Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Skokie Valley


We meet Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Jameson's Charhouse Restaurant
9525 Skokie Blvd.
SKOKIE, IL  60076
United States of America
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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
  • Entrée: The menu is rotated weekly with following entree  - Artichoke Chicken, Crusted Tilapia, Broiled Cod and Chicken Marsala. To find our today's entree call Jameson's Charhouse at 847-673-9700
  • Dessert: Assortment of Chocolate Chip Cookies or Brownies
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.
Fun & Frolic:
Click Here to view schedule.
Program Speakers:
Click Here to view schedule

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.

 Picnic Reminder

Date: July 31, 2018 

Time: 4:30 PM until 8:00 PM

Location: Harms Woods, Grove 5 Morton Grove Illinois

The picnic area can be accessed off Harms Rd, between Golf and Old Orchard. 

Food and soft drinks will be provided but members are encouraged to bring their own alcoholic beverages

Bring along your spouse or significant one

Prospective Members are always welcome!

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.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 583-7613

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 considering that we are a club of 50. Nonetheless, the club leadership is grateful for the members and their guests who were able to attend.
Below are a few images:
New club president Michelle Tuft presenting a gift to past president Ralph Czerwinski. Thank you for a job well done Chief Ralph!!!
Club members and guests enjoying the food , music and each other.
Lets not forget our piano entertainer (provided by Rob Paddor), who played an array of wonderful familiar tunes.
Left to right: Pamela Perez, Director of Youth Ministry at St.John Brebeuf Church - Jessica Dolan,Vice President of Development at USO of Illinois - Michael Pauken, General Manager at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts - Ann Fisher Raney, Chief Executive Officer at Turning Point - Ralph Czewiinski, Presindent of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
Above are images of the Taste of Skokie Event Organized in partnership with the Skokie Chamber, which took place on June 18 at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. Once again, this event was a total success and everyone had good time.
The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley share from this annual fund raiser will be used to fund local and International humanitarian projects.
Left to right: Peter Kunz from The Orchard Village, Mark Swatez from The Ark, Mary Rose from The Metropolitan Services, Carolyn Anthony,  Rotary Club Foundation Director, and Michelle Tuft, Rotary Club President-Elect.
Above from left to right are: Scott Lietzow (from the office of Congressman Bob Dold), Patriot Award recipient Rob Paddor, Incoming District 6440 Governor Rodney Adams and  Reverend Percy Johnson of the North Chicago Rotary Club.
­Children playing in Karachi, Pakistan, one of the few places where polio can still be found. Credit Image Nation Abu Dhabi/Zeitgeist Films
The documentary “Every Last Child” begins the way “Hill Street Blues” used to: A police commander says a few words to his men before they roll out into a hostile city. Their job is to protect polio teams going house to house in neighborhoods where Taliban assassins cruise on motorbikes.
It is their jihad, he tells them.
Everyone in “Every Last Child” is fighting a holy war — the vaccinators against the virus, the Taliban against the vaccinators, the police against the Taliban. Above them, outside the frame, is a dark tornado of greater forces: radical Islam versus those it considers Crusaders, the Central Intelligence Agency’s actions versus those of the World Health Organization, Western science versus Eastern faith. Every time it touches down in the slums of Karachi and Peshawar, it leaves behind new victims: dead vaccinators and paralyzed children.
If polio has disappeared from Africa — and on Aug. 11, it will be a full year since a case has been found on that continent — then the Pakistan-Afghanistan strain will be the world’s last.
The documentary, which opened in New York on Wednesday and will play five cities this month, surveys what appears to be the last battlefield in the fight to eliminate polio.
It conveys the splendor and terror in ways that print reportage never can: The jewelry strung across a mother’s hairline jangling as she argues against giving drops to her child. The oiled snap of a clip locked into an AK-47 by a nervous cop. The flow of filthy water past the lens of a camera submerged in an open sewer. The urgent sotto voce of a W.H.O. consultant whispering facts into the ear of a Pakistani politician just before he announces a fresh campaign round.
Still, the film struggles to explain the core of the crisis.
Why would anyone decline a gift with no strings attached — a gift that, rejected, could consign one’s own children to paralysis?
Even worse: Who would ruthlessly gun down women and girls — neighbors and clansmen, not strangers — who are the innocent bearers of that gift?
The film offers hints. In it, Zubair Rabi, a grocer, and his friends repeat the tired but still potent rumors: That the vaccine is really birth control aimed at Muslims. That the same American skunk works brewed up the virus that causes AIDS and shipped it to Africa.
The camera follows Mr. Rabi and his children to the beach. It is empathetic: He obviously loves them. No, he says, as they play fully clothed in the surf, they are not vaccinated, but they are healthy. He loves God, so God protects his bairns.
Left unexplained is why this blind rejection stays nailed solidly into a few tiny pockets of the Islamic world while the vast majority of Muslims accept the vaccine — along with others, and antibiotics, drugs for AIDS and hepatitis C, cancer chemotherapy and other Western formulations, all of them more toxic than polio drops.
The answer is complicated.
As polio has been driven back into its last redoubts, it has become more and more a disease of the aggrieved minority, of people so beaten down that they trust nothing offered by outsiders — and for whom almost everyone is an outsider.
