Club Information
Welcome to our Club!
Skokie Valley


We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
Alternating in-person and virtual
Various locations, see below
Skokie, IL 60077
United States of America
Home Page Stories
The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley is alternating between in-person and virtual meetings.  
The schedule is as follows:
May 10 - Via Zoom
May 17 - Hybrid - via Zoom and in-person at the Skokie Public Library
May 24 - Hybrid - via Zoom and in-person at the Skokie Public Library
May 31 - No meeting
Click Here to view the schedule of program speakers.
All club members will receive a weekly Zoom link via email on Sunday night. Visiting Rotarians and guests who wish to attend a virtual meeting should contact Club Secretary, John Jekot at JOHN@GMPD.ORG to receive a link.
Club members, Click Here to view the schedule for securing a speaker. If you are having trouble finding a speaker contact Michelle Tuft at
Dr. Steven Le Vine from Northshore Hospitals spoke to the club regarding the recent merger with Swedish Covenant in Chicago and with Edwards Elmhurst. 
Trisha Breitlow, the Executive Director of the Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation (M-NASR) discussed the agency and how it provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children and adults with disabilities who live in the member-district communities. Member Park Districts are: Des Plaines, Golf-Maine, Morton Grove, Niles, Park Ridge, Skokie, and Lincolnwood. M-NASR is one of several special recreation associations (SRAs), which are unique to the state of Illinois. SRAs are formed when two or more units of local government combine to form a cooperative which then provides recreational services to individuals with disabilities within that jurisdiction. M-NASR was the second SRA formed and is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year. Trisha will be discussing the programs, services and opportunities M-NASR provides for individuals with disabilities.  
Dawna Leggett with True Rest Float Spa discussed her new business in Skokie and the benefits of float therapy that allows the mind and body to let go, relax, and reset. She discussed the history of float therapy which started with inventor John C. Lilly in the 1950's. John C. Lilly was an inventor who studied sensory deprivation and isolation tanks. The three essential elements of float therapy are Epsom salt, weightlessness and meditation. Benefits of floating include increased blood circulation, pain management, and improved mental health. Stress reduction, increased creativity, and improved sleep quality are also benefits. 
A representative from Highpoint at 8000 North, the new luxury rental building in downtown Skokie addressed the club. 

Skokie Community Foundation

Jim Szczepaniak, the Executive Director of the Skokie Community Foundation discussed the foundation and the work they do in the community. 

Jim Szczepaniak became Executive Director of the Skokie Community Foundation in September 2021. He was a member of the original steering committee of the Skokie Community Fund in 2014 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since that time. He served Niles Township High School District 219 as Director of Strategic Partnerships & Community Relations from 2006 until his retirement in June 2021. He has been part of the Skokie and Niles Township community since 1985, when he started as a reporter for Pioneer Press, covering Skokie. He was also Public Information Officer for the Village of Skokie from 1988 to 1996. Between his public sector stints at the Village of Skokie and D219, Jim was Public Affairs Director for Ameritech New Media/SBC. Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Studies from Northwestern University and a Master’s in Written Communication from National-Louis University.

Lexi Silvers, the Individual Giving Manager at Keshet discussed Keshet which is a one-of-a-kind organization that brings classroom experiences, camps, sports, social and vocational activities, and residential opportunities to 600 people with disabilities and special needs each year.
Skokie Public Library Employee Katrina Belogorksy spoke about the program being offered through the library using the Skokie Valley Rotary grant. The program is called ELL Literacy Circle which helps students improve their English language skills. Books are chosen to help introduce students to various topics. The program also focuses on how to complete basic transactions in the participant's daily lives. She discussed how students become more confident in their English speaking skills and how they progress through the program. 
This week's speaker was Tony Araque, the Niles Township Food Pantry Manager
Niles Township Food Pantry
Tony discussed what the food pantry does and how it helps the community. He provided information on how the food pantry's holiday giveaways went and shared statistics on the number of people served over the holidays.
December 7, 2021 Speaker was DGN Mary Bak
DGN Mary Bak spoke to the club on the District 6440 Strategic Plan.
Diane introduced Mary who received her B.A. degree from Loyola University, Chicago, and her J.D. from DePaul University. She retired from the Village of Glenview in December 2013 as Director of Community Development/Special Counsel. Significant projects in Glenview during her 28-year tenure include the planning and oversight of the redevelopment of the former Glenview Naval Air Station (The Glen), oversight of two Comprehensive Plans and multiple Corridor studies and downtown planning efforts, and the re-codification of the Municipal Code.
Mary Bak presented the goals of our District Leadership’s Strategic Plan. Our Leadership Team is: PDG Lyle Staab, DG Kevin Stevens, DGE Bill Kmiecik, DGN Mary Bak (who will be DG 2023-2024), and DGND Thor Davidson follows her in the leadership line.
Membership: increase by 10%. We have had decreases in membership during COVID and are slightly less than 2,000 members in District 6440.
Service: the lifeblood of clubs
Education: Mary explained that she showed President Diane Krier-Morrow how to navigate ClubRunner and that Linda Borton is the Training person in our district. – we should invite Linda to do a program for us.
Fellowship/Friendship: we provide social events for the four months with 5th Tuesdays.
Stewardship and Grants: Rotary scores high on the Charity Navigator with one of the best Foundations in the World. Members give to the Paul Harris Society $1,000 per year and are recognized as Major Donors when they give $10,000. The Bereavement Society can be joined by willing $1000 in your wills. The new Polio Plus Society can be joined as a charter member giving $100 payable to The Rotary Foundation through your clubs. Funds donated to the Annual Fund are returned after investing for 3 years as District Designated Funds (DDF) to match with club cash contributions for District and Global Grants.
Governance: Learn to use social media (Facebook, Instagram) and clubs share best practices.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion: Clubs are encouraged to develop a DEI statement for their clubs. Our club would like our membership to better reflect the DEI of Skokie Valley (Skokie, Niles, Lincolnwood and Morton Grove).
This is the link to Mary Bak's PowerPoint Presentation: 

The speaker on November 16 was Brad Cohen CMO, Aspiritch.

Brad spoke about Aspiritech, a world-class QA testing company that empowers individuals on the autism spectrum to fulfill their potential through meaningful employment combined with social opportunity.

After 30 years as a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and 10 years serving in the Board of Directors at Aspiritech, Brad proudly joined the company to build the client base and help Aspiritech grow its employment mission.

Brad is also the managing partner of Snippets Mini Cuts, a small chain of kid’s hair salons since 1999, and Surfside Palmas Resorts, a rental management company in Puerto Rico since 2015. He also has served on several educational boards including District 112 Foundation and is a Trustee of the Palmas Academy.

The speaker on November 2, 2021 was Maureen “Moe” Yanes.

Moe is one of the top producing travel advisors with the Travel 100 Group in Northfield Illinois – a successful high end travel agency. Moe will discussed the state of travel at this point in the pandemic

Moe is a transplanted Jersey girl who moved to Skokie in 1962. Moe attended Devonshire Elementary (6th grade), Old Orchard Junior High (class of ’65), and Niles North High School (class of ’69). Moe went on to college at NIU and finished at Northeastern University with a BA in history.

Moe has worked in the travel industry since 1987. Her client base blossomed thru the years, especially after picking up the Chicago Chapter of the Electrical Contractors Association (1991) and Steppenwolf Theater (1999). Moe has survived  many challenges to the travel industry: the airlines eliminating commissions, 9/11, the market tanking, the internet, and the Pandemic.

Moe has traveled to a good deal of the world-----sometimes leading groups on luxury cruises. Moe’s most memorable trips have been to the Baltic countries, Machu Picchu, the Peruvian Amazon, and Petra in Jordan. She is involved in the travel industry and has developed many relationships with hoteliers, cruise reps, and tour operators. Moe has received various accolades in the industry. In 2013, Moe was awarded the Island Destinations Rising Star Award. In 2019, Moe was one of the 25 “North American Travel Advisors of the Year” with the Grand Velas Hotel Brand. 

Moe has been married to Howard Yanes for almost 50 years. They moved their family of four to Skokie in 1987. Moe has consistently given back to her community.  PTA President at DeWitt Clinton School, Temple Judea Mizpah Membership Vice President, Skokie Park District Board Commissioner, Rush Hospital SAME Committee Board Member, Skokie Human Relations, Commission, Skokie Village IPLAN Committee, and Niles Township Coming Together Committee.

The Skokie Valley Rotary Club held their monthly board meeting at the October 26 lunch meeting. 
Tim Evans with the Northlight Theatres shared information regarding the plans to relocate the theatre from Skokie to downtown Evanston. Tim shared renderings and plans for the new space. 
Matt MacKellar, the Community Engagement Supervisor for the Skokie Public Library oversees the bookmobile and neighborhood engagement. Matt discussed the bookmobile service and other projects he’s working on to engage the Skokie community.
This week's speakers were Club Members Laurie Flanagan and Bonnie Kahn Ognisanti. Two of the newest Skokie Valley Rotary Club members gave their classification talks. Laurie and Bonnie addressed the club sharing a little bit about themselves both personally and professionally. 
District 6440 Governor Kevin Stevens addressed the club at the 10:30 a.m. board meeting and at the regular meeting from Noon-1:15 p.m. Kevin covered many topics including his goals. 

Kevin is a former President, Treasurer, and Foundation Chair of the Rotary Club of North Chicago. Kevin is a member of the Paul Harris Society and has worked with District 6440 in various capacities. He was District 6440 Veteran Affairs Liaison, having been a US Navy Seabees for 10 years and was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom of 2006. Kevin is President of Real Capital Partners and earned his BA in Economics from Beloit College. He resides in Antioch with his wife Alisa, their children Christian and Victoria, and their German Shepherd Maximus.  
Michael Gelder represents the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group and spoke about a healthcare policy update. Mike has been a Village of Skokie Trustee, Deputy Director for the Illinois Department on Aging, and Chief Healthcare Policy Advisor to Governor Patrick Quinn. He currently serves as a Board Director for Health and Medicine, faculty for the University of Illinois Chicago, and involvement with numerous other organizations.  
This week Chalet Nursery's Chief of Staff, Sandy Van Den Avont and Maddy Dubelko spoke to the club. Maddy has her Master’s Degree in Horticulture from Michigan State. She is a member of Chalet's Leadership Program where she takes on projects/assignments for up to eight weeks at a time in different areas of the business, across Chalet's three campuses, that need her expertise the most. 
They shared a PowerPoint presentation, and Maddy answered numerous club member questions regarding powdery mildew, bottom blossom rot, grub removal, fertilizer, planter materials and more. Everyone's questions were answered! 
Kim Biederman is the new Niles Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. Kim spoke to the club about the Niles Chamber of Commerce and all that they do for the Niles community.
With over 15 years of nonprofit management experience, Kim formally served as Executive Director for the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC), one of the nation’s largest independent public relations membership associations. Prior to joining PCC, Kim was the Executive Director for the Chicago Area Public Affairs Group (CAPAG) and the administrator for Chicago Women in Government Relations (CWGR). Kim provided key association support services to the organizations including membership and recruitment, corporate sponsorship, board/committee management, budget and meeting/event planning.

From 1995 to 2006, Kim was the Operation Manager for American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) where she managed a 45,000 square foot multi-tenant office facility and budget of $2 million. She served prior to that as the chief event planner of their annual conferences ranging in size from 1000 to 6000 attendees.

Kim started her career working for Congressman Sidney Yates and the U.S. Department Health and Human Services in Washington D.C.

Kim served the Village of Niles as a Trustee where she started the Niles Teen Center and chaired the Milwaukee Avenue Redevelopment Committee. She was on the Planning and Zoning Board prior to becoming Trustee.
Kim holds a Masters of Public Administration from University of Illinois – Chicago, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Sociology from Illinois State University.
This week's speakers were both recipients of Skokie Valley Rotary grants. The Mitchell Museum and Metropolitan Family Services both spoke about their organizations and how the grant funds will be used. 
This week's speaker was JoAnne Klempf from the Skokie Concert Choir. The Skokie Concert Choir is a Skokie Valley Rotary grant recipient. Joanne shared with the club how the grant funds will be used, to purchase singing masks for the choir of approximately 40-60. The Choir has been conducting practice via Zoom and is looking forward to meeting in person in October. The organization performs two concerts annually, but has reduced that number to one concert due to COVID. JoAnne thanked the club for their support.  

At the August 3, 2021 meeting, two grant recipients addressed the club.

Club Member Jennifer Sultz from Turning Point talked about the organization and how they will use the grant funds.

Michael Pauken, General Manager, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts discussed his organization and how it will use the grant funds. 

On July 27, 2021 Susan Van Dusen addressed the club regarding her new book, The Missing Hand, the first in a series of mystery cozies on the Jewish Holidays.
Susan has been a teacher in Chicago and Jerusalem, editorial director of WBBM Radio, magazine and newspaper writer. Author of four children’s books, three on the history of Skokie, and is a founder of “Coming Together in Skokie,” a project to bring diverse cultures together. She has lived in the Village of Skokie for 35 years with her husband George, her sons Danny, and David, his wife Diana, and their two perfect grandchildren, Anthony and Zoe. Her hobbies are playing the dulcimer, reading, and performing onstage.
Grant recipients, Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center and The Ark attended this week's meeting via Zoom. Brigit Dunne from Zacharias Center and Phyllis Nutkis from The Ark addressed the club. They discussed the mission of their organizations and how the grant funds awarded by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley will be used. 
Grant Recipient IMD Guest House's Executive Director, Adam Helman addressed the club. He explained IMD House's mission and how the grant funds they received from Rotary will be used. 
Dick Witry spoke to the Club for its first meeting of the 2021-2022 Rotary year, via Zoom. Dick spoke about the importance of writing our 82-year old story of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley. He mentioned that senior member, Neil King, attended the charter dinner on 11.16.1939 with his father. Neil has been an active Rotarian for 66 years with perfect attendance.
Richard J. Witry is a life-long Skokian who attended St. Peter's Grammar School. Dick and his wife Pat were very active in the Skokie Historical Society. He has written a history book on Skokie as well as the anniversary book of the Luxembourg Brotherhood of America that can be found in the reference section of the Skokie Library. He is a member of the LBA, Section 15 and had been President and Director of Luxembourg News from 2000-present. Dick was a past-elected official of the Skokie Park District as well as the Board of Trustees. He is a retired lawyer, avid golfer and gardener.
On June 22 the club held a club assembly. Board members updated the membership on many topics and the revised bylaws were approved!
Club member Howard Frank, a skilled photographer, showed pictures from a trip he took to Ecuador and the Amazon. He entitled the presentation, "join me on a trip to Ecuador and the Amazon."
Ann Tennes, Village of Skokie Marketing Manager spoke to the club about the Workforce Training program in Skokie that is cosponsored by the Village Office of Human Services and Oakton Community College. The program assists residents who are unemployed or underemployed by helping them enroll in a certificate program at Oakton Community College, enabling them to earn a credential that will help them secure a job. The program has received startup funding from the Skokie Community Foundation and the District 219 Educational Foundation.
On May 18. 2021, Susan Trieschmann, who founded Curt’s Café a food service program for youth at risk in Evanston and Highland Park spoke about Curt's Cafe, a non-profit open cafe concept workforce training program for at-risk young men and women. Curt's Cafe pivoted during the pandemic and served their students as their trauma was increasing, alongside of all of ours. Suan will shared what they  learned in the past year along with what changes they made to not only serve students in the best way possible, but to serve all underserved communities.

Once the young boys and girls have a record or come to the attention of the police, they are forced to live on the street. They can't live with their family in federally subsidized housing if they have a record. The Evanston Police helps identify those in the greatest need. Curt's Cafe helps teach them food service, enroll them in schools, and eventually obtain their GED's. Curt's also provides food whenever needed and helps them find jobs.

This week's speaker was Wendy Serrino, Chairman of the Board North Shore Exchange. Wendy spoke to the club about the North Shore Exchange which is an upscale consignment shop in Old Orchard Mall (and other locations) that donates their profits to charity. They also sell merchandise online and can be found at
We were pleased to welcome D219 Special Education Teacher Aby Karottu and Employment Specialist/DRS Yvette Stroesser-Schmidt who shared with club members the purpose of D219's Bridges Program and the skills and instructions provided to young adult students through this program.
In conjunction with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990, District 219 Bridges Transition Services is committed to providing students with a community-based, functional, real world curriculum. The focus of the program is to enhance students' life and vocational skills. Our goal is to prepare our students with disabilities to “live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society, pursue meaningful careers, and enjoy full the mainstream of American society.” 
District 219's Bridges Adult Transition Services serve adult learners aged 18 through the day before their 22nd birthday. Transition Services operate between the hours of 9:00-2:00 pm. These students have met District 219 graduation requirements and are preparing to be contributing members of the community. Services are structured to enhance skills for young adults needing Community-Based Instruction in the domains of independent living, personal management, recreation and leisure, and vocational training. Services foster a cooperative relationship among staff, students, families, colleges/schools, community organizations, local businesses, adult agencies, and service providers in order to help support the adult learners transitioning away from the high school setting.
Employability skills are taught through community-based work experiences, such as internships, apprenticeships, and other on-the-job training experiences, providing increased opportunities for students to develop problem solving skills addressing a variety of situations within a workplace environment.
Vocational training is also taught through community-based work experiences, such as volunteering and on-the-job training experiences, provide increased opportunities for students to learn a specific job, task, or skill at an integrated employment site, and to transfer the knowledge gained to real-time work experiences.
If you are interested in learning more about District 219's Bridges Adult Transition Services ( or are interested in partnering to provide a community-based work experience, please reach out directly to Yvette (847-626-3619, or Aby (847-626-3607,

Colleen Burns, State Engagement and Innovation Lead for the Greater Chicago Food Depository spoke to the club on April 20. Colleen spoke about the Illinois Commission to End Hunger's recently released From Food Insecurity to Food Equity: A Roadmap to End Hunger, an action plan to make meaningful progress against hunger by better connecting people to food programs and promoting equitable access to food.

The Commission to End Hunger is a public-private partnership composed of stakeholders from across the state dedicated to the belief that no one in Illinois should ever face hunger.

Julie Aubry is the Club President of the provisional Evanston Nouveau Rotary Club and a member of the Rotary LGBT fellowship. Julie has worked for Rotary International for almost nine years and is the Regional Membership Officer supporting Rotary leaders in Western United States, Hawaii, and Canada. She works with membership resources and data, outreach and engagement strategies, improving the club experience, and developing new clubs. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Dominican University, has a background working in theatre and design, and has been a resident of Evanston for four years.
Evanston Nouveau Rotary is an energetic, creative, diverse, and family-friendly club offering opportunities for members — and those interested in making a difference — to get involved. They host fun, casual socials and meetings twice a month which are currently online due to covid-19. Unlike some clubs, they don't have a speaker unless the topic aligns with a project they're working on or want to know more about. Recent service has been focused on the environment, voter and election support, and those experiencing home and food insecurity. They have also teamed up with the other Evanston Rotary clubs to make club experiences more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. They are aiming to charter by early June 2021. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram or join them at a future meeting or event!
This week Lori Lippitz, the founder and manager of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, which has toured the US and Europe and recorded six CDs, spoke to the club.
After studying Slavic Languages and Literature at the Universities of Michigan and Chicago, Lori devoted herself to restoring the “joy of klez” to the Chicago Jewish community. Under the auspices of the Klezmer Music Foundation, Lori started the Junior Klezmer Orchestra, mentoring young people in klezmer music and Yiddish songs. Among her other current Klezmer Music Foundation projects, she manages three congregational klezmer bands as well as the Salaam-Shalom Music Project, an interfaith orchestra combining members of Maxwell Street and members of the Chicago Muslim musical community. Lori also serves as a Cantorial Soloist at several congregations including the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (Evanston and Ahavat Olam (Glenview). 
History of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band 
Founded in 1983 by Lori Lippitz, Maxwell Street has played at Carnegie Hall, toured Europe, and provided the celebratory soundtrack for Chicagoland’s simchas (Jewish parties) for almost 4 decades. The band marked its 30th “Bandiversary” at The Old Town School of Folk Music in 2013, and will return there for its 40th Anniversary Concert in 2023. The band was featured with The Lyric Opera of Chicago in the world’s first klezmer opera, and performed with Chicago Sinfonietta in a classical klezmer composition created for violinist Alex Koffman (“Klezmer Rhapsody” by Ilya Levinson) at Chicago’s Symphony Center.   
Maxwell Street has five commercial CDs (Shanachie Entertainment). As part of their grassroots mission through their not for profit (Klezmer Music Foundation), Maxwell Street directs three community klezmer bands and the Junior Klezmer Orchestra. They are also the founder of the interfaith ensemble, The Salaam-Shalom Music Project.   
The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band preserves and innovates the traditional performance style of Eastern European immigrant musicians. The band's violinist and musical director, Alex Koffman, and co-founder, clarinetist/saxophonist Shelley Yoelin, meld their classical and jazz sensibilities into a unique sound that pleases audiences of all ages. 
Links below are a few video clips of the different groups from the Klezmer Music Foundation:
An original Klezmer Recording: 
Maxwell Street Klezmer Band:   
Junior Klezmer Orchestra:
Salaam-Shalom Music Project:   
This week the club held a Club Assembly that was primarily focused on reviewing and revising the chapter bylaws. Discussion and input was fruitful.
Corrie Guynn, Superintendent of Parks at the Skokie Park District discussed the Parks Department, providing information regarding the park system throughout Skokie. Corrie gave a general overview of the properties that the District maintains, information on amenities the District offers, and some fun stats. He also described programs run out of the Parks Department and covered some of the exciting projects planned for this summer.
Anna Stack from Impact Behavioral Health Partners spoke about their organization and their collaboration with Turning Point. Their mission is to develop and champion opportunities for people with serious mental illness by providing comprehensive services in housing, employment, and clinical support so that each person can live as independently as possible.​
2011-present: CEO, Monarch Health Services, dba BetterCare Home Health, Des Plaines, IL, dba Inswan Home Health, Des Plaines, IL
Marv is an experienced CEO having begun in Chicago in 1989 as an IT consulting engineer for Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police department. Marvin acquired better Care in 2010 and has successfully operated as CEO since then.
BetterCare manages patients all over Chicagoland as a preferred provider for Cook County Hospital and Health Services. BCHH also provides home health skilled care for several other Managed Care Organizations in Chicago. Inswan is a Medicare Certified Home Health provider in the Chicagoland area.
Marvin also serves as a general partner of JS Partners, a consulting firm in IL. Sam Smith also is a general partner. They consult in the US National Home Health, Hospice and Home Care industry regarding Electronic Medical Records and Remote Patient Management, as well as Revenue Cycle Management issues.
Marvin Javellano, CEO Monarch Health Services spoke to the club regarding The Current State of Chicagoland Healthcare”
Marvin provided an overview on the "Current State of Operations in 1st Quarter 2021 - Chicagoland Healthcare from a Post-acute Perspective." Marvin will presented an interesting ground level view of how CCHHS and other MCO's are approaching the pandemic and the ongoing challenge of providing skilled nursing and therapy services through home healthcare.
Club Member Max Slankard, Village of Skokie Director of Public Works discussed snow removal in the Village. Max covered plowing, sidewalk plowing, alley plowing, salting and alternate parking. He also reviewed which major roadways in Skokie are owned and maintained by what public entities.
Club member Joe Roznai spoke to the club on February 16, 2021 regarding IDES Fraud. Joe explained that in recent weeks, Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has experienced unprecedented levels of fraudulent benefit claims. Joe discussed what to do if you suspect your personal data was used to file a fraudulent, and how to spot such fraud. He also explained how you can create an online account with IRS and obtain an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) to secure your income tax account from fraudulent tax filings. Creating an online account with IRS will also enable you to review your account activity, make online tax payments, and download transcripts of your previous tax filings. Finally Joe discussed details relating to 2020 income tax filings and the new 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, and how it relates to the recent economic stimulus payments round one and two.
Here is a link to the detailed article regarding fraud:

The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley welcomes our January 26, 2021 Speaker, Beatrice Alleyne, President, Evanston Toastmasters. 
Rotary and Toastmasters are working together to offer their members more opportunities for personal and professional growth. As part of the strategic alliance, Rotarians and Rotaractors can now enhance their communication and leadership skills by taking online courses developed by Toastmasters International. Similar to the Pathways experience for Toastmasters members, these courses, housed in Rotary’s Learning Center, offer an online component, as well as speech and other assignments to practice the concepts learned, and peer evaluations.
At the same time, Toastmasters members have new opportunities to network locally and put their skills to use by speaking to new audiences, helping others find their voice, and participating in humanitarian work across the globe alongside Rotarians and Rotaractors. All over the world, we’re seeing examples of clubs and districts collaborating in different ways.
Members of both organizations can benefit from the alliance by expanding their networks, participating in different experiences, learning new skills, and creating lasting change in their communities and within themselves. While members can benefit from the opportunities the alliance provides without joining the other organization, enthusiasm is leading to increased membership in both organizations.
The alliance of Rotary International with Toastmasters provides members with more opportunities for personal and professional growth is at the core of the newly formed Rotary/Toastmasters strategic alliance. There is much excitement to leverage unique and similar strengths and meet the evolving needs of current and prospective members. Get behind the efforts to establish fellowship and connections, and potentially strengthen your clubs and diversify membership!  
Toastmasters meets via Zoom on Monday nights from 6:00-7:00pm CST.
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization where people come together to improve their public speaking skills. Professional and personal skills are developed in a safe space cultivated by the Toastmasters community.  Beatrice Alleyne has been involved with the Toastmasters Evanston club for over a year as an active member. Six months into her membership Beatrice became President of the club.  Join Beatrice in a presentation about Toastmasters International and how you can make your voice shine.  Beatrice can be contacted via email at if any further questions arise after the Q&A. 
December 22, 2020 - Maria Hammer is the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Merion, a senior independent rental community located in the heart of Evanston. She has been with the Merion since 2018. She has over 30 years of  leadership experience in the healthcare and hospitality industry, ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics.
As the Director of Sales for the Merion, Maria brings over 30 years of management and sales experience in the hospitality and health care industry.  Her years as National Sales Manager for the Continental Companies Hotel Management Group as Sales Manager at the Grand Bay Hotel, Miami’s 5 star Ciga  Luxury Collection Hotel and Sheraton Hotels gives her a unique insight into the boutique hotel and luxury residential market. She also has years of entrepreneurial experience as a medical practice owner and healthcare executive.
She was the  CEO of NorthShore Pediatric Therapy where she expanded their company from 3 locations to 9 locations within a 4 year span.
Maria also enjoys spending time traveling, hiking, fishing and cooking.
The Merion, a senior independent rental community, is located in the heart of Evanston. Built originally in the early 1900’s as the North Shore Hotel and Retirement home the building has long stood at the intersection of Chicago Ave. and Davis. Approximately 7 years ago, the building was purchased by family owned and operated, Horizon Realty group and went through a major renovation and later an addition of a new tower approximately 4 years ago.
The Merion has 177 apartments which range from studios, 1 bedroom and two bedroom apartments. Amenities include a heated saltwater swimming pool, 4 on site restaurants, fitness center and Wellness/Home health care Center and a beautiful ballroom. The Merion is a small intimate senior community known for its emphasis on delicious dining and rich in music, art and culture.
At the Merion, Maria and her team provide an expert and seamless client experience.  Their mission is to assure all current and prospective residents of the Merion receive excellent health care and matchless luxury residential service, a hallmark of the Merion community.

Guest speaker Caroline Kennedy (picture not available), from Sant Joan of Ark School.
During the spring of 2020, The Academy established a Merit Scholarship to be awarded to an incoming 6th grader who is the child of a first responder/essential worker, in thanks for their heroic efforts during COVID-19. 
The goal of all our Tuition Assistance is to lessen the financial barrier of receiving a rigorous academic education.  The recipient of the scholarship is a young man whose parent is a health care worker. His family currently resides in Glenview.
In our 2nd year as The Academy at St. Joan of Arc, we are located on the border of Evanston and Skokie. We are an Independent Catholic School for all faiths, with a PS - 8th-grade enrollment of 185 students.  Our mission is to balance academic rigor with the values of honesty, compassion, respect, and responsibility, a commitment to inclusion and community service.
Our goal is to enable every student to explore, create, and define their best self.  With the generous help of our donors - like Skokie Vally Rotary Club, we are able to provide Tuition Assitance to 28% of our students.  
We are starting our 6th week of in-person instruction. And while these unprecedented times present challenges, our wonderful faculty created a remarkable Re-Opening Plan, exceeding the safety guidelines and providing a rigorous yet joyful educational experience.
for more information visit
Richard Rosen (picture not available), literacy chair for Rotary District 6440 and a member of the Wheeling Rotary Club, was our guest speaker.His subject was Early Childhood Literacy, and how this program can save a child from a life of poverty and crime.

For more information visit

After retiring from his business practices over 12 years ago, Richard became interested in childhood education when he was elected to District 21 School Board. He served on US Representative Bob Dold’s and State Representative Carol Sente’s Educational Advisory Boards. He also served on the University of Arizona’s College of Education Advisory Board.
Will Haim and Arjun Thakkar from Border Project (Pictures not available), were the Guest Speakers at the September 15, 2020 weekly zoom meeting.
In a nutshell Border Project fights extreme poverty. They believes that leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. They are the innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.
In 1999, while working as a young volunteer in refugee camps during the Kosovo War and genocide, Clint Borgen recognized the need for an organization that could focus U.S. political attention on extreme poverty. In 2003, after graduating from Washington State University and interning at the United Nations, Borgen began developing the organization.
In need of startup funding, Borgen took a job living on a fishing vessel docked in Dutch Harbor, Alaska (the same location as “The Deadliest Catch”). From humble beginnings in one of the most remote regions of the world, The Borgen Project was born. One man with a laptop and a budget that came from his Alaska paychecks has evolved into a national campaign with volunteers operating in 931 U.S. cities.
From ending segregation to providing women with the right to vote, nearly every wrong ever righted in history was achieved through advocacy. The Borgen Project addresses the big picture. We operate at the political level advancing policies and programs that improve living conditions for those living on less than $1 per day.
Border Project meets with U.S. Congressional leaders to secure support for crucial poverty-reducing legislation. They mobilize people across the globe behind efforts to make poverty a political priority, and teach basic advocacy skills that allow citizens to communicate with their government. Build awareness of global issues and innovations in poverty-reduction through our online and comm
Rebecca Abraham RN, BSN
Rebecca Abraham RN, BSN from Acute on Chronic was our Guest Speaker at our weekly zoom meeting.
Acute on Chronic believes in educated guidance to cannabis, alternative therapies, supplemental treatments, and support navigating a complex health system.  "We are here to provide clarity to cannabis and healthcare because we believe that access to treatment, evidence-based practice, healthcare equity, and defense of patient's rights are vital to your health and well being" said Rebecca. Acute on Chronic provides clients/patients with information and suggestions that are intended to assist obtain and use medical cannabis as well as other medical services. From a single assessment to ongoing support, they are ready to support you with all your cannabis questions as you investigate and become comfortable with this alternative
For more information click here.
Rebecca Abraham, RN, BSN has worked in healthcare for 15 years. Rebecca has extensive experience in Emergency Medicine, Critical Care, Heart Failure, Surgical Services, and Case Management.  
Rebecca was trained and has worked at some of the best academic medical centers in the country and is board certified in Critical Care Nursing. She is also proud to serve her community as a Board of Education Member for District 219 and has testified and lobbied for healthcare, patient safety, nursing, and cannabis policies on the municipal, state, and federal levels. Rebecca is an active National Nurses United (NNU) at large member. She has a certificate in Cannabis Nursing through the American Association of Cannabis Nurses.  
Rebecca was formerly a board member (2015-2018) at Chicago Center for Music Education, a non-profit music school that serves the Chicagoland area. She also served as a board member (2015-2017) as well as a community advocate and in government relations for WeWill (formerly Mom+Baby), an organization that lobbied for women and family-friendly policies in Illinois. She currently serves on the Skokie Park District Outreach Committee, Skokie Family Services Commission and formerly the School District 73.5 Strategic Planning Committee. She was awarded a continuing education scholarship from National Nurses United to Rutgers University for a Master's degree in Global Women's Health Leadership. In 2015 she was awarded the Illinois Nurses Association 40 under 40 Leaders in Nursing Award, and was a scholarship winner for the 2012 Nurse in Washington Lobbyist Internship. Rebecca remains an active member of the American Association of Cannabis Nurses, Patient Advocacy Alliance, and Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society.

Rotary projects around the globe


To raise funds for Australian bushfire relief, Sarah Ash of the Rotaract Club of Prince George, British Columbia, organized an old-fashioned bake sale. “My dad is from Australia, so for my family, the topic was close to home,” says Ash. “My dad is also a chef, so when I brought the idea up of doing a fundraiser for the bushfires, a bake sale was one of the first ideas the club members had.”
The club hosted two sales, the first at the University of Northern British Columbia in mid-January and the second a month later at Ash’s father’s catering business in Prince George. For the second bake sale, the club refined its process, creating advance order forms so it would know what was in demand. The sales generated more than $1,000, which was sent to support Australian Rotary relief efforts. Ash’s father, Bryan Ash, piled tables high with a variety of confections. Among the treats he made were Australian cream buns — brioche buns filled with cream and strawberry jam.

Costa Rica

In Alajuela, Costa Rica’s “City of Mangoes” (so called because of the mango trees that dominate the city’s central park), many people who need glasses have never had them. The Rotary Club of Alajuela worked with two California Rotary clubs to hold two days of clinics at which they distributed eyeglasses to more than 600 people. “We purchased 800 pairs of glasses in an assortment of powers,” says Will van Kranenburg of the Rotary Club of Templeton, California. The Rotary Club of Paso Robles contributed funds, and van Kranenburg and fellow Templeton club member Georgia Vreeken trained nine Paso Robles Rotarians to conduct the clinics, which were held in late February. Rotaractors helped deliver eyeglasses, and students at Alajuela’s San Diego Bilingual High School served as translators.
“The experience left us with an enormous bond of solidarity, teamwork, coordination, and gratitude that we will always carry in our hearts,” says Lucitania Zúñiga Montoya, a member of the Alajuela Rotary club.\


Wildfires that raged across Greece in July 2018 killed more than 100 people, decimated local wildlife, displaced thousands of residents, and left a charred landscape on the coast east of Athens. One year later, the Rotaract Club of Athina-Filothei teamed with local government units and two ecological nongovernmental organizations — We4all and Project Phoenix — to plant trees in one of the hardest-hit areas.
“The reforestation took place at Mati and Rafina, in the East Attica region, and our goal was to plant 150 trees” on 26 October and 9 November, says Florentia Pikrou, immediate past president of the club. “We managed to plant 200. All 18 club members participated to make Attica green again, to give hope to the community, to promote environmental awareness, and to stand by our fellow citizens.”


Rather than let workers at floral greenhouses and farms lose their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated the market for their products, Kenya Flower Council growers continued operations to offer thousands of free bouquets to hospital patients and health care workers. Rotarians from nearly 20 clubs mobilized as delivery agents for the blooms in an effort that was expected to continue throughout the crisis. “Rotary will be distributing the flowers all around Kenya to isolation centers and front-line health workers,” says Sharon Wanyeki, a member of the Rotary Club of Nairobi-East. In late April the Flower Council, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Kenya Airways, and other associations and corporations were all involved in the “Flowers of Hope” initiative.


In 2014, the Rotary Club of Taipei Rui An embarked on a career training program for collegians from low-income families that has since expanded to 90 clubs across Taiwan and given more than 1,000 participants an edge in the job market. With more than 300 Rotarians now serving as mentors, the Bridge of Life initiative provides scholarships of about $1,700 each to students. The funds cover the cost of courses and professionally licensed coaches who offer their services at a reduced fee. “A generous mind, not necessarily a monetary donation, is the key to being a true Rotarian,” says the program’s creator, Sara Ma, immediate past governor of District 3521. — BRAD WEBBER

Guest Speaker Rotary District 6440 2020-2021 Governor Lyle Staab
September 1st was our district governor Lyle Staab Annual Visit via Zoom. As customary, this a time when the district governor discusses club's goals and expectations, and shares information about the District and Rotary in general.
Following are some of the info he shared:
2020-2021 Opportunities / Emphasis D6440
Increase number of Rotarians in our District. The District will work hard at adding new clubs and new club models appealing to new audiences.
Assist clubs in raising more money. Facilitate collaboration, sharing of best practice, adoption of better tools.

Rotary International President Holger's key messages 

1. The district will be actively at work creating new, innovative club models and will need your support. Help us expand our
reach by creating a satellite club and forming a community-based Rotaract club.
2. Host at least one strategic meeting each year to set and pursue a vision.
3. Select new members carefully. Make sure they are a good fit with your club and that their expectations are met. Engage them.
4. Donate to End Polio Now and host a World Polio Day event in October.

