Club Information
Welcome to our Club!
Skokie Valley


We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
Bar Louie
5300 Touhy Ave.
Skokie, IL 60077
United States of America
Meetings will be held hybrid, in person at Bar Louie or via Zoom.
Club news
Club members, Click Here to view the schedule for securing a speaker. If you are having trouble finding a speaker contact Laura McGrath or Lisa Edelson.

Len Becker, the Economic Development Manager for the Village of Skokie talked about recent developments in downtown, specifically the new hotel.

With over 30 years as an economic development professional, Len is currently the Economic Development Manager for the Village of Skokie. Joining the Village in 2017, he leads Skokie’s economic development efforts to build additional real estate capacity, spearhead redevelopment efforts, expand capital investment, grow employment and regional presence, and works to enhance municipal revenues. These efforts have led to the approval of multiple Tax Increment Financing agreements, Property Tax abatement projects as well as the utilization of local incentive programs. Over the past five years, economic development in Skokie has resulted in over $150 million in capital investment and over 1000 full-time jobs for the Village.  Concurrently, numerous transformational achievements have taken place in Skokie such as the establishment of the Old Orchard Business District and Oakton-Niles TIF District, completion of the Highpoint at 8000 North, continued expansion at Skokie Hospital as well as the Illinois Science + Technology Park. In his current capacity, Len serves as the liaison to the Skokie Economic Development Commission, led the economic recovery taskforce during Covid, represents the Village through numerous professional associations and has worked with and has assisted numerous business constituencies and partners throughout the Village. 

Prior to joining the Village of Skokie, Len served as Director of Economic Development in Buckeye, Arizona where his efforts led to the creation of 87 new businesses, 1,339 new jobs, and development of over 450,000 square feet of new commercial space. Len has also worked for several private and non-profit sector organizations in a similar capacity as Vice President of Economic Development at both the Greater Phoenix and Tucson Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce, Director of Economic Development for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and other positions in the private consulting and real estate sectors.

Len Melaniphy talked about development plans for Golf Mill. Mr. Melaniphy has over 35 years of experience in real estate and has been Director of Economic Development for the Village of Niles since 2020. He previously spent 6 years at the Village of Wheeling. He has been engaged in all facets of economic development, business attraction, business retention, marketing, grant administration, market feasibility analysis and business incubator programs. Mr. Melaniphy has been involved in the preparation of comprehensive economic development strategies and implementation plans to meet short range and long range objectives. Mr. Melaniphy attracted over $300 million in new development to the Village of Wheeling with the new Wheeling Town Center, Northgate Crossing, and Uptown 500 projects, among others. He is currently working on the redevelopment of Golf Mill Mall in Niles. Mr. Melaniphy spent 20 years at Melaniphy & Associates, Inc., three years at Mid-America Development Partners and four years at the Village of Arlington Heights prior to joining the Village of Wheeling. Mr. Melaniphy directed multiple development projects including lifestyle centers, big box centers, hotels, and mixed-use developments. Some of the projects he has been involved in during his career include the Mall of America, Navy Pier, Bayshore Town Center, Easton Town Center, Town Center of Virginia Beach, Algonquin Galleria, Naperville Galleria, Hilldale Mall, Collin Creek Mall, Cottonwood Mall, Southridge Mall, Paradise Mall, Market Commons of Myrtle Beach, and many others. He has assisted numerous retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues with their site selection strategies both nationally and internationally.

Skokie Valley Rotary Club grant recipients Phyllis Nutkis from the Ark, Sharon Caldwell and Haley Hansen from Metropolitan Family Services, and Joseph Gackstetter from the Mitchell Museum discussed their organizations and described how the funds will be used.  

Phyllis Nutkis has been the Grants Manager at The Ark since 2004, and oversees a portfolio of 50 grants annually. Prior to joining The Ark, she taught preschool and kindergarten in Milwaukee and Buffalo Grove. She  has a B.A. in music education and an M.S. in Jewish studies, and is the author of a children's book and of several magazine articles and stories. She is a native of New Jersey but has lived in the Midwest for many years. She and her husband have three married children and eight grandchildren. 

Sharon Caldwell is a Senior Grant Writer at Metropolitan Family Services. She earned a MSW in Social Work from University of Illinois Chicago. Sharon formerly worked as the Director of Institutional Giving for Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW) preparing grant applications to Foundations and Corporations, requests for new and renewal funding for services for homeless individuals and families, researched new prospects, prepared reports for existing funders, and coordinated site visits. She's lived in Skokie for six years now and her oldest child is a Niles West graduate, and her youngest is a senior in the city.