That is not uncommon. In West Africa, Ebola first broke out among the rural Kissi people who live where Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea meet. They feel despised by the elites of the capital cities, descendants of freed slaves, and were so sure that the elites had sent Ebola that they attacked medical teams venturing in to help them.
For a decade, polio has been essentially a Muslim disease. The 2005 hajj season spread a Nigerian strain to Mecca and out from there. Most Muslim countries clamped down hard. Saudi Arabia, for example, vaccinates pilgrims on arrival.
Now the virus hits almost only Pakistanis and Afghans — and not all of them, but nearly only Pashtuns, the tribe originally from the mountainous border. And not even all Pashtuns, but mostly the Mehsuds and a few other conservative clans.
They are the people who fought the British at the Khyber Pass, the mujahedeen who fought the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the source of the Taliban.
Empires have overrun their villages and butchered them but have never subsumed their culture, or even pacified their clan fighters for long. They have or had kindred spirits around the world: in the Scottish highlands, in Appalachia, in Sicily, in the mountains of Vietnam and Myanmar.
This is not to romanticize them. The Taliban is to the Pashtuns roughly what the Cosa Nostra once was to Italian-Americans: a mix of criminal gang and self-defense group, religiously conservative and quick to violence.
(There is precedent for the attacks on vaccinators: During a 1916 polio outbreak in Brooklyn’s Pigtown neighborhood, the Black Hand, the Mafia’s forerunner, issued a warning to the city inspectors who were forcibly hospitalizing children and sealing homes: “If you report any more of our babies to the Board of Health, we will kill you.”)
Taliban warlords run opium and guns; in cities, they seize land and rent it to squatters. Like the Mafia, they have feuding factions.
In the film, however, Pashtun fearlessness is exemplified not by the Taliban but by Gulnaz Sherazi and her teenage nieces: Having lost a mother and sister to the Taliban killers, they replace them as vaccinators on the same streets.
The C.I.A.’s use of vaccinators to hunt Osama bin Laden was a disaster for the polio campaign, and military drone strikes, virtually all in Pashtun territory, have increased Pashtuns’ fear that the world and the Pakistani elite is against them. They have grievances: Urbane Pakistanis talk about them the way American snobs refer to “hillbillies” and “trailer trash.”
Now the Pakistan vaccination campaign — a disaster in early 2014, when the film was shot — is slowly turning around. Polio cases are dropping.
Some Pashtun complaints — like being offered nothing but polio vaccine — are being answered. The campaign now holds pop-up pediatric clinics where children receive checkups, vitamins, deworming drugs, antibiotics and several vaccines.
And crude violence is working, too. Last year, Pakistan’s Army invaded Waziristan, where vaccine resistance was strongest. They were re-establishing government control, not pushing the polio agenda, but vaccinators followed. Also, while on the road, the thousands fleeing the war are vaccinated at bus stops or in train stations.
Violence is part of the reason polio disappeared from Nigeria. Boko Haram, the Taliban equivalent there, sowed such terror by kidnapping girls and slaughtering villages that much of the population fled down roads and into refugee camps where vaccinators waited.
Polio has escaped before — to Syria, to Somalia and elsewhere — but its escapes are briefer and the number of children paralyzed fewer. The day of the last child appears to be getting closer.
Correction: June 8, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the date of the upcoming one-year anniversary of the last case of polio discovered in Africa. It is Aug. 11, not July 24.
This article is from NY Times
Left to right: Club President Ralph Czerwinski, Shore Community Representative Anni Braverman, Oakton VITA Representative Lou Dickson, Golf Maine Representative Stacey Greenfield, Sommer Foundation Representative and club member Al Rigoni and Skokie Valley Rotary Club Foundation Director Carolyn Anthony.
Robert Paddor (right) is proudly receiving his Paul Harris Fellow Plus 1 Award from Club President Ralph Czerwinski.
The above team of volunteers helped serve 109 patrons this past Sunday at A Just Harvest Soup Kitchen located at 7649 North Paulina Street Chicago.
Left to right:  Bob Sampson, Al Anile, Tom Haben, Nick Haben, John Haben and Pam Sampson. Sadly your e-bulletin editor did not get the name of the seventh volunteer on the far right.
Above are our newest club members William Leske (second from left), sponsored by Chuck Dickson (far left) and Barbara Meyer (third from left), sponsored by Al Anile (fourth from left), being installed as new members of The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley by Club President Ralph Czerwinski (far right). Barbara is a retired judge and Bill is a banker.
Above are from left to right: District 6440 Governor Ellen Young, Club President Ralph Czerwinski and End Polio Now District Chair and Club member Raman Grover. They are proudly presenting to the club assembly the "Rotary Flame".
The Rotary “Flame” was launched in December in Chennai, India, to commemorate India becoming polio-free and to promote the need to go the last mile in the battle to eradicate this horrible crippling disease. The torch has made its way through several countries already, and will pass through all three polio endemic countries  – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria – before arriving at the 2015 Rotary Convention in San Paulo 6-9 June. 
Above are left to right: Club President Ralph Czerwinski, Club Member Neil King and District 6440 Governor Ellen Young.
Club member Neil King is displaying a plaque presented by DG Ellen Young honoring the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley on the occasion of its 75th Anniversary. Neil King is one of the original members.
RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) Sean Nelson was the  program speaker at the weekly meeting of April 21, 2015.
Sean has been coordinating RYLA twice a year, one weekend in March and the other in April for the past 13 years, and still going strong!
