Meeting Notes from May 15, 2018
By Kathy Tate-Bradish
Photography by John Searles
President Marv Edelstein opened with “Why We are Rotarians,” and Suzy McNamara gave the thought of the day. She quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who in turn was referring to a phrase coined by 19th Century clergyman Theodore Parker: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Zbig Skiba summarized the successful tree planting endeavor of two weeks ago. Thanks to our club, the Rotary Club of Evanston (noon club), the City of Evanston, and generous donors, 100 trees were planted in 4 parks by about 80 people. Around 30 people attended the celebration later at the Celtic Knot (one of our donors), and heard a presentation by Paul D’Agostino, City of Evanston arborist.
Bill Glader led the presentation about our upcoming Taste of Evanston fundraiser. The primary beneficiaries are Connections for the Homeless and Reba Place Development Corp. Linda Gerber gave the list of restaurants that have agreed to be sponsors so far, with more on the way. The committee is increasing the number and diversity of restaurants and cuisine. This year’s goal is to raise $60,000, and the effort is well on its way. Marisa Naujokis reported on social media efforts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Club members are urged to “like,” comment, and tag friends, as well as share on our own pages. She highlighted Linda’s excellent post on the newly opened Red Hot Chili Pepper Restaurant, which has garnered a lot of positive attention. In addition to calling attention to our fundraiser, these posts are intended as publicity for our partners. Please patronize the restaurants, thank them, and tell them you come from the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club!
Michael Merdinger reported that Taste of Evanston sponsorships from community organizations, including First Bank and Trust, the Bradley Investment Center, and Private Vista, are now close to $10,000 and growing! If you have potential sponsors in mind, introduce them to Michael and he and the team will follow up with the ask. There will be a 50/50 raffle, which will both boost profits and help increase donations.
Charlotta Koppanyi is following up on donations for the silent auction. Items such as restaurant certificates and event tickets are appreciated, and anything that is an experience is particularly sought after. Gary Peterson and Steve Steiber are the volunteer coordinators – they need lots, so please sign up on sheets at the meetings or let them know. Bill and the team will tell us more next week. In the meantime, look out for videos that he and Linda are making about our partner restaurants. And buy your tickets before they sell out (like last year)!
Chris Joyce announced that the next fellowship dinner will be on Thursday, May 24, at 6 p.m. at Bangers and Lace, one of our partner restaurants. Please email Chris if you would like to join the group.
Ann Searles told us that the generous check from her Highland Garden Club for our tree project comes out of funds they raise from, among other things, their annual plant sale, which is coming up. Backyard Botanicals, with plants from club members and others, takes place this Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19, from 9 a.m. to noon at Independence Park on Central Street.
Ann also thanked volunteers for helping out at the successful Aging Well conference last week.
Roasts & Boasts
Sergeant-at-Arms Albert Menard told us that because he was sparing us his fiendish questions in the interest of time, everyone should put double the money in the bowls.
Harold Bauer both roasted and boasted himself. He and Karen were in St-Paul de Vence, France, and happened to stroll by the world famous La Colombe d’Or restaurant, which they had read about but decided not to book. Disappointed tourists were coming out of the fully-booked restaurant. Harold, however, spotted the “Rotary Club of St-Paul de Vence meets here” sign and went in to talk to the maitre d’. He asked for the Rotary Club meeting which he pretended to want to attend. “Unfortunately” it wasn’t meeting that day, so a “crestfallen” Harold asked if he and his wife could have lunch there anyway. Et voila - €150 later they had dined in style. He doesn’t just sing, he acts! Your scribe doesn’t believe Harold really bought an indulgence, but he may have come close to blaspheming Rotary.
Helen Oloroso boasted Kristin Brown and her husband Mahmoud Ajamia for the wonderful, thoughtful board retreat and potluck they hosted in their home last Saturday.
Neil Gambow boasted his wife, who was on “sheep watch” when they were driving through rural Ireland last week. Because of her, no sheep were maimed or killed by Neil’s erratic driving.
Marv boasted Don Gwinn for coming in early to set up the AV equipment every week.
Member Interview
Al interviewed Elaine Clemens. Her most memorable Rotary moment was when she was inducted into our Rotary club. She joined in honor of her dad, who was an avid Rotarian and brought her to meetings during summer holidays so she could play for their sing-a-longs, where she was the only female in the room. What most of us probably don’t know about Elaine is that she is an 8th generation native born Floridian, her nephew is 9th generation, and her great-nephew is 10th! Al says he’s an honorary Floridian as he graduated from the University of Florida, as did Chuck Bartling, who is also a native of the Sunshine State.