Rotary Vision Statement

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
Polio Remains A Priority – and We Must Recover
Total Cases
Wild Polio Virus
Circulating Vaccine-derived poliovirus
In Endemic Countries
In Non-Endemic Countries
Lyle Staab is a member of the Rotary Club of Long Grove, Kildeer, and Hawthorn Woods. He has served his Club as President, Chair of its Charitable Fund, Membership Chair, and for three years as Director of the Rotary Race for Charity. At the District level, Lyle has been as an Assistant Governor, serves on the Visioning team, and helped organize the Foundation Centennial Event. He led a Friendship Exchange team to India that participated in a Subnational Immunization Day, and has traveled to Guatemala and Panama with service teams. Lyle has a strong commitment to our Youth Programs, serving as District Youth Service Advisor, chairing the Youth Assembly committee, and serving as co-chair for a multidistrict Rotary Model UN.
Lyle retired in late 2012 from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, having led manufacturing operations in the US and Europe. (His first Rotary Club was Dublin Fingal in Ireland.) Lyle earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a finance degree from Fort Hays State University, where he is a trustee of the FHSU Foundation and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for its Robbins School of Business and Entrepreneurship. He was also a director of the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation, and a frequent speaker and competition judge at its events.
Lyle and Ann Marie moved to the Chicago area in 2008 – their thirteenth move since getting married, including two foreign assignments. Their three adult children live in California, Illinois and Missouri, and they adore their granddaughter. Ann Marie gardens while Lyle plays (some but not enough) golf. They love to travel. Lyle and Ann Marie are Major Donors, members of the Paul Harris Society, and members of the Bequest Society.
Quintin Marx, Owning Partner of New World Van Lines
Quintin Marx spoke on the Effects of COVID-19 in the Moving Industry. He explained that the family business began in 1919 by his grandfather as Economy Movers. In 1946 Mike Marx fell through a wooden back porch carrying a refrigerator. He was a cripple the last 13 years of his life. At 15 years of age, his son Ed received an exemption to work the business to support the family. After 101 years the business had expanded dramatically under the leadership of his parents since 1951. There are now 18 locations on 3 continents. New World Van Lines specializes in corporate re-locations and works with members of the Fortune 1000. 
Quintin is responsible for global operations from making sure that new safety requirements are in place and that his fleet has the necessary equipment and packing supplies for the job. Labor is assigned with the appropriate skills for each move. With the advent of the coronavirus global pandemic in March, NWVL was deemed an “essential” business. They had to change the way they worked in the personal space of a family to assure their safety as well as the safety of their clients. They had to wear masks, maintain distance to safely move their client’s belongings and to smile – hidden behind the mask, but heard in their voices. Often, the movers are the only ones the client knows in a new location.
Families find moving stressful and this pandemic laid on additional anxiety. The movers spend 4-5 days at the start to pack and 1-2 days at the destination home to place items, including a bottle of water on the nightstand, if that is what they noticed upon packing. Last year NWVL won the six major awards in the moving industry and are on track to win these awards again this year.
With their hundreds of employees, they have only had 3 COVID cases. There was no transmission from employee to employee, nor employee to client or vice versa. They have had to quarantine service centers for 14 days and move staff from other areas to help with the scheduled moves. In the headquarters location in Chicago, they had 142 workstations staffed and now there are less than 14 in the building every day. He applauded his IT department that was able to have computers moved to employee homes and to have the phones connected. Surprisingly, he found that his staff are more efficient working from home.
Guest Speaker Amy Koester, learning Experience Manager Skokie Library
The Skokie Library is a Skokie Valley Rotary Club's grant recipient.
Amy oversees the Skokie Library's programs for children and families. She serves on the board of the Association for Library Service to Children and is always eager to talk about kids' books, Jane Austen, and space opera.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the library building is temporarily closed, but there are many ways that you can still use the library from home and if you need a library card, it can be email it to you. 
Learn more about our exciting plans to update our interior spaces.
Your library card opens up our rich collections, programming, and resources. Any Skokie resident can apply for a card. We also have options for businesses and those of you living in other suburbs.
Find out when we're open, how to get to the library, and how to get help.
Our bookmobile is a mobile library that brings books, DVDs, and more to locations throughout Skokie five days a week.
As we develop and improve our services and facilities here at the library, we may issue requests for proposals.
We sometimes sell things that are no longer needed in the library.
Do you have something unique to offer the library and the community? Check our open jobs list and apply to work here.
Great people make a great library. Get to know the Board of Trustees and our staff.
Get a better sense of what we do and how we operate. Read our policies, our strategic plan, our culture statement, and our annual report. See what records we maintain.
We regularly post videos to YouTube and images to Instagram that capture some of the amazing things that happen at the library.
Eugene Griffin from Skokie Community Foundation was the guest speaker (Picture Not Available)
The Skokie Community Foundation is a Skokie Valley Rotary Club's grant recipient. Gene thanked the club for our support and said the funds are being used for a two-day Health Care Summit.
In 2010, several Skokie residents established the Skokie Community Fund with the intent of building a permanent endowment to fund projects for the benefit of those who live and work in Skokie. In June 2014, the Fund announced its inaugural grant cycle which sought collaborative proposals from local agencies. The Fund required that each grant application be jointly submitted by at least two organizations — at least one being a 501(c)(3) — and that the grant benefit residents of Skokie. That year the Fund awarded $25,000 in grants to five grantee pairs, each of whom received $5000.
Each calendar year since, the Fund and then its 2017 successor the Skokie Community Foundation, have awarded $25,000 to grantee partners. Projects have ranged from social services and education to the arts, services for youth and seniors and health and wellness.
In a few short years, Foundation grants and programming have already improved lives all over Skokie. "We want to do even more!" Said Mr. Griffin "Our goal is to seek out and partner with donors and community builders who share our vision so that we can further grow the endowment, a community resource that will benefit Skokie now and one hundred years from now. Growing the endowment will allow the Foundation to continue to award meaningful grants with increasingly greater positive impact for Skokie. As of February 2020, the Foundation’s endowment stood at $350,000."
Roxanne Nava, Mpowered as Executive Director Metropolitan Family Services North/Evanston/Skokie Valley Centers (Picture Not Available)
Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal, to thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that empowers Chicago-area families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities.
Metropolitan Family Services has more than 1,000 full- and part-time professional staff dedicated to providing quality services to families throughout Chicago, DuPage County, Evanston/ Skokie and the southwest suburbs. Metropolitan serves more than 93,000 families and individuals as diverse as the communities in which they live, with 81% being part of the working poor or lower-middle class.
Metropolitan Family Services provides a wide variety of programs and services designed to strengthen families and help them realize their full potential. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, Metropolitan empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal and to thrive through services provided in four key areas.
"From early learning, after-school and job readiness programs to counseling, mental health services and legal assistance, we’re here for you!"
People of action around the globe
United States
The Rotary Club of Yakima Sunrise, Washington, has installed nine pianos in public spots where anyone can sit down and tickle the ivories. Sites include brewpubs, a shopping mall, and a coffee shop, and more installations are planned soon. The Painted Piano Project also provided stipends of $300 to artists who decorated the donated instruments. "People stop to listen to the music or take a moment to examine the beautiful artwork," says Nathan Hull, the club’s immediate past president. "The pianists play everything from Mozart to Van Halen, and that has been a lot of fun."
A Heintzman & Co. piano made of crystal was sold at auction for $3.2 million.
United Kingdom
To raise funds for End Polio Now, the Rotary Club of Narberth & Whitland is selling Rotary-themed scarves designed by fashion and textiles student Mia Hewitson-Jones with help from graphics student Sam Stables, both enrolled at Pembrokeshire College. The scarves went on sale in 2019 after the club garnered approval from Rotary International for use of the logo. By April of this year, nearly 100 scarves had been sold and another shipment was on the way, says club member John Hughes. "We have sold a few in America and Canada," adds Hughes. The idea of selling specially designed scarves was conceived by Mary Adams when she was president-elect of the club in 2016.
Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, the Rotaract Club of Cluj-Napoca "SAMVS" adapted an online mental health campaign on the club’s social media accounts, encouraging people to engage in satisfying activities, such as art. The social media campaign focused on "how to make the best of your #stayhome experience," says club member Loana Vultur. More than 3,000 people have viewed the club’s posts on Facebook and Instagram. "No money was necessary," Vultur says. "Our resources were our minds, creativity, and the will to help. In Romania we have the expression, ‘Make heaven from what you have.’"
More than 100 Guatemalan women have been helped financially by the Interact Club of Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California; its sponsoring Rotary Club of San Mateo; and the nonprofit group Namaste Direct. Over the years, about 100 Hillsdale Interactors have joined chaperone Rotarians and teachers on trips to Antigua, a city in Guatemala’s central highlands, to meet the women who have received grants funded through student-led fundraising events including "penny war" collections and taco dinners.
Nearly half of all Guatemalans 
live on less than $5.50 a day
The site visits are eye-openers for the students, who see how microloans, financial literacy workshops, and mentorship have empowered the women, says Namaste Direct’s founder and chief executive, Robert Graham. He cites Namaste’s policy of charging lower interest rates than many other nongovernmental organizations (loans range from a few hundred dollars to $4,000), its adherence to Western consulting methodologies, and Rotary involvement as major reasons for the program’s success. "Many women have corner convenience stores, while others purchase clothing and household goods in bulk for resale at the local market," Graham says. Other beneficiaries include a nut vendor, a chicken butcher, and a chocolatier. Nearly half of all Guatemalans live on less than $5.50 a day.
In the Rotary Club of Vapi’s first 20 years, club members oversaw the establishment of a school, a hospital, and a college. "Our club created an entire town worth residing in," says Ketan Patel. In 2011, seeking a way to honor the RI presidency of club member Kalyan Banerjee, the Rotarians embarked on a project to provide free kidney dialysis that continues to this day. Nearly 3,800 patients have received more than 32,000 procedures. "The entire treatment is free of charge," says Patel. The cost of the dialysis project is covered by Rotarian and community contributions, along with club fundraising.
Clubs around the world respond to the pandemic
SINCE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC BEGAN, Rotarians — whether they are small-business owners, health care workers, teachers, or government officials — have been carrying out vital services as part of their day-to-day work. And as members of their Rotary clubs, they have also been coming up with creative ways to support people who are affected by the pandemic. In all parts of the world, clubs are playing a crucial role in providing the help their communities need most right now.
Carl-Ludwig Dörwald of the Rotary Club of Worpswede was frustrated by the lack of masks and protective clothing for medical workers in Germany. He had lived in China for almost 20 years and witnessed the SARS epidemic in Beijing, so he turned to friends there and managed to secure a shipment of masks. Fellow Rotarians in Germany have helped to organize distribution of the masks to hospitals in Bremen, Bremervörde, Munich, and Oldenburg. Rotarians from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are contacting Dörwald to offer their help. "We see what is needed in the crisis. We should intervene where we can help with our contacts, our knowledge, and our energy," says Dörwald.
Elsewhere in Germany, Rotarians are involved in a project called Care4Bayreuth, which delivers food to people in need in that Bavarian town. Rotaract clubs are assisting with grocery shopping for people who cannot leave their homes as well as for medical workers.
It’s a similar story in France. The Rotary clubs of Boulogne-Billancourt, Fréjus, and Martigues Étang-de-Berre have been supporting doctors, nurses, firefighters, and other essential workers by organizing meals cooked by Rotarian chefs and providing rental cars for workers unable to use public transit. The Aubergenville-Seine-Mauldre and Verrières-le-Buisson clubs, meanwhile, are focusing on collecting for food banks, as well as organizing blood donations. Clubs in Annecy, Grenoble, Montpellier, Nîmes, and Versailles have been making protective visors and sourcing ventilators.
In Portugal, Rotarians are ensuring that hospitals have the necessary equipment to treat patients by procuring personal protective equipment.
In Turkey, districts have been raising money to purchase medical equipment requested by hospital administrators. Thanks to The Rotary Foundation’s decisions to make disaster response grants available and to waive the international financing requirement for global grants focused on pandemic relief, District 2420 is working on a $210,000 project to provide CT scanners, District 2430 has secured funding to supply at least one hospital with a ventilator, and District 2440 is aiming to fund 10 ventilators.
Many Rotary clubs have tapped into their experience working with or running food banks to respond to the crisis. Some clubs, such as the Rotary Club of Rolândia-Caviúna, Brazil, have made masks for hospitals and health care workers. 
In Italy, clubs in District 2080 are also raising funds to purchase ventilators and protective gear for hospitals and have collected more than $21,000 for masks. Clubs in District 2041 raised funds to buy protective gear for health workers at a field hospital set up at Milan’s fairgrounds.
In Spain, clubs have launched a collective effort under the banner of "We respond against loneliness." Rotarians are providing telephone assistance for people living alone, offering advice, guidance, and a friendly voice on the other end of the line.
The Rotary Club of Madrid-Serrano in District 2201 has been leading a project in cooperation with the Rotary clubs of Arouca, Portugal; Milano Arco della Pace, Italy; Potsdam, Germany; and Tokyo Chuo, Japan. The project aims to supply three hospitals in Madrid with key medical equipment, including surgical masks, shoe covers, and sanitizing gel.
In Barcelona, a project to fund medical gear has been undertaken by the Rotary clubs of Girona, Reus, and Tarragona. The Rotary clubs of Granollers-Barcelona and Vic-Osona have been providing computers to students studying from home.
In Brazil, the Rotary Club of Jandaia do Sul worked with a local university to produce hand sanitizer for residents. The Rotary Club of Itapejara D’Oeste collected cleaning and personal care products from supermarkets to donate to people in need. In General Câmara, Rotarians collected one ton of food, which was distributed to 80 families. Brazilian clubs provided safety equipment to medical workers. Members of the Rotary Club of Rolândia-Caviúna made face masks themselves.
In Hong Kong, clubs have raised funds, packed medical supplies, and visited public housing to distribute masks and sanitizer.® Clubs in Sri Lanka installed thermometers in airport bathrooms and produced posters to promote awareness about COVID-19 at schools.®In Pakistan, the Rotary Club of Karachi Darakhshan distributed thousands of masks to residents.®District 3700 and the Rotary Korea 2020-21 Governor Foundation donated $125,000 to the Korean Red Cross.®And clubs in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom state conducted a campaign in schools to raise awareness of the virus.
In England, the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge formed a team of volunteers who are running errands for vulnerable people, including shopping for groceries, picking up prescriptions, mailing letters, and even walking dogs. The Rotary Club of Ware set up the Bricket Wood Rotary Community Corps with 23 volunteers who are helping with similar tasks (see page 57 for more about RCCs).
In Wales, the Rotary Club of Cardiff East was already helping communities badly affected by spring flooding, and has now found ways to respond to the pandemic. The club makes a monthly food donation and offers financial support to the local food bank, an important resource during the crisis.
Adapted from a story by Dave King in Rotary magazine in Great Britain and Ireland.
Guest Speaker Todd Setter, COO Ride 2 Recovery / Project Hero
Project Hero's one-of-a-kind program has made us a leader in adaptive cycling and outdoor recreational therapy for injured veterans and first responders. With 98% of our participants experiencing increased overall health and fitness and 63% eliminating or lessening prescription use due to cycling. During these unprecedented times of uncertainty and change, we appreciate your commitment now more than ever to helping our healing heroes.
We recently had to adapt our programs and move our group rides indoors and into safe environments so participants can continue their therapy. With our dedication to getting more riders riding more often, we know we had to act immediately. Shifting our programs during this pandemic requires different equipment and access to new virtual training programs. At the end of March, we announced that we were adapting our programs so that riders could participate indoors, virtually, and in safe environments. The support of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club in this program was very helpful. 
As of the end of July, we've accomplished a lot indoors since the end of March:
  • More than 935 total therapy hours. That's equivalent to nearly 40 full days of therapy!
  • Over 14,029 group therapy miles, which is the same distance as riding across the continental United States 5 times. 
  • We have consistently hosted one or two virtual rides a day, totaling 153 group rides.
  • We have had our Project Hero wounded veterans and first responders participate more than 750 times
  • We've burned a total of 475,020 calories, or, as we like to say, that's equivalent to 659 1/2 pound hamburgers!
  • Our total elevation gain is 804,010 feet, which is like climbing Mount Everest more than 27 times. 
"Thank you to the Skokie Valley Rotary Club's continued support to allow us to pursue our critical, therapeutic mission and get more riders riding more often".
Three Skokie Valley Rotary Club members, Diane Krier-Morrow, Barbara Meyer, and Al Rigoni) attended the first Out Back Concert in the back parking lot of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in August 1 to hear Brit Beat do a Beatles concert. Dave Wasserman attended since Ralph Paddor is a member of the Board and the sponsor of the event.
Two hundred were able to attend safely distant. We encourage members to call 847-673-6300 for future tickets.

Giovanni Cappa, Emergency room physician Rotaract Club of Pavia, Italy


The World Stopped. They Didn’t These 10 workers put service above self when it counted most

I am a medical resident in one of northern Italy’s university hospitals. We’re a big emergency room, one of the biggest in Italy. We’re at the epicenter of this huge storm.

When the coronavirus hit Italy, the first cases in China had been recorded just two months before. A lot of research came out day by day, so we had briefings every morning. Guidelines about drugs and ventilation parameters would change daily. We would discover new things about the disease’s pathology and have to adapt.

In the first days, we had waves of patients. Many emergency rooms in the region collapsed — hospital personnel got infected, or the hospital didn’t have the ability to accept coronavirus patients. So we received patients from other parts of the region too. We didn’t have space. We had patients everywhere. We set up a new emergency room in a day, but we were lacking things we were used to having, like computers for administering the logistics. That was just a little thing. There were many times we didn’t have enough oxygen supply for everybody.

We had to make many difficult choices. Many coronavirus patients cannot breathe when they come in. They’re in respiratory distress and they need ventilation. We had patients walk into our emergency room and collapse. People were so scared. The small number of beds in intensive care were filled instantly. Coronavirus patients don’t spend one or two nights there; they spend weeks.

We were used to giving all the best medical care to anybody who needed it. That wasn’t the case anymore. We needed to use our resources with common sense. We needed to prioritize care to the people who would survive. It was catastrophic medicine. Shortly after, the Italian society for anesthesiologists published guidelines to help make those decisions.

We would tell families that their loved ones didn’t make it, and we couldn’t let them see the body. They would implore us for a farewell, but we couldn’t let them. Those were some of the hardest moments.

We are used to working in cotton scrubs. They’re really comfortable. The emergency room is quite hot, and we need to move a lot. At the end of February, we got the orders that we had to wear full gear every day, for 13 or 14 hours in a row. It’s like full body armor, and it makes you sweat. It’s challenging because in an emergency room you have to move fast and make precise maneuvers, and now you have to do those things in bulky gear. And you can’t even make your patients feel better with a smile. You'll lose the human connection.

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The silver lining is that we’re learning a lot. We keep facing really strange and difficult situations. We are working together, young residents and more experienced physicians. There is real teamwork; the whole hospital is collaborating because we have a common enemy.
It’s not easy. It’s something none of us were prepared for. The huge amount of work distracts you from the emotional aspect. There is so much to do. Even though we see a lot of death, we are saving a lot of lives. You try to be strong for your patients and for the families you are trying to help.
Many doctors and nurses are burned out. Many got sick. Many of my colleagues have not seen their families since the beginning of the outbreak. Many moved to another flat, away from their loved ones. They’re scared they might infect family members.
We’ve had huge support from the community. We’ve had help from Rotary clubs and Rotaract clubs. Every day we receive donations from restaurants, or people buy pizzas and have them sent to the emergency room. These are simple acts, but it makes us really happy to know that outside these walls, the community is thanking us for the work everyone is doing. We feel the gratitude.

Lauren Heinonen, Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fresh Perspective
Even as a child, Lauren Heinonen was a scientist at heart, an answer-seeker, a problem-solver — by age six she was dissecting lobsters her mother brought home from the store. "She would entertain any kind of scientific question or interest that I had," Heinonen says of her mother, a clinical researcher. Heinonen is now a project manager for DalCor, a small pharmaceutical company developing personalized medicine for patients with cardiovascular disease.
"I loved the idea of helping people in a tangible way," says Heinonen, who began working for the company in 2016 while she was still a biological anthropology student at the University of Michigan. In 2017, she had her dream job but still felt that something was missing. "I wasn’t having the impact that I wanted to see every day in my life," she says. "I stumbled upon Rotary."
Rotary’s Four-Way Test sealed the deal. "I had never seen a group of people or an organization that held themselves to such high standards," she says. "It gave me a reason to trust the people and trust the work that they were engaging in."
Still, Heinonen hesitated; at 22, she would be the youngest member of the Ann Arbor club. "But so many people came up to me and said, ‘You have such a unique perspective and so many skills that we don’t have. We would love to learn from you.’"
Since joining, she has taken on a twoyear stint as the club’s public image director. "I figured, ‘OK, I can probably figure this out quickly. Why don’t I see if they can use my help?’" Heinonen says.
"Lauren’s willingness to take a risk has rubbed off on the club," says club member Rosemarie Rowney. "We are now more willing to try new things and become more technologically astute."
Heinonen hopes the club’s enhanced online presence — along with recent shifts such as using video technology during the COVID-19 crisis — will help attract more young members. She’s also launching a satellite club that meets in the evenings to make Rotary more accessible to young professionals.
"I’m interested to see how Rotary will change in the next decade, or even sooner," she says. "I hope it will continue to accommodate the desires and needs of young people." — NIKKI KALLIO
Guest Speaker Jennifer Phillips, Keshet's Acting Chief Executive Officer 
Keshet is a Skokie Valley Rotary Club's Great Recipient.
Club Fit is Keshet’s newest adult program to promote healthy habits and staying active for people with disabilities. Currently, this program is being offered virtually, but will become a weekly activity of GADOL, Keshet’s adult day program located in Skokie. Led by Keshet’s nurses, each week offers an educational lesson and an exercise challenge. Participants track their physical activity and win prizes for reaching goals.
Physical activity and healthy lifestyles are critical for all people and especially for adults with disabilities. 
Keshet’s commitment to health and wellness is part of enabling adults with disabilities to live meaningful lives in our community. Club Fit was launched in response to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order and Keshet’s need to provide services remotely. The program has been so successful and popular that we plan on offering it to the 36 members of Keshet’s adult day/vocational program when we are able to re-open. 

Guest Speaker Jennifer Sultz, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center Development Director (Picture not available)
Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center is a Skokie Valley Rotary Club's Grant Recipient.
Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center has been in Skokie for over 50 years, providing outpatient mental health care for families and serving as a much needed and award-winning community resource, providing expert, affordable and compassionate mental health care. 
The Turning Point mission is solid support, when you need it most. During the current pandemic, Turning Point has continued to serve as an essential service, swiftly transitioning over the various programs to virtual formats so that clients and community members still have the mental health support that they need. Turning Point serves children and adults from throughout the Chicago metro area, with no geographic restrictions, starting at age 5.
The agency has a staff of approximately 60 therapists, administrators and support staff – all of whom provide care for approximately 1,300 clients annually, approximately 90% of whom are low income. Services provided at Turning Point include individual and family therapy, an extensive therapeutic groups program (over half of which is now operating virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic), case management, 24/7 crisis response, a transitional living program, and The Living Room & Resource Center at Turning Point, our walk-in program for adults in crisis. 
The grant from the Rotary Club is specifically supporting The Living Room program.  The Living Room at Turning Point is a psychiatric crisis center that is completely free of charge to guests and accessible on a walk-in basis. Open Monday through Friday, The Living Room offers a safe and calm environment in which guests can resolve crises with trained therapists and Recovery Support Specialists. The Living Room provides a free and comfortable alternative to hospital emergency rooms for adults experiencing psychiatric crises – and currently that care is being provided virtually.  The circumstances that bring someone to our Living Room are diverse. Visits may result from unanticipated crises, various stressors, or even a break in insurance coverage or a lapse in some type of support. 
The Living Room serves as an anchor during lapses in care, as a connection to a recovery community, as a place for learning about resources and recovery, and as a comforting environment in which to explore options for care, calmly problem solve, and map out next steps. Now in its 9th year, The Living Room has welcomed over 2200 visits and last year achieved a 99% success rate in deflecting guests away from visits to Emergency Rooms.
Approximately one third of our guests to The Living Room this past year were from the Skokie community.  By providing a free, accessible, and safe alternative for adults in crisis, The Living Room has proven itself to be a valuable community resource, benefiting those in need and rippling out to positively impact the community. The Living Room team has fielded inquiries from around the country, offering guidance on establishing Living Room programs elsewhere.  The program not only serves our immediate community but also serves as a model nationwide.  Turning Point is very grateful to The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley for its generous support of this important program.
We did not have any guest speakers per se this week, however club member John Jekot spoke on behalf grant recipients Emilia Walasik, Youth Minister at St. John Brebeuf, and Golf Maine Park Distric, where John is the temporary Program Coordinator. 
St. John Brebeuf Church Youth Ministry's goal is to bring young people between 7th and 12th grades together to grow together in faith, service, and fellowship. They meet once a month for Mass and a gathering afterwards.
Throughout the year they get involved in service opportunities both inside and outside the parish. Every summer they participate in a Catholic faith based service camp called Alive in You where we travel for a week to a given location to serve those most in need, as  an example house repairs. They also engage in daily faith building activities there and fellowship with other young people from across the country.
The Rotary donation goes towards their next trip to the Alive in You Camp. It was originally planned to be used for this summer but because of the COVID-19 outbreak it has been put to the side for next summer's service trip.
Emilia said that her youth group is immensely grateful for this donation, more than words can ever express.
"Thank you Rotary Club of Skokie Valley and God bless you!"
The grant donation to Golf Maine Park District is used for kids who want to participate in programs but need financial assistance. Kids in need may also apply for financial assistance.
Michael Pauken, Director of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (this picture is from 2014)
Michael Pauken, a long time friend of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley was the guest speaker at our zoom meeting of July 14, 2020.  He spoke about the hardship the North Shore Center is going through during these COVID-19 though time.  Regardless, Michael remains positive and confident that with the appropriate modifications and community support all will be well.
Michael Pauken joined the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie as general manager in 2002. Prior to joining the North Shore Center, Michael managed numerous theatrical productions including the long-running Forever Plaid in Chicago, Milwaukee and Seattle. Other Chicago credits include Catch! with the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatFully Committed, and ART all at the Royal George Theatre, The Vagina Monologues starring Eve Ensler at the Apollo Theater, and the award-winning The Bomb-itty of Errors at both Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier and at the Royal George Theatre. Michael also produced the Chicago premiere of the musical Whoop-Dee-Doo! and booked and managed the popular Sing-a-Long Sound of Music in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. Michael spent five years with the League of Chicago Theatres in various capacities including interim executive director, director of marketing and manager of the popular Hot Tix half-price ticket program. He has also worked for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Michael managed theatres and produced shows there as well as held jobs at the Columbus Arts Council and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Michael has served on the board of Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitor’s Bureau since 2002 and was chair of that organization from 2004 to 2006 and again in 2016-2017. He is a past member of the board of directors for the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Skokie Valley Kiwanis.
History of The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
The unique, Award-Winning, State-of-the-Art performance venue designed by Boston based architect/developer Graham Gund opened in November 1996. In 1998 the North Shore Center was presented with the National Commercial Builder’s Award of Excellence Merit Award, Division IV. Capable of hosting a wide variety of performing arts, corporate and special events, the North shore Center is a multi-purpose, modern, efficient theatre facility with 68,000 square feet of space. World famous performers, tradeshows, and local productions are equally at home.
The facility was conceived in the mid 1980’s when Dorothy Litwin (former Executive Director of Centre East) applied to the State of Illinois for funding under the “Build Illinois Program”. The Village of Skokie supported the project as an economic stimulus to the area and as a cultural asset to the community. The Centre East Metropolitan Exposition, Auditorium and Office Building Authority was then created by the State of Illinois as the owner of the new performing arts center. The Village of Skokie appoints six of the nine members of the Authority aboard and Niles Township appoints three members. Professional Facilities Management (PFM) has managed the North Shore Center since its opening.
The North Shore Center was constructed at a cost of $18 million. The State of Illinois contributed $13.2 million and the Village of Skokie $3.4 million. The remaining construction funds were contributed by the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation and other private donors. Northlight Theatre raised additional dollars for the build-out of its namesake theatre.
Shortly after it opened, the North Shore Center hosted the pre-Broadway tryout of the musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown starring Kristen Chenoweth and Anthony Rapp. The North Shore Center has been the home to the Chicago Theatre Community’s annual Joseph Jefferson Awards seven times. Among the stars that have performed on the North Shore Center stages are Bob Newhart, Kathy Griffin, Queen Latifah, Bill Maher, Rita Moreno, Paula Poundstone, Neil Sedaka, Joffrey Ballet, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, The Capitol Steps, and many more.

Guest Speaker Audra Wilson, Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Audra Wilson is an attorney associated with Shriver Center on Poverty Law. She was our guest speaker at our weekly zoom meeting of July 7, 2020.

As an attorney, their founder, Sargent Shriver understood the role of the law and of lawyers in accomplishing the goal of equal justice and opportunity for low-income communities. Sarge had a vision of recruiting and supporting sufficient numbers of legal services attorneys to provide reasonable access to an attorney for all low-income people in the country. He also thought that these attorneys should be linked together so that, to the extent possible, they would function as a national law firm for the poor (as opposed to isolated attorneys in scattered storefronts in low-income neighborhoods). The glue for this national law firm was the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services, which published Clearinghouse Review, containing action research for lawyers, and maintained a brief bank with hundreds of thousands of poverty law documents that the attorneys could tap for ideas and models, mutual learning and strategizing.
In 2001, Shriver gave his name and personal authority to a new project, the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, formerly the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services. It is dedicated to the practice and perpetuation of Sarge’s values-driven methods for bringing the law to bear on community-generated issues involving equal opportunity and social justice. Today, the Shriver Center continues to support and enables the work of other advocates, and engages directly in policy and systemic advocacy on behalf of low-income people and communities across the country.
The Shriver Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. Their vision is a nation free from poverty with justice, equality, and opportunity for all.

Audra Wilson has been a champion for racial and economic justice for more than 20 years as a public interest lawyer and teacher, policy shaper, community mobilizer, and experienced executive manager. Throughout her career, Wilson has focused on the voices and experiences of communities of color and communities most impacted by injustice. 

Wilson began her legal career as a Welfare Advocacy Staff Attorney with the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, where she focused on welfare reform implementation and food security issues in Illinois. She was then tapped by then-state-Senator Barack Obama to serve as the Deputy Press and Policy Director on his U.S. Senate campaign. 

After the U.S. Senate race, Wilson returned to her public interest roots, serving as Director of Diversity Education and Outreach and Adjunct Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law for 7 years. At Northwestern, she co-founded the first formal consortium of law school diversity professionals in Chicago, seen as a national model. During this time, Wilson also served as a policy advisor to leading candidates for U.S. Senate, Illinois State Treasurer, and Lieutenant Governor.   

In 2013, Wilson accepted a position as Deputy Chief of Staff for United States Congresswoman Robin Kelly in the Second Congressional District of Illinois, where she oversaw all district operations and served as a surrogate for the Congresswoman while she was serving in D.C. Among Wilson’s other responsibilities, she served as lead Illinois coordinator of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.  

As Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, Wilson led critical change to expand the mission of a 100-year old civic engagement organization with nearly 4,000 members and over 40 chapters statewide. Wilson advanced the League’s advocacy on issues of race equity and voting rights and built organizational capacity for fundraising and communications. In October 2019, Wilson was appointed chair of the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues by Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle.  

Wilson holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish from Bucknell University, and a J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law. 


Guest Speaker Mary Navarro (Picture not available) is the grant manager at The Zacharias Center for Sexual Abuse, and she is the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley's Annual Grant Recipient.

The Zacharias Center offers three programs directly targeted at sexual abuse victims, a 24 Hour Hotline (847-872-7799), counseling services, and advocacy services, which includes medical and legal assistance on behalf of the survivor and significant others.
In addition, Sexual Assault Prevention-Education classes are delivered onsite to school children, their parents, school administrators and teachers, and professional training is offered to police, emergency room staff, social workers, court personnel and other groups working with survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
In 1997, the Zacharias Center opened a new building to house operations. The building concept represents the theoretical and architectural concept of "The Emotional Content of the Physical Space".
Input from sexual abuse survivors was used in order to create an environment which would be interpreted by clients as safe. The building incorporates open spaces, multiple and large windows allowing for extra light, high ceilings, soft-tone colors, outdoor garden areas and comfortable furniture.
In early 1977, women activists from nine community-based rape crisis centers in Illinois gathered to provide mutual support. These activists named their group the Illinois Coalition of Women Against Rape (ICWAR). In 1984 the name of ICWAR was changed to the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) to reflect the inclusion of men as victims of sexual assault.[3]
In August 1981 the Lake County Health Department formed a Rape Victim Advocacy Task Force to study the need for rape victim advocacy services in Lake County, Illinois. Their findings documented that services to rape victims in Lake County, Illinois were inadequate and fragmented. The first funding for sexual assault crisis centers, $148,889, was distributed by ICWAR to 12 centers in 1982. Later that year, four more centers were funded. Subsequent funds enabled centers to hire advocates, counselors and educators.
In 1983, the Zacharias Center was accepted as a member of ICASA and granted funding support. In 1984, 24 hour Hotline and Medical Advocacy service began, as well as Community Education and Professional Training Programs. In 1985, the Center received a grant from the Violent Crime Victims Assistance Fund and was accepted as a member of United Way of Lake County.





Guest Speaker David Limardi, President Sommer Foundation in Skokie.

David Limardi, recipient of theRotary Club of Skokie Valley's Annual Grant,  has been President of the Sommer Foundation in Skokie Illinois for 26 years.  David is retired City Manager from Highland Park and prior to that Lincolnshire  Illinois. David has been friend and professional colleague of club member Al Rigoni for 40 years. In retirement, Dave teaches graduate school and has a consulting practice. He lives in Highland Park with his wife Kris.

The Mission of the Sommer Foundation is to provide college or university scholarships to deserving high school seniors who have experienced the death of a parent and despite the resulting emotional trauma, have performed in an exemplary manner during his or her high school career.

From the late 1970s throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, four men built an incredible bond. Bob Kiely, Al Rigoni, Bill Sommer and I were professional colleagues, trusted friends and confidants. We worked hard and played harder. We shared personal and professional triumphs and tragedies. We learned from one another and about one another. We were as thick as thieves. We were a "Band of Brothers".

The relationships we built were priceless. We were four true friends who could be trusted with our most private thoughts, hopes and fears and who accepted one another for who we were. We really knew one another, the good and the bad, and we drew incredible comfort from the honesty, openness and unstated affection which flowed between us.
Some of our most memorable times occurred during the golf trips we took together. It was non-stop fun, a refuge from the everyday pressures we felt as public managers, sons, husbands, and fathers. Those trips helped shape who we would become as men because we learned so much about ourselves, about relationships, about life. The game of golf can be a window to a person's character. It will expose your human flaws, your frailties, your ability to accept triumph and tragedy. The game has the ability to reveal the real YOU. Each putt made, each wayward drive was an opportunity to grow as a person and learn from one another, to grow the bond. We were a "Band of Brothers".

Sometimes the Unthinkable Happens

Bill Sommer was turning forty years old. We planned a golf trip, (what else) to celebrate! We were going to the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Verde, Florida to celebrate his milestone birthday. Reservations were made, tickets were purchased, tee times were booked. We looked forward to the trip with great anticipation.
On a Tuesday evening at about midnight in the early spring, 1992, the four of us said good-bye in a parking lot in Skokie following one of our many Chicago Bulls games together. We would never see Bill alive again. On March 6, 1992 after coming home from a Village Board meeting in Lincolnwood, Bill Sommer; son, husband, father, friend, unexpectedly and suddenly died of a massive coronary.
The enormity of the event was mind numbing because it was so unexpected. The unthinkable had happened. He was the life of the party, the social director. He was the one who would never go to bed at night when we were away from home without calling to say "Good-night" to his children. People like Bill Sommer did not die suddenly at 39 years old. We lost an integral part of our foursome and we did not even have a chance to say good-bye. It hurt too badly to even discuss. The wake and funeral were a blur. It was difficult to see anything clearly through the tears. The emotional upheaval was dramatic. We felt helpless.

The Sommer Memorial Golf Tournament

We had to do something to help ease the pain, to temper the loss, to help Lynn and the children, Annie and Jay. That is when the idea for the Sommer Memorial Golf Tournament was born. We would use the sport that was so important to the development of our bond as friends to remember Bill and provide funds to educate Annie and Jay. The first Sommer Memorial Golf Tournament was held on June 9, 1993 and raised $2,323 for the Annie and Jay Sommer Memorial Fund. Forty-six players participated. It was a labor of love. The outpouring of support from friends and colleagues was heartwarming.
A tradition had begun. Our foursome was, however, short a player. The "Band of Brothers" was missing one. Joe Cavallaro filled the void. Joe worked as Bill's assistant in West Dundee and became Village Manager there when Bill went to work in Lincolnwood. Joe seamlessly joined the foursome and has been an integral part of the group ever since. Since the inaugural event in 1993, we have seen 3,063 players participate in the Sommer Memorial Golf Tournament and $586,292 has been raised to further the education of tomorrow's leaders.

The Sommer Foundation

Thanks to the sponsors and participants of the Sommer Memorial Golf Tournament from 1993 to 1998; we were able to invest enough proceeds to provide for the future educational pursuits of Anne and Jay Sommer. Our initial mission had been met thanks to the support of many kind people who joined us for our first six tournaments.
It was time for a new mission. We decided as a group to transition to providing scholarships to high school seniors who had endured the hardship of losing a parent early in life. We would distribute the scholarships via the newly incorporated Sommer Foundation. High school seniors would compete for a Sommer Foundation Scholarship based upon academic achievement, participation in volunteer and school activities, employment experience, and financial need. Through 2018, 109 scholarships have been provided to students who have gone on to succeed at several different colleges or universities.
When the Sommer Foundation Board of Directors was established, Bernie Oglietti and Lynn Sommer joined Joe Cavallaro, Bob Kiely, Al Rigoni, and myself. As the success of the Foundation continues to grow, the decision was made to expand the Board of Directors by three. Robert Irvin, Carol Sente, and Ryan Waller were subsequently elected to these openings. In October 2010, a vacancy to the Board occurred when Carol Sente’s term expired. The Foundation is thankful for Carol’s years of service, and while she will be missed, we were fortunate to receive a commitment from long-time supporter, Peter Koukos, to join the team. In 2012, Anne Sommer and Katie Limardi joined the Board of Directors, continuing the family legacy.
It has been an honor and a pleasure for those of us serving on the Sommer Foundation Board of Directors to be involved in the pursuit of our mission. We are so grateful to all of our sponsors and participants for having a positive impact on the lives of future leaders and for helping us remember our friend, Bill Sommer.


New Club President David Hartley
On July 1, 2020 David Hartley was installed as President of The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley. David joined the club on April 1, 2017. From the very start he has been actively engaged in several club activities, most recent, Club Fundraising Chair, an important position which he will most likely continue head. 
We are confident that under David's leadership, the club will persevere and prosper. Let us all wish David and his club administration the best in the coming Rotary year.
David currently works at the Baker Hartley, P.C. law firm which he joined  in early 2014 after graduating cum laude from the Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. While David works in all of the firm’s practice areas, much of his focus is on the business and estate planning arena. David has worked with numerous businesses and individuals to provide counsel on a range of legal topics including business formation, contract negotiations, business strategy, regulatory matters and tax planning. He has experience facilitating all stages of million dollar sales and acquisitions of closely held businesses from negotiation, contracting, implementation, and all the way through closing. David also regularly makes appearances in Cook and Lake County Probate Court on behalf of our clients.
David was an editor of the Temple International & Comparative Law Journal, and he also participated in Temple’s highly ranked trial advocacy program where he won the Barrister’s Award for outstanding advocacy. He was also chosen to participate in a select program allowing him to serve as an intern judicial clerk with the Honorable Judge Robert B. Kugler in the District of New Jersey. While in law school David also served as the President of the Environmental Law Society and a member of Students for Students, a group helping public school students facing expulsion.
Prior to law school David worked in New York City for a boutique plaintiff’s firm on large pharmaceutical litigation and he also spent a year in South Korea teaching English. David graduated magna cum laude from Seton Hall University in New Jersey with a B.S. in International Relations where he was a member of the ice hockey team and honors program.
David is an active member of the Chicago Bar Association where he formally served as the Vice-Chair of the Young Lawyers Environmental Law Section. David is also an active member of the Constitutional Law Society and a regular volunteer for Wills for Heroes where he helps prepare estate planning documents for Chicago area police officers, fire fighters, emergency responders, and active duty military.  

Guest Speaker Trisha Clare, President Concert Choir in Skokie.

Trisha Clare, Rotary Club of Skokie Valley Grant Recipient, has been the President of  the Skokie Concert Choir for the past six year.

For 30 years, the Skokie Concert Choir has shared a love of music with the local community. Founded in October 1986 as the Skokie Community Chorus, this choir has grown substantially, currently boasting over 50 members, including men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
The Skokie Concert Choir provides an opportunity for its members to learn a wide variety of music and perform in various settings. Their performances in concerts and for special occasions are designed to promote artistic and educational growth for both the choir and the broader community.
The Skokie Concert Choir is the musical home for its members, who rehearse once a week (pre covid-19) for two concerts a year – Winter and Spring. Their concert programs feature a wide variety of music, ranging from classical to folk to pop standards and show tunes!
They participate in two annual local events: the Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving hosted by the Niles Township Clergy Forum and the Skokie Festival of Cultures. They also perform at local senior residences and nursing homes.
The only requirement is a love of singing – no auditions are necessary and all are welcome! New members may join twice a year: rehearsals begin in February for our Spring Concert, and in September for our Winter Concert.

Guest Speaker Susan Kaufman, Director Orchard Village in Skokie.

Susan Kaufman, is one the recipient of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club's Non For Profit Organizations Annual Donation. She joined Orchard Village on February 10, 2020 as their new director, with 30 years experience in the field.
Susan most recently worked for Bethesda Lutheran Communities as Vice President of Operations. There she oversaw daily operations in the areas of licensed group homes, intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual / developmental disabilities, community integrated day services, employment, independent and supported living, shared living, and respite in 13 states. Previously, Susan was employed at Clearbrook for over 25 years, with her last position as Vice President of Program Services. Susan has a Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary and Special Education from Roosevelt University. She also has extensive expertise in the Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities field, as well as person-centered supports.
In 1972 a Skokie-based attorney Bernard Saltzberg, proud father of three sons with developmental disabilities, envisioned a nurturing community wherein his growing boys and other young people might thrive after their formal schooling ended at age 22.
Bernie envisioned a residence— a “home” in which people with disabilities could share a safe, caring and comfortable environment. After much hard work to obtain funding for the project, Bernie and other community parents purchased a residence located on a small cul-de-sac in Skokie. Soon after, the group purchased a six-flat apartment building on the same street and began welcoming even more individuals. In September of 1973, Bernie suspended his legal practice and was appointed Orchard Village’s first Executive Director.
Today, Orchard Village takes a more community-integrated residential approach, with more than 70 individuals now living in 10 residences spread throughout the Skokie, Glenview, Morton Grove and Niles municipalities. Another 25 live more independently in community apartments. In 1977, the organization began its vocational/job-placement program, which serves more than 100 individuals each year. In the 1980s Orchard Village began serving families who care for their loved one(s) with a disability in the family home. And in 2007, Orchard Academy was launched to address the transition and therapeutic needs of certain high school special education students.
Orchard Village employs approximately 150 full and part-time individuals who bring a wide range of credentials, skills and training to their work.

Guest Speaker Leon Walker

Leon I. Walker, Esq. was the guest speaker at our weekly Zoom Meeting of June 9, 2020. He was introduced by his friend and partner Scott Gendell, who is a club member of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
Leon spoke about his company, DL3 Realty's real estate investments and acquisitions in and around Chicago Southside underdeveloped territory, and the effect of the recent civil unrest on his property investments.
Over 30 years ago, the principals of DL3 Realty came together to revitalize the commercial landscape of the far south side of Chicago, which had declined after the social unrest of the 1960s.
DL3 Realty has spent the past 20 years acquiring prominent commercial locations in Chicago’s urban communities in order to establish high quality education programs, professional office buildings, and national retailer anchored strip malls.
Today, DL3 Realty is a locally engaged and nationally-recognized full service real estate development firm that is dedicated to transforming communities through high-impact commercial real estate. From medical centers to grocery stores, our connection to community creates a pipeline of development opportunities that improves the quality of life for everyday Chicagoans. We continue to expand through new developments and acquisitions of commercial sites, including an active pipeline of over $100 million in commercial projects designed to elevate Chicago's urban communities.
Leon Walker, who was raised on Chicago’s South Side, is an experienced corporate real estate professional who is passionate about revitalizing Chicago's underserved communities. In his community development work, Walker has been involved in structuring over $100 million in New Markets Tax Credit transactions. 
He is involved in many community initiatives including the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Civic Federation of Chicago, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University and the government relations committee of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
DL3’s developments have won numerous awards including the LISC-Chicago Most Outstanding Development Award in 2009, 2017 and most recently the 2020 award for our Jewel Osco grocery store in Woodlawn, which we developed in partnership with Scott Gendell of Terraco (
Click Here to view Leon Walker Ted-Talk YouTube Video

Phyllis Nutkis, Grants Manager The ARK
Jessica Katz, M.N.M., Development Manager The ARK
Phyllis Nutkis and Jessica Katz, from The Ark, Rotary Club of Skokie Valley's grant recipients, were the guest speaker at our June 2, 2020 weekly Zoom Meeting.
Phyllis Nutkis is ARK's Grants Manager, and has been at The ARK since 2004. Shes is also a writer, and a former kindergarten teacher.
Jessica Kats is the development manager at The Ark, where she started working this past April. She was raised in Skokie, and has a master's degree in nonprofit management from Regis University. 
The ARK was founded in 1971 through the efforts of an Uptown doctor and a local rabbi, who were approached by a group of young Jewish community members advocating for the doctor's clinic to provide more services to the poor. The idea quickly gained many supporters, and in March, 1971, The ARK opened as a free medical clinic in Albany Park. Soon, The ARK's cause began attracting large numbers of volunteers who were interested in contributing their time and professional skills to help their less fortunate neighbors. Throughout the years, services and programs were added one-by-one; a kosher food pantry was opened; rent and utility bills were paid; a free pharmacy opened.
The ARK grew, it followed the Jewish population from Albany Park to Devon Avenue. The ARK moved again in 1991 to its current facility on California Avenue, and in 2011, a second office was opened in Northbrook, to meet the needs of the growing Jewish population in the northwest suburbs.
Since that time, The ARK has grown exponentially, engaging the services of more than 2,000 professional and lay volunteers, who provide an array of medical, legal and social services for Chicagoland Jews in need.
The mission of The ARK is to help Chicagoland Jews who are facing adversity navigate toward self-reliance. ARK professionals, volunteers, and donors provide free, comprehensive services within a framework of Jewish values and laws.