Pictured above are Jenna Eckerling and John Redman,  RYLA participant at the April 2015 session,. Both were sponsored by The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.
Above is Jenna Eckerling talking to club members at the 4/21/15 luncheon meeting about her experience at the RYLA weekend session. 
Eileen Heineman, Racial Justice Program Director at the YMCA of Evanston/North Shore at the Skokie - Guest Speaker at the Skokie Valley Rotary Club weekly meeting of April 14, 2015
The above team of volunteers helped serve 138 patrons at A Just Harvest Soup Kitchen located at 7649 North Paulina Street Chicago. Left to right are: Rotarian Bob Sampson (Soup Kitchen Chair), Rotarian Ross Mathee, Nick Mathee (Ross's son), Nick's friend Reed and Al Anile.
The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley has been providing food and manpower at the A Just Harvest Soup Kitchen every three months (On the last Sunday of the month), for the past several years as a local humanitarian project.
Above is Program Speaker Neil King showing a banner from a Rotary club in Sri Lanka, where he was on vacation with his wife.  Neil spoke about this ancient country and it's rich history, and he also spoke about some very interesting Rotarians at the club he visited.
The program speaker at the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley weekly meeting of 2/17/2015 was Desmomd Clark, former Bears player.
Desmond spoke about motivation, by telling stories from his Bears training days, and relating those events to everyday's ordinary life situations.
The program speaker at the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley weekly meeting of 2/17/2015 was Mike Jacbson of the Skokie Library. His topic was "BOOMbox" for Interactive Learning and the Skokie Library Media Labs facilities in general.
Rotary member and past District Governor Mike Yesner was the  program speaker at our weekly meeting of January 27, 2015.
Mike's topic was "New Member Engagement". He showed the club a series of slides with  Rotary membership statistics, explaining that the key to keeping new members interested is to keep them engaged from the start. " It's essential" Mike said "that the club's leadership finds out the reason,or reasons why the new member joined the club by asking key questions. The moment the reason is known, the new member should be enabled to get involved in that area of interest, and keep him or her engaged".
Pictured above are Sam Eckerling  and Carolyn Anthony who were presented their Paul Harris Fellow Award by club president Ralph Czerwinski
Those of us who were able to make it at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts this past Friday evening, had a very good time enjoying good food and drinks in the company of fellow Rotarians, significant others and and friends, and afterwards watching the hilarious Capital Steps Show.
A big thank you to Howard Frank for putting this event together! 
Jennie Bever (pictured above) was our  program guest speaker at our weekly meeting of 1/13/2015.
Jennie's topic was Jump Start your New Year, and her basic message was: "Don't set up goals you can't keep because you will probably fail".
Above is new club member Scott Gendell (Center) sponsored by Al Rigoni (Right), being installed by club president Ralph Czerwinski.
Club member Sam Eckerling (Left) receiving his third Paul Harris Fellow  Designation from club president Ralph Czerwinski.
Rotary Members being entertained by the Niles West High School Student Choir.
The Niles West High School Student Choir Singing for the Skokie Valley Rotary Club Assembly.
Above are the Niles West High School  Cooks and Servers who came out after lunch to introduce themselves to  the Rotary Club.
John Jekot, Executive Director of the Golf Maine Park District (Center) was inducted on 11/18/2014 as a new club member by club President Ralph Czerwinski (Left). John's sponsor is club member and past District 6440 Governor Mike Yesner (Right). The Skokie Valley Club Assembly wishes John  the very best in the years to come.
Club Assembly was the main topic at our weekly meeting on November 11, 2014, which consisted of a general review  of our annual goals and club activities reports.
The Guest Speaker for our weekly luncheon meeting of October 28, 2014 was Josette Parisi. Her subject was The Malangas SDA School.
Josette showed us an interesting slide presentation about a non for profit school founded by her father many years ago back in her homeland, the Philippines,  for the purpose of educating needy children.
Above are images of the Rotary Centennial Playground in Jerusalem. This playground is a Skokie Valley Rotary Club International Project, completed in 2005 in cooperation with the Jerusalem Rotary Club. These pictures were take by club member Mike Yesner on his visit to Israel in the summer of 2013.
The Guest Speaker for our weekly luncheon meeting of October 21, 2014 was Yoga Teacher Julia Chang of Body & Brain located at 3421 Dempster Street Skokie Illinois. Her subject was Body and Brain Yoga.
Julia demonstrated a few yoga postures and explained that Body & Brain Yoga programs are scientifically designed to work every muscle, tendon, joint, organ and gland while moving fresh oxygenated blood throughout the whole body and brain. The classes are taught in a supportive atmosphere that provides individualized attention and encouragement. Their program is therapeutic and is designed to alleviate stress while creating peace of mind.
"By learning to become the master of your brain" she said "you become the master of your life"
For yoga classes call 847-410-7209.
The Skokie Valley Rotary Club Fellowship Night Out on September 30, 2014 was a total success!
Around forty club members and guests had a ball at the Village Pizzeria located at 8050 Lincoln Ave in Skokie. Restaurant owner and club member Randy Miles was around the entire time, making sure that all guests had a good time with plenty of food and drinks. The organizer for this event was Al Rigoni assisted by club president Ralph Czerwinski.
The guest speaker for our weekly meeting of September 23. 2014 was Kristen Murtos, President of Skokie Hospital, assisted by Mark Schroeder, Skokie Hospital Community Relations Director (Left) , and Rich Casey, Skokie Hospital UP, (Right) - The subject was The Status of Skokie Hospital Enhancements..

