Rotary Club of Sycamore, Illinois
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Wednesdays at 11:45 AM
St. Mary's Parish Activity Center
312 Waterman Street
Sycamore, IL 60178
United States of America
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Sycamore Rotary News
Elder Care Services of DeKalb County is on a mission to provide information and resources to the elderly and vulnerable adults so they can continue living in their own homes according to marketing manager Christi Coulter who spoke at this week’s Rotary meeting.  Elder Care Services is a local non-profit contracted by the state to coordinate assistance.  For example, Coulter said they typically handle 500 to 750 inquiries related to Medicare/Medicaid enrollments, assist about 500 clients with in-home caregiving, and last year investigated 314 concerns about elder abuse.
Other programs offered by Elder Care Services are:
  • Money Management (such as budgeting, credit counseling, and representative payee services)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Support (a comprehensive program for those experiencing memory or mood issues)
  • Tech Savvy Seniors (classes about computers and wireless phones)
A full listing of programs and services offered by Elder Care Services is available on their website (
Rotary District 6420 Governor Dave Emerick stopped in Sycamore to update our club on the new Rotary year.  Emerick said being District Governor is “the honor of my life.”  Emerick belongs to the East Moline-Silvis club and is Vice President at Blackhawk Bank in the Quad Cities.  He has a DeKalb County connection coming to Northern Illinois University in 1985.  He said he later got elected to the Student Senate on the “John Lennon” ticket and helped bring the red and white color scheme to buses and inaugurate late night ride service while serving on the Mass Transit Advisory Board.
Emerick took time to review the hope-focused agenda of Rotary International President Gordon McInally.  He began by talking about McInally’s theme “Create Hope in the World” and the bold colors in its logo.  Emerick says those bold colors hopefully translate into a bright reflection of the spirit of Rotary in local clubs.  International areas of focus are health (especially mental health), peace (such as humanitarian actions), and diversity, equity, and inclusion (including empowering women and girls).  He also noted potential action by the World Health Organization that may make a declaration of the world being polio-free possible in the next year to year-and-a-half.
Emerick says he is continuing the district focus on the five-year plan unveiled last year.  For membership, the goal is a net one new club in the district plus a new Rotaract club.  There are also benchmarks for women members and members under 40 years old.  For Foundation support he promoted the “Every Rotarian Every Year” giving plan along with overall increases in number and amounts of Foundation giving (both at 10%) plus continued support for the Polio plus fund.  Public Image remains a focus with Emerick reminding the club to promote its good works so others feel compelled to become a part of it.  He also stressed the need to be 100% compliant with current branding standards.  Emerick says there is a district-wide focus on Service that helps food pantries.  The goal is to have each member donate 20 pounds or more worth of foodstuffs to help a pantry.  Operationally, Emerick says district leadership is committed to keeping dues as low as possible while still making a community impact.  A special finance committee was created and works with Treasurer Steve Kuhn (Past District Governor and Sycamore Rotarian).  Emerick says there is some extra grant money available to clubs that was originally part of a distribution from the pandemic.  He also stressed the need for successor planning to fill club and district leadership posts.  Emerick announced that this year’s district conference will be held April 26 and 27 in Moline.
Emerick concluded his remarks with a motivational quote from polio vaccine pioneer Dr. Jonas Salk, who said, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
Senior Ty DeVito says he has a passion for volunteerism and community service and at the same time he successfully carries out an advanced course curriculum splitting his day between Sycamore High School and Kishwaukee College.  DeVito is ranked first in his class.  His college credit level courses are in math and physics.  He is looking at West Point, MIT, and University of Illinois Champaign as options for college.
DeVito has been active in various extracurricular activities and with several different non-profit groups.  Among them is Rotary Interact in which he has a participated throughout his school years and is currently president.  DeVito is chair of the Community Foundation’s Youth Engaged in Philanthropy group,  a member of the National Honor Society, and a volunteer with the Turning Back Time Car Show Committee.  He also enjoys theatre and was seen sporting bright yellow hair while playing the lead in the high school musical “Sponge Bob”.  DeVito will donate his $100 Rotary check to CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocate organization assisting youth facing issues in the court system.