Nicholas Wyatt, Village of Skokie Assistant Manager

Nick Wyatt did his Member's Classification Talk at our Zoom weekly meeting of May 26, 2020.

Nicholas Wyatt holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from North Georgia College and State University. After completing his graduate studies in 2010, he was promoted to Management Analyst and Public Information Officer and was promoted to Assistant to the Village Manager in 2012. In addition to serving as a member of the Village’s budget and collective bargaining teams, Nicholas Wyatt has been on the Village’s communications and marketing team, establishing Skokie’s now robust social media presence, overseeing the Village web site and assisting with developing each edition of NewSkokie, the Village’s newsletter. As the staff liaison to the Fine Arts Commission and Public Arts Committee, he led the acquisition and development of the collection of outdoor sculptures and murals in Downtown Skokie and other areas of the community. He is a member of both the International and Illinois City/County Management Associations and is active in the Illinois Association of Municipal Management Assistants.

Nick joined The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley on July 9, 2019.

Guest Speaker David N. Rahija President at Skokie Hospital.

In addition to serving as President of NorthShore Skokie Hospital, David Rahija provides oversight of NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute and post-acute services. Rahija joined NorthShore in 2009 as Vice President of Glenbrook Hospital. He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and earned a master’s degree in physical therapy from Saint Louis University. Later, Rahija earned an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management from Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University.
Mr. Rahija started his presentantion by outlining the background of COVID 19, following with its symptoms and statistics at Noth Shore Hospital.
As of 5/18/2020 44,196 people were tested, and out of these 11,957 tested positive, 178 passed away and 118 currently hospitalized. In addition the following services were performed: 23,051 Super Site Immediate Care Visits - 17,252 eVisits - 24,797 Health9 Calls Answered and 5,420 Drive Tru Tests Since Go-Live.
Mr. Rahija went over all the precotions that people should take in order not to be infected with COVID 19 such as stay home whenever possible, maintaning social distancing, keep hands clean etc..  He also emphasized that people should seek medical help for non-COVID 19 health issues as well, so to avoid further health complications as a result of neglect. 
Rotary Club of Skokie Valley Community Grants distributed for the 2020 Rotary Year:
  1. Orchard Village. $1000 for PPE
  2. The Ark. $300 for food pantry
  3. Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.)  $500 for sound panels
  4. Sommer Foundation  $500 for scholarship
  5. Skokie Concert Choir $400 for choral group
  6. Golf Maine Park District. $500 for camp
  7. Skokie Community Foundation $1000 for Healthcare symposium on coronavirus
  8. Project Hero. $500 for veteran event
  9. Zacharias Center $300 for counseling
  10. NorthShore Center for Performing Arts  $900 for student tickets
  11. Metropolitan Family Services. $500 for counseling
  12. Turning Point. $1000 for Living Room peer counseling
  13. Keshet. $500 for Club Fit for disabled
  14. St. John Brebeuf $500 for youth service
  15. Mitchell Museum $300 for e-learning tours
  16. St. Joan of Arc Academy $300 for scholarship
Total funds distributed were $9,000

Guest Speaker Lawrence A. Dimmitt,  Director 2018-20 Rotary Club of Topeka Kansas

Guest Speaker Lawrence Dimmitt covered the following points:
  1. Rotary’s theme this year is “Rotary Connects the World.”  The Coronavirus has really made this a challenge all around the world.
            a. It has changed how we connect with each other.
            b. Changed how we provide service.
  1. Almost all Rotary communication is remote/virtual.
            a. 2020 RI Convention in Honolulu has been cancelled; will be held virtually.
            b. Rotary Board meetings are being held via Zoom.
            c. District and club meetings (like this one) are also virtual.
  1. Some other examples of virtual communication among Rotarians.
            a. The District Governor-Elect from Nebraska and his wife were stranded in Africa. Rotary helped them get home.
            b. A Rotarian from Ft. Collins, CO. was stuck in London. Rotarians from England offered her support.
            c. The RI Staff (like Greg Franks) are working from home.
            d. RI President Mark Maloney and RI Director Larry Dimmitt recently hosted a virtual meeting with over a dozen Latin American districts, with translation.
            e. Larry Dimmitt’s club in Topeka, KS held a Zoom meeting last week with     the Harlem, NY Rotary Club.
  1. Recent RI Board actions promoting connection despite Coronavirus.
            a. Members’ health is key.
            b. In-person meetings are discouraged at least through 2020.
            c. District Governors are strongly encouraged to visit their clubs via Zoom.
  1. How will Rotarians provide service during the pandemic?
            a. Rotary Foundation responses to the virus:
                        --District and Global grants can be used for Covid relief. These grants will be given priority.
                        --Rotarians are encouraged to contribute to the Foundation and the Disaster Response Fund (DRF). Each District may apply for up to $25,000 from this fund.
                        --Several million dollars have already been spent from the DRF.
                        --The May 2 Telethon raised over half a million dollars for the Disaster Response Fund.
            b. A partnership between Rotary and Global Impact, a non-profit, is sponsoring a new relief program—“Volunteer Surge”—providing free training to help from home or help community health workers,                             subject to social distancing and professional restrictions. (See or for details.)
            c. Fight to eradicate Polio must continue, with only 54 cases so far this year.
                        Contributions to PolioPlus must continue.
                        There will be a pause in vaccinations over the next few months  because of the virus.
                        In the meantime, Polio volunteers are being used to fight Covid.
  1. Examples of clubs and districts fighting Covid:
            a. Meals on Wheels volunteers in Topeka, KS.  Also supporting Harvestors,  a charitable food distributor.
            b. Providing a food trailer in Western Nebraska to feed first responders and health workers.
            c. A $225,000 grant between South Texas Rotarians and Guatemala to provide PPE.
            d. Providing ventilator “helmuts” for Covid patients in Evanston.
            e. Harlem NY Club working with the Salvation Army to deliver food and distribute PPE; provide advice to small business owners affected by the crisis; and conduct financial seminars for senior citizens.

Lawrence A. Dimmitt is retired from AT&T, where he was general attorney. He then was an adjunct professor at Washburn University School of Law, his alma mater. He is a member of several professional associations.

A Rotarian since 1983, Dimmitt has served Rotary as committee member, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and president’s representative. He personally raised $200,000 for a Million Dollar Dinner in District 6040 (Missouri) in 2010 and co-chaired a similar event in District 5710 (Kansas) in 2014.

Dimmitt has received the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service and the Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award. He and his wife, Lois, are Benefactors and Major Donors to the Foundation, and members of the Arch Klumph Society and Bequest Society.

Lara Trubowitz, Ph.D 
Dr. Lara Trubowitz was the guest speaker at our May 5, 2020 Zoom Weekly Meeting, She is the Educational Director, ADL Midwest/Associate Director, National College and University Programs. She spoke about Antisemitism and Discrimination.
ADL is the premier organization monitoring, tracking and responding to anti-Semitism in the United States. Through our network of 25 regional offices, we are able to act quickly when anti-Semitism affects our cities, communities and campuses. We also expose anti-Semitic words and actions —some linked to deeply engrained, centuries-old anti-Jewish bias— wherever they manifest in society and across the political spectrum. Since 1964, ADL has periodically conducted detailed public opinion polls to track American and global attitudes toward Jews over time.
ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) tracks anti-Semitic trends and other forms of hate every day. Its experts monitor extremist activity online and on the ground, and COE has issued numerous reports on key developments and trends in extremism and hate. From the far right and the far left and everything in between, ADL’s team of researchers also monitors anti-Semitism.
ADL’s most recent Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States recorded 1,879 acts in 2018, with a dramatic increase in physical assaults, including the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. A wave of anti-Semitic robocalls targeted Jewish schools, JCCs and synagogues, and a significant number of incidents occurred at K-12 schools and on college campuses.
Assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews remain at near-historic levels in the U.S. The deadly attacks in synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway have made American Jews feel more vulnerable than they have felt in decades.
After these and other recent shootings motivated by hate, ADL initiated, cosponsored or participated in rallies and vigils, and provided in-depth expertise to law enforcement and to the public. Following the attack on the three congregations sharing the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, ADL hosted a digital vigil so that people everywhere could stand in solidarity, and participated in a nationwide #SolidarityShabbat with partner organizations.
In August 2017, the country saw a disturbing manifestation of anti-Semitism at the alt right “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, where hundreds of marchers threw Nazi salutes, waved swastika flags and shouted “Seig Heil” And “Jews will not replace us!” ADL researchers identified more than 300 of the estimated 500-600 individuals who showed up to support the anti-Semitic and racist rally.
ADL actively monitors and responds to rhetoric and actions that invoke anti-Semitic tropes or marginalize or isolate Jews. We spoke out, for example when participants in the 2018 Chicago Dyke March said displays of Jewish symbols were taboo or when public figures falsely stated that Zionists cannot be feminists. ADL speaks out against anti-Jewish manifestations, and when criticism of Israel or Zionism crosses the line into anti-Semitism.
ADL tracks and analyzes cyberhate and develops new tools to fight it. A report released in May 2018 analyzing anti-Semitic speech on Twitter provided the first-ever snapshot of the trends and themes of anti-Semitism on the social media platform. Among the findings: at least 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets were shared or re-shared on Twitter over a 12-month period.
ADL’s Center for Technology and Society (CTS) works in partnership with leading researchers, policy experts, and with the technology industry to help combat all forms of online hate and harassment. CTS commissions rigorous research and surveys the general public to quantify the scale of online hate. In addition, it advises policy teams at social media companies and provides training to trust and safety teams. ADL aims not only to understand the nature of new forms of online hate, but to provide reasonable recommendations, based on empirical evidence, to prevent the targeting of vulnerable communities on the Internet.
ADL’s Education Department provides programs, training and resources for grades pre K-12 and college and university settings. ADL’s anti-bias and bullying prevention programs help students and educators understand and challenge bias, and empower them to stand up to anti-Semitism. Programs and resources for high school and college students help them to identify anti-Semitism, and when anti-Israel expressions cross the line into anti-Semitism, and to develop best proactive and reactive practices and responses.
Jason Stanford AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Site Coordinator
After serving many years as a policeman (both his dad and uncle were also police officers), Jason Stanford wanted to experience a different side of life by becoming a teacher. With social studies being one of his favorite subjects, he sought a teaching position as a Social Studies Teacher at Niles West. Not only did he become a Social Studies teacher, he is also the AVID Site Coordinator and Mock Trial Coach. He enjoys helping students reach their personal and professional goals. At this virtual club meeting, Jason shared information about a new academic program for the 2020-2021 school year at Niles West called AVID.
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID is an elective class designed to close the achievement gap. Niles West AVID students are Freshmen (ages 14-15) in the academic middle (earning mostly B’s/C’s) who work hard and want to be prepared to succeed in college, career, and life. Part of the AVID program is to invite guest speakers to come into the AVID Elective Class to inform students about the many different career options that are available to them.  Jason said that he and his colleagues are seeking a variety of career professionals to speak to the AVID students. Guest speakers may have an associate, bachelor or advanced degree, but this is certainly not a requirement. Professions that may not require a traditional degree such as a plumber, electrician, military, artists, etc., are welcomed and encouraged. The goal of the guest speaker program is to introduce students to a wide variety of careers. Guest speakers will have 42 minutes to speak to each class. Currently there are two AVID elective classes with approximately twenty students in each class. The classes are from 8:10am - 8:52am and from 8:57am - 9:39am and the speaker has the entire class time to present and take questions from the students. Fridays would be the preferential day to have guest speakers; however, there may be some flexibility to work around a speaker's schedule. 
Jason and his colleagues are hoping the presentations to students will accomplish two goals: one is to inform the student about their career, and the second is to inspire students to pursue that career if they are interested. The presentation format for our guest speakers is entirely up to the speaker. The guest speaker can use a slide deck/PowerPoint or they can simply talk to the class. Guest speakers in other AVID programs have also brought in handouts about their company, handouts about their careers or even given marketing material (stress balls, pens, lanyards, etc.) to the students. These are suggestions and are not mandatory to be a guest speaker at Niles West. 

If anyone is interested in speaking and sharing their career area during one of the AVID Elective Classes, please click here to complete an interest form, preferably by June 1st. If you have any questions, please contact Jason Stanford at or 847-626-2872, or Skokie Valley Rotary Club member Lisa Edelson at
Guest Speaker Will Quam
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Will Quam is a theater teaching artist, director, sound designer, and a self-taught brick enthusiast. Exposed to architecture as a child, and after walking the streets of his newly adopted city of Chicago in 2014, Will became fascinated by all of Chicago’s brick work and design. Will began researching and learning all he could about brick history, design and manufacturing and started posting photos of brick on an Instagram account called Brick of Chicago, which now has over 8,000 followers. Will has since created a companion website to serve as a repository of brick information. 
Will organizes and guides walking tours of various Chicago neighborhoods to highlight brick features for other brick, architecture and Chicago history enthusiasts. Will’s work has been featured on WTTW Chicago, CBS 2 Chicago, Chicago Tribune, and WGN radio.

What is Chicago Common Brick?

Much of Chicago is built from Chicago Common bricks. If you're in Chicago, you're probably near some now. Chicago Commons are the rougher and dirtier bricks on the sides and back of many of Chicago's buildings. They're made from the clay from the Chicago River and when fired they can turn a range of colors, like buff yellow, salmon pink, or deep red. Chicago bricks age beautifully and take on a beautiful patina.


Before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago was built mostly of wood. The fire burned down over 17,000 buildings and, after another fire in 1874, citywide building codes were changed to ban new wood buildings. The rebuilders of the city in turn dug into the clay of the river and areas surrounding the city to make bricks.

The clays used to make Chicago Common Bricks are full of lime, iron, and tons of little stones and particulate. Depending on the makeup of the particular batch, the bricks burned to a different range of colors, often colored in spots (called flashpoints, where the bricks touched in the kilns). These Chicago bricks were called Commons because they were rougher and deemed unworthy of gracing the street facing facade of the building. That purpose was left to nicer “face bricks” made with the smoother, cleaner clays from areas like Pennsylvania and St. Louis.

So, Chicago bricks were tucked away on the back, sides, and interiors of buildings. You can still spot them there!In 1871 there were 5 brickyards in Cook County. By 1881 there were 60. By 1915, 10% of all brick made in America was made in Chicago. Chicago was transformed from a city of wood to a city of brick. The last Chicago Common brick maker was closed in 1981, and no Chicago Common bricks have been made since.

Reuse and Reclaim

Chicago Common bricks are often reclaimed and sent around the world. Often times, brickyards will use saws to slice the long stretcher faces off the reclaimed bricks creating multiple thin bricks out of one brick.

You can spot reclaimed Chicago Common brick on many new homes, storefronts, and interiors. 

Any easy way to spot a wall of reclaimed Chicago Common brick: Original walls of Chicago brick aged and stained together and are often from the same batch of clay and thus the same color. On a wall of reclaimed commons, bricks are taken from multiple buildings, sites, and batches, so you’ll see a large variation in colors, patina, staining, and painting. For example, a painted common next to a red common, next to a yellow, next to a black soot-stained Common brick. That’s a tell-tale sign of a reclaimed wall.

Other Regional Bricks

One of the cooler things about Chicago Commons is how unique they are to Chicago and the clay deposits here. Move up the lake to Milwaukee and the clay is different enough that you get Cream City Brick. In Madison, Wisconsin, the common bricks are smooth silver. St. Louis clays were smooth and high in iron and made dense, matte red bricks. Toullouise, France is covered in home-grown pink bricks.

Guest Speaker Steve Marciani 
Steve is the Skokie Planning Supervisor and has been with the Village of Skokie for over 22 years. His talk subject was the 2020 Census. Please read the following information:
The 2020 Census will begin very soon. In mid-March, look for postcards in the mail that will include an invitation to respond to the Census questionnaire. You will be able to respond online, with your smartphone, by phone, or by mail. The questionnaire is less than 10 questions long and is expected to take less than 10 minutes to complete. Please know that if you receive a postcard and do not respond, Census workers will begin in-person visits during May.
Census results affect Skokie’s voice in government, how much of $675 billion in federal funding Skokie receives for the next 10 years and how we plan for the future of the community. By completing the census form, you help Skokie create jobs, provide housing, prepare for emergencies and build schools, roads and hospitals. Census results determine the number of seats Illinois gets in Congress, and State and local officials use Census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative and school districts.
The Village is supporting the Census 2020 effort by focusing its efforts on historically hard-to-count populations that were identified by Skokie-specific data from previous censuses: renters, low-income persons, young children, senior citizens, “Millennials”, ethnic minorities and non-English speakers. 
As part of this effort, the Village is providing information to community organizations, sending letters directly to residents and posting signs around the Village as reminders of the upcoming effort. We hope you join us by participating in the 2020 Census.
For more information, please click here
Guest Speaker Dr. Mitchell R Weisberg. 
Dr. Weisberg specializes as an internist in Psychopharmacology and treats the whole body from the emotional to the physical. Although his talk subject was psychopharmacology (which is described in the following chapter), he basically limited his speech to that in order to have the most optimal diagnosis, when a patient visit her/his doctor should write down all physical and mental complaints on a piece of paper to be discussed by doctor and patient.
"Psychopharmacology is the study of medications used to treat mental disorders affecting mood attention, behavior, and thought processes. Though these drugs vary widely in their composition and efficacy, many of them work by targeting neurotransmitters in the brain—usually by stimulating or inhibiting their release or blocking their uptake in the nervous system. 
Though it was once rarely spoken of outside of medical settings, in the past few decades, the use of drugs to alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders—particularly depression or attention deficit disorder—has become more socially acceptable. This cultural shift has resulted in these psychoactive agents being among the most widely prescribed pharmaceuticals today, as well as increased competition amongst pharmaceutical companies to create new formulations or corner a new psychiatric market.
Despite their ubiquity, however, there continues to be much debate around the use of medications to treat mental health challenges—particularly whether it's safe to use powerful stimulants to manage attention-deficit problems in children, or whether the potential side effects of antidepressant medications outweigh any possible benefits of the treatment. In addition, the general effectiveness of antidepressants when measured against a placebo  remains controversial—although many large studies have concluded that the treatments that prove most effective combine antidepressant medications with psychotherapy".  
Guest Speaker Ingrid Andor

Ingrid Andor was the guest speaker at the Skokie Valley Rotary Club luncheon meeting of February 11. Ingrid is a local, Independent Insurance Agent and benefits consultant, experienced in transitioning employees and retirees from group insurance to individual Medicare plans. While Ingrid specializes in Senior benefits, she also assists those under 65 individuals, entrepreneurs, and small groups with their health, life, and long term care insurance needs. Ingrid is a published author, has taught at Chicago area colleges, and holds a Master's Degree in Linguistics, with a concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Following are items she spoke about:

2020 Changes to Original Medicare
•Higher Deductibles
•A: $1364 > $1408
•B:  $183 > $198
•Higher Premiums
•B: $135.50 > $144.60
•Higher Costs Attributed to Physician Administered Part B Drugs
2020 Medicare Supplement Landscape
•New Medicare Card (Mailed in 2019)
•Retirement of Plans F, High Deductible F & C for those turning 65 this year
•Increase in High Deductible Plans from $2300 > $2340
•Spotlight on Plan G
•Introduction of High Deductible G
2020 Medicare Advantage Landscape
•1200 New Plans Nationwide
•Decrease in Premiums to $23 ($36 for plans including Rx)
•Enrollment Up 10% to 24 Million
•Innovation in Benefit Design
•Telehealth for Primary Care & Mental Health
•Caregiver & In-Home Support
2020 Part D Landscape
•6% Decrease in Premiums
•Donut Hole Reduced to 25%
•Increasing Rx Cost Producing More Cost Savvy Seniors
•Using Rx Discount Card Programs
•Online Purchasing of Drugs from Overseas
•New Legislation to Lower Rx Pricing
Future Medicare Proposals
•Allow Medicare to Negotiate Rx Prices
•Raise Medicare Eligibility Age to 67
•Change Medicare to Premium Support (Voucher System)
•Redesign Medicare Benefits
•Combine Parts A & B with one deductible and one coinsurance
•Set Out of Pocket Expense Limit
•Include Routine Dental/Vision/Hearing Benefits
•Expand “Medicare for All”
•Lower Medicare Eligibility Age to 50
For additional information contact Ingrid Andor at:
or 1-224-410-9054
From left to right: Antonio Rice, Coordinator,  Sandy Williams, Director, , Brian McHugh, Facilitator.
Sandy Williams, Antonio Rice and Brian McHugh from YWCA Evanston / LoveIsRespect, were the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley February 4, 2020 luncheon meeting.
Loveisrespect’s purpose is to engage, educate and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. Highly-trained advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships.
They also provides information and support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, service providers and members of law enforcement. Loveisrespect strives to be a safe, inclusive space for young people to access information and get help in an environment that is designed specifically for them. 
Guest Speaker Gillian Hemme, Education Director at Piven Theatre Workshop

Gillian Hemme is a performer, writer, and director. She has studied at Grinnell College, Pacifica Graduate Institute, the National Theatre Institute, and Piven Theatre Workshop. Gillian has appeared on stage with Piven, The Moth, ten x9 Chicago, Literate Ape’s Bughouse, Something Marvelous, Prop Theatre, Jubilee Theatre Collective, Prologue, the Chicago Fringe Festival, and the International Theatre Festival in Taiwan.  Her on-camera credits include Mind Games and The Onion, and she is represented by Big Mouth Talent. At Piven, she teaches PEEP (Piven Empowerment through Enrichment Program) classes for adults with developmental disabilities, directs for Performance Project, and teaches story theatre for Conservatory. She and Beth Voitik helped start the EPIC ensemble at Cook County Jail, where she and an outstanding team of teachers develop original performances with an incredible group of women.

Experienced with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry. Skilled in Non- Profit Organizations, Theatre, Performing Arts, Fundraising, and Acting. String arts and design professional with Bachelor of Arts (BA) focused un Theatre w/Honors; Pre Med from Grinnell College.

For over 45 years, the Piven Theatre Workshop has maintained both a professional theatre and a nationally acclaimed theatre workshop for children and adults. The mission of Piven Theatre Workshop is to encourage a process of creative exploration that celebrates each individual’s unique voice through an ensemble-based, community-oriented approach to theatre training and performance. This mission, as it has evolved over 40 years, is pursued through the three branches of the organization: the renowned theatre training center for children and adults which serves over 1,000 students annually and provides mentorship opportunities for emerging theatre artists and educators, the extensive scholarship and community based programs, and the professional Equity theatre committed to new works and literary adaptations.
The Piven Theatre Workshop now annually trains approximately 1,000 students from age 9 to adult. By focusing on the creative process rather than the pre-patterned result, on releasing the natural sense of play, and on the richest personal expression evoked through the communal experience that is theatre, the Piven Theatre Workshop training program has touched countless lives over the years. For all the spawning of celebrities, the Workshop’s greatest value over the years are the many students who have taken into their lives and varied professions an enriched understanding of the human exchange and greater confidence in the value of their unique presence.
Why Theatre Training?
Theatre training helps people, both young and old, become well-rounded, creative members of society.Watching and participating in theatre has been linked to benefits ranging from higher standardized test scores to improved social and emotional skills. Studying theatre gives students the opportunity to explore emotions in a safe environment while creating key connections within their peer group. Participants learn to empathize with characters of different backgrounds and viewpoints, fostering cultural competency in students of all ages.
Exposure to the arts in general and theatre specifically (especially within an improvisation-focused curriculum) encourages participants to have greater mental and emotional flexibility. Piven’s cohesive approach to theatre training, including training in improv, theatre games, scene study, and Story Theatre adaptation, produces alumni who are fluid thinkers who have the tools to be life-long learners in our ever- changing cultural landscape.
Why the Piven Technique?
Piven's focus is on a theatre games and improv-based training technique encourages students of all ages and skill levels to think creatively, to empathize with fellow ensemble members, to take bold risks in a safe environment, and to communicate both verbally and non-verbally on a sophisticated level.  These skills translate to heightened acting skills and increased success in theatrical performances, as well as in a whole host of off-stage situations: navigating social groups, presenting in classroom and professional environments, and even improving focus and reading comprehension!
Piven’s theatre classes also harness the power of improvised play to create a sense of trust and community in each classroom, valuing the contributions of each individual’s voice while also teaching students the power of genuine connection within a group. While many of their students and alumni have found great professional success in the entertainment industry, they find that the greatest value of their training is the increased confidence and sense of belonging that their  students emerge from their classrooms with—and all of the fun they have along the way!
Guest Speaker Maria Ullmann, Strategic Partnerships Manager
Maria Ullmann expertise within the water sector, ranges from working in China, in the Peace Corps, and currently working with a project called Box of Rain, a company focused on providing access to safe, clean drinking water to those affected by major disasters.
Box of Rain is a bulk water company dedicated to supporting the efforts of corporations, individuals, philanthropic groups, and public sector agencies seeking an opportunity to provide safe drinking water to communities affected by natural disasters and emergency situations in the U.S.
Established in 2019 by W.S. Darley & Co and Mazarine Ventures, Box of Rain Water is a business that reflects both founding companies' frustration with incumbent emergency water solutions.  They recognize that there are many brands that sincerely want to help in natural disasters or humanitarian situations; however, somehow buying 10 pallets of plastic water bottles just doesn't feel like the right solution.   They asked themselves, is there a more sustainable way? And furthermore, is there a way that allows a company's marketing budget to support these altruistic efforts.   
They offer 2 types of boxes: 
  • Standard:  Immediately deployable boxes of premium drinking water (as seen on the left) that simply has the Box of Rain logo. 
  • Customized:  Immediately deployable boxes of premium drinking water with your brand's logo and brand messaging, prominently displayed the box.
Some key attributes:  
  • With the Box of Rain platform, brands from virtually any industry can send clean water to those in need,  
  • Your social impact goals are met by delivering safe water to those most in need. 
  • Your brand can make a meaningful impact on families and communities most in need of safe water. 
  • Water is a universal cause that resonates with employees, shareholders, and other important stakeholders.
  • Water is sustainably sourced, certified, and safe for a minimum of 3 years. The water is purified by reverse osmosis, micron filtration, carbon filtration and protected by ozonation.
  • The box is made of 100% recycled cardboard and offers practical uses after the water is consumed. The plastic bag is recyclable after consumption. 
  • As of Q12020, Box of Rain can only serve North American emergencies. 
Maria was recently on Fox 32 Chicago. Click here to watch the interview.
Fire Chief Jeffrey Hoeflich (left) Club president Ralph Klein (right)
Meet our newest club member Fire Chief Jeffrey Hoeflich!
On December 16, 2019, Interim Fire Chief Jeffrey Hoeflich was sworn in as the Village’s new Fire Chief. Hoeflich joined the Skokie Fire Department in 1986. “He has served the Village with distinction,” said Village Manager John Lockerby. During this 33-year tenure with the Village, Hoeflich has progressed through the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain. Prior to serving as Interim Chief, he served for ten years as the Training Officer for the Skokie Fire Department and also as a Battalion Chief. Hoeflich and his wife Christine are excited about entering this new chapter of their lives and are in the process of looking for a residence in Skokie. “During the past year while serving as Interim Fire Chief, Jeff has shown outstanding leadership,” said Lockerby. “His dedication to best practices in public safety will benefit the community as he leads an outstanding team of firefighters in protecting the Village each and every day."
Welcome to Our Club Jeffrey!
Pictures of Diane Krier-Morrow, Jerry Berk, David Hartley and Ralph Klein loading Diane’s car with our 1st shipment of crayons going to Puerto Rico.
The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley has partnered with the Rotary Club of Antioch collecting crayons for schools in Puerto Rico devastated by hurricanes.   In a very short time, the Skokie members collected 3,000 new and used crayons, the equivalent of 125 boxes of 24 crayons each. Diane Krier-Morrow is Skokie Valley Club Chair of International Service.  Thanks to Rotary District 6440 Chair of International Service, Jim Wales who circulated this project to the district international service chairs. 
Guest Speaker Erlene Howard, Founder of Collective Resource food waste composting company
Erlene Howard was the guest speaker at January 14th Skokie Valley Rotary Club luncheon meeting. Collective Resource, food waste composting company, just secured a partnership program with the Village of Skokie, so now  the village gets great rates.

Collective Resource, Inc. (a.k.a. Collective Resource Compost or CRI) began when Erlene Howard, an Evanston resident, became interested in composting but couldn't find a good place to do it in her condo environment. Howard, a bookkeeper by trade, is a frequent consumer of organic fruits and vegetables. She was inspired to start a food scrap recycling service when she realized that, if composting were made more convenient, more people would do it.

Her first pickups started with three customers, using her Toyota Camry for collection. Howard's customer base has since grown to over 1400 residential and nearly 300 commercial customers. The company now uses seven cargo vans to collect pre and post-consumer food scraps weekly in an area that extends to over 60 communities encompassing Chicago's entire north side as well as near south and southwest side neighborhoods and the suburbs north to Lake Bluff and extending west to Schaumburg, Arlington Heights and Buffalo Grove.

During their first six months of business, Collective Resource collected a single ton. Now they collect at least twice that amount every day, averaging 20 tons per week. In December of 2019, the company celebrated a total collection milestone of 6,000 tons.

Collective Resource Team
David N. Rahija,  President Skokie Hospital 
David Rahija was the guest speaker at our Skokie Valley Rotary Club Meeting of January 7, 2020. In addition to serving as President of NorthShore Skokie Hospital, David Rahija provides oversight of NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute and post-acute services. Rahija joined NorthShore in 2009 as Vice President of Glenbrook Hospital. He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and earned a master’s degree in physical therapy from Saint Louis University. Later, Rahija earned an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management from Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University.
NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is an integrated healthcare delivery system consistently ranked as a Top 15 Teaching Hospital in the U.S. The NorthShore system, headquartered in Evanston, Ill., includes five hospitals – Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park, Skokie and Swedish. NorthShore also includes a 900 physician multispecialty group practice, NorthShore Medical Group, with more than 140 locations in the Chicagoland area. NorthShore has annual revenues of $2.1 billion and employs 10,500 people.
NorthShore is a Magnet-recognized organization, the first in Illinois to receive this prestigious honor as an entire system that demonstrates excellence in nursing and high standards in patient care.
NorthShore also is a national leader in the implementation of innovative technologies, including an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. In 2003, NorthShore was among the first in the country to successfully implement a systemwide EMR with demonstrable benefits in quality, safety, efficiency and service to patients. NorthShore has been recognized by multiple national organizations for this notable achievement.
As the principal teaching affiliate for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, NorthShore is dedicated to excellence in medical education and research. Combined with NorthShore’s established reputation for advanced information technology and its strong clinical environment, this affiliation represents an exciting advancement in patient care for the Chicagoland area.
NorthShore’s health system includes significant capabilities in a wide spectrum of leading clinical programs, including Kellogg Cancer Center, NorthShore Neurological Institute, NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute, NorthShore Cardiovascular Institute, Neaman Center for Personalized Medicine and High-Risk Maternity.
NorthShore Research Institute focuses on clinical and translational research, including leadership in clinical trials and medical informatics.
NorthShore Foundation is the primary philanthropic entity of NorthShore. The Foundation raises charitable contributions and engages volunteers committed to friends in support of NorthShore’s ongoing mission “to preserve and improve human life.”.
Above is the December 29, 2019 Skokie Valley Rotary Club Soup Kitchen Crew
Although it was near New Years Eve, many generous member of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club along with their spouses and friends, felt the urge and responsibility to put aside their personal needs, and drive out in the winter cold weather to make sure that many hungry homeless people would be served a hot dinner.
Thank you to those who were able help, and to those who did not, I hope they will in the future.
Guest Speaker Tiffany Prince, MBA
Guest Speaker Tiffany Prince discussed her recent book. In her book Top of the Mountain Leadership: The Future of Performance and Productivity in a Technology Changing World, she shares insights into navigating leadership styles for greater business impact, how to overcome leadership challenges, how to build agile workforces for future, how to drive vision and innovation through diversity and inclusion.
To buy her Top of the Mountain Leadership book Click Here
Tiffany Prince is an internationally renowned speaker and Organizational Development and Strategic Performance Management Consultant who helps companies develop systematic and effective organizational change. She has first-hand knowledge of working in Financial Services, US Federal Government, High Tech and Biotech/Pharma industries. She has designed and led global development and organizational change management programs in the US and EMEA regions, working with Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies.
Tiffany has analyzed, designed and delivered customized learning programs for internal and external stakeholders, enabling client organizations to meet critical strategic goals through the alignment of capability and methodology. She is also a skilled Trainer and Facilitator, having served ten years as Training Manager within the Biotechnology industry with Lonza Biologics and Amgen. She held roles as consultant and coach to business and learning leaders at large corporations around the world for an additional seven years.
Tiffany holds a master’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Global Business, from Pepperdine University. Tiffany was recognized as a Top Consultant with the CARA Corporation for their PURE (Professionalism, Understanding, Responsibility and Excellence) Award in 2017. Currently, Tiffany is serving as the VP of Membership for the Chicagoland Chapter of the Association Talent Development (ATD). She has also served as the President of the Metro DC Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development, having previously served as Director of Programs and Vice-President of Finance. She was invited to join the Learning Directors Network within the Learning Performance Institute, an exclusive network for Learning & Development Directors in leading UK and Global learning and performance organizations. She holds various certifications in Performance Consulting, Agile, Lean, Change Management and Front-End Analysis.
Niles North High School's Culinary Arts Students,
Niles North High School Students Choir.
Niles North High Dance Marathon students representatives and Skokie Valley Rotary club member Ross mathee.

Our Weekly Luncheon, or Holiday Party on December 10, 2019 was at Niles North High School. The food was cooked and served by the Niles North High School's Culinary Arts Students. Members  of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley in attendance were welcomed by hosts School Principal Jim Edwards and Superintendent of Niles Township High School District 219, Steven Isoye.  During lunch we were entertained by the High School Choir, led by Musical Director, Daniel Gregerman. The food presentation was lovely and everything, from appetizers to dessert, was delicious!

After lunch students representing the Niles North High School Dance Marathon did a nice slide presentation about their past year's and upcoming activities.

The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley would like to express its appreciation to the Niles North High School for their royal treatment!

Guest Speaker Howard J Swibel,  Attorney at Law
Howard Swibel described some of the challenges the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, Inc. faced in developing the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.  Al Rigoni, then the Skokie Village Manager, expressed skepticism regarding the availability of Cook County Forest Preserve Land for construction of a parking lot.  But The Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois received extraordinary support and cooperation from County officials, who ultimately agreed to let them  build a parking lot in a grassy field on Woods Drive.  The Village of Skokie also extended itself by agreeing to serve as the nominal title holder of the land underneath the Museum.  That unprecedented accommodation enables the Holocaust Museum to qualify for State subsidies targeting museums situated on publicly owned land. Only the central Chicago museums, such as Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, etc. qualifies for those subsidies, because the land underlying those institutions is owned by the Chicago Park District. 
Howard discussed the challenge they face due to the shrinking population of Holocaust survivors.  They know from experience that encountering a survivor is the most impactful way of learning about the history.  With crucial help from Steven Spielberg's California-based Shoah Foundation, The Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois built a holographic theater in which visitors come face to face with a life-sized, life-like, three-dimensional holographic image which answers questions posed by the live audience. "The secret of success" Howard said,  "is that nearly a dozen survivors each answered close to 2,000 questions in a specially built studio on the campus of the University of Southern California. All of their answers were filmed and recorded,  then digitally indexed with a computer, and then attached to voice recognition software, thus enabling the survivors' holograph images to answer questions spontaneously addressed to them".  
The Holocaust Museum plans to debut next year an amazing virtual reality experience by which a Museum visitor can take a virtual tour of Auschwitz concentration camp, for example, guided by Museum President and Auschwitz survivor, Fritzie Fritschall. 
Guest Speaker Judith-Rae E. Ross
Rabbi Neil Brief and Judith-Rae E. Ross were the scheduled speaker for November 26, 2019. However for health reason Rabbi Brief could not make it, Judith was so gracious as to do the presentation on the book "A Rabbi:  No More, No Less", of which she is the author.
America was in the throes of the Great Depression, leaving one out of four Americans unemployed. Brownsville, with its immigrant and minority population, had more than its share of the worried, the poor and the hungry.
The weather made matters worse. Heat, drought and dust storms hit the Great Plains, decimating the wheat crop, sending grain prices soaring.
This was the world that greeted Rabbi Neil Brief when he was born on Wednesday, October 10, 1934 at Beth Israel Hospital in Brooklyn, one of the five Burroughs that comprised New York City. Rabbi Brief's family history paralleled the history of many Jews who came to America between 1881 and 1924
Not much is known about the Brief family coming to America. Rabbi Brief's father, Hyman (1905-1961) and his family, presumably came from Poland-in 1905 part of Imperial Russia-in search of more opportunity and freedom from persecution.
Just prior to being installed as the Rabbi at the Niles Township Jewish Congregation in Skokie, Illinois a reporter from the Chicago Jewish Post and Opinion asked Neil Brief what he wanted to accomplish and what did he want to be at his new pulpit. Brief answered, "A rabbi. No more, no less." Hence the title of the book.
Retired Rabbi Neil Brief of Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation, remains active in the synagogue, where he served for some 45 years, and in the Skokie community.
There was big party Ezra-Habonim, planned by the Niles Township Jewish Congregation for emeritus Rabbi Neil Brief's 80th birthday. But unfortunately it never came to pass, because his wife Erica, Unexpectedly died on September 12, 2016 while they were vacationing on a cruise.
About the book's author:
Judith-Rae E. Ross' career has spanned teaching, academic research, journalism and politics and she has distinguished herself in all four fields. To that end Ross has been cited numerous times in "Who's Who." She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1978.
Between all her fields Ross has published c.1000 articles and essays. One of her favorite works was her charting of the impact of Anne Boleyn's image on American culture. Ross' interest in history's 'bad girls' has led her to conclude that many of them actually helped women out of the kitchen and into the workplace and political arena. In addition, Ross has shown how ecology affected western history, finding the roots of the dangers that face all of us today.
Her political work includes hands on campaign work, political office and publications. In 1999 Ross gave a paper on voting patterns and the 1998 primary in the Illinois 9th Congressional district at a symposium in Lodz, Poland. Lech Walesa was sitting in the front row.
As a Trustee in Niles Township  Ross pearheaded the creation of a child care center-which earned the highest ratings given nationally. The center remained open for 24 years. She was also the avid supporter of the creation of the Niles Township Food Pantry, and assisted the Supervisor in creating grants to many not-for-profit organizations within Niles Township. Ross' journalism ran the gamut from investigative reporting, editorials, blogs and community news. Ross managed to goad the Chicago Housing Authority into cleaning up some of their housing sites. Ross' blog "Judith's Java" ran for 4 1/2 years and highlighted both unsung heroes as well as unknown villains. Local TV stations read it for assignment ideas, and some of her arguments were paraphrased one a national cable show. 
Ross is married to Allan B. Ross and they recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. They have one son, Sol and two wondrous granddaughters, Olivia and Lilah. She has lived in Skokie for over 50 years.
Katherine Honeywell, Director of The NorthShore Senior Center
Katherine Honeywell, LCSW Director of Senior and Family Services Katherine Honeywell, LCSW, is the Director of Seniorand Family Services for North Shore Senior Center. She has been with the organization since 1989. In that time, Katherine has worked in case management, Adult Protective Services, the House of Welcome, senior housing, facilitated support groups, supervised the Adult Protective Services Program and supervised graduate social work students from Loyola University of Chicago, University of Chicago, Jane Addams School of Social Work at University of Illinois at Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University and Dominican University. Katherine is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Carroll College. Katherine is a current member of the American Society on Aging and National Association of Social Workers. In addition to that, Katherine is a past Board Chair of the North Suburban Service Council, Past Secretary of the Senior Service Coalition of Lake County and past member of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. Katherine is a frequent presenter to community organizations addressing issues of concern to older adults and their families including adult protective services, case management and entitlements
The North Shore Senior Center is to fosters the independence and well-being of older adults, enhances their dignity and self respect, and promotes their participation in and contribution toward all aspects of community life. 