Raymond Hartstein, 1918-2014

Ray Hartstein
By Joan Giangrasse Kates
September 19, 2014
Raymond Hartstein, the founding chairman of Oakton Community College, spearheaded the development of the Skokie campus and was on hand with his family in 1995 when it was named the Raymond Hartstein Campus in his honor.
"I remember standing next to my dad at the ribbon-cutting and feeling so proud because I knew how hard he'd worked to get that campus built," said his son Elliott. "It wasn't that he donated a lot of money. What he gave was his blood, sweat and tears.
"Things aren't usually named after people until long after they're gone. I'm just glad he lived to see how much he was appreciated for all he had done."
Mr. Hartstein, 96, of Skokie, a former longtime executive with Brunswick Corp. and General Motors, died of natural causes Sunday, Sept. 7, at Brookdale Plaza, a senior-living facility in Vernon Hills. He served as a board member for 35 years at Oakton as well.
"He was the kind of leader always quick to acknowledge and praise the contributions of anyone affiliated with Oakton Community College and would send out countless 'thank you' notes thanking those that gave of their time, resources and energies," said Oakton President Margaret B. Lee, who first met Hartstein 30 years ago, when she began working at the college. "But the fact is, Ray is why we're here at all today. He was a teacher, mentor and an advocate. He was an agent for change when we needed it most."
The college first opened its doors in fall 1970 to 832 students. It consisted of four factory buildings at Nagle Avenue and Oakton Street in Morton Grove. It now has its main campus in Des Plaines and another in Skokie, which both opened in 1980.
"Ray was never a remote board member, but rather someone involved at every level," Lee said. "He was a thinker and doer. His dream was to make a quality public education.
The Guest Speaker at Skokie Valley Weekly Rotary Meeting of September 16, 2014 was Dan Parkak, Commissioner Cook County Board of Review. His subject was about the Cook County Real Estate Tax and Appeal Process.