Joseph Gackstetter, Development and Collections Manager at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, is an experienced Collections Manager with a demonstrated history of working in museums. He's skilled in museum and collections management, exhibit development, donor management, and conversations with cats. He earned a Master's Degree in Museum and Artifact Studies from Durham University. 

Luis Klein, the Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Initiative spoke. The Juvenile Justice Initiative is a statewide advocacy organization working to ensure equality, justice and human rights for children and young adults in conflict with the law in Illinois.

Ms. Brennan currently serves as the Executive Director of the newly created Illinois Family Caregiver Coalition – a statewide network of caregivers, state agencies and advocacy organizations focused on supporting family caregivers throughout the state of Illinois. This coalition was created by the Illinois Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and funded by the Retirement Research Foundation on Aging and the Illinois Department on Aging.

Previously, she worked in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill and later in the communications office at one of the largest healthcare associations in the country. She spent 8 years working in Washington DC for a variety of media consulting firms and with journalist Elizabeth Drew as a research assistant where she assisted Ms. Drew writing a book covering the Clinton White House and the Gingrich Congress.

A native of the Chicagoland area, Amy returned to Illinois where she worked in and around Illinois State Government the past 22 years. She served as a Legislative Aide for the Speaker of the House. Next, she was hired by the Governor's office as Legislative Director for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Amy then created a small lobbying/consulting business, advocating for a variety of organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Illinois, Loyola University’s Child Law Center, Citizens Utility Board and the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. She was then hired in the Chicago office of JP Morgan Chase as a Vice President, managing State & Local Government Affairs and covering 7 Midwest states.

Most recently, Amy served in the Pritzker administration for the State of Illinois, heading up the legislative offices at the Department on Aging and at the Department of Veterans' Affairs. For the past 5 years, Amy has also worked as a real estate broker in Evanston for @properties, assisting clients moving in and out of the greater Evanston/ North Shore/ North side of Chicago area.

Ms. Brennan earned her undergraduate degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee and later a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Two Skokie Valley Rotary Club grant recipients, Tisha Breitlow from the Maine Niles Association of Special Recreation (left) and JoAnn Kempf from the Skokie Choir Concert (right) presented to the club, discussing their organizations and explaining how the grant funds will be used.  
Trisha Breitlow, the Executive Director of the Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation (M-NASR) discussed the agency and how it provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children and adults with disabilities who live in the member-district communities. Member Park Districts are: Des Plaines, Golf-Maine, Morton Grove, Niles, Park Ridge, Skokie, and Lincolnwood. M-NASR is one of several special recreation associations (SRAs), which are unique to the state of Illinois. SRAs are formed when two or more units of local government combine to form a cooperative which then provides recreational services to individuals with disabilities within that jurisdiction. M-NASR was the second SRA formed and is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year. Trisha will be discussing the programs, services and opportunities M-NASR provides for individuals with disabilities.  
JoAnne Kempf is retired from the American Library Association where she served as the Director of ALA Governance. She has been a member of the Skokie Concert Choir since 2005 and held the office of president 2011-2015. She currently holds the dual position of recording/corresponding secretary on the choir board. JoAnne enjoys volunteering at the Skokie Public Library as a facilitator for the Let’s Get Together Book Club, a book club for intellectually disabled adults, as well as at the Douglas Center where she teaches money skills also to intellectually disabled adults.
Nathaniel Ekman is the Executive Director of NAMI Cook County North Suburban, part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He was hired in 2019 following seven years on the Board of Directors and more than 15 years in the nonprofit sector. Nathaniel has done extensive work in strategic planning, fund development, and consulting to nonprofits. He is a mental health advocate who is personally invested in the mission of NAMI, has led support groups for those in recovery, and speaks publicly through NAMI’s signature speakers bureau, In Our Own Voice.  Nathaniel holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard.  He lives in Chicago.
On July 12, 2022 Al Rigoni presented John Jekot with a Paul Harris Fellow Award. Continuing the legacy of  Rotary's founder Paul Harris, the Paul Harris Fellow program recognizes individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

The honor was established in 1957 to show appreciation for contributions that support Rotary's Annual Fund, PolioPlus, or an approved Foundation grant.

Patti Capouch, Executive Director at Impact Behavioral Health Partners has been the Executive Director of Impact Behavioral Health Partners for almost five years. She has a wealth of leadership experience from a dynamic 20-year career in the field of health and human services.