North Shore Senior Center 2019-2022 Strategic Plan Goals & Strategies

Goal 1: Improve financial stability, which includes a balanced capital/expenditure plan resulting from an operating surplus

  • Reduce grant from NSSC Foundation by 1-2% annually until annual grant is 5% of Foundation assets

  • Develop a plan to increase funding for the NSSC Foundation by $50,000/year starting in FY21

  • Increase number of individual donors (90/year) and corporate donors ($10,000 from 10 companies by FY21) through list acquisition and high-profile special events

  • Develop and create one new revenue stream per year, including (but not limited to):

o Consulting with other organizations
o Offering services to employers (similar to EAP model)
o Offering web-based training/education on older adult issues o Partnering with technology companies
o Expanding HOW services by extending Day Program hours
o Developing new programs

  • Develop a plan to target fundraising to clients who receive services from no-cost programs, such as the Lending Closet, beginning in FY20
  • Research opportunities for additional grants and apply for at least 3 new grants per year starting in FY20

  • Maximize NSSC Board of Directors fundraising. Board members’ fundraising expectations:

o Provide the names of 3 new donors each year
o $10,000 ($5K Individual, $5K Gala)
o Sign an estate plan intent letter starting in FY20

Goal 2: Maximize the growth of North Shore Senior Options so that it is cash flow neutral by FY21

  • Develop a business plan to direct growth and development

  • Increase the capacity/productivity expectations of individual staff to be in line with NSSC

    and industry standards

  • Expand geography served giving consideration to non-billable time & travel constraints Increase funding sources for sliding scale by exploring other funding opportunities

  • Increase marketing by including Senior Options in the organization’s marketing and publicrelations campaigns

  • Create and execute a targeted referral source campaign

Goal 3: Grow the numbers or Participants/Clients/Donors/Partners through outreach and marketing efforts

  •  Develop and initiate a brand marketing campaign that positions NSSC as the experts in social services, care management, dementia care and lifelong learning for older adults, their families and the community

  • Create an ad hoc committee to consider a brand/mission refresh and formulate recommendations

  • Create program-specific promotions targeted to different markets (participant & client base/donors/partners)

  • Enhance PR efforts by pursuing targeted media relations opportunities and building relationships with key media outlets

  • Broaden awareness and build relationships with the next generation of older adults (i.e. 40, 50, 60 year olds) to better support their aging relatives and strengthen the Center’s fute

Goal 4: Improve Talent Acquisition process and employee retention by reducing turnover to 20% or less

  • Complete a salary analysis using similar organizations as well as competing organizations as benchmarks; create salary ranges and grades

  • Review and update job descriptions using data from the salary analysis to inform the need for revised job requirements

  • Complete a review of Total Compensation (this includes all benefits beyond salary – PTO, health, leave programs)

  • Create and provide employees with individual Total Compensation Reports

  • Review and update HR policies and procedures inclusive of the Employee Handbook

  • Foster longevity in tenure by formalizing succession planning process, implementing annual“Stay Surveys” to complement the Employee Satisfaction Survey, further develop program tofoster professional growth and promote from within the organization

  • Develop and implement flexible work solutions


Sam Eckerling (left) Dr. Mark Parisi (right)

Club member Dr. Mark Parisi receives his 8th Paul Harris Fellow Award from Past Club President Sam Eckerling.

In order to receive this award $1,000 cash must be paid to the Rotary Foundation. Thank you Dr. Parisi for your generous  monetary contributions.

The above "Thank You Card" was sent to The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley by Orchard Village, as an acknowledgment for having received a monetary donation. 
Jean Moy (left) Dr. Steven Isoye (right)
Dr Steven Isoye Superintendent of Niles Township HS District 219 talked about the District’s 5 year strategic plan. 
Specifically, he addressed the strand that relates to Career Pathways for the students including those in the Bridges program which will be relocating to Lincolnwood. 
District 219 2015/2019 Strategic Plan 
The purpose of District 219 is to provide an equitable, student-focused learning environment where every student graduate prepared and ready for college.
  • All individuals are able to exceed expectations. 
  • All students have the right to ambitious instruction and a rigorous education. 
  • We embrace diversity and will work to eliminate the racial predictability of student achievement. 
  • We are committed to employing professional staff members who are culturally competent, reflective of our student body and qualified to advance district initiatives. 
  • We pledge to meet these commitments in the most financially efficient manner. 
  • Use ambitious culturally relevant instruction, teacher collaboration and effective leadership to grow student’s learning beyond their expected trajectory.
  • Implement a framework for K-14 programming that leads to high school and college readiness.
  • Increase digital literacy and teach using 21st century digital tools and applied/ partnership opportunities.
  • Involve families and provide individualized interventions to raise healthy students in a safe, culturally inclusive environment.
  • Connect students with adults and their school through increased par􏰀cipa􏰀on in extra-curricular ac􏰀vi􏰀es.
  • Improve the physical learning environment using fiscally responsible and sustainable practices
Guest Speaker Rev. Brittany Caine-Conley, The Night Ministry Community & Congregational Relationships Coordinator

Homeless Youth in Chicago


Meals served by volunteers.


Free health assessments performed for individuals who might have gone without care.


of former residents from our Youth Housing Programs feel confident and stable in their current living situation.


Confidential Rapid HIV tests administered to homeless or precariously housed individuals


Young people and 47 of their children found safe and supportive shelter at our Youth Housing Programs.


of youth from our Housing Programs feel they have a sense of direction in their lives.


of Health Outreach Bus guests report the meal provided is the only food they’ve had that day.


of vistors to our Health Outreach Bus report they often feel accepted at the Bus.

Donate Now


The Night Ministry compassionately provides housing, health care, outreach, spiritual care, and social services to adults and youth who struggle with homelessness, poverty, and loneliness. We accept individuals as they are and offer support as they seek to improve their lives. We invite others to join this hope-filled work.


Collaboration and Teamwork

  • We work as partners with our direct team members and with other departments to reach The Night Ministry's goals.
  • We work as partners with outside individuals (donors, volunteers) and organizations to reach The Night Ministry’s goals.


  • We treat others (those we serve, those we work with, those who support us, and those we do business with) and ourselves with kindness and care.


  • We celebrate human diversity. We accept and affirm individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, or socioeconomic status.


  • We treat one another as though each person's work matters.
  • We conduct ourselves professionally.
  • We demonstrate good stewardship of resources. We demonstrate initiative.
  • We have high expectations of ourselves and one another. We follow through on our commitments.
  • We share information and seek to constructively resolve conflict.

Strength-Based Approach

  • We exist to serve clients and constituents (internal and external). In providing service, we seek to understand and build on everyone’s strengths and assets. We listen and learn.
The Indoor Ride To End Polio
The indoor Ride to End Polio is a fun cycling event to raise donations for polio eradication. Each rider donates and/or solicits donations for PolioPlus (usually $1 per minute). All funds are matched 2 x 1 by the Gates Foundation.
November 17th
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Please Register for Evanston at
Left to write: Fire Chief Jeff Hoeflich, Captain Thomas Doran and Deputy Fire Chief Kathleen Furgala
The members of the Skokie Fire Department, are dedicated professionals committed to safely serving our community by protecting life, property and the environment through prevention, education and emergency services.
Activities & Services
The Skokie Fire Department provides a wide variety of community services and activities in addition to the regular suppression and prevention programs. Included in these are:
  • CPR Classes
  • Demonstrations at Public Events and Block Parties
  • Open House
  • Station Visits
Additional Information
For more information, please contact the Skokie Fire Department at 847-982-5340.
  • CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)
    CPR classes are held the third Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Station 17, 8157 Central Park Avenue. Class size is limited to 15 people per session. 
  • Pharmaceutical & Sharps Disposal
    Recent research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey revealed that there are a substantial amount of antibiotics and steroidal hormones in rivers, lakes and wells.

Left to right: Mike Dorf, Mayor Van Dusen and Judge Barbara Meyer

Co-authors Michael C. Dorf and Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen joined us as guest speakers to discuss and sign copies of their new book, Clear It With Sid: Sidney R. Rates and Fifty Years of Presidents, Pragmatism, and Public ServiceBoth men worked with Congressman Sid Yates earlier in their careers.  Mayor Van Dusen gave the club assembly an in-depth history of this master of post-World War II politics, Congressman Sid Yates.  
The son of a Lithuanian blacksmith, Sidney R. Yates rose to the pinnacle of Washington power and influence. As chair of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, Yates was a preeminent national figure involved in issues that ranged from the environment and Native American rights to Israel and support for the arts. Speaker Tip O'Neill relied on the savvy Chicagoan in the trenches and advised anyone with controversial legislation to first "clear it with Sid!" Michael C. Dorf and George Van Dusen draw on scores of interviews and unprecedented access to private papers to illuminate the life of an Illinois political icon. Wise, energetic, charismatic, petty, stubborn--Sid Yates presented a complicated character to constituents and colleagues alike. Yet his get-it-done approach to legislation allowed him to bridge partisan divides in the often-polarized House of Representatives. Following Yates from the campaign trail to the negotiating table to the House floor, Dorf and Van Dusen offer a rich portrait of a dealmaker extraordinaire and tireless patriot on a fifty-year journey through postwar American politics.
Michael C. Dorf is a practicing lawyer and an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was Congressman Yates's Special Counsel in Washington and remained his lawyer and campaign chairman until the congressman's death. George Van Dusen is currently the Mayor of Skokie, IL and has lived there with his wife, Susan, for 44 years.  The Mayor earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Detroit and both a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from Loyola University.  He served as a Trustee in the Village of Skokie from 1984 until he was appointed Mayor in January 1999.  While a Trustee, he served as the Village’s delegate to the Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) and, in 2007, served as NWMC President.  He is currently Chairman of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County and is a member of several government related boards.  Mayor Van Dusen was the Director of Suburban Operations for U.S. Congressman Sidney Yates from 1973 until the Congressman’s retirement in 1999.  He is an adjunct faculty member of Oakton Community College, teaching U.S. History and Government.  Van Dusen is the author of two books, Clear It with Sid! Sidney R. Yates and Fifty Years of Presidents, Pragmatism, and Public Service (2019) and The Detroit Tigers Encyclopedia (2002).


Club Member Joaquin Mejia, and his guest speaker Kris Tsau
Kris Tsau, Rotary International Advocacy Specialist PolioPlus, was the guest speaker at our October 1st weekly luncheon
Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners work all across the globe to ensure no child is paralyzed by polio ever again.
Stopping all poliovirus
Today, the three countries of focus are AfghanistanNigeria and Pakistan as they have never stopped transmission of endemic wild poliovirus.  The countries are working to deliver vaccination services to their people, to carry out sensitive disease surveillance and to cooperate to immunize migrating populations across their common border. GPEI also supports countries that experience or are vulnerable to the rise of vaccine-derived polio viruses (VDPVs), which are rare and only occur when polio vaccination rates are low. When VDPV cases occur, high levels of vaccination, robust surveillance, and rapid outbreak response are critical.
Keeping the world safe
GPEI is also working to strengthen surveillance and immunization systems in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions of the World Health Organization to ensure that polio has truly ended and immunity against the virus improves. In many countries of the world, surveillance against polio is maintained through the GPEI, and vaccination activities continue, to make sure children remain protected as long as there is polio anywhere.
Closing in on the Virus
  • In 1988, there were 350,000 annual cases of wild poliovirus from 125 countries. In 2018, there were 33 cases reported in only two countries - Pakistan and Afghanistan. While this exceeds the number of cases in 2017 (22), wild polio transmission has remained at unprecedented low levels in recent years.
  • Today, wild polio exists in the smallest geographic area in history. The world has not experienced any outbreaks of wild polio outside the three remaining polio-endemic countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria – since August 2014. In fact, Nigeria has not seen a case since 2016. If the country reaches three years without detecting the virus, the entire WHO AFRO Region could be certified wild polio-free as early as 2020.
  • Only one of the three wild polio virus strains appears to survive Wild polio virus type2(WPV2)was certified eradicated in 2015, and type 3 wild poliovirus (WPV3) has not been detected since 2012.
Program Achievements
  • Thanks to polio eradication efforts, more than 18 million people are currently walking who otherwise would have been paralyzed by the virus. Ending polio is a critical step toward improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.
  • In 2019, the WHO South East Asia Region marks five years since being declared polio-free following eradication of the virus in India. India was once described as the most challenging place in the world to end polio and just over a decade ago was responsible for almost 70% of all wild polio cases globally. Stopping polio in the country is one of the most significant achievements in public health and serves as evidence for what is possible in the remaining endemic countries.
  • The tools, infrastructure and knowledge developed to eradicate polio have been used to fight every vaccine-preventable childhood disease, deliver malaria prevention tools and improve disease surveillance worldwide. Polio workers have also delivered 1.3 billion doses of Vitamin A since 1988 that have saved an estimated 1.5 million children’s lives. In 2014, the polio vaccination infrastructure in Nigeria was also used to stop the Ebola outbreak in its tracks.
Protecting Gains
  • If we don’t end polio now, we could see a resurgence of up to 200,000 cases annually within a decade. The world could also risk losing upwards of US$50 billion in estimated savings that eradication would generate by 2035 – with these savings primarily concentrated in developing countries.
  • To protect global progress, the program vaccinates more than 400 million children across dozens of countries every year and conducts disease surveillance in more than 70 countries. Since 2001, there have been wild polio outbreaks in 41 countries that were previously polio-free. While each outbreak has been stopped, each one is a reminder that as long as polio exists, every country—and every child—is at risk.
  • Through its ongoing surveillance, the program investigates more than 100,000 suspected cases of polio each year using a community reporting network. It has also expanded environmental sewage testing to help vaccination campaigns target areas where the virus is circulating even before any child shows symptoms of polio.

A new debate on nuclear arms


"There are nine nations sitting on top of 15,000

nuclear weapons."

Tom Sauer


The threat presented by nuclear weapons is dire, with nuclear-armed nations maintaining enough firepower to destroy the world many times over. But nuclear disarmament expert Tom Sauer, associate professor of international politics at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, says there are reasons to be hopeful — if you know where to look and are willing to act.

For two years in the late 1990s, thanks to a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tessenderlo, Belgium), Sauer was a research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in the Kennedy School of Government — "an academic paradise," he says.

Sauer has written on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, nuclear terrorism, and NATO’s role in nuclear policy. In June, at the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany, he received the Rotary Alumni Global Service Award.

THE ROTARIAN: How dangerous are nuclear weapons to the world right now?

SAUER: Nuclear arms control is not in the news much except for stories about North Korea and Iran, so-called rogue states. North Korea has nuclear weapons, and Iran probably would like to. But there are nine nations sitting on top of 15,000 nuclear weapons. In the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, nucleararmed states promised to get rid of nuclear weapons. Based on this promise, more than 180 states agreed never to produce nuclear weapons. The states that don’t have nuclear weapons feel that they fulfilled their obligations, while the five states that had nuclear arms at the time of the treaty [China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States] have not fulfilled their obligations. These nuclear nations have kept their nuclear weapons and have not eliminated their arsenals as agreed.

TR: What are non-nuclear states doing about it?

SAUER: Two years ago, 122 states negotiated the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or "the ban treaty." It bans nuclear weapons because they’re too destructive. If that treaty enters into force, then the states that have signed this treaty will regard nuclear weapons as immoral, inhumane, and illegitimate, but also illegal.

TR: What do supporters of the treaty hope it will accomplish?

SAUER: The purpose of the treaty is to strengthen the taboo on the use of nuclear weapons and even the possession of nuclear weapons, and to start a new debate, especially inside the nuclear-armed states like France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

We can see already some positive indications in this regard. The managers of Norway’s pension fund, one of the largest in the world, decided to stop investing in nuclear-weaponsrelated business. The biggest Dutch pension fund followed last year. And I was involved in convincing one of the biggest Belgian banks, KBC, to do the same. Why did the banks decide to switch? Because of pressure from the public. People who have savings accounts can email their banks.

You have to think about the longer term and ask: Do we want a world with more nuclear weapon states and maybe nonstate actors — terrorist organizations — acquiring nuclear weapons, and then risk that they will be used? There’s only one way to eliminate the possibility that they can be used: eliminate the weapons systems. I know that it will be very difficult. I’m not talking about tomorrow or the day after. But if you want to do that, we have to start to think about it now.


Left to right: Diane Krier-Morrow,  John Robertson,  Nick Wyatt, - Jon Lavin,  Ralph Klein.

The following new club members were installed this past Tuesday by club president Ralph Klein:Diane Krier-Morrow, Sponsored by Hohn Haben - John Robertson, Sponsored by Diane Krier-Morrow - Nick Wyatt, Sponsored by Al Rigoni - Jon Lavin, Sponsored by Ralph Klein.

The entire Skokie Valley Rotary Club Assembly Welcomes you all!

Program Speaker Richard Kong,  Director of the  Skokie Library, and Skokie Valley Rotary Club member.

Richard Kong oversees the operation and administration of the library, including matters related to library policies, finances, facilities, and personnel. He works closely with library staff and key partners in the local community to ensure progress is made with the library’s long-term strategic goals and annual objectives. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley. Richard is also a recognized leader in the professional library community, currently serving as an executive board member of the Public Library Association and previously as an executive board member of the Illinois Library Association.
“Every three years, the library undertakes a thorough strategic planning process designed to reexamine its vision, mission, values, and strategic priorities. It is critical that we regularly examine ourselves and adapt to our local community’s current aspirations and challenges, changing societal values and human experiences, advances in technology, and developments within the broader library field. Over the next three years, we will also take on a major renovation project that will transform our interior spaces on the first and second floors. Adjusting to all of these new conditions will require us to be both focused and open-minded.
Starting in the fall of 2018, a committee consisting of library staff and two library trustees, together with community members and trusted partners, contributed to the planning process through reflection, information gathering, discussion, and analysis. The hope is that this new plan will build on the progress made over the past three years, while also clearly addressing the current aspirations and challenges of the community.
Our belief is that the library, through pursuit of our vision and mission, will continue to play a vital role in the continued growth and strengthening of our community. We expect that the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan will guide library staff in their work and inspire others to engage with us in creating a better community.”

Guest Speaker Rotary District 6440 Governor Suzanne Gibson (fourth from left) and Club President Ralph Klein.
Above is our district governor Suzanne Gibson with some Skokie Valley club members and club president Ralph and president elect Dave inside the governor's car.
September 10 was our district governor Suzanne Gibson Annual Visit to our club. Before our weekly luncheon meeting we had a one-our board meeting with the governor where club's goals, district's and club's expectations, plus much more, were discussed. 
District Governor Suzanne Gibson has been a member of the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club since 2008 where she has served as President (2012-2013) International Chair and Membership Chair. She has led a Vocational Training Teams to Guatemala to introduce the health benefits of soy products and microenterprise skills to women in Sumpango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Recently, she and her husband Mark, also a member of BBRC, participated in a Friendship Exchange to South Africa where they met our District 6440 Global Grant partners and can vouch for the great stewards they are of our funds.
Suzanne received the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club’s President’s Citation for Outstanding Service and Dedication Award (2015- 2016) and the District 6440 Shining Light Award in recognition of humanitarian service (2015).
She was Rotarian of the Year (2011) and during her presidency the club received the Presidential Citation.
In District leadership Suzanne has been an Assistant Governor serving Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg AM and Lake Zurich clubs and is currently the district Community Services Advisory Chair.
Suzanne is a member of the Paul Harris Society and both she and her husband are multiple Paul Harris Fellows.
Suzanne is a graduate of Valparaiso University (BA), the University of Illinois, Jane Addams Graduate School of Social Work (MSW) and Greenwich University, PhD. Professionally Suzanne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker recently retired from private practice with a focus on mental health issues. Suzanne was a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) and a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work which represents the highest level of expertise and excellence for clinical social workers.
For the past 9 years, Suzanne has coordinated a mentoring program at Holy Family School in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago where she recruits, trains and young adult professionals to be mentors to 8th grade students to assist them in the high school application process, and build social capital.
In her pre Rotary life, Suzanne served on the Board of Directors of the Barrington Area Refugee Fund where she assisted unaccompanied minors from south east Asia in transitioning to their new life in the the United States and served on the Board of Directors of the Barrington Youth and Family Services.
Suzanne enjoys traveling (the seven continents) running, walking, golfing, bicycling, reading and genealogy research.
Suzanne and Mark have been members of the Lutheran Church of the Atonement in Barrington since 1984.
Suzanne and Mark have been married since 1968, and after moving around the country for Mark’s medical training, have lived in Barrington since 1984. Mark and Suzanne are parents of three children. Jonathan who departed this life in 2005 at age 33; Kristin Kirk and Robert (Talia) and one granddaughter, Eliana.

Guest Speaker Ayesha Akhtar, MPH. Director of Education of the Epilepsy Foundation of Chicago. 
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that from time to time produces brief disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain. Normal brain function is made possible by millions of tiny electrical charges passing between nerve cells in the brain and to all parts of the body. When someone has epilepsy, this normal pattern may be interrupted by intermittent bursts of electrical energy that are much more intense than usual. They may affect a person’s consciousness, bodily movements or sensations for a short time.
These physical changes are called epileptic seizures. That is why epilepsy is sometimes called a seizure disorder. The unusual bursts of energy may occur in just one area of the brain (partial seizures), or may affect nerve cells throughout the brain (generalized seizures). Normal brain function cannot return until the electrical bursts subside. Conditions in the brain that produce these episodes may have been present since birth, or they may develop later in life due to injury, infections, structural abnormalities in the brain, exposure to toxic agents, or for reasons that are still not well understood. Many illnesses or severe injuries can affect the brain enough to produce a single seizure. When seizures continue to occur for unknown reasons or because of an underlying problem that cannot be corrected, the condition is known as epilepsy. Epilepsy affects people of all ages, all nations, and all races. Epilepsy can also occur in animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, and mice.
For additional information click here

Erika Vavrik, Director development Orchard Village  (left) Club President Ralph Klein (right)

Jamie Lake, Director of Development at Keshet (left) Club President Ralph Klein (right)

Jennifer Sultz, Development Director Turning Point (left) Club President Ralph Klein (right)

The above representatives received a donation check from the Skokie Valley Club President Ralph Klein for the Rotary Calendar Year of 2018-2019.

Orchard Village

partners with families and communities to optimize personal outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities through a community-integrated approach.


From its core programs for children and adults with intellectual challenges in the Chicago area, to its international consulting work, Keshet serves over 1,000 individuals with disabilities and touches the lives of many more family members, peers, supporters, and other stakeholders around the globe. 
For the past 36 years, Keshet has integrated students, campers, residents, and employees with disabilities into over 70 sites in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest. Globally, Keshet has trained over 15,000 staff members, proving the tools necessary for successful inclusion.


Keshet’s local leadership, comprised of nearly 100 lay leaders from all walks of life, provide the inspiration, direction, and funding required to fulfill the organization’s mission: to do whatever is necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential.

Turning Point

Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center is an outpatient mental health center with a mission to provide solid support, when you need it most.  We provide expert, affordable and compassionate care to people during some of the most difficult times of their lives.
Turning Point was established in 1969 as an area mental health center and has grown to serve residents in communities throughout metropolitan Chicago. We are easily accessible by public transit. We are conveniently located two blocks north of the CTA Yellow Line Oakton Street station, and are on the CTA bus lines #97 and #54A.
Our community is diverse. Clients range widely in age, diagnosis, and socioeconomic group. Client cultural, ethnic and religious orientations are as diverse as the staff available to serve them. Fees structured on a sliding scale flex to align with each client’s income.
In addition to primarily serving clients in Skokie and the surrounding communities of Morton Grove, Niles, Lincolnwood, and Evanston, Turning Point also sees clients from 47 other communities including clients from as far north as Antioch and McHenry to our western neighbors of Schaumburg and Lombard and south throughout the City of Chicago.
Our service is comprehensive. Brief or long-term care is available. Turning Point provides outpatient individual and group therapy for all ages, psychiatric evaluation and medication monitoring, case management, and a residential living program. Turning Point has consistently been awarded the highest rating from The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

Our 2019 Pancake Breakfast Event was a total success! Event organizers Al Rigoni and Barbara Mayer, along with Skokie Valley Club Members and volunteers, did an excellent job in putting this important event together from preparation to execution. Thanks to all!!!!
This fundraiser benefits local charity non-profit service organizations.

Guest Speaker Susan Shulman, Excecutive Director North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic
The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic was founded by Mayor Nancy Rotering, the Clinic opened on May 1, 2015 to provide access to justice to those in need who lived in Highland Park or Highwood.  Since then, the Clinic continues to strategically meet the ever-changing needs of individuals and the greater community by expanding capacity, services offered, and geographic locations.  The Clinic recently changed its name to the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic to better reflect the overall purpose of the organization. The Clinic does not receive funding from the Legal Services Corporation, allowing all clients, regardless of immigration status, to be served.
Since the day the Clinic opened,  has helped immigrants stay in this country; domestic violence victims escape abusive relationships; and helped tenants stay in their home and avoid wrongful eviction. In addition, they have partnered with organizations and law firms to present educational programming for clients, and the public.
For additional information contact Susan Shulman at

Trisha Clare from Skokie Concert Choir (left) Club President Ralph Klein (right)

Alyse Cohen Burman from Niles Township Food Pantry (left) Club President Ralph Klein (right)

Rotarian Rob Paddor from Project Here (left) Club President Ralph Klein (right)

Kate Tucker Fahlsing from North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (left) Club President Ralph Klein (right)

The above representatives from Skokie Concert Choir, Niles Township  Food  Pantry, Project Hero and North Shore Center for  the Performing Arts    received a donation check from the Skokie Valley Club President Ralph Klein for the Rotary Calendar Year of 2018-2019.

Newly Installed Club President Ralph Klein and Master Griller Al Rigoni
Club Members Interacting
Club Member and Their Souses Enjoying Dinner
Club Member Kate Lee's Family Having Fun
Last Tuesday on July 30th we have our annual picnic and installed our 2019-2020 Club Officers. Beautiful weather and delicious food and drinks was enjoyed all who attended. On the menu were  juicy steaks and hotdogs with all the trimmings.
Big thanks go to Master Griller Al Rigoni for grilling the steaks and hotdogs and Rob Paddor for providing the grill. Our thanks and appreciation also go to Michelle, Max and Dick for coordinating the event,  and buying and setting up the food and drinks.

From left to right:  Club President Ralph Klein,  Maria Alejandra Salazar Niles Township High School Foundation's Board Member, Jeff Burman, Niles Township High School Foundation's President

From left to right: Club Member and Sommer's Foundation treasurer, Robert Kiely,  Sommer Foundation's Board Member,  Club President Ralph Klein.

The above representatives from Niles Township High School Foundation and Sommer Foundation  received a donation check from the Skokie Valley Club President Ralph Klein for the Rotary calendar year of 2018-2019.

Guest Speaker David McEllis, Illinois Government Affairs Representative.
David McEllis is a Government Affairs Representative working on current Illinois energy legislative issues. He recently served as Senior Legislative Counsel in the Office of the Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton.  He was the lead Senate Democratic staffer for the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, and the Senate Labor Committee.
The Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest is a leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. We develop and lead successful strategic advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect our natural resources. We are public interest environmental entrepreneurs who engage in creative business deal-making with diverse interests to put into practice our belief that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together. ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff of talented and experienced public interest attorneys, environmental business specialists, public policy advocates and communications specialists brings a strong and effective combination of skills to solve environmental problems.
Contact Dave at

From left to right: Phyllis Nutkis,  Audrey Brenner and club president Ralph Klein.

The above ARK representatives, received a donation check from the Skokie Valley Club President Ralph Klein for the Rotary calendar year of 2018-2019.

The following essay was written by Audrey Brenner:

A Worthwhile Pause
On the North Shore, it’s almost expected that college students such as myself spend their summers working in an internship. My peers and I are often asked, “What is your major?” followed by, “What will you do with that degree?” In order to be able to answer this question, my main goals this summer included developing new professional skills, making connections with my colleagues, and having something new to add to my resume. Most of all, I was concerned in figuring out what kind of career I want to pursue. However, for now, I still answer with a shrug, a smile, and “I’m not sure yet! Still exploring.”
As an intern at The ARK this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in meetings, conduct research, partake in social media design, and get a taste of the 9-5 work life. I’ve learned more about The ARK, becoming more and more impressed with just how much this organization provides to the Chicagoland Jewish community. While the (now closed) thrift shop and food pantry are a large part of The ARK’s reputation, the 4,500 clients here also receive financial assistance, physical and mental health care, transitional housing, employment services, legal aid, and more. The ARK truly has the power to completely turn someone’s life around when they’re at their lowest point.
However, just last week, it was made clear to me that this is not the internship experience I had expected. Instead of heading home at 5:00, I stayed here to volunteer at Café ARK and serve free meals to clients. My responsibilities of opening hamburger buns, serving salad plates, and filling fruit cups may have been simple but I found myself overthinking everything I was doing. Inspecting fruit cups for the perfect ratio of pineapple to melon, not knowing when to collect plates, and afraid to interact with clients, I asked “Am I doing this right?” maybe ten times. Finally, the Director of Volunteers said, “This is like any other family dinner. You can’t do anything wrong here.”
I realized that I had been treating Café ARK like a job and the clients like, well, clients. I looked around the dinner and noticed one man patting another on the back with a, “Hey, buddy, how you doing?”, a group of ladies deep in conversation in the corner, and an ARK employee animatedly chatting and laughing with a client as if they’d been friends for years. I didn’t feel like I was at a nonprofit organization as much as I felt like I was in someone’s home. Beyond all of the fundraisers and services The ARK provides, I finally understood the overall theme here: community.
The staff and volunteers at The ARK feel a commitment not only to the organization but to each other. While The ARK could easily provide its services and still make an impact on someone’s life, they go the extra mile by valuing compassion and close knit relationships, setting this organization apart from any other. Money provides the physical materials needed to assist our clients, but our community is fueled by heart, preserving the dignity of each and every individual who turns to The ARK.  When you contribute to The ARK, you’re not only funding its programs; you’re also keeping this unique, meaningful community alive. You are giving individuals the support system we all need at some point.
I had been so focused on this internship and wanting to graduate college as an impressive, hire-worthy applicant. I’m extremely grateful that I paused to understand the magnitude of The ARK and its work. Whether you are an intern, young adult, parent, or senior citizen, I highly encourage pausing to evaluate the power of community and reflect upon those who make up the foundation of your identity. Only then will you begin to understand the beauty of The ARK’s mission.

Polio Cases Surge in Pakistan and Afghanistan

False rumors that children are fainting or dying have led parents to turn away vaccinators, threatening the campaign to eradicate the disease.
A health worker gave polio vaccine to a child in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan in March. Polio immunization is compulsory in the country, but distrust of vaccines is widespread and the programs are difficult to enforce, particularly in rural regions.

Club President Ralph Klein and Stacey Greenfield  from Golf Maine Park District.

Club President Ralph Klein and Liz McGown from Saint John Brebeuf Church.

Club President Ralph Klein (left) and Gene Griffin Skokie Community Foundation.

The above representative, on of their respective non for profit institutions, received a donation check from the Skokie Valley Club President Ralph Klein for the Rotary calendar year of 2018-2019.


Above left to right from Niles North High School are: Kamran Khan, Romesa Amiwala and Lisa Edelson.
Rotary member Lisa Edelson hosted two students from Niles North High School, Romesa Amiwala and Kamran Khan (the third student, Sai Bathina, was unable to join us for lunch), who spoke to members briefly about a group project they are working on to present at a DECA competition during the upcoming school year. 
Their competition project will be geared toward promoting and educating their high school peers about the knowledge and skills required for careers in marketing, business management and administration, finance, entrepreneurship and hospitality and tourism. They are hoping to address additional topics such as resume writing, interviewing tips, dressing for work, and similar. They will be reaching out to the local business community leaders to provide guidance and perhaps hands-on participation. 
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. DECA Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit student organization with more than 215,000 members in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain. The High School Division includes 200,000 members in 3,500 schools. The Collegiate Division includes over 15,000 members in 275 colleges and universities. 

Club Member Neil King.
Club Member Neil King this week was the program speaker. His subject was Pole Volt. In his younger days (all the way up to his fifties he said), Neil was a serious competitor in this sport, so he knows a thing or two about it.
"An  important difference between pole vaulting on the stiff ( ie bamboo, aluminum or steel) pole is at the beginning of the vault" Neill said. "With the stiff pole one must fight the tendency to pull immediately at takeoff and wait until the pole becomes vertical before starting to pull. As the vaulter pulls straight down , (he or she) goes straight up".
"But with the flexible, fiberglass pole" Neil continued, "the pull must start immediately in order to make the pole bend and to justify the much higher grip". 

Guest Speaker Benjamin Radut, Director Navaeh Missions
"My name is Ben and I am very blessed to be married to my best friend. Jessica and I have a deep passion to serve and help people. We currently live in Chicago, IL and often visit Kenya to volunteer at God Will Provide Orphanage. Serving there for 6 months opened our eyes to what really matters in life. We are dedicated to help and support orphans, widows, street kids, and whoever needs a helping hand. We want to show the love that God first showed us."
The Nevaeh Missions Orphanage is located in a farming village of Kodera, Currently there are 25 children and 7 staff members. Clean water, livestock and occasional donations help sustain the orphanage.
For more information click here
Above is the volunteer crew of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club's sponsored soup kitchen, held this past June 30, 2019.
Left to right are club members: Ross M, Al A, Al R, Allan K, Scott H (volunteer) , Ralph K, and Glen G with his little son.

Not in the picture were Cathy (volunteer) and Glen G's little daughter. It was not a very busy day, but we were very happy to serve 77 patrons roast chicken, mashed potatoes, pork & beans, garlic bread, salad, fresh watermelon, milk, juice and cookies. The food as usual was prepared by HUB'S Restaurant 3727 Dempster St. Skokie Illinois.

Big Thanks to all who helped!!

Club Member John Jekot left and guest speaker Rich Buhrke right.

Rich Buhrke has been a "Ball Hawk" at Wrigley Field since 1959. The story behind my first homer . Friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Oprah Winfrey interview in 1984. Ballhawk’s the movie in and around 2005. While it all started and still remains around Wrigley Field, there have been many balls caught another ball parks. Finally the Sandberg BP homerun that won the all star game Home Run hitting contest at Wrigley in 1990 and the Cooperstown trip. 

Left to right: Siva Albom, Past Club President  and Club founder - Adina Matten, Current year Club Co-President - Bayla Alter,  Current year and next year Club Co-President  - Hannah Wasserman, Next year Club Co-President.

The above individuals are members of the Ida Crown Jewish Academy Interact Rotary Club, sponsored by the Skokie Valley Rotary Club in 2016. This past Tuesday they came to our weekly luncheon meeting to give us a report regarding their club activities. This club is compost of 40 members and is the second largest club in the school.
Following are their activities:
  • Multiple candy gram fundraiser raising over $200. As a result of this endeavor, their were able to donate $100  to Shalva and $100 to Empowering Opportunities. Candy grams are papers with a bag of chocolate attached to each one that people can buy for a dollar and write a nice note to send to their friends or teachers. 
  • Had a  Random Acts of Kindness Day, consisting of posting notes on the wall, and quotes on the tv’s around the school. 
  • Volunteered at The ark in March and Maot Chitim in April
  • Helped in their school with the Shabbat Project,  Challah Bake, and with the supply drive with H.O.P.E in October.

From left to right:  Rotarian John Haben -  Haley Hansen, MFS Behavioral Health Team - Judge-Rotarian and MFS past Board Member Barbara Meyer - MFS Executive Director Roxanne Nava.

Roxanna Nava and Haley Hansen,  Executive Director and Behavioral Team of the Metropolitan Family Services, were the guest speakers at the Skokie Valley weekly luncheon meeting of June 4, 2019.
Since 1857, Metropolitan Family Services has empowered families to learn, to earn, to heal and to thrive. Founded as the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, this organization has helped families get through the devastating hardships of poverty, world wars, epidemics and natural disasters.
Throughout their  long history  Metropolitan Family Services have reached out to help the young and old, unemployed and working poor, long-time citizens and new immigrants and those challenged by changing economics, troubled relationships, inadequate education and mental health issues. They have supported them with financial aid, counseling, education and legal services. But most of all, they have bolstered the strength that lies within each person, provided hope for a brighter future and helped individuals and families reclaim their dignity and purpose.
Today Metropolitan Family Services assists more than 79,800 families and individuals annually through seven community centers in Chicago, Evanston/Skokie, the southwest suburbs and DuPage County. Those served are as diverse as the communities in which they live, with 81% being part of the working poor or lower-middle class.
Metropolitan Family Services provides a wide variety of programs and services designed to strengthen families and help them realize their full potential. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, Metropolitan empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal and to thrive through services provided in four key areas.
This program offers supportive counseling to adults, children, and families in any phase of life to better handle their challenges.  It helps individuals and families deal effectively with mental illness and support recovery.
Adult Mental Health is a holistic approach that helps adults build on individual strengths and capacity for change, and live productively and independently in the community. When needed, a psychiatric evaluation and medication monitoring to keep care on track is also  provided. Specialized support is available for veterans and domestic violence survivors.
Children and Adolescent Mental Health helps kids be kids with the normal ups and downs of growing up. This service helps children and adolescents with emotional difficulties to recover, strengthen family relationships, and succeed in school. It stabilize crisis situations and help keep children out of hospitals and other restrictive treatment environments.
Senior Counseling Services are designed to help families meet the challenges and opportunities of later years,  by offering counseling, in-home respite, adult protective services, and support for caregivers, homeowners, and grandparents raising grandchildren.
This program promotes academic achievement and social and emotional development among children, youth and families to foster success in life. Helps parents, especially younger parents, prepare for the challenges of parenting ensures that children are cared for, nurtured and experience a future of promise and opportunity.
Through supportive, caring counseling, individuals and families in any phase of life are empowered to better handle life’s challenges. Metropolitan Family Services mental health services provides psychiatric evaluation, case management and crisis intervention to help children and adults with chronic mental illness recover and be productive.  Assistance is offered to older adults and their caregivers to meet the unique concerns of this stage of life. Compassionate violence prevention programs alleviate the impact of community or domestic violence. And specialized veterans’ services help returning soldiers and their families reintegrate into civilian life and reconnect with one another.
This programs offers support and education to economically challenged families so they may improve the quality of their work, lifestyle and finances; and helps families prepare for, find and sustain stable jobs and housing, which is vital to long-term stability. Through specialized counseling services, their Employee Assistance Network helps employees remain productive and achieve balance between their work and personal lives.
This program offers counseling, caregiving and protective services, and support for grandparents raising grandchildren. All services are designed to help families meet the challenges and opportunities of later years.
Adult Protective Services investigates reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors ages 60 and older and adults with disabilities. When abuse is substantiated, interventions are planned with the victim, family and others to reduce risk of further harm. Legal and senior self-neglect services are offered at certain locations.
Family Caregiver Support groups give children of aging parents, spouses and long-distance caregivers an opportunity to share caregiving concerns, learn to balance their needs with those of their loved ones, manage stress, feel supported by others who share their journey, and get helpful tips and resources.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren helps mobilize support services for older caregivers who are raising children and assists in future planning including assessment, referrals, support and educational groups, and in certain instances family and individual counseling.
Older Caregivers Project helps older caregivers plan for children’s long-term care (permanency planning). It aids families in establishing a stronger support system through case management and linkages to community resources, ensures the well-being and safety of the children and caregivers, and provides a recommendation regarding the permanency of the children.
Senior Counseling helps physically, emotionally and/or economically vulnerable older adults function as independently as possible. It includes in-home or office assessments, family and individual counseling, support groups, case management and links to resources.
Senior Homeowners Program serves low- to moderate-income homeowners age 60 or older who have difficulty maintaining their homes. The program provides referrals to reputable home repair contractors and links seniors to city departments and programs to help maintain their property. We also conduct workshops on topics such as reducing consumer fraud.
From early learning, after school and job readiness programs to counseling, mental health services and legal assistance, we’re here for you!
1857 - The Chicago Relief and Aid Society is founded and incorporated by the Illinois State legislature.
1871 - Mayor Mason appoints the Chicago Relief and Aid Society to administer all relief, nearly $10 million in money and goods, to victims of the Great Chicago Fire.
1888 - The Chicago Relief and Aid Society and Chicago Charity Organization merge, bringing a greater focus on poverty prevention to the organization.
1909 - The Chicago Relief and Aid Society and the Chicago Bureau of Charities merge to form United Charities of Chicago.
1919 - The Chicago Legal Aid Society becomes part of United Charities. The renamed Legal Aid Bureau begins providing free legal service for civil law cases.
1930 - United Charities serves more than 20,000 people each month during the Great Depression.
1934 - United Charities helps establish the Community Fund of Chicago, now the United Way.
1935 - United Charities leader Joel D. Hunter serves on an official advisory council established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help shape what would become the Social Security Act.
1966 - United Charities expands its services and opens its first suburban office in Palos Hills to serve southwest Cook County.
1985 - A new office is established on Chicago’s Southeast Side to serve the community that was severly affected by the closing of local steel mills.
United Charities furthers its expansion in the suburbs, acquiring the DuPage Center.
1995 - United Charities changes its name to Metropolitan Family Services to better reflect the work and scope of the broad community it serves.
2006 - Metropolitan moves to its current headquarters at One North Dearborn in Chicago and continues to serve more than 50,000 individuals and families annually.
2007 - Metropolitan celebrates its 150th anniversary and convenes the Inaugural Summit on the Metropolitan Family, bringing together 300 prominent leaders to inspire new solutions to challenges facing families.
2012 - Metropolitan is awarded the contract for Head Start in DuPage County, acquires the Court Advocacy program, and is named United Way Agency Partner of the Year.
2016 - Metropolitan convenes Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), working with eight partner organizations to address violence issues in Chicago.
Club Announcements
Mark this date in your calendar!!!!
Annual Picnic  and Club Officers Installation will take place on July 30th at Harms Woods in Morton Grove.