Dr. Barry Bryant, Associate Professor of United Methodist and Wesleyan Studies, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary located at 2121 Sheridan Rd. Evanston, Illinois 60201 was the Guest Speaker at our luncheon weekly meeting of August 19, 2014. His subject was about Social Differences amongst Different Cultures.
In the short time allowed to speak (only 30 minutes), Dr. Bryant discussed the significance of cultural differences to the mission of Rotary International and to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he teaches. In my opinion, a very complex subject requiring much more time.
We share a common value "he said". Future population growth among the white population in the US means "white culture" will soon become a minority status in the US. This means  that  "white normativity" and "white  privilege" must be questioned and challenge. Because of this the importance of competency in dealing with people in cross-cultural situations, whether on the south side of Evanston or in Africa, is crucial to the mission of Rotary International. Cross-cultural competency consists of self-knowledge, empathy, the knowledge of other cultures, self-confidence, and the knowledge of one's own culture. 
Pictured above let to right are: Peter Kuntz, Rotary Member and Executive Director of The Orchard Village, Ralph Czerwinski, Club President, Theresa Kopitzke, Orchard Village Program Coordinator, and Marty Oliff, Orchard Village CEO.
Pictured above are Ralpha Czerwinski, Club President and Mary Laura Jones, Club Member and Fund Raising Director of Turning Point.
Pictured above are Guest Speaker Shelley Nizynki Reese and her Dad George Nizynski.
The Guest Speaker for our August 5, 2014 weekly meeting was Shelley Nizynki Reese, assisted by her Dad George Nizynski.
Past Club President Ross Mathee (on the left) receiving an award by current Club president Ralph Czerwinski for a job well done during his year as Club President.
The above pictures are from Skokie Valley Rotary Club Annual Picnic, which was a total success thanks to Mother Nature and the hard work of Club President Ralph Czerwinski, Michelle Tuft, grill Master Al Rigoni and all other helpers behind the scenes.
The food and drinks were delicious and the company was great. We were happy to see members we have not seen for a long time such as: Dr. Harry Melnick and his wife Hope and Rabbi Neil Brief and his wife Erica. Thanks to all who contributed in whatever way or form they could such as drinks and food sharing etc.....
Stacy Greenfield of the Golf Maine Park District (Left), and Club President Ralph Czerwinski (Right)
Club Member Linda Cordero, representing The Douglas Center (Left), and Club President Ralph Czerwinski (Right)
Club Member Al Rigoni, representing The Sommer Foundation (Left),  and Club President Ralph Czerwinski (Right)
The above representatives of The Golf Maine Park District, The Douglas Center and The Sommer, all non for profit organizations in the Skokie Area, were presented generous grant checks from Ralph Czerwinski, President of The Rotary Club of Skokie Valley.  All were allowed a few minutes time to explain to the club members how the funds will be used to benefit the community.
Left to right, Michelle Tuft (Skokie Valley Rotary Club) , Mary Rose and Raquel McCormick (Metropolitan Family Services)
Left to right, Michelle Tuft (Skokie Valley Rotary Club) , Lisa Fisher and Linda Davis (VITA Volunteers Interactive Adults)
Left to right, Michelle Tuft (Skokie Valley Rotary Club)  Marcia Tobias (The ARK)
On the left is Rob Paddor (USO of Illinois and Ride to Recovery - On the right is Left is Michelle Tuft (Skokie Valley Rotary Club) 
The Club Annual Picnic will be on Tuesday July 29 around 5:00 or so at  the Blue Star Memorial Woods, Grove #2. (Usual location) The picnic will take the place of our weekly meeting. More information to follow.
Please mark your calendar
Skokie Fire Chief Ralph E. Czerwinski (right) being installed as the 2014-2015  Skokie Valley Rotary Club President by Past Rotary 6440 District Governor Mike Yesner.
Newly installed Club President Ralph Czerwinski (right) presenting the Past President Plaque to outgoing Club President Ross Mathee .
2015 Skokie Valley Rotary Club President Ralph Czerwinski speaking to the club assembly about his Rotary Year goals and expectations.
Meet the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley Soup Kitchen of June 29, 2014.
From left to right, Howard Frank, Team Leader Bob Sampson, Dr. David McWhinnie, Donna Yesner, Al Anile, Ross Mathee with his son and friend and Mike Yesner.
Over 140 patrons were served!
The Taste of Skokie Valley organized by by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley and The Skokie Chamber of Commerce, took place this past Thursday evening (6/12/2014) at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts.  
This is Skokie Valley Rotary Club's major annual fund raiser event chaired by  Ralph Czerwinski, Fire Chief of the Village of Skokie and incoming club president, and Howard Meyer, Director of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Skokie Valley Rotary member. Volunteers for this important event were members of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club and Skokie Chambers of Commerce.  
