There were 28 members present.  Bob Baker presided over the meeting in John Thomas’ absence. The thought of the day was given by Eric Birkenstein who pointed out that Pakistan has been polio-free for almost a year and Afghanistan should be polio-free within the next year. Rotary has played a large part in achieving these milestones.
   Guests were Ishrath Khatoon from Private Bank (Connie Berman guest); Khalil Dana (Ned Meisner guest); and Rachel Schindler and Patti Balsis (David Birkenstein guests and speakers).
   ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Tim McCabe made the sad announcement that Gina Sich is leaving the WCH for another job opportunity in the sales area. People expressed their shock and dismay at hearing this news, as evidenced by the HB donated later on in Gina’s honor. Bob Baker said that the recent Rotary Benefit netted around $5000 and thanked all those who worked so hard on the event--especially Patti Van Cleave and Barb Tubekis. Rich Lalley mentioned that  the Rotary International Convention will be in Atlanta on June 10-14, 2017 and that there is a special registration fee of only $265 if paid between May 8 and June 6 of this year. Rotary will be celebrating its 100th anniversary then. There will be about 30,000 Rotarians there from all over the world. Patti mentioned that she intended to attend. Roger Morris made a statement about Dave Gotass to supplement those made by Tony  at our last meeting: Roger mentioned that David and Tony Kambich, after hearing of  young Uganda kids in  northern Uganda refugee camps being taken by Sudan rebels for child labor, headed up a small group of our Rotarians who contributed about $500 a piece to “buy” the freedom of 5 kids who were sent to Rotarians in Uganda who provided for their medical, housing and educational needs. Roger also mentioned how David had volunteered many years ago to help our Club develop its computer system that has served us very well over the years.
   BIRTHDAYS AND HAPPY BUCKS (HB): Birthdays were celebrated by David Grant, Fred Schwimmer, Patti Van Cleave and Heidi Sibert. Fred gave $100 in HB  mostly for his birthday, although he is only about 80% of that age, with the rest for the birthdays of his twin grandchildren. Patti donated $58 in celebration of her 58 years and Heidi applied the same formula for her HB celebrating her 59th birthday. Barb Tubekis gave HB for all the great work Gina has done for the Club and also for her son being safe on his flight yesterday to Egypt, even though he was not flying Egyptian Airlines. Connie Berman (who just completed her 14th year as a Rotarian) donated a HB in honor of Gina and also for her son recently getting a very good teaching job at Stevenson High School. Ned gave a HB because he will be visiting his grandchildren in Fresno, California. He also offered to forward an You Tube video to other Rotarians who would be interested in being updated on the religious persecution going on in Iran. Wes Baumann and our speaker, Patti Balsis, gave HB in honor of Gina.
   David Birkenstein handled the Dig N Grin assignment and then introduced Rachel Schindler from the American Cancer Society. Rachel said that this organization is one of the largest fund raising organizations in this country –and all of its services are provided free of charge. Examples of some of these services are: It has a National Information Center that is available to any cancer patient; it has a website that provides drivers for cancer patients needing rides to receive medical services; it has a program to provide free housing for patients having to stay out of town for treatments; it  provides free make-up services, primarily for women, who develop skin problems after cancer treatment; it has a program where it will assign a “cancer buddy” to help individuals cope with the disease; and it is sponsoring the Relay For Life Event which is a fund raising event in 24 different countries and most of our—such event is being held in the near future at New Trier High School.
    SPEAKER: Patti Balsis is a Chicago-based actor and model who grew up in the Chicago area and has been in this business for about 20 years, primarily doing commercials, industrial films, print work, voice overs, and being a working spokesperson for large companies. She admitted that she rarely watches TV or movies, but that she learns a lot from her students and watching people in everyday life and how they genuinely act. She explained how people get into this business and how they have to rely on modeling and talent agencies to get most of their work. Each person has to get a composite of their pictures, head shots, and in some cases voice tapes. But that  is the easy part of getting these jobs—auditions  usually are very numerous, time consuming, tedious and often unsuccessful. She said it is important to do research before the audition on the company involved, the product and the person they are to portray. She said that modeling is different from acting—modeling is captured on print, whereas acting is live and in motion. . She mentioned some of the stars in the industry with whom she has worked (including Morgan Freeman and Keena Reeves) and some of the local stars from Chicago, such as the Belushi brothers, Chris Farley and John Cusack.  Patti was recently on Chicago Med (a Chicago based TV series) where she played Skylar’s mother. She also showed  us a recent Sears commercial where she was told by her boss to give the “boot” to a co-worker in an advertisement for outdoor boots. Her 10 year old son David is also in the acting business with recent appearances in the TV series Chicago Fire and a TV commercial for Marie Callender’s Pot Pie. In addition to acting, Patti has her own business consulting and instructing others on such things as how to audition; how to build skills in the use of Ear Prompters; how to study, interpret and present scripts in auditions, etc. She said that the most important advice she could give most people in the business (and perhaps generally) is to get rid of a “frowney face”. As we get older a relaxed face tends naturally to form a frown. But with practice and a little discipline we could all carry a more pleasant look on our faces as we interact with other people.
   Patti said that most productions need “extras” who appear in street scenes, large meetings, etc. There usually is not much pay involved but there is a need for people of all ages, sizes, races, etc. If anyone is interested in appearing in a movie or TV as an extra, they can learn more by visiting Patti’s website ( or