Skokie Valley Rotary Club Member Sam Smith
At the Skokie Valley Rotary Club weekly meeting of May 28, Rotarian Sam Smith did his Member Classification Talk.

"My name is Sam Smith, I am a resident of Evanston, and work in Lincolnwood. I am owner operator of BRC Access Care, Inc., dba Better Residential Care. We have an office in Lincolnwood, and a remote agency branch in Naperville. Was raised in Northeast Texas, attended elementary school in Pittsburg, TX, and high school at Pine Tree High School in Longview, TX,  where I was a member of the Interact club.  This was where I first met rotary club members,  and one of them hired me as an intern. I graduated from Baylor University, in Waco in 1976 and have an MBA degree in Economics and Marketing.

I lived in Waco, and Dallas, TX most of my adult life, and spent three years as a church staffer in Vancouver, BC.  I Have been single now for about six years, and before that was married to my ex wife for 35 years. I have a married daughter with three beautiful children, who lives in Waco TX,  and a son who lives in Tulsa, OK.

I am an amature artist focusing on geometric designs, primarily mandalas, using pen and ink, and love to take long walks by the lake or wherever I can. Most of all, I love doing FaceTime with my grandchildren on a regular basis. 

I moved to Chicago area, in order to work on growing my business in affiliation with Better Care Home Health in Des Plaines. We have formed an Accountable Care Network, enabling the insurer, to place their beneficiaries in the home setting rather than in a facility like a hospital or nursing home. This is a cost savings to the payer. This is a growing system. We are working in conjunction with private insurors, such as IlliniCare, or Next Level Health, or Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

I learned of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley through Rotarian Sam Eckerling, and joined the club in July 2018".

Guest Speaker Diana Juarez, Director of ELL Parent Center in Skokie Illinois
ELL Parent Center
The Center serves as a welcome resource for parents to support them in advocating for their children's academic achievement. Through survival-based programming, the Center offers English classes, access to community services, and uniquely designed workshops. Programs are crafted to meet parent needs and encourage parental involvement and leadership in the community at large. Ultimately the Center strives to provide the skills and tools to understand and navigate the U.S. educational and health systems for the rich and diverse tapestry that is the backdrop for twenty schools (Niles North, Niles West, and their Pre-K-8 feeder schools) in Skokie, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, and Niles.
Center Objectives:
  1. Literacy - so that parents can effectively communicate
  2. Access to Community Resources - so that parents can support raising healthy children
  3. Parent Education - so that parents themselves can model life-long learning
Above is the Sunday afternoon crew - Left to righter are: Rotarians Al Anile, Dr. David McWhinnie, Greg Franks and Raman Grover.
Greg Franks is the coordinator of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club booth, as he has been for the past several years. Bottle water and pop is provided by the Skokie Park District, and revenue generated from sales goes back to them.
The event, held at Skokie’s 19-acre Oakton Park, has grown over nearly three decades from 14 cultures with 1,000 attendees, to more than three dozen cultures and 25,000 visitors, annually. Over two days in May, visitors enjoy ethnic folk music and dance on two stages, arts and crafts, international children's games, food, cultural booths, a merchandise bazaar, a mini train ride around the park, and the festival’s iconic flag display. The festival has been honored with both state and national art event programming awards.
The first Skokie Festival of Cultures was initiated and planned in 1990 by a newly-formed Skokie ethnic diversity committee, as well as the Skokie Human Relations Commission, Skokie Park District, Rotary Club of Skokie, Village of Skokie and the Skokie Public Library.
Interested in your culture taking part? 
On a personal note, I hope this beautiful event is changed to a different month, because from my experience the weather has been rainy and cold almost every year.
CAPTURE THE MOMENT at the 2019 Rotary Convention in Hamburg
Are you among the 25,000 people who have already registered for the convention? If not, don’t miss this opportunity to experience the spirit of Rotary with people of action from around the globe at the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, 1-5 June.
Gain new perspectives from exceptional speakers during general sessions, raise awareness of Rotary’s work toward polio eradication at the 3K Walk Against Polio, and explore the House of Friendship, where you’ll discover the four priorities of Rotary’s new strategic plan at the exhibit The Future of Rotary.
Time is running out. Register today and Capture the Moment with new friends.
P.S.: don't forget to register for the Convention Orientation Webinar which will take place on 9 May at 12:00 p.m. CDT.
                REGISTER TODAY             
Jessica Gall, Associate Director Midwest Anti Defamation League
ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913, ADL’s timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, as a global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.
Based in Chicago, ADL Midwest provides regional support within northern Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. In addition to speaking out against hate, ADL Midwest operates many programs designed to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination. Key initiatives include:
    • Helps schools and organizations create a positive climate by providing tailored approaches and trainings to combat bias, bullying, cyber-bullying and hatred
  • Managing Implicit Bias
    • Trains police officers to manage the influence of bias on their interactions and decision-making
  • Words to Action
    • Gives middle, high school and college students the tools to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias
  • Echoes & Reflections
    • Provides resources and professional development to middle and high school educators to teach their students about the Holocaust
Above Guest Speakers left to right:  Dr. Dana Krilich, Niles West Athletic Director,  Jenna Micor, Niles West Cheerleader, Andrea Espino, Niles West Cheerleader, Angelina Boudouvas, Niles West Cheerleader
Jenna, Andrea and Angelina represented the Niles West High School Cheerleaders who participated in the 2nd Annual "Wolf Pack Gives Back" program on Saturday, February 23rd, where over 120 students and adults gathered together to give back to the community. They volunteered at a group home that housed young adults from ages 17-23 who are in need of living assistance which includes a place to stay, food, and job search assistance. The cheerleaders' responsibility was to wash up the walls to prepare for painting, and in one room they painted the Counselor's office. They explained that this was a great experience because they were able to be in the environment with visibility to the group home, and saw first-hand what services Connections for the Homeless provides those in need. In addition, they felt it was a great opportunity to be part of something that was going to help make the group home a more comfortable environment for those young adults who would be living there.
In addition to the cheerleaders' project to wash and paint walls for The Connections for the Homeless group home, they shared the accomplishments of their fellow Niles West students from various clubs and organizations including Yearbook, Freshman Cabinet, Peer Leaders, Boys Basketball, National Honor Society, Girls Water Polo, Sophomore Cabinet, Football, Social Justice & Equity class, and Girls Gymnastics, who also volunteered their time for other community organizational needs. In three hours the groups were able to accomplish the following:
  • Cleaned/Organized the Niles Township Clothing Closet and packed a truck full of extra clothes so that the Clothing Closet may receive a check in order to purchase new undergarments for distribution
  • Made 212 tug toys and 64 blankets for Wrightway Rescue (animals)
  • Made 132 heart pillows that will be distributed to local oncology units for those who have breast cancer
  • Made over 200 bagged lunches for The Niles Township Food Pantry
The Niles West Cheerleaders also performed a brief cheer for the Rotary Club members and answered a variety of questions.
Program Speaker Club Member Greg Franks.
Our own club member Greg Frank did a power point slide presentation about his family trip to Cuba in May 2018, followed by questions and answers.
Guest Speaker Diane Zidman.

Diane Zidman attended a seminar where Sheriff Tom Dart was the keynote speaker. His presentation on Sex Trafficking sparked her interest and she knew she had to get involved. She joined JCAST (Jewish Community against Sex Trafficking) where she now sits on the steering committee and lectures on Sex Trafficking.

  • In the Chicago area, 16,000 to 25,000 local women and girls are “sex trafficked” each year.
  • Most victims of sex trafficking in the US are women and children, particularly girls under the age of 18.
  • While trafficking is often seen as a problem that occurs in other countries, more than 100,000 children are estimated to be part of the sex trade every year here in the U.S., with an additional almost 300,000 youths at risk of becoming victims.
  • The majority of sex trafficking victims identified in this country are US citizens.
  • Once girls enter the sex industry, their average life expectancy is seven years, with homicide and AIDS being the top killers.
  • Most trafficking victims have experienced extreme violence, suffer from substance abuse addictions, experience homelessness, have health problems, and struggle with mental illness.
  • Human trafficking is the world’s third largest criminal enterprise, after drugs and weapons, and is the fastest growing.
  • Sex trafficking alone produces an estimated $7 billion annually.
  • The International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations estimates that there are 12.3 million adults and children at any given time in forced labor or commercial sexual servitude worldwide.


Libby Hill, Writer
Guest speaker Libby Hill told the club her story on how a sluggish waterway, Chicago River, emptying into Lake Michigan became central to the creation of Chicago as a major metropolis and transportation hub. 
Tiffany McDowell, PhD.
Tiffany McDowell, Director Equity Institute at YWCA Evanston/North Shore, was the guest speaker at our weekly luncheon meeting of May 19, 2019.
YWCA is the oldest and largest multicultural women’s organization in the world, with more than 25 million members across the globe in 106 countries, including 2.6 million members and participants in 300 local associations in the United States.
More important than the numbers, is our mission to eliminate racism and empower women. We provide safe places for women and girls, build strong women leaders, and advocate for women’s rights and civil rights in Congress.
Women come to YWCAs in times of crisis, as survivors of rape or domestic violence. They come for job training and career counseling. They come for childcare. They come for health and fitness. They come for a variety of reasons. But they come. And they leave with a renewed spirit, new skills, and stronger lives.
YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s roots stretch back to the 1930s. We started as a place that provided safe housing and support for young women coming to the city to work. Our programs and services have continually evolved to meet the changing needs of the communities we serve.
YWCA Evanston/North Shore is a social justice organization whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. Everything we do is based on the belief that all women have the right to be safe and choose the direction of their lives.
Our programs address the fact that far too many women 1) experience violence, and 2) lack economic security, and these issues disproportionately impact women of color. If we want to empower all women, we must also tackle racism.
We help women build safety, stability and security through direct service, training, and education. This includes housing and support services for domestic violence survivors, financial education, housing assistance, employment support, and programs that support health and well-being.
When all women are able to reach their full potential, our communities thrive.

Guest Speaker Jay Blutka, President Skokie Valley Orchestra.
The Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra (SVSO) was founded in 1962 by Dr. Paul Hurwitz and a group of local musicians. The group engaged Dr. Leon Stein to be their first conductor. Several talented musicians in the area began coming to rehearsals and the first performance, with a reasonably full orchestra, was held at Niles East High School.
The Skokie Valley Orchestral Association was incorporated that first year as a not-for-profit corporation in the State of Illinois. It has a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service. Since then, it has served as the parent organization of the Symphony and its purpose is to promote and sustain a community orchestra. It is governed by a Board of Directors that meets at least ten times a year. The Symphony season consists of four (and occasionally five) concerts per season.
Dr. Leon Stein led the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra from 1962 until 1966. Leo Krakow followed as conductor of the Symphony and held that post for 27 years. During that time, the Orchestra became a fine performing ensemble with a reputation that went far beyond the local community and attracted more talented musicians.
Following the departure of Daniel Boico, who served as conductor and music director from 2002-2006, the SVSO held a conductor search and the Board of Directors selected Francesco Milioto to be the new Music Director and Conductor beginning with the 2007-08 season.
World-class musicians have performed with the SVSO as guest soloists, including Itzak Perlman, Leonard Pennario, Eugene Istomin, Emanuel Ax, Pinchas Zuckerman, Rudolf Firkusny, Jeffrey Siegal, Rachel Barton, Gil Shaham, Mathieu Dufour, and Daniel Barenboim.
Another goal of the SVSO has been to encourage young talented musicians to bring quality classical music to their generation. Since 1980, the SVSO has held an annual competition, the Bonnie and Lee Malmed Young Artist Competition to select the finest student musicians from across the country. The winners receive a cash prize and are showcased in performances with the SVSO each season.
The first winner was cellist Gary Stucka, now a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Another winner, Frank Rosenwein, is now the principal oboe with the Cleveland Orchestra and performed as a soloist with the SVSO again recently.
In connection with the Young Artist Competition, the Orchestra holds an annual competition for young string players. The Harvey E. Mittenthal Scholarship was established in 1987 by his family as a living memorial to Mr. Mittenthal, a long-time member of the orchestra and Board of Directors. The winners receive a scholarship toward their music lessons and perform with the orchestra for a year.
In 1997, the SVSO became a permanent resident of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. The SVSO has participated in numerous community events. These have included the U.S. Bicentennial, the Village of Skokie Centennial, and the Morton Grove Centennial. The SVSO has given special performances in area parks, performed at the Old Orchard Shopping Center and at the reception prior to the Joseph Jefferson Awards. The concert featuring Gil Shaham in October 2003 was presented in conjunction with the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest as a memorial concert for Yitzhak Rabin. Outreach activities for children and senior citizens have been ongoing.
In recent seasons, the orchestra has continued its outreach efforts, presenting a free concert for 700+ school children and hosting a group of residents from Freidman House, a facility for the blind, as well as hosting members of Wounded Warriors at our concerts.
On June 18, 2018, the SVSO was the recipient of The Skokie Fine Arts Commission’s Award for Artistic Excellence in recognition of the Orchestra’s outstanding talent, visibility, and positive impact in the community for over 55 years.
Our mission is to share the excitement of great music with our community, especially young people and families, and our vision is to use the New Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra as a resource for many different members of the general public and musical arts community; an institution that encourages musicians young and old, amateur and professional, to make and experience music on the highest possible level.  We see a fertile resource for musicians, composers, and students.
Left to right: Nooreen Fatima, Sidrah Farooqi, Mohammad Fahad and Joy Patel

The above Niles West Hight School HOSA (Healthcare Occupations Students of America) senior students did a very interesting community awareness program and demonstration on Bystander CPR.

Guest Speaker Vern Gideon, R. Ph.
Mr. Vern Gideon, a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust, was the guest speaker at our weekly meeting of February 26. He brought us back to 1939 faithful events that speared him and his family from the German Nazis.
At the time Vern was about three years old, living with his family in Villingen-Schwenningen, a good size town not far from Stuttgart Germany. He said that they had very nice gentile neighbors who helped them hide from the Nazis everytime they went searching for Jews. This one time, Vern said,  his father got caught by the Nazis, and was ready to be dispatched to the concentration camp in Dachau. But thanks to his uncle, (his father's brother) a German officer in the 1915 war, who was able to falsify documents, Vern's dad miraculously was sent back home.
Vernon said that to get the kids out of harm's way, his family was able to sent them across the border in Switzerland, not too far away from their town. He said that over a period of six months the kids and their family would meet every week at the border to see each other and wave hello across the fence. That same year in 1939, with the help of Vern's uncle and by the grace of God, the whole Gideon family was able to come to the United Stated of America.
Skokie Police Officer Joe Marzigliano.
Officer Joe Marzigliano is the Skokie Police Department Neighborhood Integrity Officer.  Officer Marzigliano works with other Village Departments in the implementation and support of the Skokie Neighborhood Integrity Ordinance.  The ordinance was enacted to help protect and strengthen rental units which the Village recognizes is a key component of vibrant and functional neighborhood life.  Within the Village there are approximately 1,200 multi-unit buildings providing 5,000 units of rental housing.  There also are approximately 1,500 single family homes, duplexes and townhouses that are rented throughout the Village. 
The Village recognizes that landlords are critical components of the neighborhoods throughout the community.  In an effort to provide effective tools for landlords, the Village provides additional trained staff from the Skokie Police Department and the Property Standards Division in a coordinated approach to marshal all Village resources for the benefit of neighborhoods.  Officer Marzigliano discussed his role in training and assisting landlords within the confines of the Neighborhood Integrity Ordinance. 

Mara Stern (left) and Jarrett Dapier (right)

Mara Stern of Northlight Theatre and Jarrett Dapier of the Skokie Public Library, were the guest speaker at the Skokie Valley Rotary Club luncheon meeting of February 12, 2019. They spoke about an upcoming performance of "Martin Rising: A Requiem for a King." where local high school and junior high school students are the actors in the play.  The author, Andrea Davis Pinkney, will be at the performances as follows:  Sunday February 24 at 1:30 pm at the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, and  Saturday February 23rd, at 2 PM  at the Skokie Public Library. (Not 100% sure about these dates, call respective performance locations to verify).
The performance is a cooperative venture of Northlight, the Library, and the Holocaust Museum and is made possible in part by a grant from the Skokie Community Foundation.
The Northlight Theatre is a professional, non-profit theater company currently located in Skokie, Illinois at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. Northlight produces five mainstage productions each year with a spectrum of work ranging from timely world premieres to refreshed classics. It is one of the largest nonprofit theatres in the Chicago area with over 6000 subscribers, serving audiences totaling over 50,000 each season.
In addition to the mainstage season, programming includes workshops and readings of new works, audience outreach to Veterans and many other groups, community engagement programs, and a comprehensive arts education program for underserved middle and high school students.
Northlight Theatre tickets are available through the Box Office at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts on Monday – Friday from 10 am till 5 pm, Saturday from noon till 5 pm.  On Sunday the Box Office opens two hours prior to show time, and
on all performance days the  Box Office hours continue to a few minutes past curtain.
Call 847.673.6300 for tickets or visit them at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie IL.
Guest Speaker Rodney Adams, Rotary District 6440 Past Governor.
Rodney Adams is a member of the Mt. Prospect/Prospect Heights Rotary Club, was district 6440 Governor for the 2015-2016 rotary year, is currently involved in several areas of service within district 6440, and appointed to serve as Vice-Governor for the 2020-2021 rotary year.
Rodney made a motivational presentation with the aid of a slide show, emphasizing the importance of club membership growth.
Ross Mathee our acting-club President received this thank you note from the Coat Closet at St. Paul Lutheran Church - Skokie  IL.  
Our Coat Drive would not be possible without Rotarian Ken Davis'  Kenny the Kleener / Chicago's Discount Dry Cleaner donating all the dry cleaning and delivering all the coats.

Ken Davis of Kenny the Kleener / Chicago's Discount Dry Cleaner is honored by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley for his commitment to community service and our Annual Coat Drive.  Pictured with fellow Rotarians Rob Paddor of Evanston Subaru in Skokie and Michelle Tuft of the Skokie Park District.

Kenny the Kleeners Delivery Driver, Robert Katz brings a load of clean coats from Kenny the Kleener / Chicago's Discount Dry Cleaner to Vicki at St. Paul's Church

Kenny the Kleener / Chicago's Discount Dry Cleaner

Pictured above are: (left to right) Ethan Bontly, John Jekot, Paul Rojas
The guest speakers at the January 15, 2019 weekly luncheon meeting were Ethan Bontly and Paul Rojas from the  Skomor Soccer Club, a not for profit travel soccer club> Skomor Soccer Club  has been in our neighborhood since 1989.  It attracts players from School District 219 area.  Kids from ages under 8 and up through high school ages are served.

President’s Message



Dear fellow Rotarians,

Vocational service can be hard to define, but it is easy to describe: It is simply the point where our Rotary lives and our professional lives intersect. When we put our Rotary ideals to work through our work, that is vocational service.

When I returned to the Bahamas after many years working in health care administration abroad, I realized that my country badly needed a modern health care facility. The resources we had at the time were out of date and inadequate, and people who were unable to travel abroad for care often did not receive the care they needed. Without the experience I had gained in the United States, I could have done nothing to change the status quo. But since I did have that experience, I was in a unique position to have an impact. I knew I could turn my professional path to good and make a career out of improving Bahamian health care.

As Rotary became part of my journey, I discovered that the words of Paul Harris that became the basis of Rotary — that shared effort knows no limitations — were also true for my vocation. I could not bring modern health care to the Bahamas alone. But through partnership, both with the doctors who eventually became my partners in Doctors Hospital and with all the dedicated staff members who worked in the hospital over the years, we could change everything. My goal became a shared goal — and then it became reality.

Rotary emphasizes the dignity of every vocation and the worth of every calling. Remember that the four founding members included no doctors or peacemakers — just an attorney, a mining engineer, a coal dealer, and a printer. From the beginning, the diversity of those vocations gave Rotary a special strength. And that diversity is reflected in our classification system, which aims to ensure that each club represents the full range of businesses and professions that serve each community.

Paul Harris put it this way: "Each Rotarian is the connecting link between the idealism of Rotary and his trade or profession." It was true when he said it and should be equally true now. We only spend an hour or two a week at our Rotary meetings, but most of us spend most of our waking time at work. Through Rotary, those hours are also an opportunity for service: a chance to Be the Inspiration to those we work with, those who work for us, and the communities we serve.

signature barry rassin


President, Rotary International

Guest Speaker Andrea Lutz.
The guest speaker at our November 13th weekly luncheon meeting was Andrea Luts of Random Acts of Flowers Chicago.
In July 2007, Random Acts of Flowers’ founder, Larsen Jay, was in a near-fatal accident. He credits the outpouring of support he received in the form of daily visitors and dozens of floral arrangements while in the hospital as a key to providing the emotional lift and encouragement that helped him persevere through the multiple surgeries and challenging recovery process he faced.
When Larsen was capable of leaving his room, he noticed how many of his fellow patients did not have visitors or flowers – the very thing that helped him so much in those early and difficult days. The first “Random Act of Flowers” delivery was made moments later as Larsen repurposed his flowers and delivered them from his wheelchair. The memories of how a simple gesture touched his fellow patients compelled Larsen to form Random Acts of Flowers in 2008.
Since then, Random Acts of Flowers has grown into a united family led by the team at its national headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee. But it’s also a collection of independent branches in cities around the country that are committed to shared visions and values.
The national office establishes guidelines, raises funds nationally, provides legal and accounting support, develops strategies to expand reach and brand recognition, and establishes the overall direction for the organization. Random Acts of Flowers fosters a culture of compassion by recycling flowers into beautiful bouquets. Dedicated volunteer teams deliver these flowers and moments of kindness in health care facilities across the country. In December 2015, we delivered our 100,000th bouquet; and in October 2017, we delivered our 250,000th!
Random Acts of Flowers improves the emotional health and well-being of individuals in health care facilities by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement and personal moments of kindness.
Volunteers Invited to participate
We Rotarians are determine in Keeping Polio Free India and ask you as part of one Rotary family to help during next National Immunization Day (NID) for polio at Agra, India on 3rd February 2019.
Our borders are not sealed and every day we are getting non-immigrants from neighbouring countries and have fear to get Polio back in India, still fight against Polio in NOT OVER.
In this connections, Government of India has decided to conduct National Immunization Day on 3rdFebruary covering all the children in the age group 0-5 years of age. The scale is extraordinary, with more than 172 million children immunized by 2.3 million vaccinators who visit every house in every city, town and village across the country – more than 209 million houses in all.
Let’s create history by joining hands with your club members participation during this event “International Project of Serving Humanity”.
If your members are already visiting India during these dates, please ask them to visit us…
Thank you, await with enthusiasm to serve humanity for great noble cause.     
Bringing the Social Change !!
Rotary Service and Engagement
Rtn Sudhir Tomer |Polio Chair | Jt Secertary|2017-19
Rotary Club Agra Tajmahal

Guest Speaker Claudiu Cionca (left) Acting Club President Max Slamkard (right)

Claudiu Cionca President of VOX Connect was the guest speaker at the November 6, 2018 Skokie Valley Rotary Club luncheon weekly meeting. His subject was syber security.

Vox Connect is a professional IT company and Telecom Services Provider that has been providing technical solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Chicago area since 2006. Our customers are SMBs with 5-100 computers in the non-profit, accounting, real estate, construction, manufacturing, legal, and investment industries. At Vox Connect, we understand that maintaining computer and telecom systems can be intimidating, frustrating, time-consuming, and costly for SMB owners. That’s why we are 100% committed to making sure business owners have the most cost effective, reliable, responsive and professional technology service in Chicago that is centered around top-notch customer service.



Above are some 20 or so, happy Skokie Valley Rotary members eating, drinking  and conversing at Bonefish Grill located at 9310 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. Your truly was one of them, and I'm very happy to say that the food was unbelievably delicious. An assorted variety of food (mainly fish) kept on being brought out by the restaurant servers until everyone could no longer eat.
Our gratitude goes to Howard Meyer for putting this whole thing together, as he's being doing for the past several years. We would love to see more members come to these events,  so please stay toned for our next night-out, which will probably be the 5th Tuesday of next January.
Guest Speaker Kris Tsau.
Kris Tsau from Rotary’s PolioPlus program shared an update on global polio eradication efforts. She reported that, thanks in large part to the support of Rotary clubs, cases of polio have decreased by more than 99.9% globally. Polio is now only endemic (naturally occurring virus) in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where a total of 20 cases have been reported so far in 2018. Nigeria is also still considered to be endemic,
though there have been no cases in that country since 2016 inspiring hope that it, and the entire continent of Africa, may soon be polio free. Thanks to the work of Rotary and partners, more than 17 million children are walking who might otherwise have been paralyzed by polio. She noted that while the number of polio cases is at historically low levels, we can’t become complacent. We must continue to immunize children in the US and around the world to protect against a resurgence of polio.
While the focus of the global effort is on stopping polio in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative continues to immunize more than 400 million children in some 60 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, which remain at risk for outbreaks. She noted that the progress and continuing challenges will be highlighted on World Polio Day, October 24th, in a livestream event held by Rotary which can be viewed on that day or any time after at .
Guest Speaker Annabelle Mortensen.
Annabelle Mortensen was our guest speaker at our meeting of October 18, 2018. Annabelle is the Manager of Access Services at the Skokie Library. She reviewed and explained in meticulous details the following books that are available at the Skokie Library:
  • The White Darkness by David Grann
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  • Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal by Ben Sasse
  • All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • The Witch Elm by Tana French
  • The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake by Dr. Steven Novella
  • Babel by Gaston Doren
  • Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
  • 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich
For more informations visit the Skokie Library located at 5215 Oakton Ave Skokie Illinois or check their website at
Kathleen McDonald
Kathleen McDonald, Executive Director of the Mitchell Museum of American Indian was the guest speaker at our weekly meeting of October 9, 2018.
The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is one of only a handful of museums across the country that focuses exclusively on the art, history, and culture of Native American and First Nation peoples from throughout the United States and Canada.  It promotes public understanding of cultural diversity through first voice perspectives. 
Since its founding in 1977, the Mitchell Museum has evolved into a cherished resource of collections, exhibits, programs and activities that introduce visitors from throughout the Chicago region to the cultures of American Indians. The Mitchell Museum’s mission is to promote and share a deeper understanding of Native American peoples through the collection, preservation, and interpretation of their traditional and contemporary art and material culture. 
The museum’s collection includes archeological, ethnographic and art objects of American Indian and Inuit (Eskimo) people from all time periods, from the Paleo-Indian period through the present day. The museum serves as a resource for the Evanston community, for the greater Chicago area and its schools, for Native peoples, and for researchers from other educational and cultural institutions. The museum is dedicated to work collaboratively with each of its constituencies in all of its activities, including collections care, exhibitions, guided tours, lectures, demonstrations, workshops, loan programs and docent training. 
The museum’s main exhibition galleries showcase the Native cultures of the Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Northwest Coast, and Arctic regions of the United States and Canada. There are several temporary exhibit galleries that change several times a year. Recent special exhibits include:  Raising the Totem: Exploring Northwest Coast Indigenous Cultures; 7 Artists, 7 Teachings: Baskets at Work: Utilitarian Baskets from the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian; Pipes of the American Indian; The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis; and The Teaching Lodge. Within the exhibition spaces are “touching tables” where visitors can handle examples of pottery, baskets, beadwork, clothing, and stone tools, as well as feel the raw materials used by American Indians– including snakeskin, caribou fur, birch bark, turquoise, and buffalo. 
Schools, scouts, and other groups can arrange for docent-led tours, which can include storytelling and craft projects, if requested. A library of over 5,000 books and periodicals and a video collection is available for all visitors to use on-site. The museum’s programs include lectures and demonstrations by Native American artists and scholars, as well as music and dance performances.
Above are images of the 2018 Pancake Breakfast's volunteers and patrons.
The 2018 Pancake Breakfast took place at the, now very popular Skokie Backlot Bash, this past Sunday August 26. It was a very hot and humid day, but everyone had a great time nonetheless. This important fundraiser will benefit local charity organizations as it has it has been doing for the past several years.
We have been able to do this fun-event successfully for so many years, thanks to the hard work of main organizer Al Rigoni,   all food donors, all club members and friends of Rotary who volunteered to help.
Our Thanks and gratitude goes to all who made this possible!
Guest Speaker Robert Beezat
Robert spoke about business management skills and training, focusing on character building self improvement.
Robert Beezat has managed a broad range of organizations in business, government, and the not for profit sectors. He helped start and became the eventual owner of The PAR Group, a management consulting firm serving a national clientele. He served as the CAO in several municipalities and the CEO of a nonprofit organization. He continues to consult with local governments as part of GovHRUSA.
As a management consultant, he has worked with over 350 public, private, and not-for-profit organizations around the country. Part of his consulting work included conducting supervisory and management training workshops. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at several universities teaching business, human resources, and supervisory management courses.
He holds a Bachelor Degree from Loyola University in Chicago and a Master Degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is the author of Knowing and Loving: The Keys to Real Happiness and Character Based Management.
He is very active in working with and developing programs that benefit lower socio-economic segments of the population. He is the Founder and President of Lucy’s Children’s Fund, a not for profit foundation, which assists poor children at home and abroad. He has been successful in bringing together municipal, educational, and business resources in a municipality to address the diverse needs of a low-income, immigrant population. He has organized and led a number of community-based groups which have worked to resolve neighborhood problems and issues.
Left to right: Teri Madl, Michelle Tuft, Sam Smit , Sam Eckerling and Glen Gaode, 


Today acting club president Michelle Tuft inducted three new members to the Skokie Valley Rotary Club. They were:

  • Teri Madl, Superintendent of East Prairie School
  • Sam Smith, CEO of Better Residential Care, Lincolnwood & Chicago
  • Glen Gaode, Owner of Luke Management, Luke Parking
Welcome to the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley!

Program Speaker Club Member Dr. Allan D. Klenetsky
The program speaker for the luncheon meeting of August 14, 2018 was club member Dr. Allan D. Klenetsky. Allan gave a very interesting fun & frolic style presentation about facts in Illinois and Chicago area. At the end of his presentation he distributed delicious twinkies to all members.
August 11th Soup Kitchen Crew
Thanks to the above awesome crew, 89 hungry guests were successfully fed. Special thanks goes to soup kitchen coordinator Ross Mathee for putting everything together.
Club Member Greg Franks
Club Member Neil King
Program speakers for the August 7th weekly luncheon meetings were club members Greg Franks and Neil King.
Greg spoke about the 2018 Rotary International Convention which took place in Toronto Canada this past June. He gave the club some details such as, the massive works required to put the convention together, and what goes on behind the scenes to make sure that everything goes as smooth as possible. He also named some of the key speakers,  like Queen Elizabeth's daughter Princess Ann, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell. The convention general attendance was over 25,000.
Neil King spoke about some of the Rotary meetings he attended around the world, enphasiszing how members of those clubs went out of their ways, to make sure that his attendance was as pleasant as it could be.

Master Cook Al Rigoni

Picnic attendees. (Yours truly was also present but not in this picture)

The Skokie Valley Rotary Club Annual Picnic was a success thanks to Mother Nature and the hard work of club organizers Michelle Tuft,  Max Slankard, Jason Wicha and all other helpers behind the scenes. A special thanks to grill master Al Rigoni for cooking those delicious steaks and hot dogs to perfection, and Rob Paddor for providing the grill.
It was a joyous occasion and an opportunity for club members, their spouses and friends to socialize. The presence of club member's children made the picnic extra special.
Our heartfelt-thank to all who made this event possible!

Left to right: Jason Wicha, Club President - Howard Meyer, SCF Deputy Vice Chair - Joy Schaefer, SCF Secretary 
The Skokie Community Foundation received a check in the amount of $1,000 from The Skokie Valley Rotary Club.


The Skokie Community Fund was established in 2010 by a small group of Skokie residents who want to foster a supportive, engaged, and dynamic community in Skokie through meaningful giving, collaboration, and community programming. In the summer of 2017 the Fund became a 501c3 and the Skokie Community Foundation was created.

Our goal is to seek out and partner with donors and community builders who share our vision so that we can build a community resource that will benefit Skokie now and one hundred years from now.

Left to right: Dave Gendel, David Schoenberg, Jason Wicha

KESHET received a check in the amount of $1,000 from The Skokie Valley Rotary Club.

Keshet is internationally recognized for its leading edge services for individuals with disabilities. 
From its local programming at over seventy sites in the Chicago area to its international consultations, the organization strives to meet its most important mission: To do whatever necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential.

From its core programs for children and adults with intellectual challenges in the Chicago area, to its international consulting work, Keshet serves over 1,000 individuals with disabilities and touches the lives of many more family members, peers, supporters, and other stakeholders around the globe. 

For the past 35 years, Keshet has integrated students, campers, residents, and employees with disabilities into over 70 sites in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest. Globally, Keshet has trained over 15,000 staff members, proving the tools necessary for successful inclusion.

Keshet’s local leadership, comprised of nearly 100 lay leaders from all walks of life, provide the inspiration, direction, and funding required to fulfill the organization’s mission: to do whatever is necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential.

Left to right: Jason Wicha - Jennifer Sultz, Development Director - Peter Robichaux, The Living Room Coordinator and Therapist 

Turning Point received a check in the amount of $1,000 from The Skokie Valley Rotary Club.

Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center is an outpatient mental health center with a mission to provide solid support, when you need it most.  We provide expert, affordable and compassionate care to people during some of the most difficult times of their lives.

Turning Point was established in 1969 as an area mental health center and has grown to serve residents in communities throughout metropolitan Chicago. We are easily accessible by public transit. We are conveniently located two blocks north of the CTA Yellow Line Oakton Street station, and are on the CTA bus lines #97 and #54A.

Our community is diverse. Clients range widely in age, diagnosis, and socioeconomic group. Client cultural, ethnic and religious orientations are as diverse as the staff available to serve them. Fees structured on a sliding scale flex to align with each client’s income.

In addition to primarily serving clients in Skokie and the surrounding communities of Morton Grove, Niles, Lincolnwood, and Evanston, Turning Point also sees clients from 47 other communities including clients from as far north as Antioch and McHenry to our western neighbors of Schaumburg and Lombard and south throughout the City of Chicago.

Our service is comprehensive. Brief or long-term care is available. Turning Point provides outpatient individual and group therapy for all ages, psychiatric evaluation and medication monitoring, case management, and a residential living program. Turning Point has consistently been awarded the highest rating from The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

Jason Wicha, Club President (left) Jessica T. Claudio, Grants Manager (right)

Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center received a check in the amount of $500 from The Skokie Valley Rotary Club.

The Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center was built on the courage of survivors, staff, volunteers and donors, we have been serving the community as a non-profit center against sexual assault and abuse since 1983.

We pride ourselves on the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center  experience. Our locations are designed to operate on the principle that a holistic environment, composed of safe, tranquil, and nurturing physical surroundings and compassionate staff, can significantly enhance the healing process so that all survivors can heal, safely, in their own way.

Guest Speaker Jonathan Chaparro, Braven's Founding Site Director Chicago
Braven launched in Chicago, our Founder Aimée’s hometown, in 2018 and is working with partners across the city to ensure that all local talent thrives.
In the last 10 years, through concerted efforts across education institutions, nonprofits and the philanthropic community, the percentage of Chicago Public School 9th graders completing 4-year college degrees rose from a bleak 8% to 18%. While this is encouraging progress, the reality for far too many local students is that college still isn’t translating into completion and success beyond graduation.
Braven is proud to be joining city-wide efforts to ensure all Chicago students maximize their talent.
We are embarking on a founding partnership with National Louis University’s Harrison Professional Pathways Program and will become a systemic career-acceleration approach for all sophomores. National Louis University’s forward- thinking leadership and commitment to better preparing underrepresented students for careers make it an ideal founding partner. Students earn their Bachelor’s for $40,000 and choose one of six career pathways. The student body is 95% people of color and 85% Pell Grant eligible.
The talent and engagement of local companies fuels the Braven experience. Over the next three years, local employer partners will engage in hundreds of professional development opportunities through Braven as well as have access to more than 1000 career-ready individuals.
In Chicago, with a diverse economy, our employer partners reflect a balance of for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that span multiple sectors and sizes.
Rotary Member Ralph Klein (left) Guest Speaker Seth Davis (right)
Seth Davis was the guest speaker.
Seth was raised on the mean streets of Skokie. Seth is a writer, standup comedian, actor, storyteller,  producer and graduate of The Second City and i.O. Theater.  Seth has appeared off-Broadway in The Awesome 80’s Prom, NBC5’s The Nude Hippo Show, and on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. He has also appeared in You’re Being Ridiculous at the Steppenwolf Theatre, NACA, The New Orleans Comedy Arts Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Milwaukee Comedy Fest, Lady’s Laughs Comedy Fest, Chicago Musical Improv Fest, Chicago Fringe Fest, and Chicago Sketchfest. He is a regular at Zanies, The Laugh Factory, colleges across the country, and a producer/ performer of the critically acclaimed live comedic storytelling and podcast show I Shit You Not.
His show is on Thursday August 9 at 7:30 pm
Tickets: $15
Left to right: Dave Wasserman, Jason Wicha, Rob Paddor, Ray Eichenlaub,
Rob Paddor, Board Member at Project Hero received a grant check of $800 from The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
Founded in 2008, Project Hero is a groundbreaking national non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives and increasing awareness to combat the national mental health emergency posed by PTSD and TBI. 
Project Hero programs including Ride 2 Recovery events and Project Hero Community Centers work by producing positive outcomes at lower costs and reducing drug-based therapies.  The organization also builds and provides adaptive bikes to physically-challenged and injured Veterans and First Responders and founded the Project Hero Research Institute for Mental Health to support clinical research programs in 2016. 
Ride 2 Recovery started with a telephone call to John Wordin from a recreational therapist with the Veterans Administration (VA).  The therapist thought cycling would be an alternative therapy for PTSD and TBI treatment as well as physical injury rehabilitation. Based on John’s success as a professional cyclist and founder of the Fitness Challenge Foundation,  the therapist thought he was the right person to create the program the VA had in mind. 
Wordin launched the first Ride 2 Recovery Challenge event in 2008 with fourteen riders and no support staff.   By 2010, the organization was producing six Challenges events across the US with an average of 170 participants per ride and a full support staff including the Texas Challenge from San Antonio to Dallas, the Memorial Challenge from Washington DC to Virginia Beach, the Rocky Mountain Challenge from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Colorado Springs, the Great Lakes Challenge from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, the Golden State Challenge from San Francisco to Los Angeles; and the Florida Challenge from Tampa to Jacksonville. 
In 2011, R2R grew to seven Challenge events including Texas, Memorial, Florida, Golden State, Great Lakes, the 9/11 American Challenge on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, which began at Ground Zero in New York City, rode through Shanksville, PA and finished at the Pentagon and The Normandy Challenge, the first European Challenge event which traced the steps of D-Day and subsequent battles.
In 2012, R2R’s Battle of the Bulge Challenge hosted 147 riders as they rode through Belgium and Luxembourg, in addition to Texas, Memorial, and Golden State Challenges, and the organization added the Gulf Coast Challenge from New Orleans to Tallahassee, the Minuteman Challenge from Boston to New York and the Bluegrass Challenge from Cincinnati to Nashville. The Challenge events became so popular the organization established a limit of 200 participants per event and today they sell out early and have lengthy waiting lists, attesting to the power of the Ride 2 Recovery programs.
Project Hero has helped tens of thousands of our Healing Heroes at no cost to participants through Ride 2 Recovery cycling events, community-based programs in more than 50 cities throughout the US and by supporting research. 
Jason Wicha (left) Al Rigoni (right)
Al Rigoni, Treasurer at the Sommer Foundation received a grant check of $1,000 from The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
Thanks to the sponsors and participants of the Sommer Memorial Golf Tournament from 1993 to 1998; we were able to invest enough proceeds to provide for the future educational pursuits of Anne and Jay Sommer. Our initial mission had been met thanks to the support of many kind people who joined us for our first six tournaments.
It was time for a new mission. We decided as a group to transition to providing scholarships to high school seniors who had endured the hardship of losing a parent early in life. We would distribute the scholarships via the newly incorporated Sommer Foundation. High school seniors would compete for a Sommer Foundation Scholarship based upon academic achievement, participation in volunteer and school activities, employment experience, and financial need. Through 2015, 90 scholarships have been provided to students who have gone on to succeed at several different colleges or universities.
When the Sommer Foundation Board of Directors was established, Bernie Oglietti and Lynn Sommer joined Joe Cavallaro, Bob Kiely, Al Rigoni, and myself. As the success of the Foundation continues to grow, the decision was made to expand the Board of Directors by three. Robert Irvin, Carol Sente, and Ryan Waller were subsequently elected to these openings. In October 2010, a vacancy to the Board occurred when Carol Sente’s term expired. The Foundation is thankful for Carol’s years of service, and while she will be missed, we were fortunate to receive a commitment from long-time supporter, Peter Koukos, to join the team. In 2012, Anne Sommer and Katie Limardi joined the Board of Directors, continuing the family legacy.
It has been an honor and a pleasure for those of us serving on the Sommer Foundation Board of Directors to be involved in the pursuit of our mission. We are so grateful to all of our sponsors and participants for having a positive impact on the lives of future leaders and for helping us remember our friend, Bill Sommer.
Left to right: Jason Wicha and Alyse Cohen Burman
Alyse Cohen Burman, Education Foundation supporting the Students of Niles Township, received a grant check of $300 from The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
The Niles Township District for Special Education (NTDSE) serves the school districts in the North Cook County, Illinois communities of Morton Grove, Niles, Lincolnwood and Skokie. These communities represent the first township north of the city of Chicago and are approximately ten and a half square miles in size. The aggregate population of these four communities is approximately 123,000 people. 
The communities and school districts in Niles Township have access to an abundance of educational, cultural and employment opportunities. Niles Township has a strong industrial and commercial base. The township represents an area rich with attractive residential neighborhoods, churches, synagogues, schools, libraries, parks, pools and community services. It is close to many indoor and outdoor shopping malls and within 12 miles of both downtown Chicago and O'Hare Airport. Lutheran General Hospital, Rush North Shore Hospital, and Evanston Hospital are three of the major medical facilities in the area. The Niles Township communities are bounded to the west by Park Ridge, the east by Evanston, and to the north by Glenview and Wilmette. There are fourteen different universities in the nearby area including such major universities as Northwestern University, Loyola University, DePaul University, Chicago State University, University of Illinois-Chicago Circle Campus, University of Chicago, National-Louis University, Roosevelt University, and Northeastern Illinois University. 
The many services offered to residents, as well as the competitive real estate tax rates, makes Niles Township a most desirable location to live and raise a family.
Left to right: Jason Wicha and Janice Cha
Janice Cha, Board Member at Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.) received a grant check of $700 from The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
Since 1987, Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.™) has been promoting adoptions and care for dogs and cats. The all-volunteer, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization serves all of the communities of Chicago’s North Shore, including Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, Niles, Morton Grove and the north side of the City of Chicago.
Our new Adoption Center is scheduled to open this year at 4927 Main Street in Skokie, so that C.A.R.E. can offer a combined adoption center and foster home model to better serve the needs of homeless animals as well as potential adopters and the community.