The music entertainment was provided by  Michael Lerich Productions. The food was donated and served by several Skokie community major restaurants and the event was hosted by North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.
Funds raised from this event will be used to benefit the Skokie Valley community.
Many thanks to all who participated in making this a very successful event!
The following pictures were taken by club photographer Jordan Glassner.
Ron Abraytis, known as Ron the Fun Guy, was the guest speaker at the Skokie Valley Club weekly Rotary meeting of June 3, 2014.
Mr. Abraytis has applied his talents to sooth and calm young children in various traumatic states.  His services are been used at the Children's Memorial Hospital, Foster Care Facilities, Spinal Bifida Association and Maryville Reception Center for Foster Care.
Scott Holtz was the Guest Speaker at the May 20th Skokie valley Rotary Club Weekly Luncheon Meeting.
Scott spoke about the Skokie planned events for this summer outlined as follows:
Beginning June 4th and ending August 20th, Wednesday on the Green at 7:00 p.m.
For events details visit
  • June 6, 7 and 8 - Rediscover Downtown Skokie, providing free friendly activities and entertainment for everyone.
  • June 15 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. – Skokie Farmers Market, continuing every Sunday through the summer at 5155 Oakton Street, Skokie
  • July 4 at 12 Noon _ Skokie Fourth of July parade followed by more celebration at 5:00 p.m. and fireworks at dusk
  • July 12 and 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Skokie Art Guild’s 53rd Annual Art Fair
  • August 1 at 7:00 p.m. – Skokie First Friday, continuing every Friday though the summer with events in Downtown Skokie
  • August 22, 23 and 24 – Skokie backlot Bash, visit for more details
Guest Speaker at the May 13, 2014 weekly Rotary meeting was Fey Bayona, of Reliv International.
Fey said that her company has developed nutritional products from soy, aimed at keeping children happy and healthy. Currently Reliv International is providing nutritional supplements to over 40,000 children worldwide on a daily basis.
Rotary Club of Skokie Valley Program Speaker for the weekly meeting of May 6, 2014 was our own member Greg Franks.  He showed the club assembly video clips on Rotary International World-Wide Programs.  South Africa, family health HIV/Aids counseling; Guatemala, water projects and computer education; Seattle USA, food banks reducing food waste to provide produce for the needy and West Africa, Polio Eradication.
Guest Speaker Wayne Mell, Managing Director of the Skokie Theatre located at 7924 Lincoln Ave. in Skokie, Gave the club an update on the theatre renovations and calendar of coming events such as: Films,  documentaries and live performances by various acting groups including adults and children productions, as well as musical performances by individuals and famous bands.
On Sunday 3/30/2014 the Skokie Valley Rotary Club Soup Kitchen Squad pictured above, left to right: Terry and Gerry Gangloff, Bob Samson, Jordan Glassner and Al Anile, served over 140 needy people.
A Message From District 6440 Governor Sarah Oliver
With great pleasure I personally invite you to join your fellow Rotarians in Oak Brook, IL, on April 11-13, for our District 6440 Conference 2014. 
We‘ll hear energetic and inspiring speakers, celebrate the impact of our engagement in the work of our clubs, and enjoy great entertainment and hospitality with members of our Rotary family from near and far during the 48 hours from Friday mid-day through Sunday morning.  Your personal involvement will enhance that experience for every one of the others of us and provide you with some Rotary nourishment as you go forward with your club and individual service activities.
PDG Timothy Buckley will be joining us as the Representative of RI President Ron Burton.  We’ll hear also from Past RI Vice-president Tom Thorfinnson and Rotarian Jason Daenens.  We’ll be entertained by the music of John Ballantyne’s Crazy Heart and by the variety of talent among our Rotary Youth Exchange student group.  We’ll gather in the House of Friendship to buy Rotary merchandise, have refreshments, and check out project displays.  On our Hospitality nights, we’ll play games in the Rotary Olympics that never will become official with the IOOC.  And we’ll enjoy our overnight stays at the Oak Brook Hills Resort for a bargain price.
Registration for Conference and for the Saturday morning District Assembly that it wraps around must be made online.  You can link to registration through the district website by selecting “District Conference & Assembly” from the Upcoming Events menu or by using the shortcut at  When you register you can make entrée selections and pay by credit card for the meal package or the individual meals you choose.  Your overnight hotel reservation must be made separately, but a link through our online registration system enables you to get to the Oak Brook Hills Resort site directly for that reservation.  The deadline for securing one of our discounted rooms is Monday, March 24.  So, please make the time to do that now.
I look forward to seeing you soon at the biggest gathering of our Rotary family this year.

