The Light for December 3, 2019
 
By Kate Collinson
 
Photography by John Searles
 
President Helen Oloroso welcomed members and guests to the meeting before leading the group in the Why We Are Rotarians pledge.   
 
Dave Simmons shared a favorite Thought for the Day: “Be the change that you want to see in the world” -- Mahatma Gandhi.   Dave encouraged Rotarians to be open to new ways to celebrate at this tradition-heavy time of year. 
 
Marv Edelstein noted that Siessourby Soma, Gui Isfer Garcia (from Brazil) and Miguel Hernandez live-streamed our meeting. 
 
Announcements
 
President Helen opened the meeting to announcements and committee reports.
 
Gary Peterson, on behalf of Steve Steiber, urged Rotarians to sign up for Floral and Food Distribution shifts using the Holiday Sales Team Staffing sheets on the table. 
 
Marisa Naujokas asked several questions of the group.  Is your sales volume higher, lower, or the same as last year?  Do you still have orders to enter?  Do you need help with entering orders? 
 
Bruce Baumberger noted that the next two Saturdays are our primary Holiday Sale Distribution Days (Floral – Dec. 7, Food – Dec. 14).   Now that we are using Shopify as our Holiday Sale system, our pick list routine will need to be modified.  Bruce has created a document that includes all HS orders.   Later today you will receive instructions on how to access your orders.  (This is a great time to look your orders over – ‘quality control’, notify your customers of their upcoming deliveries, etc.)   Please watch for that email – plus additional instructions later in the week with recommendations for the delivery process.
 
Chris Joyce announced that the Club Service Committee will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 8 a.m. in the RI Cafeteria.  Chris also promoted the Annual Holiday Party which will take place on Sunday, Dec. 15, 5 p.m., at the home of Kathy & Bob Bradish, 2307 Orrington Ave.  A few helpers are needed at 4 p.m.  
 
Neil Gambow boasted Bruce Baumberger for taking Potter to a recent Youth Exchange meeting.  Neil is seeking a ride for Potter to and from a party in Elgin on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 1– 5 p.m.  (You are invited to stay at the party!)   Please contact Neil if you’re able to help. 
 
Ann Searles explained that she has four available tickets for the wonderful Lightscape light show at Botanic Garden.  Direct from London, Lightscape is making its U.S. debut at the Garden.  Please contact Ann if you’re interested in purchasing these tickets with a donation to the club's foundation. 
 
Ann also boasted one of her Holiday Sale customers who added a $500 donation to their $200 product order. 
 
To save on shipping, Ann & John transported six large garbage bags of pill bottles to Indianapolis, where their granddaughter accepted them and shuttled them to Cincinnati (from which they will be shipped to areas in need internationally).   Ann is still collecting bottles and appreciates this Lions Club-Rotary partnership.
 
Following up on last week’s session, Zbig Skiba asked that table scribes share their notes with him via email.  Zbig also thanked Helen for facilitating the brainstorming session with very little notice, having only been notified of his absence by text message at 1 a.m. on the day of the meeting.
 
Roasts & Boasts
 
Helen roasted herself for changing the date on last year’s holiday party invitation and re-sending it.  In addition to some problems with the guest list, the time of the party has changed.  This year, we will be starting at 5 p.m.!  A new invitation will be sent later today.  The Club will provide meat and drinks and Rotarians will round out the menu with appetizers, salads, side dishes, and desserts. 
 
Sergeant Nick Powers reminded the group to make their cash donations in the collection boxes. 
 
Bill Vernon boasted Ann Searles for putting his son in touch with the Meals on Wheels organization (which may benefit as his partner on an Eagle Scout project). Bill also boasted his daughter, who will be graduating on Dec. 15, after only 3-1/2 years at the University of Kansas.
 
Bruce Baumberger drew the group’s attention to two upcoming musical events in Evanston.  On Sunday, Dec. 8, at 10:30 a.m., the Alice Millar Chapel will host A Festival of Lessons & Carols.  On Saturday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., the Lakeside Singers will perform The Best Time of the Year: Carols, Classics, and Holiday Fun at Nichols Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave.   Both concerts promise to be stellar, Bruce promised!
 