 Acting Club President Michelle Tuft (left) Laura Prohov, CJE Senior Life (right)

Laura Prohov from CJE Senior received a grant check in the amount of $500 from Skokie Valley Rotary Club. 

What sets CJE SeniorLife apart from other organizations are its mission and values, and how its programs and services complement one another, creating a constellation of care.

For over 40 years, CJE SeniorLife has been helping older adults pursue lives of meaning, independence and good health. Today, CJE has over 700 employees who provide 20,000 older adults and family members annually with a myriad of programs and services including independent housing, assisted living, home delivered meals, transportation, long and short-term skilled nursing care, adult day services, geriatric care management, health and wellness activities, support groups for clients and caregivers, and numerous lifelong learning opportunities.

Acting Club President Michelle Tuft (left) Tarin Kendrick, Niles Township District for Special Education (NTDSE) (right)

Tarin Kendrick from Niles Township District for Special Education received a grant check in the amount of $300 from Skokie Valley Rotary Club. 

The Niles Township District for Special Education, in collaboration with its member school districts and families, provides an array of quality programs that create optimum learning experiences to meet each child’s specialized needs. 

  • NTDSE believes that programs and student interventions should be based upon sound research and provide documented evidence of their effectiveness.
  • NTDSE supports and helps build effective programs in member districts through research-based intervention programs and quality professional development.
  • NTDSE believes in strong, meaningful, collaboration with families to meet their children’s changing needs.
  • NTDSE is an advocate for public policy and legislation benefiting children with special needs

Acting Club President Michelle Tuft (left) Michael Pauken, General Manager North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (right)

Michael Pauken, General Manager North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, received a grant check in the amount of $500 from Skokie Valley Rotary Club. 

The unique, Award-Winning, State-of-the-Art performance venue designed by Boston based architect/developer Graham Gund opened in November 1996. In 1998 the North Shore Center was presented with the National Commercial Builder’s Award of Excellence Merit Award, Division IV. Capable of hosting a wide variety of performing arts, corporate and special events, the North shore Center is a multi-purpose, modern, efficient theatre facility with 68,000 square feet of space. World famous performers, tradeshows, and local productions are equally at home.

The facility was conceived in the mid 1980’s when Dorothy Litwin (former Executive Director of Centre East) applied to the State of Illinois for funding under the “Build Illinois Program”. The Village of Skokie supported the project as an economic stimulus to the area and as a cultural asset to the community. The Centre East Metropolitan Exposition, Auditorium and Office Building Authority was then created by the State of Illinois as the owner of the new performing arts center. The Village of Skokie appoints six of the nine members of the Authority aboard and Niles Township appoints three members. Professional Facilities Management (PFM) has managed the North Shore Center since its opening.

The North Shore Center was constructed at a cost of $18 million. The State of Illinois contributed $13.2 million and the Village of Skokie $3.4 million. The remaining construction funds were contributed by the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation and other private donors. Northlight Theatre raised additional dollars for the build-out of its namesake theatre.

Shortly after it opened, the North Shore Center hosted the pre-Broadway tryout of the musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown starring Kristen Chenoweth and Anthony Rapp. The North Shore Center has been the home to the Chicago Theatre Community’s annual Joseph Jefferson Awards seven times. Among the stars that have performed on the North Shore Center stages are Bob Newhart, Kathy Griffin, Queen Latifah, Bill Maher, Rita Moreno, Paula Poundstone, Neil Sedaka, Joffrey Ballet, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, The Capitol Steps, and many more.

Acting Club President Michelle Tuft (left)  Roxanne Nava, Executive director Metropolitan family service (right)

Roxanne Nava, Executive director Metropolitan family service, received a grant check in the amount of $1,000 from Skokie Valley Rotary Club. 

Since 1857, Metropolitan Family Services has empowered families to learn, to earn, to heal and to thrive. Founded as the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, our organization has helped families get through the devastating hardships of poverty, world wars, epidemics and natural disasters.

Throughout our long history we have reached out to help the young and old, unemployed and working poor, long-time citizens and new immigrants and those challenged by changing economics, troubled relationships, inadequate education and mental health issues. We’ve supported them with financial aid, counseling, education and legal services. But most of all, we have bolstered the strength that lies within each person, provided hope for a brighter future and helped individuals and families reclaim their dignity and purpose.

Today Metropolitan Family Services assists more than 72,000 families and individuals annually through seven community centers in Chicago, Evanston/Skokie, the southwest suburbs and DuPage County. Those served are as diverse as the communities in which they live, with 81% being part of the working poor or lower-middle class.

Pictured above from left to right are: Stacy Yesner (Mike Yesner's daughter) Donna Yesner (mike Yesner's wife) and John Jekot, Golf Main Park District Director.
It was a great pleasure for me to participate to our dear late club member Mike Yesner Golf Main District Gymnasium dedication ceremony. The presenter was Golf Main Park District Director and club member John Jekot.
Click on "Read More" to see the formal written dedication.
As you can tell by the above happy faces, everyone, including yours truly,  had a good time at our night out, by the new Moretti's Restaurant located at 6415 Dempster St. Morton Grove.
The restaurant was packed in and out, but we got a nice corner near the bar. By the time they started to bring our food, around 6:00, it kept on coming delicious, plenty and piping hot. We had Bruschetta, Fried Ravioli, Grilled Chicken Breast Tenders, and Hartichoke Dip with Pita Bread. 
Once again, our thanks go to Howard Meyer for putting this deal together.

Left to right:  Sam Eckerling,  Jason Wicha, Adina Matten,  Siva Albom, Masha Matten, Jennifer Albom, (Siva's mother), Al Anile.
Left to right: Club member Sam Eckerling, District Governor Nominee Lyle Staab - From ICJA Interact Club are: Adina Matten,  Siva Albom, Masha Matten, Jennifer Albom, (Siva's mother), 
Siva Albom, ICJA Interact Club President and Masha Matten, V.P. were guest speaker. Adina Matten will be vice-president and Bayli Alter, president next year. Rotarian Lyle Staab, District Governor Nominee Designate for Rotary Year 2020-2021, presented the above pictured 4 way test banner to ICJA Interact Club.

ICJA’s (Ida Crown Jewish Academy) Interact Club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley has 35 members. Over this year the club has done many different projects, one of which was candy grams,  little bags of candy a person can send to a friend with a note attached expressing gratitude. The money raised through this has been sent to a few different organizations. They donated $234 to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, $54 to Shalva,  an organization that supports victims of domestic violence, $32 to Red Doors Animal Shelter , and $36 to End Polio Now.  

The Interact Club has also organized and sponsored three activities at school as a club. Firstly, on Random Acts of Kindness Day, they put up a wall of sticky notes in the commons area for people to spread the kindness and gave out candy grams. Leading up to Random Acts of Kindness Day the club members found famous inspirational people, and created slideshows of those people’s quotes, which appeared on the walls and TV screens around school. Each day for a month there was a specific feature person. Secondly, on Earth Day, they sent out members to clean up the schools surrounding areas and retention pond. Lastly, the school hosted a Chesed (Acts of Kindness) day which Interact Club helped organize. Three of the senior from the club went with the the sophomores boys trip, which the club sponsored, and helped an organization, Stand Up for Kids, repair and organize their facility. This organization helps homeless teens by providing a meal and activities as well as any needed school help. The Interact Club also collected toiletries, summer clothes, and socks for this organization. 

 ICJA’s Interacts not only volunteered with Stand Up for Kids, but they held many volunteer events throughout the year. They brought brownies to the Skokie Police Station. They volunteered at Lieberman, a rehabilitation center for the elderly. They organized a pizza party with Libeynu, an organization that houses adults with disabilities. Two other Jewish schools joined Interact for this event. Lastly, Interact volunteered with Artists for Israel by creating healing art kits. These kits are used to help at risk children combat PTSD with art therapy. This was so special and important to the community our club was featured in the Chicago Jewish Home, a prominent local Jewish bi-weekly newspaper. 

Even though the founders of this club are seniors, they are leaving the club in good hands. Siva Albom, President, and Masha Matten, Vice President, will be giving over their positions to Bayli Alter, future President, and Adina Matten, Vice President .

Siva and Masha expressed how they would never be able to accomplish all of this without the help and support of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club. 

Pictured above is Guest Speaker Rich Henquinet, Employer Engagement Manager at JVS Chicago.
JVS Chicago connects employers to qualified job seekers in more ways than one. Through their customized matching of candidates with open positions, outplacement services and networking opportunities, they are able to identify the perfect candidate to grow their business success. 

Club member Howard Frank
Club member Howard Frank was the program speaker at our weekly meeting of May 8, 2018.
Howard presented to the club a slide show of live wild animals photographs he shot at a recent safari in Kenya Africa.
The pictured were unbelievably vivid, shot in all kinds of natural settings. Howard gave details of all the various animal species he captured in his camera/s, in a professional manner.
I was very impressed with the presentation, and so I believe were the rest of the club members.
New club member Laura McGrath, Deputy Director of the Skokie Library, and club president Jason Wicha.
Left to right: Jason Wicha, Albert Menard, Laura McGrath, Carolyn Anthony and Richard Kong.
New club member Laura McGrath was hired by Carolyn Anthony  in 1996, after attending college at Carleton College in Minnesota. She 3 children and lives in Wilmette.
Laura is a 4th Generation Rotarian, her father Professor Albert Menard was also in attendance.  He is currently a Rotarian at the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary  ( retired  Professor in the Science at Saginaw Valley State University)
As Deputy Director, Laura oversees the Access Services, Adult Services, Customer Services, Learning Experiences, and Youth Services departments and assists with the administration of the library. She loves working with the fabulous library staff and wonderful, supportive community. After hours, she serves as chauffeur and activity coordinator for her three children.
Left to right: Sponsor and club member Scott Gendall - Dr. Jasmine Bankhead, Director of Development - Pastor Chris Harris, Founder and CEO and club president Jason Wicha.
Guest speaker was Chris Harris, Pastor of Bright Star Church, on the Southside in the neighborhood of Bronzesville.
Pastor Harris says his outlook on Chicago violence changed when visiting Tel Aviv, Israel. He said that the Tel Aviv’s community treated violence from terrorism as a metal health issue, mostly for the victims and the people who live near areas of terrorism.
Violence impacts individuals and communities in a complex and dynamic way, affecting nearly all aspects of life, from physical and mental health to housing, propensity for substance abuse, educational attainment and employment. As such, no singularly focused program can hope to break the cycle of violence once embedded. Well-intended programs centered solely on law enforcement, substance abuse, education, job creation or community development are limited in what they can accomplish in isolation.
They started the TURN Center ..The Urban Renewal Network
Rotary Member program speaker Tim Gambacorta (left) Club President Jason Wicha (right)
At the Gambacorta Law Office, we provide sophisticated legal knowledge of Immigration lawyer Phoenix and an unprecedented attention to detail to each of our immigration cases. We zealously represent those from foreign countries who want to enter the United States or who are fighting to stay. Whether you have a visa issue or you’re combating nationality laws, we can help.

Founded in Arizona, Hawaii, and Illinois by attorney Timothy A. Gambacorta, our law office has a successful track record assisting clients with their immigration needs. We represent individuals, families, employers and foreign nationals, and are happy to arrange a consultation with you today.

As an experienced Immigration attorney, I have built my practice providing superior legal services in the area of Immigration & Nationality Law. My firm can assist individuals and businesses with their immigration needs.

Join us this coming Tuesday at Jameson's Charhouse Restaurant 9525 Skokie Blvd.  Skokie, IL 60076 - located next to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts and Doubletree Hotel - Phone: 847-673-9700
Luncheon features:
  • Salad: Mixed greens, cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes.  Accompanied by your choice of dressing; Balsamic, House, and Ranch
  • Entree: Macadamia  Crusted Tilapia
  • Dessert: Assortment of Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, and Ice Cream
Alternative Selections:
  • Hamburger or Cheeseburger with French Fries
  • Caesar Salad with Chicken
  • Pasta Primavera
Lunch is $18 for members, visitors and guests.
Meetings begin at 12:15 PM & end at 1:30 PM every Tuesday.
Prospective Members:
Prospective members are invited to attend their first two meetings at the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley free of charge. Advance reservations are not required.
Rob Paddor, Rotary Club Member and C.A.R.E. sponsor (left) Yvette Jordan-Granberry, C.A.R.E. Volunteer (middle) Barbara Carlson, C.A.R.E. Volunteer (right)
Since 1987, Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.) has been promoting adoptions and care for dogs and cats. The all-volunteer, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization serves all of the communities of Chicago’s North Shore, including Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, Niles, Morton Grove and the north side of the City of Chicago.
The Adoption Center is scheduled to open this year at 4927 Main Street in Skokie, so that C.A.R.E. can offer a combined adoption center and foster home model to better serve the needs of homeless animals as well as potential adopters and the community.
Today, C.A.R.E. is an independent foster home based organization and has an expanded mission to serve all of the communities of Chicago's North Shore, including Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, Niles, Morton Grove and the Northern parts of the City of Chicago.
  • adopts companion pets into safe, healthy, lifelong homes
  • serves as an educational and counseling resource for pet owners
  • works to reduce pet overpopulation
  • supports local food banks with pet food for owners in need
C.A.R.E., as a humane organization, believes that every adoptable pet deserves a safe and loving forever home. Our rehoming approach takes into consideration the needs and expectations of the community and adopters we serve, as much as the well-being of the animals. Special care is taken to match potential adopters with the right pets. C.A.R.E. continues its commitment by being an available resource after the pet is in its new home.
Because all animals live in the moment, we are committed to the continual improvement of their quality of life by using volunteer foster homes to meet medical, emotional, and physical needs on a daily basis by stressing training, socialization, and mental stimulation. C.A.R.E. is a “limited access, unlimited stay” organization. This means that adoptable animals remain with us until the right home is found.
Community Animal Rescue Effort is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with a mission to serve the communities of Chicago's North Shore by fostering and supporting healthy, positive relationships between people and companion animals. C.A.R.E. rehomes companion pets into safe, healthy, lifelong homes; serves as an educational and counseling resource; and works to reduce pet overpopulation.
From left to right: Jason Wicha, club president - Will Dorais, RYLA 2018 participant - Sean Nelson, RYLA Chairman - Andrew Bortey, RYLA 2018 participant - Sam Eckerling, club member, responsible for recruiting Dorais and Andrew.
Sean Nelson, Charman of RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) was the main speaker at the March 20th weekly luncheon meeting. He explained how RYLA works, and students RYLA Conference participant Will and Andrew (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley) spoke about their weekend training experience.

SEAN NELSON is the Volunteer RYLA Conference Chairman. Sean has been a Wheaton Noon Rotarian for 20 years and has been the conference Chair for the past 15 years. During that time, the conference has doubled in participation and is nearing capacity. 

Sean believes that the speakers at the conference are arguably the best that participants might ever have an opportunity to hear . . . at any price! Sean has been a Rotarian for almost 20 years and currently is the Executive Director for Illinois YMCA Youth and Government. Rotary Clubs sponsor 100% of the students selected to attend.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards - or RYLA - is a not-for-profit training program for leaders and potential leaders (Freshman- Senior). As a RYLA participant, sponsored students will attend an all-expense- paid, three day camp. 

The sponsoring Rotary clubs involved in organizing the event determine the specifics of each RYLA program. All programs emphasize leadership skills, personal development, and citizenship. RYLA goes to great lengths to make sure the three day weekend is fun and recreational as well as educational for all involved.

Guest Speaker Philip J Zaleski
Guest Speaker Philip Zaleski, Executive Director of Illinois Fire Safety Alliance gave the club assembly a demonstration of inner workings of his organization.
The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fire safety, burn prevention, and supporting burn survivors.
Through partnerships along with bringing together volunteers and supporters, the IFSA will accomplish its mission in an ethical, compassionate, and professional manner.
Boot Day for Burn Survivors Campaign
For more than 25 years, Boot Day for Burn Survivors has helped provide much needed support to those that have been effected by burn injuries.
As a result of Illinois fire service support, the IFSA has expanded upon its signature program, Camp "I Am Me," and has further developed new programs and events to assist burn survivors of all ages.
IFSA Day at the Illinois State Fair
Each year, nearly 40 volunteers join the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield to manage the Fire Service Tent and provide fire prevention education to fair-goers.
The tent allows kids and adults to climb on fire engines and wander through the “hazard house” while also receiving educational materials on fire safety through various stations and activities.
Camp "I Am Me" Fun Fair
The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance’s Camp “I Am Me” runs an activity each year that continues to be camper favorite - Fun Fair! Dozens of tents, games, and activities are set-up on the campground for everyone to enjoy. Carnival games, face and hair painting, dunk tanks, bounce houses, prizes, and much more make for one of the highlights of Illinois’ camp for young burn survivors.
For additional information click here
Weekly Program Speaker Jerry Berk
Rotary member Jerry Berk's guest speaker was not able to come to the meeting, so as a backup, Jerry spoke to the club about his uncle's story of Surviving the Dachau Concentration Camp and then immigrating to Chicago.
Guest Speaker Molly MacCready, MPH
Molly MacCready, Executive Director of CROSO spoke to the club about her non-for profit organization in Uganda.
CROSO is dedicated to making possible the transformation of Ugandan communities by providing post-secondary education scholarships to former street children in Uganda.
We believe providing our scholars with access to higher education gives them the tools to provide for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives. Our scholarship is unique in that our scholars can study at any post-secondary institution in Uganda (university, college or technical school) and can pursue a course that is specific to their skills, talents and dreams. Armed with the academic skills, career skills (learned through their internships) and a new professional network, our graduates have the ability to become leaders in their communities!
To learn more, click the links below:
Guest Speaker Jesse Greenberg (left) Club President Jason Whica (right)
Guest Speaker Jesse Greenberg, Public Affairs Manager at Kinder Morgan was the guest speaker at our 2/20/2018 weekly luncheon meeting.
Kinder Morgan is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America. We own an interest in or operate approximately 85,000 miles of pipelines and 152 terminals. Our pipelines transport natural gas, refined petroleum products, crude oil, carbon dioxide (CO2) and more. Our terminals store and handle petroleum products, chemicals and other products.
We are a market leader in each of our businesses – Natural Gas Pipelines, Products Pipelines, CO2, Terminals and Kinder Morgan Canada. We have an unparalleled, large footprint of diversified and strategically located assets that are core to North American energy infrastructure and help deliver needed energy products to high-demand markets. For example, Kinder Morgan is the:
  • Largest natural gas network with approximately 70,000 miles of natural gas pipelines. We are connected to every important U.S. natural gas resource play, including the Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Utica, Uinta, Haynesville, Fayetteville and Barnett. We move about 40 percent of the natural gas consumed in America.
  • Largest independent transporter of petroleum products, transporting about 2.1 million barrels of product per day. We move gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, crude, natural gas liquids and more.
  • Largest transporter of carbon dioxide (CO2), transporting about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day. Most of the CO2 is used in enhanced oil recovery projects in the Permian Basin of West Texas.
  • Largest independent terminal operator. Our liquids terminals store refined petroleum products, chemicals, ethanol and more, and have a capacity of 152 million barrels. Our dry bulk terminals store and handle such materials as coal, petroleum coke and steel, and we handle over 53 million tons per year. We also have a strong Jones Act shipping position with twelve vessels in service and four more to be delivered in 2017.
  • Only oilsands pipeline serving the West Coast. We currently transport 300,000 barrels per day to Vancouver/Washington State and our proposed expansion will increase that capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.
Our customers include major oil companies, energy producers and shippers, local distribution companies and businesses across many industries. In most of our businesses, we operate like a giant toll road and receive a fee for our services, generally avoiding commodity price risk. In our CO2 business, where exposure to commodity prices does exist, we employ a hedging strategy to partially mitigate that risk. For 2017, approximately 91 percent of our cash flows are fee-based and 97 percent of our cash flows are fee-based or hedged.
The revolutionary shale plays across the United States are creating a tremendous need for more energy infrastructure, which bodes well for us. We invest billions of dollars each year to grow the company by building new and expanding existing assets to help ensure that a variety of energy products get delivered into the marketplace.
Kinder Morgan strives for financial and operational excellence, and we are committed to being a good corporate citizen and conducting ourselves in an ethical and responsible manner. In addition to delivering value to our shareholders and meeting our customers' needs, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on integrity management and maintenance programs to operate our assets safely and to protect the public, our employees, contractors and the environment.
We pride ourselves on being a different kind of energy company. What makes us different? It starts at the top with Executive Chairman Rich Kinder, who earns a salary of $1 per year and does not receive a bonus, stock options or restricted stock grants. President and CEO Steve Kean also receives an annual salary of $1. We work hard to align managements’ and shareholders’ incentives by eliminating unnecessary expenses such as corporate aircraft, sports tickets and executive perks. In addition, we tie financial incentives for our employees directly to the performance of the company and their own personal performances.
Kinder Morgan has been conducting its business transparently long before it became a corporate buzz word. We are one of the only S&P 500 companies that publishes its annual budget on its web site, which enables investors and others to follow our progress throughout the year. We also post our operational performance on our website and continue to perform better than our industry peers relative to environmental, health and safety measures.
We do not have a Political Action Committee. Any political contributions made by executives or employees are made individually as private citizens with their own personal money.
Kinder Morgan has approximately 11,000 employees and is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America.
Guest Speaker Catherine A. Counard, M.D.
Catherine A. Counard, M.D. , M.P. H., Director of Health,  spoke to the club about the Skokie Health Didepartment
Skokie Health Department - Personal Health
The Health Department's Personal Health Division provides a variety of clinics and services to Skokie residents. The following clinics are available from the Personal Health Division. 
A current listing of the dates and times for all clinics offered by the Personal Health Division is available in the Community Calendar section of this web site.
If you have any questions or would like to register for one of the clinics, call the Personal Health Division of the Skokie Health Department at 847/933-8252.
Adult Services (clients must live or work in Skokie)
Adult Hearing Screening
This clinic is free of charge and appointments must be made in advance.  Clinics consist of an audiogram and results are provided. Referrals are made as needed.
Blood Pressure
Blood pressure screening clinics are available at no cost and without an appointment on the following dates and times: Tuesdays between 2 and 4 p.m., Thursdays between 9 a.m. and noon, and the first and third Wednesday evenings of the month between 5 and 7 p.m.  Clinics may also be scheduled for special events at schools, health fairs, churches, synagogues, worksites, etc.
Diabetes Screening
Offered by appointment only, this screening requires an eight-hour fast prior to taking the test. A simple finger stick is required to obtain the sample and the results will be available in less than a minute. There is a $5 fee for this service.
Hemoccult Testing
This $10 test screens for occult blood in the feces, which can be an indicator of possible colorectal cancer. Residents can stop by the Health Department to pick up a test kit. The testing is done in the privacy of your own home. Once the test is completed, the kit is returned to the Health Department for processing by the Personal Health Division staff. The results will be sent to you by mail. There is a $10 fee for this service.
Lipid Profile
This clinic is by appointment only and requires a 12 hour fast.  The Lipid Profile includes tests for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  The test requires blood from a simple finger stick and the results are available in less than ten minutes. The cost of this test is $15.
Stop Smoking Clinic
The Skokie Health Department offers stop smoking programs several times a year. There is no residency requirement for this program.  There is a fee for this service and registration is required prior to the first session.  For the dates of the next clinic and to reserve a space, contact the Health Department at 847/933-8252.
TB Skin Testing
The Personal Health Division provides testing for anyone who lives, works or attends school in Skokie. You must return to the Health Department 72 hours after receiving the test to have it read. Those who test positive will be referred to the proper agency for follow-up.  There is a $10 charge for this test and an appointment is required.
Child Services (clients must live or attend school in Skokie)
Childhood immunizations are available for a $5 clinic fee for children who live in Skokie or attend a Skokie school. A complete record of your child's previous vaccinations must be provided prior to finalizing an appointment.  Further information about immunizations can be obtained by calling the Health Department at 847/933-8252.
Lead Screening
This screening is by appointment only and there is a $25 charge. The charge is waived if the family meets income eligibility guidelines. A small amount of blood is obtained through a finger or heel stick and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are available in one week.
TB Skin Testing
The Personal Health Division provides testing for children who live or attends school in Skokie. You must return to the Health Department 72 hours after receiving the test to have it read. Those who test positive will be referred to the proper agency for follow-up. There is a $10 charge for this testing and an appointment is required
Adult Immunizations (Skokie residents only)
Immunizations are provided to Skokie 19 years of age and older residents for a fee.  An appointment is necessary and fees vary depending on the vaccination.  For more information on immunization costs or to schedule an appointment, contact the Skokie Health Department at 847/933-8252.
Tetanus Diphtheria and Pertussis
The Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis immunization is available to Skokie residents. There is a fee for this vaccination and an appointment is required.
Hepatitis B (series of three)
The Hepatitis B immunization is available to Skokie residents. This immunization comes in a series of three for which there is a fee PER SHOT. An appointment is required.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella
The Measles/Mumps/Rubella immunization is available to Skokie residents. There is a fee for this vaccination and an appointment is required.
The Zostavax immunization is available to Skokie residents over the age of 60. There is a fee for this vaccination and an appointment is required. The fee may be waived if the individual meets income eligibility guidelines.
The pneumonia immunization is available to Skokie residents over the age of 65. There is no charge for this vaccination and an appointment is required. If you have Medicare part B, it will be billed for this service.
Guest Speaker Eugene Griffin of the Skokie Community Foundation
Eugene Griffin spoke to the club about the Skokie Community Foundation.
The Skokie Community Fund was established in 2010 as a fund by a small group of Skokie residents to foster this ideal in Skokie through meaningful giving, collaboration, and community programming. In 2017 the Skokie Community Fund became the Skokie Community Foundation.
The Skokie Community Foundation (the Foundation) is committed to building this lasting community resource by:
  • Seeking out and partnering with donors and community builders who share our vision for Skokie
  • Creating awareness of the Foundation as a new community resource and a secure place to donate
  • Building the endowment of the Foundation for future opportunities
  • Constantly updating our knowledge of Skokie so that we can help create the change that Skokie wants.
Guest Speaker Foluke Akanni
Foluke Akanni, Field Organizer at Elevate Energy spoke about various energy efficiency incentives and programs that can help to reduce your energy consumption and bills.   Below are some of the programs that you can take a part of as a renter and homeowner.  Feel free to reach out to her if you have any questions or concerns.
Peoples Gas Free assessment and products  
Hourly Pricing ( Renters & Homeowners) 
Peak Time Savings  ( Program usually from June- September)  (Renters & Homeowners)
Energy Impact Illinois – energy efficiency homes ( assessment $99, or free with house parties)   Interested in signing up for a house party  or $99 assessement reach out to Foluke Akanni at 612-578-2293 or
Debbie Harris, Director of Adult Program (left) and Abbie Weinberg, CEO
Debbie Harris assisted by Rotarian Abbie Weinberg, did a presentation on KESHET.
Several core beliefs have guided Keshet’s mission since its inception:
  • Children and adults with disabilities do best within the embrace of their own community, so we integrate participants into the mainstream of life at every opportunity.
  • We can serve individuals with complicated needs, so we do not have specific criteria for program acceptance.
  • No participant should be turned away for inability to pay for services, so we strive tirelessly to collaborate with donors, foundations, and program partners to keep tuitions reasonable and scholarships available.
  • Our community partners and donors should share in the lives and successes of the individuals we serve, so we deeply involve those stakeholders in the life of the organization.
From its core programs for children and adults with intellectual challenges in the Chicago area, to its international consulting work, Keshet serves over 1,000 individuals with disabilities and touches the lives of many more family members, peers, supporters, and other stakeholders around the globe.
For the past 35 years, Keshet has integrated students, campers, residents, and employees with disabilities into over 70 sites in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest. Globally, Keshet has trained over 15,000 staff members, proving the tools necessary for successful inclusion.
Keshet’s local leadership, comprised of nearly 100 lay leaders from all walks of life, provide the inspiration, direction, and funding required to fulfill the organization’s mission: to do whatever is necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential.
Club President Jason Wicha and Guest Speaker Ronit Peikes from Turning Point. 
Ronit Gave the club valuable tips to reduce stress for the holiday season.
Club President Jason Wicha and Rotarian Shibu Peter from India, exchanging club banners.
Mr. Shibu Peter, a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Palai India, spoke for a few minutes about a project to prevent kidney failure, of which he is the chair.
Meet future Rotaris Aurelien (Arlo) James Lee born to fellow rotary member Kate Lee on the morning of 12-13-17. Both mom and baby are doing very well.
On behalf of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club Congratulations to the Lee Family!
Guest Speaker Tony Araque, Food Pantry Manager
Guest Speaker Tony Araque receiving a donation check for $239 from Club President Jason Wicha.
Tony Araque is the Niles Township Food Pantry Manager.  "First let me thank everyone who volunteers, donates food or gives monetarily" he said. "We greatly appreciate your generosity and all that you have done. Our motto here at the Niles Township Food Pantry is Serving Food with Dignity.  I hope we have accomplished that goal.  The Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation, a 501c3 Corporation, was created solely for the purchase of food and goods for our food pantry clients"
Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports the food purchases for the Niles Township Food Pantry. As a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization, donations to the Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation are tax deductible.
The Niles Township Food Pantry is operated for the benefit of township residents who are in need. It is our goal that no person goes hungry. The Niles Township pantry is located at 5255 Main, Skokie, IL behind the Administration building at the south end of the complex.
Currently, the Food Pantry provides food at no cost to about 4,000 low-income individuals per month who reside in the communities of Niles Township. All monetary donations are allocated to purchasing food to replenish the pantry shelves. For every dollar donated four (4) meals will be purchased.
Through partnerships with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Catholic Charities and contributions from area businesses, civic groups, and individuals to the Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation, the pantry is able to serve its clients.
Checks may be written payable to Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation and may be mailed to Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation, 5255 Main Street, Skokie, IL. 60077 or delivered to the township office.
For more information about the Niles Township Food Pantry please visit the Food Pantry website. (Click here)
Food Pantry Hours:
9:30-11:30 1:00-3:30
Tuesday has additional hours
9:30-11:30 1:00-3:30 4:15-7:00
Food Pantry Phone:
(847) 983-0073
Niles North High School Kitchen Staff - Cooks and Servers
Niles North High School Choir
Happy Rotarians and some of the school staff.
For many years the Skokie Valley Rotary Club has Been holding their Holiday Luncheon Meeting at the Niles North High School. In the far past the students and choir director used to come to our club, but a few years ago for the sake of convenience, it was unanimously decided that the club would go to the school.
Once again this year the student's choir entertained us with lovely holiday tunes, and the kitchen staff cooked and served a scrumptious lunch, topped with delicious home-made dessert.
Our Gratitude goes to:
  • Mike Swiatkiewicz, Niles North Applied Art Teacher & his Commercial Foods Workshop student chefs
  • North Choral Director Daniel Gregerman and his Chorale Singers
  • Dance Marathon Committee Members, Niles North Students: Rachael Mary Xavier, Maron Ambaye, Tahlia Altgold, Shiza Hyder, Itamar Steiner, Sammy Schwartz; 2017-18 "A Better Life for Kids" Charity,, A Better Life for Kids is a non-profit organization founded to provide opportunities and to invest in the futures of children in Ghana. 
  • Jim Edwards, Niles North Principal
  • Dr. Steven Isoye, D219 Superintendent
Left to right: Samiye Meehan, Assisten Governor. Jason Wicha, Club President. Donald Brewer, District Governor.
This past Tuesday December 28 was our District 6440 Governor Donald Brewer's annual official visit. Governor Brewer was accompanies by his wife Roseann Brewer and our DG (Assistant Governor) Tamiye Meehan. As customary the governor met with the Skokie Valley Rotary Club Board around 10:30 a.m. to discuss past year achievements and this coming year club goals.

Governor Brewer opened the meeting with a short speech outlining what it is that he wants to accomplish within the district, and he also brought the club up to date about Rotary International achievements and goals. Following that he complimented our Club on growing our membership and being creative in attracting new younger Rotarians.  He added that our Annual Pancake Breakfast was well known within the Skokie Valley area,  and said that it is important for Rotary clubs to have a well established identifiable event for the public to associate with Rotary's community involvement.

Following the board meeting Governor Brewer along with his wife Roseann and our AG Tamiye participated to our weekly luncheon meeting, where he adressed the club general assembly as well.

Guest Speaker Robert Beezat, Author
Robert spoke about the subject of one his books, Knowing and Loving The key to real happiness, and his latest book Character Based Management.
Robert Beezat has managed a broad range of organizations in business, government, and the not for profit sectors. He helped start and became the eventual owner of The PAR Group, a management consulting firm serving a national clientele. He served as the CAO in several municipalities and the CEO of a nonprofit organization. He continues to consult with local governments as part of GovHRUSA.
As a management consultant, he has worked with over 350 public, private, and not-for-profit organizations around the country. Part of his consulting work included conducting supervisory and management training workshops. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at several universities teaching business, human resources, and supervisory management courses.
He holds a Bachelor Degree from Loyola University in Chicago and a Master Degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is also the author of Knowing and Loving: The Keys to Real Happiness.
He is very active in working with and developing programs that benefit lower socio-economic segments of the population. He is the Founder and President of Lucy’s Children’s Fund, a not for profit foundation, which assists poor children at home and abroad. He has been successful in bringing together municipal, educational, and business resources in a municipality to address the diverse needs of a low-income, immigrant population. He has organized and led a number of community-based groups which have worked to resolve neighborhood problems and issues.
He is currently a volunteer for NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice and peace organization located in Washington, DC. He regularly speaks to students and faculty at colleges and universities about how to integrate the pursuit of social justice and peace issues with the pursuit of individual happiness.
I just received the below Club Activity Report from our sponsored Interact club president Carolyn (Siva) Albom.
"In the last month, the Interact Club has accomplished a lot. On a Sunday we went to Lieberman a Rehabilitation Center. We played bingo and socialize with the residents. We talked and connected with them. We bought prizes, and assisted people in playing bingo. It was an amazing chesed (volunteer) opportunity and chance to bond with the residents, and it was also extremely rewarding to be able to make these people’s days a little bit brighter.
Recently, we sold candy grams to raise money for three different organizations.
Our first organization that we choose was End Polio Now. We choose End Polio Now because we realize that Polio is underestimated in our community. Many children in our school believed that Polio is eradicated worldwide, but this is not true. We wanted to send our funds to help children who need a vaccine in order to survive and live a full life. We feel like helping those around the world is key to being a leader. We want to help Rotary reach their goal of eradicating Polio.
Our second organization was Red Door Animal Shelter, a no-kill animal shelter located on Chicago’s north side.We donated to Red Door Animal Shelter because we wanted to provide life saving medications to animals in need. We feel like it is important to help animals who do not have a voice. We are very appreciative to this no kill Animal Shelter for what it does for all of the animals it brings in. 
Our last organization was Shalva, a Chicago organization that provides aid for Jewish women who are victims of domestic violence and raises awareness about this important issue. We choose Shalva because it not only provides services that many seem to shy away from openly speaking on, it firstly provides hope and help to those suffering from domestic abuse. Providing safety, counseling, and support to victims and their families while also bringing education to the Chicago community on domestic violence, is something we as high schoolers believe should be proudly and openly supported. Education on how to handle these real issues is something we, as pursuers of higher personal integrity, want to be able to have and support as well.
These organizations were decided on by the board of the club, and were very important to all members. We are constantly planning new fundraisers and events. We want to volunteer at Lieberman again and organize an activity with Libeynu".
I think this club has been doing a fantastic job in promoting the name and purpose of Rotary International, and The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
Left to the right: Al Rigoni, Club Member. Barbara Meyer,Club Member. Guest Speaker Honorable Lauren Edidin, Associate Judge Circuit Court of Cook County. Jason Wicha, Club President.

Honorable Lauren Edidin, Associate Judge  Circuit Court of Cook County, works as Judge in the Mental Health Court.

Cook County's Mental Health Court sessions are packed — just like the judge's usual morning case call. But here there are no pleas or stern pronouncements from the bench, no sentencing or confrontational prosecutor versus defense lawyer, no objections over some sharp lawyer verbiage.