The communities served by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley are: Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles and Skokie

Once There Were Four Men …
It was February 23, 1905 that Paul Harris, an attorney, invited three men to meet in an office in Chicago to discuss organization of a club based on the idea that Harris had been developing for several years — that men in business could and should be personal friends. Men invited included a coal dealer, a mining engineer, and a merchant tailor. The following day, Harris interested a printer and a real estate dealer. Within a short time the Rotary Club organization was complete. The coal dealer, Silvester Schiele, was one of Paul's earliest clients and the two of them had discussed this idea at length. Harry Ruggles, Paul's printer had also been involved in early discussions. Paul Harris declined any office in the new club and did not become its President until two years later.
It is significant that each of the first six members, of this first Rotary Club was a comparative stranger, [with the exception of Harris, Schiele, and Ruggles] in a large city; who had come from a small town to Chicago to go into business. And each, undoubtedly, felt the need of personal friendships to replace those that had been severed by removal from his former home. The aim of the first Rotary Club was the encouragement of friendship, fellowship and mutual assistance.
To be Continued next week…..
Club Member and Past District Governor Mike Yesner, was the Guest Speaker at our February 25, 2014 weekly Meeting.
Governor Mike presentation topic was about "Rotary HealthRays" A Rotary District 6440 Projects designed to install 29 digital x-ray machines in Guatemala at a cost of $100,000 each.  Two machines have already been installed and a third one is on the way. Already doctors at the clinic have seen patients come in the evening after work for treatment of illnesses and injuries, for which they previously would have postponed treatment in order not to miss time at work traveling to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. X-rays from the clinic can be read almost immediately by a radiologist at the central hospital and an evaluation made available to the clinic doctor to guide treatment.
The cost for these machines is being realized by utilizing a Rotary Foundation mechanism called "Global Grant" put together by Rotary District 6440 and other Rotary Clubs. This project is a forerunner that could be expanded to many other impoverished areas in the world.
Up to date there are over 45 members from our district registered for RI Convention 2014 in Sydney, Australia; and all of them are in for a real treat!  The Aussies like to have a good time and are very excited to share their plans for entertaining their Rotary visitors.  The Sydney Convention Committee from RI is lining up inspiring and informative speakers and planning a range of entertainments for the convention plenary sessions. 
The latest edition of Corroboree, click here for more info, the publication of the Host Organizing Committee is attached here and highlights a variety of activities you can enjoy when you are not involved with a plenary or breakout session in Sydney. Participating in a Rotary Convention is an incredible experience for any Rotarian, and the long journey to Sydney will be rewarding.

