Meet Alderman Bugg
Alderman Edward Bugg has a fond connection to the Aurora Public Library District and other organizations in Aurora that help foster reading and a lifelong love of books.
A resident of Aurora for the past 20 years, Mr. Bugg ran for office in 2013 and has been the Alderman of Ward 9 in Aurora for the past nine years. He said is ward was recently ranked #1 for top-rated schools and affordable housing and it was voted the number one location for millennials to move to in 2022.
Alderman Bugg has always been a fan of the APLD Library. Many years ago, when his children were small, the Library hosted a contest to see who could visit the Bookmobile the most during the summer. The Alderman and his children won the contest and had a pizza party on the Bookmobile for friends and family.
Today, the Alderman still supports the library through his patronage, participation and sponsorships, and has made connections with other groups that foster literary pursuits. One such group is Dream Scribers whose founder is a member of the Allderman’s ward.
Dream Scribers and Natalie Bonner
Dream Scribers is an initiative that helps both youth and incarcerated individuals become published authors. It is part of the nonprofit group, The Talented Tenth, founded by Natalie Bonner.
The Alderman met Natalie when she was speaking about the book program at a Kiwanis meeting and wanted to help share her story and the mission of her foundation.
Natalie grew up on Aurora’s west side, where her grandfather ran a church for over 70 years. Bonner Avenue is named after him for his work as a pastor.
After graduating from West Aurora high School, she attended college at SIU-Carbondale and earned her degree in economics. While there, Natalie co-founded the Black Women’s Task Force in 2004 and gained valuable experience in the nonprofit world.
After college, she became a life and health insurance representative working in St. Louis and East St. Louis where she noticed a need for education and “uplifting” within the community.
After working in financial services for a number of years, Natalie started the Talented Tenth Social Services- so named for the quote by W. E. B. Du Bois, “10% of the African population would be afforded opportunity and in turn would be responsible for uplifting the other 90 percent.”
“What I took from Du Bois was that, when you are presented with opportunities that you take, you are responsible for sharing that opportunity, that education, with others,” she said. Her organization has created many initiatives including the Neighbor’s Closet which provides clothing at no cost to her clients, they provide support for college students in the form of electronics and household goods, they offer job training, senior programing and veteran support to name a few areas where they help.
The Dream Scribers idea began with Natalie and her partner, Toccara Steele. The program assists youth ages 5 to 18 in the writing, illustrating, and publishing of a book in just 12 weeks. Her program includes a workbook, a notebook, weekly virtual meetings, and individual meetings to guide the youth in completing their books. They get the books edited and published by Amazon. Natalie said the program extends to individuals who have been incarcerated at Kane County as well.
The children’s published works cover a range of genres including poetry, fiction, action, and often delve into serious issues about mental health, grief and pain. The stories written by detainees cover topics like gangs and drugs, urban stories and poetry.
“One of the detainees wrote a cookbook geared at cooking for the commissary in the prison,” she said.
The Aurora Public Library District hosted a book signing in August for the young authors who have produced books through the program to highlight and encourage the work they have accomplished.
Talented Tenths Social Services is located at 213 N Lake Street in Aurora and is donor-funded. You can learn more about their organization at talentedtenthss.org.