Allie Bland, Naperville 7-year-old girl, to be guest at State of the Union address

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A 7-year-old Naperville girl will be in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night to be a guest of honor for President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.

Second-grader Allie Bland will be one of two congressional guests that will be helping raise awareness about the impact of the government shutdown.

On Monday, she read from a stack of inspiration sentences she wrote while sitting at her kitchen table.

"One of our favorites is: I keep you in my heart where you won't get lost," Allie said.

Allie Bland

Allie Bland



Allie has a heart for the hurting. Her father Jeff, a Marine pilot, died in a training accident when she was six-months-old. Her big heart has given her an even bigger opportunity.

"I get to go to the president speech which is like a big deal and lots of other fun things, meet important people," she said.

She now shares what are called Allie's Little Blessings notes of kindness and encouragement that she gives away to parents and children who turn to the DuPage County Family Shelter Service for help.

"And they all had different messages but I picked this one," said Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, D-14th District, who was touched by the notes after visiting the shelter. She then invited Allie to be her guest at the State of the Union.

"I've never met Allie or her mother, I'm looking forward to meeting them tomorrow but I think that this is a great reminder that we all can do our part," Underwood said.

Allie Bland

Allie Bland



The shelter also caught the attention of freshman Congressman Sean Casten, a Democrat who represents the 6th District, who had invited the executive director to be his guest.

"It was actually kind of this, am I hearing this right? Very shocked and surprised," said Judie Caribeaux, executive director of Family Shelter Service.

Casten had visited the facility during the campaign and later learned that the government shutdown had frozen the hiring of three advocate positions while federal funding was in question.

"So what that means for us is were not able to have the kind of capacity that we need to be able to deliver services," Caribeaux said.

"If I can help lend a voice to people like Judie and the victims of domestic violence, and help them get the resources that they need, then hopefully I'm doing my job," said Rep. Sean Casten, D-6th District.

The shelter is thankful for the increased awareness about domestic violence.

As for Allie, she has a sentence prepared for her visit to Washington: "Everybody wins when they work together."
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