Posted by Keith Reed
   Chair Bob Baker called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Ken Drummet gave us the “thought of the day” and Terry Dason described the type of “jolly fella” that you should not leave in your house for very long after Christmas! Heidi Sibert introduced her guest--Mary Dryden, who is working with Heidi and learning the landscaping business. There were 17 members present and one on Zoom. 
   ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Rich announced that he was privileged to present our Club member Robert Mardirossian a Harris Fellow “plus 7” award along with two red stones.  Robert was given a rousing applause for this generous gift and Robert replied by saying that it was easy for him to give these amounts not only to honor the Club but to honor members of his family and friends he has made over the years through his Club membership. 
   BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES: Bob announced that birthdays were recently celebrated by Jean Wright, Bob Sanfilippo and Markie Gekas.  He also announced that Jean Wright has been a Club member for 31 years, Markie Gekas for 26 years and Chuck Norton for 26 years (which included two terms as Club President). 
   HAPPY BUCKS: Happy Bucks were given for some unusual reasons—Bob said he thought Barb was doing a great job with our lunch arrangements and food quality; other members mentioned the nice “silverware” and the cups and water available in the room; and Moha gave in celebration of the Northwestern Men’s BB victory over Illinois and that the Big Ten will no longer have to contend with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh!! 
   GUEST SPEAKER TRACY MCKEITHENExecutive Director of Family Promise Chicago (herein also referred to as FPC). 
   The address of this organization is Family Promise CNS P.O. Box 484, Glencoe Illinois 60022 and its website is “” in case you want more information on this very active and important organization. 
   FPC helps families with young children find stability and new homes.  Last year FPC also helped 1000 individuals.  FPC has been performing these services since 2010 to help families who are homeless (or at risk of being homeless) to get back on their feet and provide stable lifestyles for their children.  In the past traditional shelters would require men and older male children to be separated from mothers and small children but FPC provides shelters for the whole family. 
   FPC offers families a daytime location with a mailing address and a place for their children to get picked up for school.  Presently they have approximately 28 local church congregations and other organizations who help the FPC program, some of which actually provide living accommodations for the needy. Last year FPC received over 700 calls to help house needy families and to address the cause of their homelessness by providing supportive services, workshops and counseling to help such families develop a stabilization plan to prepare for their independence. 
   Tracy said that about 50% of their services are provided in Evanston and the rest in nearby suburbs.  She has been associated with FPC since 2009 and has led the organization since 2023. It provides food, shelter, sleeping facilities, education and work training to its participants. It intervenes with landlords to help keep the needy from being displaced without cause; it provides summer camps for the children of working parents; it provides information about tenants’ rights and responsibilities, how to avoid eviction, how to do “life skills” functions such as use of laundry equipment, and how to save some money for emergencies.   
   One very active area for training is home nursing care for seniors and the infirmed. Many of the women at FPC train to be nursing aides which has a starting salary of around $12 an hour, but in Evanston a person needs to make at least $16 an hour to support a family. FPC arranges for training for these people to become certified nursing assistants (pay is closer to $16 per hour) or patient care technicians (which pays $23 an hour).  FPC is also active in training women to perform manufacturing jobs (which usually have more fringe benefits). 
   The FPC handout at the Rotary meeting best summarized its function where it stated that it is “much more than an in-shelter, temporary housing program”-- that it concentrates on being a “homelessness diversion & prevention program” -- a “financial literacy training” program and all resulting into a-- “Post-shelter support” program to “keep our families stable”. 
After the Q and A period, the meeting was adjourned around 1:30 pm with the recitation of the Rotary 4-Way Test.