Mental Health Court is about helping people get the treatment they need — not only so they won't continue to commit crimes, but so they can lead healthier and happier lives, Edidin said. "What we're trying to do is stabilize these individuals — many of whom have become disenfranchised from friends and family," Edidin said. "And they're alone."
According to Cook County, the first two Mental Health Courts were established in 2004 at State Street and California Avenue in the city; since then, more such courts have formed in Skokie, Rolling Meadows and Maywood.
Many of those entering Mental Health Court have co-occurring alcohol or substance abuse disorders, according to the county. Instead of spending months or years in jail, county officials said, participants get a Mental Health Court probation sentence and undergo compulsory medical, psychiatric and substance abuse treatment.
Above is the happy crew that helped serve the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley sponsored soup kitchen, which takes place at A Just Harvest quarterly on the 5th Sunday of the month.
To day we helped serve 135 hungry patrons.  
Program Speaker Ryan Hayes, 
Ryan's subject today was The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI.
We are the local Chicago affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and known as NAMI Chicago. We are one of the largest, most active NAMI affiliates in the country, with fulltime and part-time staff, graduate level interns, and dedicated weekly volunteers. We offer referrals, education, and support through our Helpline, which can be reached at (312) 563-0445 Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm, in addition to our education courses and support groups
for families and individuals. Our services are free.
Our organization was formed in February of 1979 and was originally known as the Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI) of Chicago. In September of 1979, Chicago AMI members participated in the organizational meeting which chartered the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and we became an affiliate. Our services have changed with the needs of the community, and since 1995 NAMI Chicago has concentrated on providing information, referrals, support, education, advocacy, and hope. Learn more on our programs page.
The mission of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago is to provide hope and improve the quality of life for those whose lives are affected by mental illness.
NAMI Chicago maintains many important partnerships in the community. Through our education and programming, we work with mental health providers, providers of support services, schools, community based organizations, faith based organizations, law enforcement, the criminal court system, and many others. With these partnerships as the cornerstone of our work, we maintain a robust and up-to-date referral database.
For more information on NAMI Chicago, please see our programs page or view our annual reports below. To stay up to date with us, sign up for our emails.
We provide classes to individuals living with a mental illness, family members, and professionals. All of our recovery-focused and family education programs are offered free of charge. However, we gladly accept donations to help cover the cost of materials. Check our event calendar or call our office for more information!
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for law enforcement officers began in Memphis, Tennessee in the late 1980s after several incidents involving persons with mental illness and the law enforcement community. Numerous entities, including: law enforcement, mental health providers, and mental health advocacy organizations, came together to address the problem and jointly developed the Memphis Model of CIT training. Memphis continues to offer training in this model to law enforcement officers from around the country and this method has been adapted widely around the country.
Since the fall of 2004, NAMI Chicago has worked with the Chicago Police Department to assist in the implementation of the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for Chicago police officers. In addition to providing information on the signs and symptoms of mental illness, NAMI Chicago facilitates a panel of individuals living with mental illness who share their stories with officers, as well as a family panel highlighting the experience of having loved ones living with mental illness.
Our engagement with the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training has continued to evolve and now incorporates advocacy in other areas of the crisis response system. Through our participation on Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force (PAFT) in 2016, NAMI Chicago has become specifically involved with recommendations around de-escalation and working with the crisis response system to better understand individuals experiencing a mental health emergency. Additionally, we have supported training first responders as part of our effort to ensure a comprehensive crisis response system. More information on the needs of the crisis response system is available here. Learn how to access a CIT officer here.
Family to Family (F2F) is a 12-week course taught by two trained volunteer teachers who themselves have a family member with a mental illness. F2F is designed to help family members understand and support their loved one living with mental illness, while maintaining their own well-being. F2F is offered in English and Spanish.
Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): WRAP is a recovery education program for and taught by individuals living with a mental illness. WRAP has taken over our Pathways in Living class and is the newest program at NAMI Chicago; WRAP does not have a regular schedule.
Honest, Open, Proud (HOP) to erase the stigma of mental illness. HOP is designed to empower and support those living with mental illness to share their stories of recovery. The program assists with decision making, and teaches strategies for safe ways to talk about their lived experience. Authentic and honest conversations can reduce self- and public stigma, and improve overall health.
Community Outreach
Ending the Silence (ETS) is a 50-minute stigma reduction and early intervention presentation that engages high school students in discussion about mental health. Students learn signs and symptoms and indicators of mental illness, and are given ideas about how to help themselves, friends, or family members who may be in need of support. Additionally, a young adult living with mental illness shares their journey of recovery.
Compartiendo Esperanza(Sharing Hope) is a Spanish language 90-minute presentation designed to create awareness in the Latino community about mental illness. Presenters with lived experience share their story and give an overview of mental health conditions, treatment and recovery.
Bridges of Hope is a presentation designed to educate clergy and their congregation about mental illness. The goal is the build understanding, reduce stigma and strengthen safety nets within religious communities.
Professional Development
Training and outreach presentations are available to help reduce stigma, increase awareness, and assist with intervention and recovery. Trainings and presentations are perfect for agencies, community centers, schools, corporate settings and more. Presentations are available in English and Spanish. If we don’t have the answers, we’ll point you in the right direction. There is a nominal fee for professional development presentations. Please fill out our speaker request form and we’ll connect with you shortly.
Program Speaker Rosamin Bhanpuri (middle) Lisa Edelson (left) David Vish (back) Guest on the right, name not available.
The program Speaker for the October 17 meeting was Rosamin Bhanpuri, Niles Township High School Community Relations Executive Secretary. Rosamin spoke to the club about Coming Together.
Coming Together seeks to build knowledge of and appreciation for the diversity represented in Niles Township. In 2018, Coming Together will celebrate Muslim American CultureS, and the Muslim residents in Niles Township who represent a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. In a series of events and programs from late January to the end of March, Muslim contributions in the fields of science, literature, the arts, education and much more, will be featured.
Get involved
Is your cultural organization or group looking for ways to get involved in the community? Is cultural outreach and education important to you and your mission? Apply for your culture to be featured for next year's program.
Other opportunties
We're always interested in finding new community partners to plan and host events. There are many ways that your organization can be involved. Get in touch.
Explore our programs from previous years:
Club Member Neil King.
Neil King, as he did many times in the past, came to the rescue to fill in for our scheduled weekly guest speaker, who was not able to make it. 
Neil shared with the club a short history of Skokie (going back many years), events such as: When the village was founded and when its name was changed, many businesses and centers of attraction that are no longer around, and much more....
Who We Are
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad.
Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary members have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, we are always working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end.
Learn more about our structure and our foundation.
Our motto: Service Above Self
For more than 110 years, our guiding principles have been the foundation of our values: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership.
What we do
Rotary members believe that we have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. Our 35,000+ clubs work together to:
  • Promote peace
  • Fight disease
  • Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Save mothers and children
  • Support education
  • Grow local economies
Chicago-based artist Nick Fisher and Barbara Meyer, Member of the Skokie Public Arts Advisory Committee.
After graduating from The Florida State University in 2008, Fisher moved to Chicago in 2009 to continue his work as an artist. Fisher works in large scale murals as well as on a variety of smaller surfaces that include canvas, paper, wood, plastic, metal, brick, and glass. Based in Humboldt Park, most of Sick Fisher's work can be seen on California Ave as well as up and down Milwaukee Ave in Logan Square. Other neighborhoods with Fisher's public work are Rogers Park, Lakeview, Evanston, Downtown, and West Loop. In addition to his commercial endeavors, Fisher's true passion is upgrading neglected spaces such as abandoned storefronts and walls with site-specific murals or designs.
Below is the latest mural Nick painted on the 3,200 square-foot north wall of The Skokie Theatre in August 2017, sponsored by the Skokie Public Arts Advisory Committee, which took him nearly four weeks to complete. At the meeting today Nick and Barbara spoke mainly about this project.
The purpose of the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC) is to integrate a wide range of public art into the community that reflects the diversity of the Village, various artistic disciplines and points of view, as well as to:
  • Promote vitality and economic development throughout the community;
  • Develop a public collection of artwork which has strong aesthetic quality and a wide range of artistic styles and disciplines;
  • Encourage collaboration among artists, architects, engineers and property owners for the public display of art so that buildings, store facades, parks and open spaces are in aesthetic harmony with public art;
  • Provide opportunities for professional artists to sell or lease their art to the Village of Skokie;
  • Disperse public art throughout the community within an initial focus in Downtown Skokie.
Guest Speaker Len Becker
The guest speaker at the September 19 Skokie Valley Club Rotary meeting was Len Becker, Economic Development Manager at The Village of Skokie.
The Skokie Economic Development Commission is committed to the continued growth of industrial and commercial developments in the Village.  As a working Commission, it provides input from all aspects of the Skokie business community.  In an advisory capacity, this Commission made up of Skokie business members provides a sounding board, researching and analyzing issues affecting the quality of life in our Village.  It is a resource for elected officials and staff to explore new economic development ideas and changes to Village policies.  This Commission may consider and introduce new economic development ideas for consideration to elected officials and staff.
The primary duties of the EDC include:
  • Provide input on matters to facilitate sound economic growth and business development.
  • Examine opportunities for fostering an attractive economic climate within the Village with respect to both existing and potential new organizations.
  • Recommend additional steps and measures to promote economic growth by retaining businesses and attracting new commerce and industry.
  • Collaborate with Village elected officials and staff to realize appropriate goals and objectives relating to sound business policies, an increased tax base and increased employment opportunities.
  • Feature a business each meeting as part of its business retention program to educate the community about the business and to recognize the contribution the business has made to Skokie.
  • Interact with other commissions on matters of joint interest or initiatives.
Guest Speaker Julie Anne Nitz-Weiss, Director of Operation at Senders IT Consulting.
Julie Ann spoke to the club about several popular iPhone and Android Apps. At this meeting club members had a chance to speak about one of their favorite app, making the presentation much more interesting.
Julie Anne’s technology experience began in a data center and expanded to include mac computers, web design, and cloud based services. She is known for her professionalism, customer service, friendly behavior and can-do attitude. 

Julie Anne’s background includes a wealth of experience; administration, event planning, community relations, board development, project management, data base management,  and… even storytelling.  With her Masters in Information Science, she brings a high level of research to the Sanders IT Consulting Team. 

Work/life balance is important to the team and Julie Anne spends her off time indulging her love of growing plants. She is an active volunteer with The Global Garden Refugee Training Farm, a local farm in the heart of Albany Park. She has extensive hobbies which include gardening, cooking, dancing, folk fests, and hiking.
Pamela Perez, Director Youth Minister at St. John Brebeuf Parish, is receiving her grant from club President Jason Wicha. 
This is one of the several grants the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley gives out to local deserving non-profit charity organization every year.
Guest Speaker John Ohrlund, Club Member and Executive Director of the Skokie Park District (right) and Club President Jason Wicha.
John spoke to the club about the Skokie Park District. First he played of a slide show, then he went over the key points and ended with a  QA session.
The Skokie Park District takes pride in its ability to serve the more than 65,000 residents of Skokie, Illinois and its customers throughout Chicagoland. Whether protecting natural resources, preserving historical sites or providing thousands of unique recreational opportunities within its more than 240 acres of parkland, the district has offered a multitude of quality programs since 1928.
In addition to its diverse array of programs and special events, the Skokie Park District also offers summer camps, state-licensed full-day childcare and preschool, and before- and after-school care for grades K-5. The district is a past winner of the “National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.”
Park Resources
The district is committed to protecting its natural resources and preserving historical sites within its more than 240 acres of parkland. The district maintains 42 parks, including within them — ball diamonds, playgrounds, basketball, volleyball, pickleball, and tennis courts, a dog park, picnic areas, soccer fields, two golf facilities, parking lots, shelters and restrooms, and two butterfly gardens. The district also operates and maintains two ice rinks, two outdoor swimming pools, a community center, a cultural center for the arts, a leisure center (including a health club and gymnasium), an outdoor nature center with an interpretive center, the Skokie Heritage Museum, two childcare/preschool centers, a community theater venue, The Exploritorium (a children's indoor play and learning space), and an indoor rowing center.
Programs and Services
In addition to its thousands of unique programs in the areas of the arts, nature, sports and fitness, and specialized programs for tots through seniors, the Skokie Park District also offers more than 80 summer day camps, a nationally-accredited full-day childcare and preschool, and before- and after-school care for grades K-5.
The Park District also offers many seasonal community special events, including the award-winning Skokie Festival of Cultures, Skokie’s Backlot Bash music and street festival, Winter Chilly Fest, a July 4th 3-D Fireworks Festival, the Scream Scene haunted house, the World Wiffle®Ball Championship and many more.
The Skokie Park District is bordered by Evanston to the east, Chicago to the southeast and southwest, Lincolnwood to the south, Niles to the southwest, Morton Grove to the west, Glenview to the northwest, and Wilmette to the north. The district includes nearly all of the Village of Skokie, as well as small portions of Evanston, Morton Grove and Chicago.
The District has been recognized four times as an Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), most recently for the period of 2016-20. The district is also a past "Gold Medal Award" recipient of the prestigious National Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management presented by the NRPA and the Sports Foundation. This award identified the Skokie Park District as one of the nation's best in serving a population of 50,000-100,000 residents. 
Bloody Mary Makers Crew
Pancakes Chefs
Pancakes and Sausage links Dispensers Crew
Future Rotarians
Pancake Breakfast Customers
Thanks to the effort of Skokie Valley Rotary Club members and friends of Rotary volunteers,  our 2017 Pancake Breakfast Event went very well, (despite the weather not being 100% cooperative).  
Event organizer Al Rigoni could not be present, but he made sure that all the event's components were in place, and by delegating command to our very able club President Jason Wicha, the event was carried out beautifully.... Although it was kind of strange not seeing Al around.
This important fundraiser will benefit local charity non-profit service organizations, as it has it has done for the past several years.
Guest Speaker Kaitlin Lavelle, OTR Manager of Communications and Special Events (left) Assisted by Jody O'Connor, Gallery OTR Curator.
OTR (Over The Rainbow Association) is dedicated to increasing the quality of life for individuals with physical disabilities through the creation of affordable, accessible, barrier-free housing solutions and person-centered services that encourage independent living.
OTR residents cope with a wide variety of physical disabilities arising from either birth or circumstance.  Some have cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or multiple sclerosis, while others have had strokes or accidents, leaving them paralyzed or without limbs.  In all cases — they are extremely low income, and cannot find affordable, accessible housing.
Previously, some of their residents were homeless or from state-funded nursing homes or institutions. OTR’s housing solution is a very real and cost-effective option for everyone.
Above are: Guest Speaker Diane Juarez (center) Club member Richard Kong (left) and Club president Jason Wicha.
Diana Juarez is the Director of Niles Township Schools' ELL Parent Center located at 9440 N. Kenton Ave Niles, IL 60076.
The Center serves as a welcome resource for parents to support them in advocating for their children's academic achievement. Through survival-based programming, the Center offers English classes, access to community services, and uniquely designed workshops.  Programs are crafted to meet parent needs and encourage parental involvement and leadership in the community at large. Ultimately the Center strives to provide the skills and tools to understand and navigate the U.S. educational and health systems for the rich and diverse tapestry that is the backdrop for twenty schools (Niles North, Niles West, and their Pre-K-8 feeder schools) in Skokie, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, and Niles. 
Center Objectives:
1) Literacy - so that parents can effectively communicate
2) Access to Community Resources - so that parents can support raising healthy children
3) Parent Education - so that parents themselves can model life-long learning
Grant recipient Phyllis Nutkis, Assistant Director of Marketing at The ARK and Club President Jason Wicha
Pictured above from left to right are: Jaimie Lynch, Assistant to the President and Director of Women's Programs of Ride2Ricovery, Club President Jason Wicha, John Wordin, President of Ride2Recovery, Club Member and and Ride2Ricovery participant Rob Paddor and Jaime's sister.
The above non-for-profit organizations are Skokie Valley Rotary Club's 2017 Grants Recipients.
Above are pictures of our annual picnic and 2017-2018 Officers and Board Installation. 
Our picnic went really good this year. The weather cooperated fully, and attendance was great. Thanks to our club president Jason Wicha, who wished to have his installation at the picnic, we had very tender and tasty New York strip steaks, grilled with devotion by our chef Al Rigoni.
Our thanks and gratitudes goes to all who helped make our picnic a reality!
The Skokie Rotary Club Charity Pancake Breakfast will take place on Sunday August 27, 2017, at Skokie Backlot Bash on Oakton Street & Floral Avenue (Parking West of Library).
  • The time is: 8:00 a. m. oil 11:00 a. m. 
  • The Donation is: $6.00 per person
  • The Menu is: Golden Brown Pancakes (all you can eat) Sausage Links, Orange Juicee and Coffee will be served by members of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
All Proceeds from this event will benefit Skokie Valley Charities.
Guest Speaker Sam Fain.
Sam Fain is the Group Sales Manager at the Joffrey Ballet. He spoke to the club assembly about the Joffrey Ballet operation and purpose.
The Joffrey is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company and dance education organization committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertoire encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works. The Joffrey is committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through its Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs.The Joffrey is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company and dance education organization committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertoire encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works. The Joffrey is committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through its Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs.
Grant recipient Jennifer Long, Development Director of USO of Illinois (center), club president Jason Wicha (left and club member Rob Paddor (right).
Grant recipient Carla Frisch, Director of the Metropolitan Family Services (center), club president Jason Wicha (left and club member John Haben (right).
These grants come out of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley annual fund raising effort, and are to be used for the local community betterment.
Guest Speaker Club Member Heather Lantry
Heather spoke to the club about "Free Wheelchair Mission" and her upcoming trip in October.

Free Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities living in developing nations. In collaboration with a network of like-minded partners, FWM has provided over one million wheelchairs to those in need around the world since 2001, providing dignity, independence, and hope through the gift of mobility.

With an estimated 70 million people around the world today in need of a wheelchair without the means to get one, FWM endeavors to distribute over 100,000 chairs annually and continues to pursue our goal to distribute our second million wheelchairs by the end of 2025. Free Wheelchair Mission continues its focus and commitment on becoming a leading provider of mobility in developing nations, but beyond placing recipients in a chair, FWM is bringing transformation that opens doors to education, employment opportunities and community that these individuals only dreamed of before receiving the gift of mobility.


Guest Speaker Brian Paff.
Brian Paff is the director of marketing and communications at Erie Neighborhood House, a historic settlement house agency serving Chicago's immigrant community since 1870. He first began working at Erie House through a faith-based Americorps program after graduating from Calvin College in 2004. Brian lives in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood with his wife, Maria; their 11-month-old, Trevor; and a rescue dog named Qui-Gon (pronounced KWHY-gone).
Brian gave an overview of his programs and services as well as sharing stories from his community.
Above are new club member Jessica Jones Thorne (middle) club president Jason Wicha (left) and club member Al Rigoni. 
New club member Jessica Jones Thorne was sworn in as a club member by club president Jason Wicha, assisted by Jessica's sponsor Al Rigoni. Jessica also gave her Member Classification Talk. 
Jessica Jones Thorne is the Operations Manager for Willis Towers Watson’s Health System Consulting Practice. Based in Chicago, her role includes work across the areas of knowledge management, research, intellectual capital and governance. Previously, she worked in medical professional associations, providing governance and operational management support on strategic initiatives. Jessica holds an M.A. in political science with an emphasis in politics and the life sciences. She serves on the Board of Health and IPLAN Committee for the Village of Skokie.
Welcome Jessica!
Above is Deputy Chief Brian Baker (left) just been inducted by club president Jason Wicha.
Brian is the Deputy Chief of Field Operation at the Skokie Police Department.
Welcome Brian!

Above is a visiting Rotarian (left) from Spain exchanging club banner with club president Jason Wicha.
The visiting Rotarian (sorry about not taking his name) is a physician, member of the Sabadell Rotary Club in Barcelona Spain. He came to the United States with his wife and two children for a vacation. They are staying for a few days at the Mejia's, and the entire family came to the Skokie Valley Rotary Club weekly luncheon meeting as guests of Joaquin and Patricia.
Above is Officer Rich Wilken of the Skokie PD
Officer Rich Wilken from the Skokie Police Department gave a presentation to the club on workplace violence.  His presentation included tips on how to identify warning signs amongst employees and strategies to deal with potential violence before it occurs.  
Above are grant recipients, awarded by club president Jason Wicha (in order of photos:  Turning Point, Skokie, Concert Choir, and the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian).
These grants come out of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley annual fund raising effort, and are to be used for the local community betterment.
Above are left to right: outgoing club president Max Slankard, guest speaker Emily Mathee and dad Ross Mathee
Rotary Club member Ross Mathee with daughter Emily, where they explained her Doll's to hospitalized  boys and girls project.  Emily came close to death at nearby Children's Memorial Hospital some 5 years ago. Thanks to a successful procedure then, she is 100% ok now. Thanks to generous club members, Emily collected over $500 to go toward her project.
Club member Deputy Chief Brian Baker
Brian is a 23 year veteran of the Skokie Police Department and is currently assigned as Deputy Chief of Field Operations. 
Over his years with the Skokie Police Department Brian has served in numerous positions in Patrol, Special Operations and Investigations.  he has 21 years of service in tactical police operations with Skokie’s Tactical Intervention Unit and with the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System Emergency Services Team (NIPAS-EST).  Brian currently serves as Team Commander on NIPAS-EST. 
Brian is a retired Major and veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve where he served 23 years as an Intelligence Officer in Special Operations Forces.  He was mobilized right after 9-11 to the National Ground Intelligence Center and Joint Special Operations Command where he deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom working counter terrorism.  Brian is the Chairman of the Chicago Division of the FBI’s Terrorism Liaison Officer Committee and on the Executive Board for the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. 
Brian also serves as co-chair of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Hometown Security committee and the Anti-Defamation League Law Enforcement Advisory Committee.
Welcome to the club Brian!
Above are outgoing club president Max Slankard (left), new club member David Vish (middle) and member sponsor Al Rigoni. 
New Club Member Brian was sworn in by outgoing club president Max Slankard and pinned by his sponsor Al Rigoni. He also did his member classification talk. Brian is the Director of Marketing and Sales at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, and he is also an accomplished singer and musician.
Hayley Anderson from Lekotek
On June 20, Heyley Anderson spoke to the club about Lekotek, a division of Anixter Center.
The National Lekotek Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting play for children of all abilities. Lekotek believes play is the way kids learn, develop skills and reach milestones. The Lekotek mission is to make the world of play accessible to all children, especially those who have special needs.
Toys and play empower children to reach their potential and increase inclusion within their families and communities. Lekotek has a network of 17 affiliates across the United States dedicated to working with children by utilizing toys and play to grow, learn and thrive.
Lekotek has combined experience working with kids and families, child development expertise and knowledge of toys and play products to develop AblePlay—a national outreach to provide information and evaluations on the developmental potential of toys and play.
The above images are from tour 10th Taste of Skokie event, June 22, 2017.
The Taste of Skokie Valley is celebration of gourmet food, fabulous auction items, friendship, networking and community benefiting the causes of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley and the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This year the attendance both from the organizers, Rotary Club of Skokie Valley and Skokie Chamber of Commerce was even better than previous years.
The food was provided and served by local gourmet restaurants, and the venue was at the Skokie Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. The entertainment was provided by Rotary member Bob Paddor, as it has been for the past 10 years.

Above are Bob Samson and his wife Pam
It’s hard to believe that our fellow member Bob Samson is no longer with us. As most of you know (or should know) from past club communication, Bob died suddenly at his home last week on June 13, and his funeral was on the 16th.
It is sad that one has to die first before you really know who he/she really was. I was not able to go to Bob's wake on the 15th, so I decided to go to his funeral mass on the 16th. I arrived at Haben Funeral Home around 9:00 in the morning.  After paying my respect, I took a look around the room and was amazed to see so many pictures of Bob, hundreds of them.  I saw pictures of Bob when he was much younger and could not believe it was him! The photograph above really caught my eye, so I took a picture of it with my smartphone. 
After speaking with John Haben I learned that Bob's wish was to be cremated, so it was a very easy funeral procession, which consisted of walking across the street to St. Peter Church, celebrating the mass and walking back to the funeral home. The only other person from our club I saw there was Neil King, who is always fun talking to, so we sat together in the chapel for a while, and around 9:30 a. m. we all walked across the street to St. Peter Church.
Both Neil and I were very glad we did go to the church, because there we got to know who Bob was. First, the mass celebrant spoke about Bob, and although he did not know him, it was very nice to hear what he had to say. But when we really got to know about Bob was when one of his six brothers spoke about him; people were laughing and crying at the same time. Something we did not expect was when Bob's wife Pamela walked to the pulpit to talk about him. Honestly I have no idea how she was able to carry that trough, but she did, and at the end of her eulogy, I don't think there was a dry eye in the church.  It was really a moving experience.
As most of us know, Bob was a little rough around the edges, but what I learned after listening to his family, is that deep down he was a good man; always willing to give a helping hand to those who needed it. A good example of that is all the years he took care of the Just a Harvest Soup Kitchen, (sponsored by the Skokie Valley Rotary Club every three months) for so many years, of which I am very proud of having served at his side many times.
I think that in our own ways we will all miss our old friend Bob
Ann E. Tennes - Village of Skokie Director Marketing and Communications
On June 13, Ann Tennes, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Village of Skokie since 1998, spoke to the club about social media. She detailed how the Village of Skokie has utilized social media for Police Department and economic development outreach, and she showed examples of a number of posts on the Village's Shop Local Skokie and Police Department Facebook pages.
She provided a few tips for posting on Facebook, and also spoke about the importance of having a social media policy. Following are links to the Village of Skokie's Facebook pages:
Club member Barbara Meyer
Club member Neil King (left) and Club member David Hartley (Right)
Rotary Members Barbara Meyer, Attorney at Law and retired judge, and David Hartley, Attorney at Law, did their Classification Talk at our weekly meeting of June 6, 2017. A classification talk gives an opportunity to members to speak about their personal and business life, giving an opportunity to the rest of the members to now them better.
Neil King was supposed to do the weekly program but decided to postpone to a later date.
Above is Brian Pecirno - Niles North High School recent graduate.
The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley sponsored Brian to the 2017 RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) retreats.  RYLA  is a three day weekend program for exceptional high school students, coordinated by rotary clubs around the globe. The program is intended to build on and improve student's leadership skills. Brian gave the club an overview of his experience, which according to him, was a once-in-a-lifetime great opportunity for positive change. 
Join us this coming Tuesday at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center North Ring Road Skokie, IL 60076 
Luncheon features:
Fresh Garden Salad - Baked Cod with Rice and Lemon Butter Chefs Choice Dessert Family Style
Alternative Selections:
French Fries, Chicken Caesar Salad with parmesan cheese & garlic croutons, Pasta Primavera. Vegetarian Option Available Upon Request
Make sure you let the server know as soon as you come in. If you know you are going to be late, have a fellow Rotarian order for you.
Fun & Frolic:
Click Here to view schedule.
Program Speakers:
Click Here to view schedule
From left to right: Dan Cohan, JNF Chicago Board - Miriam May, Executive Director Friends of Arava Institute - Scott Gendell JNF Chicago and Club Member - Suleiman Halasah, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, PhD Candidate and member of Rotary eClub of World Peace D5330.
Suleiman Halasah assisted by Miriam May were the Guest Speakers at todays luncheon meeting. They spoke about the Arava Institute's Water Management in the Middle East, specifically in Israel, Palestine and Jordan area.
The Arava Institute is a leading environmental and academic institution in the Middle East, working to advance cross-border environmental cooperation in the face of political conflict.
The Center for Transboundary Water Management, directed by Dr. Clive Lipchin, provides a platform for regional water professionals and policy makers to cooperate in water conservation, desalination, wastewater treatment and education. The Center facilitates direct communication among regional water professionals in the three lower riparian states of the Jordan River and Dead Sea Basin (Israel, Palestine and Jordan). The open dialogue that is made possible by the center enables the flow of data and, most importantly, establishes long-lasting relationships built on trust and integrity between those who are responsible for the sustainable management of the region’s fragile water resources.
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
Kibbutz Ketura
D.N. Hevel Eilot 88840, Israel
TEL 972-8-6356618
FAX 972-8-6356634
Friends of the Arava Institute
1320 Centre Street, Suite 206
Newton Centre, MA 02459, USA
TEL 1-617-266-7100
Saturday afternoon at the Skokie Festival of Cultures was wet and cold, but lots of fun. The bad weather did not stop many people from coming over and enjoy the festivities.
Above are Raman Grover, Greg Franks and yours sincerely. 
Dr. Saryu Dixit
May 17, 2017
Born on August 8, 1937 in Kanpur, India, he last served as Professor Emeritus of Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Eldest son of late Bala Prasad (father) and Sharda Dixit (mother), he obtained his doctorate degree from Banaras Hindu University, India and spent his last 55 years in the United States, as a professional scientist uncovering the building blocks (collagen) that give shape to human teeth. He was also a true philanthropist touching thousands of human souls under the umbrella of Jyoti Children Development Foundation. As the founding president of this charity that educates special needs (hearing impaired) children in India Saryu saw the sufferings and offered a helping hand, which is now one of the largest and equally historic humanitarian (not-for-profit) undertakings of its kind in rural India (Bithoor, Kanpur). He also served as the President and Board Member of many social/voluntary organizations in the United States.
Saryu passed away peacefully on May 17th, 2017, at his home in Burr-Ridge, IL. He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Shanti; loving daughters Purnima Dixit and Arunima Shukla and their beloved husbands; grand kids, Rohan and Rishi (Purnima); Navika, Shivali, and Sajal (Arunima); beloved brothers Vishwanath, Ramesh, Suresh and their lovely wives. Dear nieces, nephews and their beloved children also cherish his loving and caring memories.
Guest speakers Erika Balce (left) and Amanda Durava (right)
Erika and Amanda are members of the "Life Teen" at St. John Brebeuf Parish located in Niles Illinois.  They are one of the beneficiaries of our club Annual Fund Allocation. Today they came to talk to the club assembly about their programs, and show us where the money we donated is being used.
Following are some of their activities:
LIFE TEEN MASS Monthly - Life Teen Mass is offered on Sundays at 6:00PM. The LIFE NIGHT follow every monthly LIFE TEEN MASS. They offer the opportunity for teens to go deeper in their faith! They go from the Table of the Eucharist to the table to enjoy each other! Food and Fun! Peer Mentors (High School Juniors and Seniors) give through witness talks, and lead interactive discussion. Learn more about your living as a real disciple of Christ.
OPEN ROOM Nights - Sunday night is OPEN ROOM night. In an informal, fun way, Teens join together for Fun and Fellowship! It's Teens interacting with Teens.
MUSIC MINISTRY - The Teen Choir Rehearsals are Sundays in the church music room 4:30 – 5:30pm. All Singers and Musicians are welcome.
Youth Ministry OUTINGS - To Sports Events (Chicago Wolves, Chicago Bandits, Kane County Cougars); Ski Outings to Alpine Valley, Six Flags Great America, movie nights, and more.
RETREATS - Teens have opportunities to be on retreat. They hold overnight Lenten retreats, overnight Movie Events, time for personal reflection, social interaction, team building, experiencing the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration.
SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES -  Ongoing support to St. John Brefeuf ministries, community support at Soup Kitchens, Nursing Homes, Animal Shelters, fundraising opportunities like Car Washes, Bake Sales, Jewelry Sales, and more.
Program Speaker Greg Frank
Club member Greg Frank did fun and frolic and right after gave the club assembly a refresher about the Rotary Foundation. Its amazing how seed money in the amount of $26.50 deposited in 1917 by its founder Arch Klumph, who was at the time RI President, grew to billions.

Above are Rotarians Spouses or Partners who received a "Service Award" on Friday April 28, 2017 at the the District 6440 annual conference held at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort in Lincolnshire Illinois. One of the, second from left, is Donna Yesner, wife of late club member Mike Yesner.
Above is the volunteer crew of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club's sponsored soup kitchen, held this past April 30, 2017.
From left to right are: Sam Eckerling, John Haben, Molly Haben, Barbara Meyer, Al Rigoni, Siva Albom (Ida Crown Jewish Academy Interact Rotary Club), Al Anile, Jessica (found us on the Rotary Facebook page) and Ralph Klein. 
As you can see, it was a beautiful volunteer turn out, and we all happily served 106 patrons roast chicken, mashed potatoes, pork & beans, garlic bread, salad, fresh bananas and oranges, milk, juice and cookies.
Our heartfelt Thank goes to all the volunteers!
Guest Speaker Carla Frisch, MA, LCSW.
Guest Speaker Carla Frisch is the Director of Metropolitan Family Services, with locations at 820 Davis Street, Suite 218 Evanston, IL 60201 and 5210 Main Street Skokie, IL 60077.
Carla spoke about the services Metropolitan Family Services provides, which are listed below:
Parenting Fundamentals gives parents tools to help their children live fulfilling, productive lives. This evidence-based course includes comprehensive support to empower parents to prevent child abuse, improve school performance, and strengthen their families.
Substance Abuse Prevention Program helps students at Lincoln JHS in Skokie develop positive commitments to their families, peers and communities to encourage healthy, drug-free lives. The goal is to increase prevention-related drug knowledge and resistance skills.
Adoption Prevention provides home-based intervention to families formed through adoption or subsidized guardianship.Counseling, crisis intervention and 24-hour on-call assistance. Grief/loss resolution, attachment, education and emotional issues.This DCFS-supported program also provides therapeutic respite services, psycho-educational and support groups, workshops, and help securing resources.
Adult Protective Services investigative reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors ages 60 and older and adults with disabilities. When abuse is substantiated, interventions are planned with the victims, families and others to reduce risk of further harm.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health promotes psychological social and emotional development through individual and family counseling and linkage with psychiatric services. Services help children and adolescents address problems that interfere with daily functioning and school performance.
Counseling Services are provided for all ages and build on individual and family strengths, desire and capacity for change while addressing emotional behavioral and life stress challenges.
Family Support and Prevention helps families develop the tools they need to effectively parent their children and enhance family functioning. The program focuses on families with multiple problems, helping them address core issues that impact child and family functioning. Services include counseling and case management. This home-based program is free of charge and is funded by the mental Health Board of the City of Evanston.
Club Member Neil King.
Neil King, as he did many times in the past, came to the rescue to fill in for our scheduled weekly guest speaker, who was not able to make it. 
Neil shared his experiences of a recent trip to the Emirates, where he and his wife had the, probably once in a lifetime pleasure, of visiting beautiful sights such as: glimmering buildings, extravagant hotels, a fantastic opera house, and much more... But what really got stuck in my mind was camel racing using robots as jockeys.
Our newest club member David L. Hartley, being nducted by Club President Max Slankard.
David is an attorney at the Keith B. Baker, LTD law firm. He may be contacted at 847-933-0200 or at
Welcome David!, And please, don't hesitate to ask questions about what Rotary is, and what it stands for; we are always eager to talk about club's activities and Rotary in general.
Guest speakers Sania Kanji (left) and Sumona Banarjee (right).
The guest speakers at the Skokie Valley Rotary Club weekly meeting of April 4, 2017 were Sania Kanji and Sumona Banarjee, students at school district 219. They shared their experiences from their recent visit to Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservation in North Dakota, where they spent several days with the natives to learn their way of life.
Club Member Howard Frank
At the Rotary club weekly meeting of October of March 28, 2017club member Howard Frank did his Member Classification Talk. Howard spoke about his experiences during the period him and his father operated their clothing store in the Southside of Chicago, when the cost of a pair of pants was $3.
Left to right: Sam Eckerling, Richard Rivkin, Masha Matten, Siva Elbom and Max Slankard.
The guest speakers at our weekly meeting of March 21, 2017 were Siva Albom and Masha Matten, president and secertary of the IDA Jewish Academy Interact Club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley. Today District 6440 Governor Richard Rivkin made the the IDA Jewish Academy Interact Club official by presenting a Certificate of Operation plaque and a gable.
The IDA Jewish Academy Interact Club project already completed are:
  • Cookies to the police station
  • Candy grams  
  • Random Acts of Kindness day
Future projects are:
  • planning to volunteer at the Ark this May 14th
  • Empowering Opportunities - paying for a child in Nepal to go to college for a year

Siva and Masha said that they are very excited at the many opportunities they have through Rotary too good in their community and around the world.

The IDA Jewish Academy Interact Club meets on Mondays 12:15 at 8233 Central Park AveSkokie, IL  60076.
Guest Speaker Rita M. George, RN, MS, IPEM
Rita George, Coordinator, EMS / Emergency Management at North Shore Skokie Hospital, was the guest speaker at the February 14, 2017 Skokie Valley Rotary Club weekly meeting.
Rita instructed the club assembly on things that should be done in the event of a disaster, as follows:
Knowing what to do to protect yourself and your household is essential
Immediately after an emergency, essential services may be cut off and local disaster relief and government responders may not be able to reach you right away. Knowing what to do to protect yourself and your household is essential.
Emergency Planning for People with Special Needs.
  • Find out about special assistance that may be available in your community. Contact your Office of Emergency Management or fire department so they are aware of your special needs.
  • Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure they know how to operate necessary medical equipment.
  • Discuss your needs with your employees.
  • If you are mobility impaired and live or work in a high-rise building, have an escape chair.
  • If you live in an apartment building, ask the management to mark accessible exits clearly. If needed, make arrangements to help you evacuate the building.
  • Keep an extra wheelchair, batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals, or other items you might need. Also, keep a list pf your medicines and type and model numbers of medical devices you need.
  • Those who are not disabled should learn who in their neighborhood or building is disable so that they may assist them during emergencies.
  • If you are a care-giver for a person with special needs, make sure you have a plan to communicate if an emergency occurs.
Listen to your radio and TV broadcasts to learn if you need to evacuate. Sirens, public address systems or telephone call may also be used to notify you. Government agencies, the American Red Cross, and other disaster relief organizations provide emergency shelter and supplies. May disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities. This is why you should prepare now.
Planning for Evacuations
  1. Learn local routes that may be used for evacuations and bring a road map.
  2. Plan where you would go if you had to leave the community.
  3. Plan a place to meet your household in case you are separated from one another in a disaster.
  4. Find out where children will be sent if schools are evacuated.
  5. Take your disaster supply kit with you.
  6. Keep the fuel tank of your car full.
  7. Have the tools and know how to shut off your home’s utilities.
What to do When You Are Told to Evacuate
Listen to battery-powered radio and follow local instructions. Take one car per household. Follow these steps:
  1. Take your disaster supply kit.
  2. Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provide some protection.
  3. Close and lock doors and windows. Take necessary action to prevent frozen water pipes.
  4. Turn off the main water valve and electricity if instructed to do so.
  5. Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  6. Follow recommended evacuation routes.
  7. Bring medicines or special medical supplies that you need.
Guest Speaker Magda Brown, Jewish Holocaust Survivor.
Magda Brown is from Miskole Hungary. In 1944, when she was 17 years old, she was deported on one of the final transports to Auschwitz-Birkenau with her entire family. Her parents died in gas chambers. Her brother was the only one to survive; he served in the Hungarian military's Jewish labor force and was captured and imprisoned by the Russians army.
In August of 1944, Magda was deported to Munchmuhle, Stadt Allendorf, Germany, where she worked in an ammunition factory that produced bombs and rockets. She was one of only 1,000 prisoners from Birkenau chosen for this job. In March 1945, she was sent on a death march from the factory for three days. She was eventually liberated in a nearby forest by the Sixth Armored Division of the US Army. In 1946, she came to America and settled in Chicago Illinois.
Magda recounted some of her dark (to say the least) stories that took place during her imprisonment.
Above is the volunteer crew of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club's sponsored soup kitchen of January 29, 2017. With us today were Carolyn (Siva) Elbom forefront and Masha Matten behind. Siva and Masha are the president and secretary of the Ida Crown Jewish Academy Interact Rotary Club, which the Skokie Valley Rotary Club proudly sponsored.
At this sitting about 105 patrons were devoutly served roast chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, garlic bread, salad, milk and juice, fruit cup and cookies.
The Skokie Valley Rotary Club Fellowship Night Out on January 31, 2017 was fun.
Around 20 club members and guests showed up at the El Fuego Mexican Restaurant 8018 Lincoln Ave in Skokie, to have fun and camaraderie with friends. The food was plenty and delicious. Our thanks go to Howard Meier for putting this event together.
Guest Speaker Susan Carlton, Manager Community Engagement of Skokie Public Library
Susan spoke about an ongoing project on how to engage kinder garden and student through 8th grade, with the Skokie Public Library in order to minimize summer slide.
Join us this coming Tuesday at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center North Ring Road Skokie, IL 60076 
Luncheon features:
Fresh Garden Salad - Cedar Whitefish with Mashed Potatoes and Veggie Chefs Choice Dessert Family Style
Alternative Selections:
French Fries, Chicken Caesar Salad with parmesan cheese & garlic croutons, Pasta Primavera. Vegetarian Option Available Upon Request
Make sure you let the server know as soon as you come in. If you know you are going to be late, have a fellow Rotarian order for you.
Fun & Frolic:
Click Here to view schedule.
Program Speakers:
Click Here to view schedule
Join us this coming Tuesday at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center North Ring Road Skokie, IL 60076
Left to right: Club member Rob Paddor, club member Kenny Davis and Club President Max Slankard.
Kenny Davis receiving a plaque by club president Max Slankard, assisted by Rob Paddor. This award is an appreciation for donating the dry cleaning services at Kenny the Kleaner / Chicago's Discount Dry Cleaner. Over 500 coats and jackets for children and adults were collected by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley Coat Drive Project, dry-cleaned by Kenny the Kleaner, and donated to needy families.
Guest Speaker Kathy Furgala.
Kathy Furgala is Captain at the Skokie Fire Station, where she's been working for the past eight years. Kathy stated with pride that she was the first female lieutenant. She spoke about the many activities going on at the Skokie Fire Station.
Following is a partial list of services the Skokie Fire Department provides within the Skokie community:
  • Life Safety Programs for Community Groups
  • Homeowners Associations Block Parties and Interaction with Citizens Throughout the Village
  • Health and Safety Fairs for Businesses
  • Assist Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts Complete and Acquire First Aid and Fire Safety Badges
  • Coordinate the Three State Mandated Drills with all Schools
  • Present Age Appropriate Fire Safety Programs Beginning in Pre-School with things like: Meet Fire Fighters, Show How to Call for Help (911), Stop Drop and Roll, Creating Exit Plans at Home, Station Tours, Fulfilling Engine and Truck Requests to Schools and Day Camps.
  • Fire and Life Safety Educational Programs for Seniors
And much more….
Left to right: Club member Rob Paddor, new club member Kenny Davis and Club President Max Slankard.
Kenny Davis being inducted as a new club member by club president Max Slankard assisted by sponsor Rob Paddor. Kenny received a round of applause as a new member and for donating the dry cleaning services at Kenny the Kleener / Chicago's Discount Dry Cleaner.   His Dempster Street location cleaned over 500 coats and jackets for children and adults that get donated to needy families. The warm clothes were collected during our November Annual Coat Drive.  
Niles North High School Kitchen Staff - Cooks and Servers
Niles North High School Choir
It has been a tradition for several years that the Skokie Valley Rotary Club holds their Holiday Luncheon Meeting at the Niles North High School, and this year was no no exception.
Once again the student's choir entertained us with joyous holiday tunes, and the kitchen staff cooked and served a delicious lunch, topped with two scrumptious home made desserts.
Our Gratitude goes to the Niles North High School for their great hospitality! 
Guest Speaker Mary Allen.
The guest speaker for our weekly meeting of November 22, 2016 was Mary Allen, from Solid Waste Agency of Norther Cook County. Mary spoke about the agency operation and gave many examples on how to minimize waste in every day life.
Below are several tips to minimize waste for the coming holidays and beyond.
Tips to Reduce Waste This Holiday Season
  • Use reusable dishes, glassware, silverware and napkins for entertaining rather than disposables ones
  • Fr formal affairs, consider buying clothing from consignment shops
  • Give leftovers to guests to take home, put in containers and freeze for another time, or compost
  • Turn heat down. Guests will warm up the room naturally
  • Postmasters report that up to 20% of all mail is incorrectly addressed or otherwise undeliverable.  Save time, money and resources by updating and paring down your list, and by sending e-mail wishes
  • Avoid cards with laminated, foil-stamped or metallic links – look for cards printed with soy-based ink
  • Avoid glitzy foil-lined envelopes – they cannot be recycled
  • Look for high post-consumer waste content for recycled paper cards (100% if possible)
  • Plan ahead. Making a list and checking it twice will save time, money and last-minute shopping frenzies
  • Give gifts of the “heart” – give your time or talents. Offer to baby-sit, wash the car, do house chores, run errands, make a “trash to treasure” gift from odds and ends, give baked goods, etc., or make a charitable donation in a loved one’s memory
  • Keep it simple – less can be more. Think carefully about what gifts friends and family really need and want
  • Start a savings account or give a savings bond for children. It is fun to watch the money grow and it teaches children the value of fiscal conservation
  • Shop for gifts at an antique store, estate sale or a flea market, since one person’s trash is another’s treasure
  • Give waste-less gifts such as tickets to concerts, museums, or sporting events, gift certificates or house plants
  • Give durable products that will last
  • Need a stocking stuffer? Give packets of seeds. Plant indoors and transplant to the garden in spring
  • Bring your own durable cloth shopping bag to the store with you and consolidate purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag for each purchase
  • Donate unwanted or unused gifts to charity or a shelter. Be sure to call your local charity or shelter to find out what donations are accepted
  • Make your own personalized, festive gift wrap using materials you already have around the house or classroom (shopping bags, scraps or fabric, buttons, stencils, paint, etc.)
  • Use the comics for kids, the Financial Section for your favorite banker, and old map for the traveler, etc.
  • Decorate packages with your own stamps. Draw a design on a potato, sponge or cork, then cut the material away from the outside of the design. Press the design into paint or an inkpad and stamp away
  • Make shiny ribbon by cutting strips of potato chip bag (inside of bag)
  • Make your own gift tag from old cards or decorative paper, use pinking shears for fancy
  •  edges
  • Reuse a container, bag or box that might have been thrown away to box a gift
  • Make paper heads from pieces of oddly shaped gift wrap and magazines.
  • Approximately fifty million Christmas trees are purchased each year in the United States. Consider a potted tree that can be planted in the yard, or an artificial one to be reused for years to come
  • The smaller bulbs on a light strand, the lower the wattage. Low-wattage bulbs consume less energy and give off less heat
  • Homemade ornaments: Make a nature ornament from a twig, bark, pine cones, etc., or drill a hole in fast food meal toys to create an ornament when a book is added, or laminate a special photo for the tree
  • Tie old buttons on to a length of strings to make old-fashioned looking garland
  • Make your own luminaries. Rinse out empty soup of coffee-type cans, remove the label and punch holes into the sides to make a snowflake design. Then place a candle in the bottom and light it
  • Save some fresh evergreen needles in the dish and set it in the your bathroom. Whenever the air needs a fresh scent stir up the needles
  • Use dried-out thee sprigs as kindling for cozy fire.
Program Speaker Robert Samson.
Our own club member Bob Samson presented an eye-opening program about Cuba. Bob recently visited this country, and was able to tell us about it first hand. Click Here for additional information.
Guest Speaker John Maloof.
John Maloof was the Guest Speaker at the Skokie Valley Rotary Weekly Meeting of October 25, 2016.  John is a artist and film maker, and his subject was Finding Vivian Meier.
John was born in Chicago Illinois, he developed a passion for art at a young age. John is a talented artist who works in different mediums. He is currently the chief curator of Vivian Maier's work and directed Finding Vivian Maier. This hit documentary tells the story of Vivian Maier, whose photographs that were uncovered earned her posthumous recognition as one of the best street photographers of the 20th Century. John Maloof operates a not-for-profit art studio in Skokie. 
Above is the volunteer crew of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club's sponsored soup kitchen of October 30, 2016. Left to right are Ross Mathee (coordinator), Chuck Dickson, Al Anile, Joe Roznai, Nick and Reed Mathee (sons of Ross), and the rest are volunteers brought in by Ross Mathee.
At this sitting 130 patrons were devoutly served roast chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, garlic bread, salad, milk and juice, fruit cup and a huge chocolate chip cookie.
Guest Speaker Linda Sue Baugh.
Guest Speaker at the Skokie Valley Rotary Weekly Meeting of October 18, 2016 was Linda Sue Baugh.  She wonderfully demonstrated the club assembly, with the aid of a slide-show, how she and a few other friends traveled around the world to find geological stone/mineral formations. She also had a book for sale, full of breath-taking pictures.
Below are questions people usually ask:
What made you want to document the world's oldest rock and mineral sites?

