It’s not a very big manual, actually only 64 pages, but it contains lots of information and a lot of heart. The manual describes the work and effort put forth by the North Riverside program known as the Mayor’s Committee of Neighborhood Services and the cover reads “Neighbors All: Creating Community One Block at a Time.”

The idea for the program was originally brought to the attention of former North Riverside Mayor Richard Scheck by the late Gary Wilt, a village resident former Riverside Township Supervisor. North Riverside resident Carol Spale came on board as the organizer and program coordinator.

The committee was formally established in 1992, and its number of volunteers has increased over the years. Support for the committee has increased in the village through current Mayor Ken Krochmal, the board of trustees, Village Administrator Guy Belmonte and Recreation Director Sue Frampton.

The Neighborhood Services manual includes the names of past, present and deceased persons who have served as block captains, how the program is structured and the kinds of services it provides – basically, it’s responding “to residents who need assistance but don’t know where to go.”

At the heart of the program are its “four points”: Be the First to Reach Out; Reach Out to Everyone; Be One with People: Be Concrete in Caring.

The committee meets every four months with the mayor, village board and department heads to discuss various happenings and informational programs of interest to the village.

It was the last meeting to which I was graciously invited by Carol Spale. At the meeting I listened to Dr. Kevin Skinkis, incoming superintendent of Riverside Brookfield High School.

Mayor Krochmal also presented the 2010 Richard N. Scheck Angel Award to James Votava – member of the committee, former mayor, and longtime member of the village board. A well-deserving recipient, Votava was emotionally moved.

Over 100 people help make the program work, and at least 75 were in attendance at the last meeting. This particular program can be an example for others interested in implementing a similar program or neighborhood watch program. For more information about it, contact Sue Frampton or Carol Spale at the village of North Riverside 708 442-5515 or the village website www.northriverside-il.org.

Remember no matter where you live you can be a good neighbor and earn your wings, there are plenty “angels” among us.