Posted by Keith Reed

Co-chairs Patti and Barb presided. There were 15 members present and 3 on Zoom. One year old Selah and 3 year old Lissette also attended with their parents, Natalie and James Crockett, the speakers for the program.


BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES: Pat O’Day birthday on Feb. 12; Jeanne Beckman birthday on Feb. 23; and Felicia O’Malley birthday on Feb. 24. Tom Nash 9 years in Club as of Feb. 13; Rick Boerjesson 5 years in Club as of Feb. 22.


ANNOUNCEMENTS: Everyone was reminded of our Kids Against Hunger project set for this coming Saturday in Matz Hall and that we still need volunteers for set up on Friday and clean up on Saturday. This year our donation will go to Syria as opposed to Nicaragua, as in past years.


DIG N GRIN: Heidi Sibert did a great job in conducting a Q & A session with prizes given for correct responses. Liz , Moha and John Zeddies were some of the lucky winners! Some of the information reported was that the front page of the Club’s newsletter states that we are a “people of passion”: and Rich noted that 118 years ago today, the Rotary Club held its first membership meeting in the office of Chicago attorney Paul Harris.


SPEAKERS NATALIE AND JAMES CROCKETT FROM C24/7 Father’s Arms Ministries (located at 1543 Howard Street, Unit 1, Chicago, Illinois 60626.) Website is

James started by explaining that he grew up on Chicago’s southside in a fairly typical Black family. He had several siblings (at least 3 of them died young), the Father was not at home much, his Mother was a strong person of faith who provided for her family on a very modest income and was very supportive of her children in an effort to keep them from using drugs and at the same time encouraging them to be active in the Church. Notwithstanding the good efforts of his Mother, James did fall off the rail during his teenage years, got involved in gang activity and ended up spending 7 ½ years in prison. It was at that time he realized that he wanted to turn his life around to correct some of the problems he was observing in families in his community. Such problems as men searching for hope; children running the streets without direction; women needing support to raise their children; families going without food; and neighbors living in fear of violence and gang activity.

James then dedicated his life to being the “arms of a father to his community”. His organization C24/7 (Fathers Arms Ministries) was formed to learn about the needs of the community, to bring hope, care, safety, and purpose to those neighbors in need. This was done through “three pillars”—after school programs for high risk students to learn and grow spiritually, educationally and emotionally; a job development program providing job readiness skills and support to those seeking employment; and providing weekly men’s and women’s Bible studies, communal open gym time, counseling sessions and street ministry to help their neighbors cope with gang violence, teen drug use and to realize that these kids and young adults are loved and embraced by the ”arms of a loving father.”

Currently, C24/7 operates in a 500 square foot building at 1543 Howard Street; it has over 30 after school students using its programs and facility; it also provides a mental health program for the students as well as a well attended art program. It recently has teamed up with about 50 New Trier High School students who every Saturday morning collect food and other donations at Grand Foods (Winnetka) to be sent to the C24/7 operation. Currently, it gets about 60% of its funding from individual donors, 20% from area churches and the rest from foundations.