No one event inspired this work. Instead, the project had several sources. One source was the blizzard of global media and information that arose at the turn of the 21st century. This provoked the question: What was authentic experience in our lives anymore? Also, as more open land disappeared in the face of urban development, it seemed the idea of "nature" was becoming increasingly abstract.
We wondered what Earth might have been like before humanity arose. If we could travel to places that echoed that early time, devoid of human voices, what would we experience? It was then that we conceived of the project to journey to the world's oldest sites. The sites have been studied scientifically, but our goal was to see them as artists. We wanted to arrive with few preconceptions, simply to listen. We had no idea what was waiting for us, or that we would travel so far, or that eventually we would found a company based on our work. 
How do you know where the oldest sites are?

We talked with geologists, who gave us a list of the oldest sites that have been scientifically dated. The list included places in Western Australia, Canada, Greenland, South Africa, the United States, and Brazil. Other sites in Asia and Russia have also been identified. We started with the site of the oldest minerals on Earth, found at Mt. Narryer and Jack Hills in Western Australia.
Do you have a background in geology or photography?

At our photography show in Vevey, Switzerland, we were asked by one person, "Are you geologsts?" "No," we answered, "although we've had a life-long interest in stones and Earth history. And we've interviewed geologists for the project."  "Are you photographers then?"  "Not exactly," we said. "We let the places more or less dictate when and how to take the photographs." 
At this point, our questioner's face lit up in sudden understanding. "Ah, then you are artists!"
That moment affirmed our calling and our task. This journey has meant not only traveling to ancient places; it has meant blending two ways of knowing--scientific fact and artistic response--to convey the mystery of what we encountered. 
Guest Speaker Carol Wells.
Carol is the Rotary District 6440 EPN (End Polio Now) Chair. Her talk subject was about Polio Eradication Effort.
Carol, with the aid of a slide show, went over End Polio Now efforts that took, and are still taking place as we speak; with the final goal to eradicate polio completely from the face of the earth. She ended her presentation with the statement "We are almost there.... but not quite yet".
Below is a background timeline of this vitally important project.
  • 1952 -  Worst year of polio infection with 57,000 cases in the US (3,000 deaths)
  • 1979 - Smallpox is eradicated worldwide and Rotary starts an international project to buy and deliver Polio vaccine to 6 million in the Philippines (The seed of an idea is born)
  • 1985 – Rotary pledges 120 millions to eradicate Polio – Largest coordinated support of a Public Health Institute
  • 1988 – Rotary, WHO, UNICEF and the CDC launch the Global Polio Eradication Institute
  • 2003/2008 – First and Second spillover of poliovirus from Nigeria into surrounding countries
  • 2014 – India was declared as polio free
  • 2015 – Nigeria was declared polio free
  • 2016 – 3 cases of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) reported in Borno State of Northern Nigeria
Left to right: Club member Al Rigoni, new club member Richard Kong and Club President Max Slankard.
At this weekly luncheon meeting, Club President Max inducted Richard Kong as member of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club.
Richard is the Executive Director of the Skokie Library, and was sponsored into the club by non other than Al Rigoni.
Welcome Richard!
The Holiday Plant Sale, an important fund raiser of our club is here again. 
The order form can be downloaded from our website, or to make it easier yet, you may download it by CLICKING HERE
For additional information refer to the order form or call project chair John Ohrlund at (847) 929-7801.
Please keep in mind that the last day to order is December 9th.
Guest Speaker Allison Barton, Art Therapist.
Allison is a Clinical Professional Counselor, and works in private practice at Dr. Mark Parisi's office in Mount prospect Illinois. She spoke to the club about Art Therapy.
Basically she said that you are doing art therapy if you do all or most of the activities listed below.
  • Listen to music
  • Spend time outdoor
  • Exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week
  • Do mindful breathing from your diaphragm
  • Eat healthy food
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit caffeine, especially after lunch
  • Make time for enjoyable relaxation
  • Spend time with friends who are fun and supportive
  • Be creative
  • Keep organized
  • Tackle a task you’ve been avoiding
  • Explore new places
  • Spend time with pets
  • Pray, attend church or other spiritual activities
  • Accept and listen to your feelings
  • Express gratitude to yourself and others
  • Get enough sleep every night
  • Wake up at a consistent time everyday
  • Take medications as prescribed by your health practitioner
  • Get help for or take care of illnesses or injuries
  • Focus on something else when you are ruminating
  • Inspire yourself with poems, quotes or images
  • Wear comfortable clothes that make you feel good
  • Say no when you need to
  • Ask for help when you need to
  • Balance responsibilities and fun
Guest Speaker Janelle Silva, Director of the Farmers Market in Skokie.
Janelle gave the club an update on the Farmers Market in Skokie Illinois.
Skokie's famous, fabulous, fantastic Farmers' Market, celebrating more than a quarter century of operation, presents farmers and vendors from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Farmers' Market continues to proudly boast of this community-spirited event and the freshness of its vegetables, fruits, cheeses and flowers, often picked just hours before being made available to customers.
7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Sunday from June 12 through November 6, 2016 
5127 Oakton Street
Skokie, Illinois 60077
Phone: 847/673-0500
Fax: 847/933-8230
Dogs and pets are not permitted in the Market.  The Skokie Farmers' Market is a smoke-free outdoor market event.
Free parking in Village parking lots.
Above is guest speaker Abby Weissberg, CEO Executive Director of Kesket International Northbrook Illinois.
From its core programs for children and adults with intellectual challenges in the Chicago area, to its international consulting work, Keshet serves over 1,000 individuals with special needs and touches the lives of many more family members, peers, supporters, and other stakeholders around the globe. 
For the past 35 years, Keshet has integrated students, campers, residents, and employees with special needs into over 70 sites in the Chicago area and throughout the midwest. Globally, Keshet has trained over 15,000 staff members, proving the tools necessary for successful inclusion.
Keshet’s local leadership, comprised of nearly 100 lay leaders from all walks of life, provide the inspiration, direction, and funding required to fulfill the organization’s mission: to do whatever is necessary to allow individuals with special needs to achieve their potential.
individuals of all abilities should have the opportunity to learn, work, have fun, and live in a way that enables self respect and promotes self-esteem. individuals Keshet serves should be members of their own community, enjoying life along-side typically developing peers, in settings that ennoble their efforts and reward the community for their acceptance.
Several core beliefs have guided Keshet’s mission since its inception:
  • Children and adults with disabilities do best within the embrace of their own community, so we integrate participants into the mainstream of life at every opportunity.
  • We can serve individuals with complicated needs, so we do not have specific criteria for program acceptance.
  • No participant should be turned away for inability to pay for services, so we strive tirelessly to collaborate with donors, foundations, and program partners to keep tuitions reasonable and scholarships available.
  • Our community partners and donors should share in the lives and successes of the individuals we serve, so we deeply involve those stakeholders in the life of the organization.
KESKET is located at 600 Academy Dr. Suite 130 Northbrook Illinois 60063 - Phone: 847-205-1234
Above is Skokie Valley Rotary Club President Elect Jason Wicha faithfully practicing his role. Great job Jason!!!
Above are are guest speakers Suzanne M. Bear (left) and Barbara Saunders (right).
The guests speakers at our weekly meeting of September 13, 2016 were Suzanne M. Bear, Executive Director of MNARS and Barbara Saunders, Public Information Manager of MNASR.
The Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation is dedicated to improving the quality of life and, through advocacy and awareness, promoting a successful leisure lifestyle for individuals with disabilities.
Therapeutic recreation is a professional service which uses “recreation” as a treatment and education modality. This service helps people with disabilities exercise their right to a lifestyle that focuses on functional independence and well-being in clinical, residential and community settings.
MNASR serves members of the communities in the park districts of Des Plaines, Golf-Maine, Morton Grove, Niles, Park Ridge, Skokie and the Village of Lincolnwood.
Guest Speaker Adam Page, Director of Application Services Health Information Technology at North Shore Hospital, and Kristin Murtos, President of North Shore Hospital, and Skokie Valley Rotary Club Member.
Adam Page along with Kristin Murtos, did a presentation on the North Shore Hospital's Digital Health.
Adam and Kristin explained to the club assembly that Digital Health is the ability to engage patients as an integral member of their own care team working closely with their physicians and nurses to manage their health and wellness through a series of digital technologies, devices or apps. Digital health can mean tracking a patient's weight, activity levels or blood sugar levels, gathering heart data or information about dermatological conditions, making nutritional suggestions or even just sending out a reminder to apply sunscreen.
"In other words" Adam said, "in healthcare we are finding ways to deconstruct the patient-doctor encounter and re-imagine how care can be delivered in a patient-centric world. How can we take what other industries are doing and apply it to healthcare?
This catalyst behind changing how healthcare will be delivered is technology. Technology is key to engaging patients more proactively in their own healthcare.
Digital health, then, is a series of tools that can be leveraged by both patients and their doctors to help patients maintain their own health and manage chronic illnesses".
Pictured above are District 6440 Governor Richard Rivkin (left) and Club President Max Slankard.
One of the duties of the new district governor is to visit all the rotary club with the district, so today our district governor Richard Rivkin made his official visit to our club. His mail topic was "The Power of One", that is the power on club member through the mechanics of his or her club and Rotary International. He demonstrated this by siting successful rotarians stories with the aid of power point presentation.
Left to right: Club member Same Eckerling, new club member Heather Lantry and District Governor Richard Rivkin.
On this special meeting, District 6440 Governor Club Visit, our newest club member Heather Lantry was inducted by the Governor.
Heather is owner of Right at Home, home care and assistance, located in Skokie, serving Chicago and the north shore area. 
Right at Home provides support for seniors and disabled adults to remain safe and independent at home.
She also lives in Skokie with husband Derek and four children. Heather was sponsored by Sam Eckerling.
The Cooks
The Food Dispensers (The young lady is a local student volunteer)
Smiling Young Family getting ready to chow
Happy Crowd Having Fun
The Bartender (His he sleepwalking?)
Father and Son Working Side by Side
Buddies Bob and Chuck Just Enjoying the Day
As can be seen by the above pictures, our Annual Pancake Breakfast was more successful than ever. Most important, it brought joy to Rotarians and Patrons alike. This event has been organized by club member Al Rigoni with the help of the entire club for the past several years. Funds raised from this event are distributed locally every year.
As I'm sure everyone knows, Al Rigoni is the past manager of the Village of Skokie. Thank you Al!!!!!
A reminder that tomorrow, August 23rd our District Governor will make his "Official Visit". As a courtesy and respect to our club president,  you are urged to attend this meeting.
In addition, if you are a member of the board, you are required to show up at 10:30 a.m. for our special monthly board meeting.
Thank you for your support
Above are our guest speaker Skokie Police Office Tammy Jacobson and club president Max Slankard.
Officer Jacobson gave the club several tips on avoiding being mugged.
She concluded that individuals can send the Skokie Police Department anonymous tips about criminal activities in there ways: Via text messages, through a mobile app and on the web. Key features included anonymous two-ways interaction between the tipster and the Skokie Police Department and the ability to attach images to tips.
She emphasized that if the crime is in progress or there is an emergency to always call 911.
Dear Fellow Members,
The Pancake Breakfast is August 28 at 5127 Oakton St.  at the Skokie's Backlot Bash, under the beer tent. Breakfast begins promptly at 8:00 am till around 11:30 am.
The entire club is needed to man this event. Sign up sheets are provided at every weekly meeting, if you have not signed up yet, please do it soon!
If you are a dues paying member and have not received a letter from Al Rigoni with instructions and the tickets, please contact him at  or 847-514-3300.
Guest Speakers left to right: Mary Rose, Therapist at Metropolitan Family Service - Honorable Marguerite Quinn, Judge Circuit Court of Cook County 2nd Municipal District - Maureen N. Murphy, Village of Skokie Director of Human Services Division.
Almost two decades ago the Village Corporation Counsel, Barbara Meyer, came up with the idea of a special court call for Skokie youth experiencing their first interaction with the court system. The intent of the program was to hold young offenders who received local ordinance tickets for curfew violations, underage drinking, underage smoking, disorderly conduct, what are called status offenses, accountable for their actions. And so planning began for the Youth Ordinance Court which became operational in September of 1998. Annmarie Benuzzi has served as Program Coordinator from the beginning.  The original plan was to “sentence” these teens to community service. It was Annmarie Benuzzi who observed the complicated, chaotic home lives and attendant emotional challenges of these teens. She initiated program changes that now allow us to have, in the courtroom, clinical professionals who are able to do client intakes with these teens and sometimes their parents or guardians as well. The commitment of our community partners has been outstanding. But most outstanding has been the contributions of the professionals from Metropolitan Family Services who staff the courtroom at every court call and provide needed clinical interventions. 
Guest Speaker Kurt Gippert - Owner of Kurt Gippert Bookseller.

"Encountering Rare Books: A Lasting Impression" was the title of a short presentation given given to the club by Guest Speaker Kurt Gippert. Kurt was the guest of Joaquin Meija.

On display were signed copies of First edition works by John Le Carre (A Small Town in Germany), Cornelias Ryan (The Longest Day: June 6, 1944), Clarence Darrow's autobiography (The Story of My Life) signed and inscribed by him, a book from Darrow's library also signed by Darrow, The Ingoldsby Legends beautifully illustrated by Arthur Rackham, an 18th Century volume of a rare work by the poetess Ann Murry in an Edwards of Halifax binding with multiple watercolor paintings hidden under the gilt on the fore-edge, a 1693 map of the Great Lakes region by Coronelli, and an 1811 land grant signed by President James Madison and by James Monroe as Secretary of State.

During this presentation, Mr. Gippert illustrated how important printed material has been for over 500 years as the predominant technology for storing, sharing and preserving knowledge, ideas and information. While the digital format of much of today's current output is unrivaled in the cost of production and distribution, it is not necessarily the same experience of what a printed book offers.

Hearkening back to an earlier day, it was pointed out that everyone in the room began with a life rich with books, and that everyone seemed to have benefited from that exposure.

These items that may have had an important impact on our lives, and which used to occupy a place in one's home, are disappearing from homes on a grand scale.

Why? The digital age is upon us. The previous housing crisis crippled the American Dream, and as a consequence, younger generations are renting and living lean. The glowing screens attract us and flicker away with immeasurable access to just about anything.

But all that glimmers is not gold.

What has changed with the digital age is that the customary handing down of collections from generation to generation has diminished drastically. Just ask the Baby Boomer generation, who typically choose to disperse their collections rather than leave the task to what is generally found to be a disinterested next generation. 

The millennials are often not purchasing homes, and are frequently not interested in collecting antiques and such.

So this collision of a lot of objects being dislodged from collections and offered for sale has found a relatively unenthusiastic next generation. In the model of the past these younger folks would typically continue and evolve collections. Instead, there is a lot of material being dumped on the market without many buyers. What will happen is that much of it will simply disappear.

Why should you care? What can be done?

There is not going to be a successful Luddite movement to ban all electronic reading, nor should there be. Ebooks, Kindles, Googlebooks; these are all here to stay. What I implore you to consider is that books remain alongside these other tools. Books have been so meaningful to so many people for so many hundreds of years; surely we cannot abandon them now.

I think it is our responsibility to help build a better future. Are we laying the groundwork for building a literate, historically aware, erudite and sophisticated future?

As a bookseller, I take that task seriously and spend a lot of time and effort to introduce people to books and collecting. I'm not asking anyone to buy a book, but in addition to taking your grandchildren to the museum and the Apple Store, take them to a book or map exhibit at the Newberry Library. Visit an antiquarian or used bookstore while they still exist (Bookworks of 32 years announced their imminent closing on the day of the lecture). Attend free literary festivals such as Lit Fest in the Printer's Row district, or even bring them to events where specialists from Chicago and around the world bring wonderful rare items and display them for all to see.

A few events where I exhibit are the Chicago International Map Fair, which is held at the Chicago Cultural Center October 28-30. 40-50 dealers from all over the country and the world will bring important maps, globes, charts and objects. Also, the Winnetka Community House Antiques and Modernism Show November 3-6. Looking ahead to 2017, in celebration of International Rare Book and Copyright Day and as a fundraiser to UNESCO on April 23rd there is a pop-up bookfair. The pop-up fair was held at the Glessner House this year, complimentary food and drinks were provided, and admission is free. Then on June 10th there is the MWABA bookfair held at the Plumber's Union Hall. About 50 booksellers including dealers from New York and as far away as London exhibit interesting and sometimes amazing things. Free parking is widely available, and there are paper marbling and bookbinding demonstrations, and august book-collecting organizations such as the Caxton Club participate in this annual event.

I ask each of you consider your role in perpetuating the book in our culture, and make a lasting impression on someone by leading the way to them encountering books.

Kurt Gippert has a 4500 sq. ft. bookstore with free parking and is open by appointment. He has been selling books since 1990 and has 50,000 books, autographs, historic documents and items in his inventory. He is currently the president of the Midwest Chapter of the Antiquarian Bookseller's Association of America, is on the Board of the Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association, and is a member of The Caxton Club. He also organizes the Chicago pop-up bookfair, held internationally on April 23rd in celebration of Rare Book and Copyright Day in conjunction with 25 other simultaneous worldwide events, and is a member of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Contact Information:

Kurt Gippert Bookseller
1757 N. Kimball Ave.
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New club member Ken Borre (right) is being inducted by club president Max Slankard.
Ken is the Deputy Fire Chief of Skokie.
Welcome Ken, and please remember that the best way to learn about Skokie Valley Rotary Club and Rotary International in general is to ask questions and when you have the time to visit RI website at
Above is club member Joaquin Mejia with his wife Patricia and their son Paul, along with guest speaker Paul Gippert and two friends, father and daughter, visiting from mexico.
This is a very good example of Rotary Dedication. Bravo Joaquin!
Skokie Valley Club Rotary Members and guests having a lots of fun!
The 2016 Skokie Valley Rotary picnic went very well. Attendance was acceptable, the weather could not have been better, and the food and drinks were very delicious.
We were happy to have as our guest outgoing District 6440 Governor Rodney Adams, and amongst others, we were delighted to see Member Emeritus Rabbi Brief. As always, it is pleasant to see members' spouses and family members at special club's events.
Our gratitudes and many thanks to all who helped, in whatever form, make this fun event a reality!!!!
Our Entertainer at the Piano.
Incoming Club President Max Slankard giving a gift to outgoing Club President Michelle Tuft.
New Club President Max Slankard being installed by club member and past District 6440 Governor Mike Yesner.
Our newest club member Ralph Klein being sworn in by brand new club President Max Slankard. Ralph is a Trustee of the Village of Skokie. 
Welcome Ralph!
The Officers and Directors Installation Dinner at The Evanston Golf Club was a total success. The food was plenty and delicious, and the music entertainment, compliment of club member Rob Paddor, was delightful. All members and guest, about 30 in all, had a wonderful time.
Above are guest speaker L. Sue Baugh from Wild Stone Arts and incoming club President Max Slankard.
Wild Stone Arts™ began as an artistic project by Lynn Martinelli and L. Sue Baugh to document the world’s oldest rock and mineral sites. "We expected to bring back only photos and stories for a book" Sue said "but the power, clarity, and beauty of these sites radically changed the course of our work. We came to believe that the enduring power of Earth could help strengthen and support not only ourselves but other people during these times of profound change in the world".
Wild Stone Arts was formed with two goals in mind:
  1. To share with you the supportive, nurturing energy of the oldest rock and mineral sites through products, patterns, and prints designed by ancient Earth. Items we use everyday can enfold this energy into our lives.
  1. To join with you to protect and preserve Earth’s resources and ancient sites by creating new ways to live and work on our planet. Nature can teach us a great deal about how to build a company, a city, a country and make it life-sustaining.
Incoming Club President Max Slankard and Linda Davis from Oakton Community College.
Incoming Club President Max Slankard and (club member) Jennifer Sultz from Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center.
Incoming Club President Max Slankard and Mary E. Rose from Metropolitan Family Services.
Incoming Club President Max Slankard and (Outgoing Club President) Michelle Tuft from Skokie Park District.
The above representatives of their organizations, were presented grants checks from incoming club president Max Slangard. These organizations come from the four communities the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley services, namely: Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove and Niles. 
Skokie Valley Rotary has been making annual donations to these and other local non-for-profit organizations for the past several years.    

Club President Michelle Tuft (left) and Anni Braverman Shore Joseph Koenig, Sr. Training Center (right)

Club President Michelle Tuft (left), club member Al Rigoni (Middle) and David Limardi (right) - Sommer Foundation.
Club President Michelle Tuft (left), Jessica Dolan, USO of Illinois (middle) and club member Rob Paddor (right)
Club President Michelle Tuft and Michael Pauken from the North Shore Center For The Performing Arts In Skokie.
Club President Michelle Tuft and club member Rob Paddor, representing Ride to Recovery.
Club President Michelle Tuft (left) and Trisha Clare from the Skokie Concert Choir.
The above individuals, representing their respective non-for profit organizations, were presented grants checks from club president Michelle Tuft. These organizations, usually from Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove and Niles (towns serviced by the club), make their grants requests in writing to the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley, and if all requirements are met, they are approved.  
Donated funds are raised from annual events organized by Skokie Valley Rotary such as: Taste of Skokie Valley and Pancake Breakfast, and  personal donations from club members. Skokie Valley Rotary has been making annual donations to local charities for the past several years.    

Club President Michelle Tuft (left) and Pamela Perez from St. John Brebeuf (right)

Club President Michelle Tuft (left) and Kathy Lavin from National Lekotek Center (right)
Club President Michelle Tuft (left) and Stacey Greenfield from Golf Maine Park District (right)
The above individuals, representing the non-for profit organizations next to their names, were presented grants checks from club president Michelle Tuft. This is one of the ways The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley does good in the neighborhood, as it has been doing for the past several years,
Guest Speaker Nissan Chaikin (above), spoke about spoke about the Constitutional Rights Foundation
"Democracy must must be learned anew by each generation" Mr. Nissan said". Since 19744, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) has engaged students of different backgrounds, cultures, races, and socioeconomic status to help them think for themselves on important questions that affect their lives.
Through programs and classroom resources, CRFC provided elementary, middle, and high school students with essential skills and opportunities for democracy life. CRFC brings our Constitution to life and helps young people decide for themselves what it means to them and to American democracy".
The above images are from the Taste of Skokie Valley Taste which took place this past June 16.
The Taste of Skokie Valley is celebration of gourmet food, fabulous auction items, friendship, networking and community benefiting the causes of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley and the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This year the attendance both from the organizers, Rotary Club of Skokie Valley and Skokie Chamber of Commerce was better than ever.
The food was provided and served by local gourmet restaurants, the venue and in the past, was at the Skokie Theatre for the Arts, and the entertainment for provided for by Rotary mender Bob Paddor. All in all, it was a glorious event.
Guest Speaker Beth Keegan (above), spoke about her recent RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) experience.
This past April our club sent Beth Keegan (the daughter of club member Deb Keegan) to RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and according to Beth, it was an amazing experience. The three-day program was held at Edwards Camp in East Troy Wisconsin. The weekend included motivational and educational speakers from around the United States.
"The program greatly enhanced my leadership skills through lectures, hands-on activities and recreational activities and interactions with other student leaders from around the area" Beth said. "I met teens from various Illinois schools, and I was the only one attending from my school. The camp was so fantastic that I absolutely want to go back and experience it all over again. The amazing people I met, awesome leadership activities, inspiring speakers, the group skits, and the dance party, was all incredible.

RYLA taught me how we can work together to accomplish something amazing. I discovered things about myself and others in ways I never could have imagined.

The team building exercises were not only fun, but brought my group of strangers together. I learned so much about different types of leaders within a group and different ways to approach challenges while making sure everyone is involved and happy. Team building activities taught me to ask questions and think outside of the box.

Being in a group with strangers pushed me to interact with more participants and get to know almost everyone. The weekend I was there was one of the biggest groups they have had at the camp, over 300 teens, but I still got to know almost everyone. Many of my new RYLA friends have stayed connected with me through social media. My overall experience gave me the courage to be myself and taught me that with the right people and thoughts, I can achieve everything I set my mind to.

Another take away from RYLA is that leaders come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes the best way to lead is just to listen to someone else.

One thing I took out of the program was learning to be not only a leader, but a positive force in others' lives. I learned how just speaking to someone one time can make them feel good, and how being a role model for others can lead a whole group into positivity".

"Overall RYLA was a great experience for me!" Beth concluded.
Pictured above are Pakistan Refugee Mahmoud Syed (left) and Andrew Ullman of the Des Plained Rotary Club.
Andrew Ulman of the Des Plaines Rotary Club gave our club an update on their Refugee Project.  Mr. Mahmood Syed, his wife and 3 kids are refugees from Pakistan hosted by The Rotary Club of Des Plaines.
The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley crew pictured above, and many other Rotary members not shown, helped serve pop and water at the Skokie Festival of Culture. All funds raised from sales will benefit Skokie Park District Patrons.
The first Skokie Festival of Cultures was initiated and planned in 1990 by a newly-formed Skokie ethnic diversity committee, as well as the Skokie Human Relations Commission, Skokie Park District, Rotary Club of Skokie, Village of Skokie and the Skokie Public Library. 
The event, held at Skokie’s 19-acre Oakton Park, has grown over 25 years from 14 cultures with 1,000 attendees, to more than three dozen cultures and 30,000 visitors, annually. Over two days in May, visitors enjoy ethnic folk music and dance on two stages, arts and crafts, international children's games, food, a beer tasting, a merchandise bazaar, cultural booths, a mini train ride around the park, and the festival’s iconic flag display. The festival has been honored with both state and national art event programming awards. 
Mark Matz, President of the Morton Grove Chamber of Commerce
Mark Matz spoke to the club about the history and services provided by the Morton Grove Chamber of Commerce, of which he is currently the President.
Mark is currently managing the operations and marketing for the Morton Grove Chamber of Commerce. He started his professional career with WGN Radio on the Wally Phillips Show then moved Sports with Jack Brickhouse before becoming a manager in the Finance Department. After WGN, Mark handled marketing for the Media Financial Managing Association then later the Commercial Law League of America. As President of his own consulting company, Ritter Mark Associates, he has helped many companies to set and meet their marketing objectives in Chicago, IL and Boca Raton, FL; most recently for Big City Entertainment’s Fear City Chicago Haunted House in Morton Grove. Mark is also the President of the Morton grove Historical Society.
Above are Guest Speakers Gina Regan and Garrett Fenchel from The Rotary "Guatemala Literacy Project".
Gina is the Senior Development Coordinator and Garrett the Development Associate of Guatemala Literacy Project.
The Guatemala Literacy Project promotes lifelong reading and writing skills in Guatemala by providing badly-needed textbooks, reading materials, teachers training, and computers to impoverished schools. The goal is to ensure that no child in Guatemala grows up without the gift of both traditional and technological literacy.
Guatemala has one of the lowest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere. In some regions, more than one out of every three adults cannot read or write.  A Contributing factor to Guatemala’s literacy crisis is the near-absence of reading materials. Over 90% 0f the schools lack textbooks; many have no functioning computers. Guatemalan schoolchildren graduate without the skills needed to get good jobs and break the cycle of poverty.
The Guatemala Literacy Project matches international Rotary clubs with needy schools in Guatemala. These clubs raise funds to purchase textbooks, reading materials and/or computers.  – and have the opportunity to see these fund matched up to 3.5 to 1 by The Rotary Foundation on a Global Grant.  One hundred present of GLP donations goes directly to supporting the project. Zero percent goes to GLP administration or fundraising.
Skokie Library Director and Skokie Valley Rotary Club Member Carolyn Anthony.
Library director reflects on dramatic changes as retirement draws near
Chicago Tribune by Mike Isaacs
People who have known Skokie Public Library Director Carolyn Anthony for more than three decades also know that the library she will leave behind this summer has little resemblance to the one she inherited.
The library has expanded and been redesigned and reorganized; long-needed parking was finally acquired; resources and databases and materials for checkout were changed and re-prioritized; programming evolved and expanded substantially — and all of it accomplished not just to keep up with 21st Century needs, Anthony says, but to try to stay ahead of them.
The library's reputation has grown, too, as the library has earned handfuls of awards and recognitions beyond Skokie — at the state and even on the national level.
Anthony is scheduled to retire in mid-July after nearly 31 years at the helm. The Skokie Library Board is currently conducting a search for her successor, officials say.
"It's just the right time to enjoy other things," Anthony recently said from her window-encased third-floor office, a room that was not even built when she first arrived in September, 1985.
"I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity," she said. "It's not everybody who can do something where they feel their life's work has been so rewarding every day."
It's also not everybody who has seen the amount of change that Anthony has seen. She acknowledged that almost every facet of her work venue is different from when she first arrived.
The library's collection was primarily books and other print materials with the exception of about 20,000 vinyl record albums, she recalled.
"Over the years, we have seen a progression of new formats including audiocassettes, videocassettes, CD's, DVD's, CD ROM databases, online databases, Blu-rays, e-books and e-audiobooks," she recently wrote in the Skokie Public Library's newsletter. "Opening Internet services to the public in 1995 was a landmark. Library staff helped many Skokie agencies and businesses establish their first presence on the Web."
During her tenure, she said, the library has added 33,000 square feet and remodeled over 100,000 square feet of space.
Those improvements have come with replacing heating and air conditioning as well as lighting and adding a new environmentally friendly green roof. The long-awaited west parking lot was built in stages as houses became available for tear down to complete the project.
"It's hard to imagine now how we ever managed with only a parking lot shared with the village," she reflected.
Under Anthony, the library developed a series of strategic plans to help establish priorities and guide library growth. Those plans, she said, served as a blueprint for keeping up with changing technology and other advances.
In 2008, the library received a National Medal for Library Service that was awarded at the White House. The library's national honor included $10,000, and was overseen by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, in coordination with the White House.
A sampling of more recent recognitions include the Community Aware Award in 2012, and receipt of five stars (highest honor) from the Library Journal in 2013. Just recently, the American Library Association gave the library the Excellence in Library Programming Award for helping to lead Voices of Race, a months-long program that examined different aspects of race and race relations. It was part of 2015's Coming Together in Skokie and Niles Township.
Anthony was one of the five founding women of Coming Together, which examines a different culture every year. The library under her guidance has worked with other agencies in the community to offer such staple events as the Festival of Cultures, Wednesdays on the Green and Spring Greening to name a few.
In 2013-14, Anthony was elected president of the Public Library Association. She was also a president of the Illinois Library Association and was named Librarian of the Year in Illinois in 2003.
When she first came to Skokie, she said she had little idea she would be at the same job for so long.
"Who starts a job and thinks they're going to be there for 30 years?" she said. "Sometimes things just keep going."
She came to Skokie with her husband and two young daughters from a job in Baltimore's library system. At that time, she said, she had never stayed in one job for more than seven years.
But her husband found a job he liked, and she found one she loved. "There was something new here every day," Anthony said. "Nothing ever stayed the same."
One reason so much changed over her 30 years as director is because the community around the library changed, she said.
When she first took over as director, Anthony remembers there were five Fortune 500 companies in Skokie, which still maintained a huge Jewish presence in the community — so much so that the library did not offer programming on Friday nights, she recalled.
Those five companies are gone. And as Skokie became increasingly ethnically diverse and library needs changed, the library continued to re-evaluate itself and ask if it was doing all it could do to meet those needs, she said.
In 2014, the Skokie Public Library was recognized as a Top Innovator by the Urban Libraries Council after it had adopted a new strategic plan that pushed for more library interaction with the community.
"The ways people read, receive and find information continue to change significantly," Anthony said when that award was announced. "Changes in technology and community demographics have contributed to altered expectations of the library. We determined to meet people where they are, engaging them in learning experiences and helping them get materials and information to achieve their goals."
The response to this bold new direction not only earned the library award recognition but positive feedback with the people who matter most. In a recent national survey, which the village commissions every three years, 95 percent of respondents gave high marks to the Skokie Public Library.
"I've said to people, I think this is a great community because people really appreciate and use the library," Anthony said. "It makes it feel so rewarding. Whatever work you're doing, people take advantage of it here. They love their library."
A thrilling time for Rotarian,  Rob Paddor in Texas while participating in Ride 2 Recovery’s  Texas Challenge. Rob along with some Veterans and Ride 2 Recovery staff attended a George Bush 41 Foundation event. 
Ride 2 Recovery helps injured Veterans with specially equipped bicycles and recumbent adapted to accommodate their disability.    Cycling is an activity that can be enjoyed regardless of physical limitations.  Ride 2 Recovery’s goal is to speed-up the recovery and rehabilitation process of America’s healing heroes, our Veterans.
On June 12th, Rob’s dealership, Evanston Subaru in Skokie will host, Honor Ride Chicago to raise money for Ride 2 Recovery.  To learn more or register to ride, visit




Tuesday March 29 instead of our regular weekly meeting we will have our Monthly Fellowship Night Out.


The place is: 


Buffalo Wild Wings, located at 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center,  Unit D-150 in Skokie


Event Starts at 5:30 PM


The menu includes:


Boneless Chicken Wings with honey BBQ sauce

Potato Wedges

Chicken Wraps

Mini Corn Dogs

Chips and Salsa


Soft Drinks are included


No additional Cost (except alcohol), for lunch-prepaid member

For non-prepaid members and guests the cost at the door is $18.00 per person. (Alcohol not included)


Join us for an evening of good food and great company. Guests are welcome


Rotarians in Action. Left to right: Chuck Dickson, Al Anile, Dr. David McWhinnie, Bob Samson, Ross Mathee and Bill Paddor
The entire team. Left to right: Ross Mathee, Bill Paddor, Chuck Dickens, Lisa Paddor, Dr. McWhinnie, Bob Samson, Al Anile, Nick Mathee and Reed Mathee.
Skokie Major George Van Dusen was the guest speaker at our weekly meeting of November 3, 2015. The Major said that the Village of Skokie is in good shape, and than he spoke in length about the City of Chicago. He said that these days he sees similarities between Chicago and  Detroit Michigan, and unless drastic changes for the better are made, Chicago could eventually follow the faith of Detroit.
Our newest Rotary Member Jennifer Sultz, BA (above left),  was inducted on October 20. 2015 by Club President Michelle Tuft (above right). Jennifer is the Development Director at Turning Point in Skokie Illinois.
Welcome to The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley Jennifer! We hope that you will come to love this wonderful organization just as we all do. Please feel at home and know that you are amongst good friends. And most important, do ask questions about Rotary!
Above are some of the happy faces who made it to the fellowship night out at EJ's Place. Yours truly was there too, and can attest that the food and the venue were excellent. It's always fun getting together with club members and guests, and talk about all kinds of interesting topics, over good food and drinks. Fellow member Rob Paddor, once again brought along his piano player, so we also got a chance to listen to relaxing music. It would be nice if more member would participate to these events.
Guest Speaker Gary Peterson - Cook County Tax Appraisals
At the weekly Rotary meeting of 9/8/15, Mr. Gary Peterson, a Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, spoke about the residential and commercial real estate tax structure in Cook County, in comparisons with neighboring counties.
Above are mages from the Skokie valley Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast 2015.
Once again, thanks to event chair Al Rigoni, and all the other volunteers, this annual
fundraiser was a total success. This important fundraiser will benefit local charity
organizations as it has it has been doing for the past several years.
The above team of volunteers helped serve 147 patrons this past Sunday at A Just Harvest Soup Kitchen located at 7649 North Paulina Street Chicago.
There were only three Rotarians from the Skokie Valley Club (you know who they are). Fortunately Bob Sampson brought in six friends, Ross Mathee brought in his two sons and and a friend, and there were other four young volunteers from local churches.
Above are Short Term Rotary Exchange Students Sven Konig (left) and Jon Redmann (right) posing with club President Michelle Tuft.
Jon spent five weeks in Germany at Sven's home, and presently Sven is spending five weeks here at Jon's home. They both thanked Rotary and spoke briefly about their five week's respective experience.
Our 2015 Annual Picnic was a lot of fun. As last year, the club provided hot dogs, hamburgers and fried chicken with all the trimmings, including soft drinks and cookies.
It is always a pleasant experience to see club members with their families and friends get together and enjoy the terrific outdoors. As an added bonus, it was a real treat to see honorary members Rabbi Brief, Dr. Harry Melnick and Marilyn Appelson.
In addition we had the pleasure and honor to have District Governor Rodney Adams make his club visit, and talk to us about the wonderful things Rotary is doing in our neighborhoods and around the world.
Our Deepest Gratitude to Max Slankard and Michelle Tuft  for putting the picnic together, to Al Rigoni for grilling the hot dogs and hamburgers, Rob Paddor for providing the grill, and everyone else who helped in whatever ways they could.
Below are images from the picnic taken by Raman Grover:
At the weekly meeting of July 14, 2015 Deb Keegan, Head of Community Engagement at the Lincolnwood Public Library (Above right) was sworn in as a Rotary Member of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley, by Club President Michelle Tuft (Above left) - Deb's sponsor is Club Member Ross Mathee, pictured above.
Welcome Deb!!!! 
The officers installation dinner was a success! The food was delicious and the piano entertainment was lovely. The attendance count was a little over 30, rather low consider