Impact’s comprehensive housing, clinical, and employment programs for adults with mental illness, provide long-term, individualized services to support stability and independence to over 300 individuals per year throughout the Chicago metro area.

Patti spoke about Impact Behavioral Health Partners and their supportive housing program which is supported through Rotary grant funds.


Club Members Laurie Flanagan and Omar Khan discussed the multi-club district grant that our club received this year. The three organizations benefiting from the grant are Impact Behavioral Health, the Douglas Center and Turning Point. How each organization is using the funds was described. 

Sarah Generes is a lifelong music lover and a passionate advocate for the performing arts. She currently serves as the Director of Development for the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where she oversees the fundraising strategy and execution in support of the school’s strategic priorities. The school recently announced a successful conclusion to the WeWill Campaign, raising $72 million and exceeding its $70 million goal for that capital campaign. Prior to joining Northwestern, Sarah worked on the artistic teams at the Ravinia Festival and Lyric Opera of Chicago, producing large- and small-scale programs across a variety of musical and theatrical genres. Sarah graduated from Vanderbilt University with degrees in music and English.

Sarah discussed the Bienen School and talked about fundraising and programs. 

Donna Lee Gulley, a retired high school counselor, has been Rotary District 6440 ShelterBox ambassador since the beginning of 2008. Donna spoke about shelter boxes, explaining to the club what they are and how they're used. 
A Northbrook Rotarian since 2004, she appreciates being able to help the victims of physical and political disasters with the ways that will help them rebuild their homes and lives. Our District is ranked as the 11th Rotary District in the country for fundraising during the first half of this Rotary year. Because of the support of our District, Donna Lee is listed as one of the top 8 fundraisers in the country and the only woman! Here is a recap of Skokie Valley's ShelterBox giving:
  • 3/4/19 - $1,440
  • 5/27/15 - $1,000
  • 12/20/13 - $800
  • 4/25/11 - $1,000
  • 3/24/10 - $1,000
  • 8/12/09 - $1,000
Dr. Steven Le Vine from Northshore Hospitals spoke to the club regarding the recent merger with Swedish Covenant in Chicago and with Edwards Elmhurst. 
Trisha Breitlow, the Executive Director of the Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation (M-NASR) discussed the agency and how it provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children and adults with disabilities who live in the member-district communities. Member Park Districts are: Des Plaines, Golf-Maine, Morton Grove, Niles, Park Ridge, Skokie, and Lincolnwood. M-NASR is one of several special recreation associations (SRAs), which are unique to the state of Illinois. SRAs are formed when two or more units of local government combine to form a cooperative which then provides recreational services to individuals with disabilities within that jurisdiction. M-NASR was the second SRA formed and is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year. Trisha will be discussing the programs, services and opportunities M-NASR provides for individuals with disabilities.  
Dawna Leggett with True Rest Float Spa discussed her new business in Skokie and the benefits of float therapy that allows the mind and body to let go, relax, and reset. She discussed the history of float therapy which started with inventor John C. Lilly in the 1950's. John C. Lilly was an inventor who studied sensory deprivation and isolation tanks. The three essential elements of float therapy are Epsom salt, weightlessness and meditation. Benefits of floating include increased blood circulation, pain management, and improved mental health. Stress reduction, increased creativity, and improved sleep quality are also benefits. 
A representative from Highpoint at 8000 North, the new luxury rental building in downtown Skokie addressed the club. 

Skokie Community Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information visit

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

Rotary projects around the globe


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

Costa Rica

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


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


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


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

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

Rotary International President Holger's key messages 

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

Rotary Vision Statement

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Speaker Audra Wilson, Shriver Center on Poverty Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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





Guest Speaker David Limardi, President Sommer Foundation in Skokie.

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

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

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

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

Sometimes the Unthinkable Happens

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

The Sommer Memorial Golf Tournament

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

The Sommer Foundation

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


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

Guest Speaker Trisha Clare, President Concert Choir in Skokie.

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

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

Guest Speaker Susan Kaufman, Director Orchard Village in Skokie.

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

Guest Speaker Leon Walker

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

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

Nicholas Wyatt, Village of Skokie Assistant Manager

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

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

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

Guest Speaker David N. Rahija President at Skokie Hospital.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If anyone is interested in speaking and sharing their career area during one of the AVID Elective Classes, please click here to complete an interest form, preferably by June 1st. If you have any questions, please contact Jason Stanford at or 847-626-2872, or Skokie Valley Rotary Club member Lisa Edelson at
September 27, 2022
Sep 27, 2022


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