Jean Saunders roasted herself for hurting her back while completing fall chores over the weekend (raking leaves, putting lawn furniture away, etc.).   She enthusiastically boasted Kristin Brown, Mahmoud Ajamia, and the Rotarians in Tucson who made the Ride to End Polio/El Tour de Tucson such a phenomenal experience.  Jean’s connection to the cause was never more palpable.  She also extended her thanks to those in the club who financially supported the ride and the Rotary Foundation.
 
Helen presented a Paul Harris Fellow award to J. Clifford Moos, Jean’s 96-year-old father-in-law, for his contribution in support of her recent End Polio ride.
 
Program
 
Speaker: Katharine Egan, Foster Street Urban Agriculture Youth Program
 
Joan Borg warmly welcomed Katharine Egan, Co-Manager of the Foster Street Urban Agriculture Youth Program (FSUAP), an employment and entrepreneurship program of the Evanston Food Exchange.  A member of the Evanston Food Exchange Board, Katharine has 11 years of experience and a lifelong passion for offering youth the skills and empowering environment to achieve their full potential.  Originally serving crime survivors, Katharine saw that those who experienced the worst, with intervention, could become effective changemakers.
 
The Foster Street Urban Agriculture Youth Program (FSUAP) is a youth program located in a tiny garden next to the parking lot of Family Focus.  A partnership between Family Focus and the Evanston Food Exchange, the program is in its fourth year.  FSUAP supports two cohorts – teen counselors/mentors (who are paid by the City of Evanston as part of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program) and 5th-8th grade campers.  Youths learn skills in a number of key areas: employment, entrepreneurship, urban agriculture, healthy cooking (under the guidance of Chef Q Ibraheem) and service.  As part of the program, these young people personally donate produce to those entering and leaving the Family Focus building. 
 
The Urban Agriculture Model is uniquely powerful.  Empowerment takes place at several levels.   Basic needs are filled (survival), independence is developed and service is promoted (as youth experience pride, purpose and the joys of giving).   FSUAP also works to foster “whole selves” through economic empowerment and the development of academic and life skills, physical and mental health, and primary prevention and intervention.
 
Virtually any subject can be taught using an urban agriculture curriculum.  In addition, participants learn about team work, public speaking, time management, and other vital soft skills.  In the fresh air, physical health improves as they exercise and learn about a healthy diet and the important connection between food and disease.  Gardens are inherently healing, leading to better mental health.  Katharine is now incorporating mindfulness into the program, cultivating calm and centered awareness to manage life’s stressors. 
 
FSUAP also builds life-sustaining connections, as these young people interact with each other, neighbors, mentors/teachers, and the general public.  The program offers a sense of belonging and identity to its participants, hopefully making them less likely to seek out unsafe behaviors.   There is no question that FSUAP is having a ripple effect in the community.  At present, however, fewer than 50 young people participate in the program.  It is Katharine’s hope that with further investment in youth agriculture programs, there will be a significant social change impact in the form of self-sufficient youth primed to be successful employees and job creators.  With increased investment and more gardens, these programs could also address the hunger and nutrition issues which affect school performance.
 
The Foster Street Urban Agriculture Program welcomes new volunteers (and donors).   There are many opportunities to help – in the garden, or using personal skills (such as cooking, accounting, or fundraising).  At present, the organization hosts a July Farm 2 Fork Dinner as well as Farmer’s Market Days. For more information, or to be added to FSUAP’s mailing list, please contact Katharine at Katharinee@gmail.com, (224) 392-2275.  You can also follow current programming on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/fosterstreetgarden/
 
In the words of Chief Seattle, “Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.” 
 
Katharine Egan and Helen Oloroso
 
Guests and Milestones
 
Guests
 
Napat Suppsuntorn, aka “Potter”, Youth Exchange student from Thailand
Katharine Egan, Foster Street Urban Agriculture Program, speaker
 
Birthdays
 
Vashti Araia – Dec 5
Scott Kaplan – Dec. 7
Holly Halliday – Dec. 7
 
Club Anniversaries
 
Don Gwinn - 32 years
Patrick Mbullo Owuor – 7 years
Steve Goranson – 11 years
Chris Joyce – 3 years
 
Next Week’s Meeting
 
Program: Honor Flight Chicago
Speaker: Doug Meffrey
 
Greeters
 
Brad Weiss and Ann Weatherhead
 
Thought for the Day
 
Yves Lassere
Sponsors