Two Locals Are Guests of Honor at the State of the Union

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At five years old, Allie Bland ran in the kids Marine Corps marathon in Washington D.C. It was in honor of her marine dad, who died when Allie was just seven months old.

On her return trip home, an idea sparked to spread the kindness her father was remembered for.

“So I decided to put candy inside the little bags with my sentences and then pass them out on the plane,” said Allie.

Now seven, Allie has passed over 5,000 “Little Blessings” throughout the community.

Executive director of Family Shelter Service Judie Caribeaux heard about Allie’s sentences, and quickly added some to the facility’s lobby. Shortly after that, Representative Lauren Underwood came to tour the building and took note.

“She first went to the shelter and found her favorite one, which was ‘shine the light that’s inside of you,’ which is one of my favorites too,” said Allie. “And she was just very touched and so that night we got an email that said would I like to go to the State of the Union and I was like, I was speechless and just very surprised.”

But Allie wasn’t alone in her latest trip to D.C. Caribeaux was coincidentally also asked to be a guest of honor at the address, by Congressman Sean Casten.

“I feel an obligation to represent a voice, a voice of victims and survivors of domestic violence, in a national arena,” said Caribeaux. “And to be able to help those voices be heard. I think so many times marginalized voices are forgotten, particularly when it comes to a government shutdown, which we’ve experienced.”

Caribeaux was especially eager to discuss the importance of the Violence Against Women Act with Congressman Casten.

As for Allie- she left Representative Underwood with a box of over 60 kindness sentences to pass along.

“For anyone who needs them, wants them, and just spread a little kindness in this world,” added Allie.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.