From District 6440 Governor Sarah Oliver


I just have had the privilege of seeing and hearing about the positive health impacts of our installation of the first of 29 digital x-ray machines in Guatemala. In the roughly five months that the x-ray package has been operational in Mixco, doctors at the clinic have seen patients come in after work at 5:00 PM for treatment of illnesses and injuries for which they previously would have deferred treatment in order not to miss a day or more of work traveling to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. X-rays from the clinic can be read almost immediately by a radiologist at the central hospital and an evaluation made available to the clinic doctor to guide treatment.
The government even has added a trauma specialist physician at Mixco because so many more medical situations can be addressed locally. The second  machine of the planned 29 was installed a week ago, and the Global Grant application for installation #3 is being finalized.
Our guest speaker at the February 11, 2014 weekly meeting was  Bob Swientek,  Editor in Chief and Food Technology Director of Publications for the Institute of Food Technologists located at 525 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 1000 Chicago, Illinois 60607.  Bob is a 30-plus-year veteran of food, beverage and consumer packaged goods publishing. He has written hundreds of articles on food and beverages ingredients, products development marketing, branding and business. Today he illustrated by several statistics and examples why the packaged food industry is not as bad as several health-conscientious groups attempt portray it.
The topic of his presentation was “Why Consumers Love Apple Technology But Don’t Want Technology in Their Apples”, and his message to the club was as follows:
Ken Davis (pictured above on the right),  owner of Kenny The Kleener with locations at 3358 W Dempster St Skokie, IL 60076 and 165 Green Bay Rd, Wilmette, IL, 60091 was presented the "Service Above Self" Award by club member Rob Paddor.
Club members take turns throughout the year leading Fun & Frolic and organizing the program speakers.
February 5 - Al Anile
February 12 - Carolyn Anthony
February 19 - Brian Baker
February 26 - Jerry Berk
March 5 - Harold Chmiel
March 12 - Ken Davis
March 19 - Chuck Dickson
March 26 - Sam Eckerling
April 2 - Lisa Edelson
April 9 - Howard Frank
April 16 - Greg Franks
April 23 - Tim Gambacorta
April 30 - 5th Tuesday, offsite. No lunch meeting
May 7 - Glen Gaode
May 14 - James Garwood
May 21 - Scott Gendell
May 28 - Raman Grover
June 4 - John Haben
June 11 - David Hartley
June 18 - John Jekot
June 25 - Jessica Jones Thorne
July 2 - Neil King
July 9 - Ralph Klein
July 16 - Shalom Klein (suggested club picnic day)
July 23 - Allan Klenetsky
July 30 - 5th Tuesday, off site. No meeting
Rotary member Robert Samson pictured on the left, receiving his third Paul Harris Fellow Award at our weekly luncheon meeting of February 4, 2014, by club President Ross Mathee.
Club Member and Treasurer Joe Roznai was the Guest Speaker at our weekly Rotary meeting of January 28, 3014.  Joe's timely topic was about the new tax code revision and other changes for the tax year 2013-2014. He illustrated all points with the help of a slide projector, and answered many questions brought up by his audience with ease and professionalism.
At our weekly Rotary meeting of January 28 2014 Club President Ross Mathee (Picture on the right), awarded the distinctive Paul Harris Fellow to four long time members. They are from left to right:  Julian Levy, Howard Frank, Sam Eckerling and Harold Chmiel.  To qualify for this award a donation of $1,000.00 must be made to the Rotary Foundation. This is the second Paul Harris Fellow Award for all four of them.
Rick Kuehn from the Antioch Club was the Guest Speaker at the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley weekly meeting of January 21, 2013.
Rick is Chairperson of Rotary District 6440 Short Term Youth Exchange. He said that the program consist of young people ages 15 to 19 who are sponsored by Rotary Clubs within the district to live with local families on a reciprocal basis, for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Applicants must demonstrate leadership skills, flexibility and a willingness to try new things that will enable them to act as cultural ambassadors. This is not an academic program. The costs involve air fare, health and accident insurance, travel documents, and spending money. Host families provide lodging and meals.
Jessica Abernathy was the Guest Speaker at Skokie Valley Rotary Club weekly meeting of January 14, 2014. Jessica is a pet sitter at Kramer’s Pet Sitting.  
She spoke about the discomforts and injuries that harsh winter weather conditions can cause to pets. Jessica gave several tips on how to avoid or alleviate exposure to extreme cold temperatures. One of the many tips I found interesting was to use baby wipes in place of pet wipes to keep pets clean. 
She concluded her presentation by showing a very amusing video of dogs trying very hard to get used to their brand new shoes.
Rodney C. Adams, Distict 6440 Governor for the 2015-2016 Rotary Year, was our ​Guest Speaker at the January 7, 2014 weekly luncheon meeting. Mr. Adams spoke about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program and its services, which, as he put it,  not only helps shape the future of many young patecipants, but is an avenue vitally important to Rotary's future membership growth.  To further illustrate the workings of this program, he played a short video titled "New Generations", that he found on (of all places) a Chinese Rotary Club website.  This video may be viewed by clicking here.          
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Youth/Interact Liaison
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Barry Rassin, of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, is our new President of Rotary International for 2018-19., He has chosen as his theme, "Be the Inspiration" and shared with us attending the International Assembly in San Diego his vision that, "Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change - across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves". 
President Barry earned an MBA in health and hospital administration from the University of Florida and is the first fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives in the Bahamas. He recently retired after 37 years as president of Doctors Hospital Health System, where he continues to serve as an adviser. 
A Rotarian since 1980, Rassin has served Rotary as director and is vice chair of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. Rassin received Rotary's highest honor, the Service Above Self Award, as well as other humanitarian awards for his work leading Rotary’s relief efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there. He and his wife, Esther, are Major Donors and Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation.