School fourth-graders.

“It’s been really fun this past week,” said CEO and Executive Director of KidsMatter Nina Menis. “We’ve been able to recognize a few people in the community, and they’re really surprised and appreciative of people recognizing the work they’re doing.”

Ruthig is the Founder and Executive Director of Inside Out Club, a nonprofit organization that helps kids build good character, addresses social causes, and supports local charities.

She founded the group back in 2012 after a transformational experience.

“I was at a networking breakfast, working actually as a full-time CPA,” said Ruthig. “I saw a video of Hesed House and it just brought tears to my eyes. When I left, I used to describe to people this vision I had of a Netflix of nonprofits.”

Over the past decade, the Inside Out Club has helped thousands of kids in Naperville and the surrounding areas.

Menis was glad her group honored Ruthig and called her an “outstanding mentor.”

“She really exemplifies kindness,” said Menis. “Anybody who knows Marion will say what a kind person she is because of the work that she does with young people in our communities.”

For Ruthig, she was honored to be recognized and hopes her work can create more kindness “ripples” in the community.

“With the work that I do at the Inside Out Club to empower kids to be kind `, I really just feel like the world could use a lot more kindness,” said Ruthig. “The more we can have people lead by example, the more likely we’re going to have a better future.”

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