Community Service Grant Awards
Facilitator: Elaine Clemens, Community Service Committee chair
Elaine thanked the members of the Taste of Evanston and holiday sale fundraisers for raising money for her committee to donate. She explained the process of setting aside a third of the funds for requests that come up during the year, and two-thirds for grants. Each organization that was chosen to pursue as a potential grantee was interviewed by two committee members. The theme this year was mental health.
Evanston Scholars - Representative Steve Newman, founder.
Research suggests that by 2010, some 60 percent of jobs will require a college degree. Evanston Scholars works to improve college access for first-generation college entrants, low-income students, and students of color. This grant will fund a new Mental Health Initiative, which will integrate prevention into workshops and partner with local organizations.
Senior connections/SASI; Representatives Jeanie Ramsey, Executive Director, and Jonathan Tague, Senior Connections Program Manager.
The mission of Adults Staying in Their Homes (SASI) is to support the efforts of older adults who seek to remain in their homes. This grant will help the Senior Connections program, which addresses social isolation and depression by training and supporting the volunteers who visit senior citizens. Rotarians can help by volunteering or referring someone who would benefit from home visits.
Mental Health America of the North Shore; Representative Josefina Alvarez, Board President
Half of the people in Evanston who need care don’t get it, often because of stigma. MHA has been in Evanston since 1965, providing education and advocacy to reduce stigma. This grant will provide for a pilot program that will serve middle school students attending after-school programs at Family Focus, and their caregivers. Sessions will be focused on understanding and supporting mental health, signs to look for, and seeking help and recovery.
Erika’s Lighthouse; Representative Kristina Kins, Director of Outreach and Development
Erika’s Lighthouse: A Beacon of Hope for Adolescent Depression grew out of a parent’s response to a daughter’s tragic battle with depression. It is a premier provider of school-based awareness curricula and other resources. This grant will support outreach efforts that will impact the way students, teachers, and parents access and receive depression awareness materials. There is a free handbook on childhood and teen depression available on their website.
Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.); Representative Marianne Moberly, Chief Advancement Officer
Y.O.U. serves about 1,600 youth annually at 11 school-based sites, eight in Evanston and three in Skokie. They offer both culinary therapy and wilderness therapy, and start in the 3rd grade to address the whole child. Y.O.U. focuses on low-income youth, and this grant will help integrate clinical services into Y.O.U.’s free out-of-school-time counseling for about 300 youth, ages 8-18, attending Evanston’s  eight highest need schools.
The Josselyn Center; Representative Susan Resko,  President
The Josselyn Center provides mental health services that make lives better for clients, their families, and our community. The new clinical director recently engineered the intake process so that clients get an appointment within three days. This grant will help deliver affordable mental health services to approximately 60 Evanston residents who rely on the Josselyn Center for care.
Learning Bridge; Representative Jennifer Merdinger, Director of Philanthropy and Partnerships
Learning Bridge Early Education Center (LBEEC), formerly known as the Child Care Center of Evanston, strengthens families and communities by providing the highest quality, affordable, full-day learning experience for children. During the first three years of life, 90 percent of the brain develops, while only 18 percent of the body has developed. LBEEC is adopting a new framework for teachers called “Conscious Discipline” to support long-term mental health development for the most at-risk children. This grant will help establish the program. Jennifer showed us one of the tools LBEEC uses, an “Emotion Thermometer,” which helps young children identify their emotions. LBEEC is the only recipient this year serving very young children. They could use help from Rotarians who garden, and business people who could consult on grants.
Elaine thanked Steve Carlson for the Powerpoint and Kate Collinson for the beautiful certificates.
A report on the program was posted on Evanston Now.
Elaine Clemens (back row, far right) and agency representatives
Guests and Milestones
Visiting Rotarian
Patrick Mbullo, from the Kisumu Winam RC, prospective member
Other Guests
Claire McFarland Barber, founder of the Elder Law and Wellness Initiative non-profit, guest of Kathy Tate-Bradish
Patida C. Phanitkullawat “C” – our exchange student from Thailand
Steve Steiber, May 15
Club Anniversaries
These three outstanding and active Rotarians are celebrating one year with our club: Lucas Albright, Miguel Hernandez, and Suzy McNamara.
Carol Pandak, Rotary International chair of Polio Plus, 12 years