Twenty-seven members, one guest and one visiting Rotarian attended the February 19 meeting.  Heidi Sibert brought Pawel Baginski, the new manager of Mariano’s in Northfield.  Mark Kotz’s guest was former member and Lake Forest Rotarian, Bill Leske.  Mark said that Bill had just resigned from BMO Harris and was going to be the manager of the First Bank & Trust in Skokie.
Marie Kuipers was presented with her second Paul Harris Fellow pin.  Thanks Marie, for the support of the Rotary International Foundation.
The Kids Against Hunger program got a plug from Heidi Sibert.  She reported that 306 persons were registered to work on the March 21st food-packing event at the Winnetka Community House.  We need at least 400 hundred workers to fill out the three shifts and could use as many as 500.  We could also use a few more sponsors.
President Bob asked that members who have potential speakers for our weekly meetings get the information to Ned Meisner or Mark Kotz, Program Co-chairs, and they will contact the person and do the scheduling.  This will avoid confusion and double booking.
On March 5th there will be a special menu featuring salmon at our regular meeting, which will feature renowned soloist, composer and director, Van Gilmer.  It is important to sign up next week, if you did not this week, if you plan to attend and especially if you will be bringing any guests.
Patti Van Cleave made a paid announcement advertising the Winnetka Historical Society’s Annual Luncheon to be held on March 4th.  Patti extended an invitation to the entire club.
Tim McCabe spoke of the devastating fire at the 90 year old Woman’s Club of Wilmette that virtually destroyed the entire building.  While the Community House will assist in providing space for programming, Tim’s concern was primarily for the caretaker of the building and his family as he lived in an apartment in the building.  He now has nowhere to live and no job.  If any member knows of work for this man contact Tim.
Ned Meisner contributed the week’s lone Happy Buck.
This week’s speaker was Meredith Kober, the Community Relations Manager of Lydia Home.  The Home is located on the northwest side of Chicago.  Their mission is “to strengthen families to care for children and care for children when families cannot.”  They also have a residential facility that houses around 40 children who have been abused or neglected.  Meredith mentioned that 80% of Illinois prisoners have spent time in foster care and that 20% of children in runaway shelters come directly from foster care.  In society today the average age for total independence from parents is 26; yet foster children reaching 18 years of age are regarded as independent.  There is a very high turnover in the area of professional caregivers who handle abused and neglected children.  The typical stay at Lydia Home is two years.
One of the programs they operate is the twelve-year-old “Safe Families for Children,” which is designed to provide a safe environment for children when the parents cannot perform their normal parental responsibilities.  These are not abused or neglected children, the parent may be in a rehab program, or they are being incarcerated.  They are placed in host families who volunteer to take care of the children with no remuneration from the state.
They also run Lydia Urban Academy offering teens a chance to earn an accredited non-traditional high school diploma that would allow the student to attend a two-year college.  This program is for kids having trouble in their own high school, where they are encountering academic or safety problems.  Many of these students will be involved in a work-study program.
The Lydia Home also offers counseling services on site and a “Learn and Care Preschool.”  For more information about the Lydia Home go to: