The Light for August 20, 2019


By Chris Joyce
Photography by John Searles and Chris Joyce
President Helen Oloroso opened the meeting with a welcome and lead us in a recitation of the Rotary pledge. Chris Joyce presented the Thought For the Day. His thought was a quote from William Shakespeare: ”A friend is someone who knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and gently allows you to grow.”  
Helen Oloroso had several announcements:
The annual Rotary convention is next June in Honolulu. The   room block will end August 30. Also, there are Hawaiian shirts available for the convention. Sale of the shirts will end August 30.
District governor nominations for the 2022-2023 year will close Sept. 1. If interested, contact the District for details.
On Dec. 6, a contingent of District Rotarians will be bell-ringing for the Salvation Army at Woodfield Mall. Deadline for registering is Oct. 5. See Helen for details.
Mark Mahoney, Rotary International president this year, will be our speaker Oct. 1. One of his goals is to advance women as Rotary leaders. There are currently three women on RI’s Board of Directors. His goal is to increase this number to five.
The next Board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26, at Dale Bradley’s office at the corner of Central Street and Central Park Avenue. District Governor Suzanne Gibson will join the meeting. She will also be our speaker the following morning.
The Club picnic is Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at Fran’s house. Help is needed.
The next Club Service Committee meeting is Sept. 5 at 7:30 a.m. in the RI Cafeteria.
Ann Searles gave the Sunshine Report. Sam Lovering had a bicycle accident. He is a little sore, but OK. Nick Powers, who was recently hit by a car and has a broken leg, is home from the hospital, where he will be confined for several weeks. Send them both your good wishes.
Susan Prout announced that the next meeting of the Community Service Committee will be held on Sept. 17 at her house at 7:30 p.m.
Zbig Skiba announced the final tree planting is coming up in early October. We will have planted 222 trees, or nearly three per member.
Bruce Baumberger announced the next Rotary fellowship event. Please join him next Tuesday, the 27th, at 5:30 p.m. for Spanish guitar music on the Esplanade at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Bring your own food and drink or buy it there. The concert is free, $10 parking for non-members. An email with details was sent out yesterday.
Linda Gerber announced that the next meeting of the International Service Committee will be next Monday, Aug. 26, in the meeting room in the Rotary cafeteria.
Brad Weiss announced the next Golf Road cleanup. It will be this Saturday, the 24th, at 8:30 a.m. Meet at the TJ Maxx parking lot, close to Golf Road.
Ann Weatherhead announced that the Evanston History Center fundraiser, Blind Pig Speakeasy, is this Saturday at the Dawes house.
Harold Bauer let us know that he and his wife Karen are moving into the Mather next week. He has one of the old grocery store “grabbers” available. A great kids toy. Also, he will have an art show on Sept. 6 at Vivid in Wilmette.
Roasts & Boasts
Albert Menard roasted himself. At the Ravinia concert, he and several other club members, Chris and Joy Joyce, Elaine Clemmons, and Ann Weatherhead, went to the spot on the lawn where club members had met in prior years. Bruce had sent out an email with a map noting the new meeting place. I guess we didn’t read it carefully!
PDG Bruce Baumberger and wife, Nancy, at the "correct" spot at Ravinia, along with Ann and John Searles and Chip Uchtman
Everyone else, at the "wrong" spot at Ravinia
Helen Oloroso roasted herself. She sent an email last week with the wrong date for the Golf Road cleanup. This coming Saturday, the 24th, is the correct date.
John Searles boasted Ann for organizing two Rotary Fellowship events on the same day at Sunday’s Ravinia concert.
Bob Teska boasted Joan Borg. Bob, like Albert, was looking for Rotarians at the old meeting place at Ravinia. She saw him looking, and pointed out the new, “correct.” meeting place.
Jean Saunders roasted herself for missing her Greeter assignment both this week and last week.
Steve Steiber boasted Zbig Skiba for being named a speaker for the Vistage group.
Joy Joyce thanked Chris for his Thought on friends. They walked down the wedding aisle to the tune of “You’ve Got a Friend.” She reminded the Club of her “Less is More “ thought. She brought a child’s chair, which weighed significantly less than Chris’s chair.
Bill Glader boasted Joy for still being able to fit into a child’s chair!
Linc Janus boasted our new exchange student, Napat. When he came here from Thailand, it was the first time he had ever left Thailand and the first time he was ever on a plane.
Zbig Skiba mentioned that 24 years ago he was at Ravinia with his 5-week-old son, who stayed awake most of the time, enjoying all of the activity. But then he got so tired that he slept through the “1812 Overture”! 
Speaker: Monique Parsons
Topic:  Affordable Housing at the McGaw YMCA
Monique Parsons is President and CEO of the McGaw YMCA. She also serves on the ETHS District 202 Board of Education. Monique is Evanston born and a lifelong resident. She is the first woman and second African-American to serve as president of the Y in its 133-year history, which until 1969 restricted membership to whites only.
Monique presented us with some facts about the Y. In 2019 so far, there have been 205 residents that have stayed long-term at the facility (more than 30 days). The facility has 172 SRO rooms. The average age of the men is 57 years, and their average stay is seven years. Average income is just over $21,500. For reference HUD data for Chicagoland classifies “very low income” as less than $31,200. Some 133 of the residents work, 57 receive Social Security, and 16 were unemployed. 49.5% are Caucasian, 42.7% African-American, 4.4% Hispanic, and 3.4% Asiatic.
The Y is not subsidized housing or a shelter. The residents pay for their own room and board, ranging from $130-$160 per week. They choose to stay long term because they like the community inside and outside the Y. They like the proximity to downtown, public transportation, and hospitals. Staff offers a wide range of case management services and the flexibility to create programming to meet resident’s needs.
McGaw YMCA dates back to 1885. It has a long history of providing safe, inclusive, and affordable housing for men. In 1909, the Y, then known as the Evanston Y, opened a branch for African-Americans on Emerson Street. This branch was an anchor of the social and civic life of Evanston’s African-American community until it closed in 1969. It was a symbol of the stubbornness of segregation both in Evanston and at Northwestern. Visiting Black men and Black students at NU used the facility as their residence. 
Monique has been at the Y for 15 years. Under her leadership, the Y has expanded from simply being a “room and board” facility to one that also provides social service supports. The goal is to provide much needed affordable housing. This means providing shelter at a reasonable rate, and not evicting residents who are temporarily unable to pay their rent. Some of the residents are employed at the Y as well. Finally, the McGaw Y has made a commitment to maintaining its residential facilities, as many other area Ys have closed their residence facilities.
Monique comments: “I wish I had all of the answers to affordable housing. I only know that what we did and what our staff do every day to make a difference in the lives of the men we serve. Affordable housing is a broad concern. It’s a public concern. McGaw understands that and we stay committed. In order to make systemic changes and create priorities around a community that benefits in having affordable housing, the meeting table must be expanded to include those who are most proximate to the issue. We must remove voices that need extra data, when all that data does is show the same outcome. We must expand our racial competencies of housing inequities. Only then can we make intentional and thoughtful changes that lead to erasing housing insecurities.” 
Guests & Milestones
Monique Parsons, speaker
Napat Supapuntorn, our club’s inbound Rotary exchange student
Kersten Alischoewski, wife of Dave Simmons and prospective member
Katie Kirk, a Rotary exchange student
Wan-yun Chang a Rotary exchange student
Dave Kirk, Katie’s father
John Searles
Chuck Bartling
Dieneba Soma
Club Anniversary
John Searles,  22 years
Next Week’s Speaker
Suzanne Gibson, District 6440 Governor