Career technical education and alternative education offerings are available to area high school students thanks to the Kishwaukee Education Consortium explained Executive Director Tom Crouch at this week’s Rotary meeting.  Crouch said the consortium is made up of students from Sycamore, DeKalb, Genoa, Hiawatha, and Rochelle High Schools.  He said there is record enrollment this year with about 500 youth in some type of trade or technical training program and another approximately 125 youth in their alternative education program (replacing a traditional school learning environment).  The programs lead to certifications and/or college credits.
There are multiple sites for the Consortium’s training according to Crouch.  Their main building is on the campus of Kishwaukee College, but Crouch says they have links with as many as 900 satellite sites for up to 21 different types of training.  He said “barbering” is a recently added certification with high interest.  Other programs with traditionally high interest are EMT training, nursing, and criminal justice training.  Their welding program recently relocated to expanded space provided by Innovative Growers Company in Sycamore.  Another program related to building trades is relocating to the same industrial complex and students will be constructing a so-called “Tiny House”.  In previous years, they built a traditional house but this limited some of the types of work the students could undertake.
Crouch said graduation rates remain high, mainly because of the special career interest their programs offer.  Funding comes from state and federal sources and per student reimbursements from the participating school districts.  He added that they are always looking for skilled instructors to meet the growing demand for trade and certificated job career paths.  
Jeff Petersen came forward with a last-minute extemporaneous speech as a backup speaker at Wednesday’s Rotary meeting and brought a whole new meaning on how to use one’s career training to accomplish a task.  Petersen was paired with fellow-Rotarian Brendan Wilson to do “Meals on Wheels” deliveries.  He couldn’t resist the chance to explain Wilson’s first-time participation from the viewpoint of a military operation.
Wilson, a retired U.S. Army ranger and paratrooper who then served NATO with defense and diplomatic responsibilities, was described as mission driven to successfully execute his objective.  Petersen noted the mission’s broad daylight staging, the use of unmarked cars, and the precision timing to complete it.  He reported how all objectives were achieved and they came away physically unscathed.  Hot spaghetti was successfully dispatched to nourish Meals on Wheels clients in the allotted time.
(Editor’s Note:  A special thank you to all of the August Meals on Wheels volunteers who once again showed that Rotary means “Service Above Self.”)
Newer member Alicia Cosky, first ward alderperson for Sycamore, gave her Classification Speech at this week’s Rotary meeting.  Cosky hails from Detroit and comes from a family of five children.  Her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Poland.  Her father taught high school English, and Latin, and was his school’s debate coach while her mother remained busy raising their family. She said both her parents instilled the values of faith and education in their children as they grew up.  Alicia’s spouse is Sandy and they have been together for 28 years.
Alicia attended Dominican High School in Detroit where her interest in politics took hold (she held various class offices eventually becoming class president).  She worked her way through college earning a degree in health and physical education from Wayne State University.  After three years of teaching Junior High, she got a graduate assistant job at Northern Illinois University allowing her to pursue her master’s degree.  This was followed by 14 years employment with campus recreation during which time she earned her doctorate.  An opportunity to join Aurora University opened up and Alicia was Chair of their Physical Education Program,  Director of the School of Health, and then Dean of Faculty Development, retiring in 2020 after 28 years of service.
Cosky has a lengthy list of volunteer activities.  She was Director of DeKalb Corn Fest Races for 25 years,  regional coordinator for Northern Illinois Senior Olympics for 15 years, a CPR site director and member of the County CPR coordinating committee, a national coordinator and trainer in the Fitness Program for Older Adults, exercise instructor at Oak Crest Retirement Center, a volunteer with DeKalb County Hospice, a Hope Haven meal preparer, and a volunteer with DeKalb County Community Gardens food distribution through Westminster Presbyterian Church.  She is a firm believer in health and fitness awareness as one ages.  She has run in five marathons, the first back in 1975, and continues a program of walking, biking, strength training, and balance and core workouts.  Her hobbies include growing hybrid Tea Roses and doing family photography.
Sycamore Rotary is happy you’ve joined us as part of your retirement plans.