Meeting Recap – September 4
We had 30 members in attendance at this week’s meeting and one guest.  Eric Birkenstein brought his good friend and fellow Glencoe resident, Michael Karger.  It was Michael’s second visit.
Barb Tubekis announced that she is still collecting financial contributions for our efforts to honor our local (Winnetka and Northfield) police and fire departments on the 9/11 Remembrance.  The money will be used to buy edible treats for these public servants.  Next week is the deadline to make a contribution or bring some baked goods.  Barb said that after next week the committee will buy the goods and if any member wants to be involved in the delivery they should meet at the Community House at 3:00 next Thursday.  This project is being conducted in conjunction with the Volunteer Center.
Another event that our club is supporting relating to the remembrance of 9/11 is Hadley School’s program at the Winnetka Community House on September 12 with author Michael Hingson the featured speaker.  Mr. Hingson, who is blind, will explain how he, with the aid of his dog Roselle, helped to rescue occupants from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Our Rotary club will be one of the beneficiaries of this event along with The Winnetka Club and Hadley School for the Blind.  There will be two of Mr. Hingson’s books that will be on sale at the event.
President Bob announced that member extraordinaire, Rich Lalley, is now the Executive Director of Operation Warm.  For years Rich has been a big promoter of this organization, which our club has enthusiastically endorsed and financially supported.  Congratulations Rich!  Rich did say that from now till mid-December Operation Warm would be seeking contributions in order to buy warm coats for young children in need in the Chicago area.
Bob also announced that Tony Kambich and Robert Mardirrossian were celebrating the Rotary anniversaries this week – Tony’s 35th and Robert’s 20th.
The day’s program was presented by Lorrain Dillon, of an organization known as Right to Be Free.  This NGO was founded by an African social activist, Eric Peasah, in Ghana, West Africa.  His goal is to fight human trafficking in Ghana.  In Ghana the slavery generally involves children and women.  Women are used in the sex trade and the boys, as young as five years of age, are involved in working for fisherman.  Most of the child slaves have been sold by their own families.  These are families who are living in poverty and need the money, or who are convinced by the ‘buyers’ story that the children will go to school and learn a trade.  However, for these children, almost all boys, they are forced to work 14 hours a day, usually receive only one meager meal a day and are often physically abused.  Eric goes to the fisherman and tries to convince them to release the children.  He does not offer any money, but makes arrangements for the men to get better fishing equipment and, in some cases, become part of a cooperative to engage in fish farming.  Lori, who lives in Lake Forest, became deeply involved after she and her high school daughter accompanied Eric on one of his rescue missions in 2008.  She is now the president of Right to be Free.  After the children are rescued they are taken to a rehabilitation center in Ghana’s capital of Accra where they receive counseling, medical help, education and nutrition in preparation for being returned to their families.  They usually spend at least six months in the center.
Human trafficking is second only to the arms trade in terms of illicit money.  There are more slaves today than at any time in human history.  The $150 billion in profits exceeds drug traffic profits, even ISIS is involved in this “industry.”  Lori and Eric both feel that the problem will not be solved governments but by grassroots organizations like Right to be Free.  For more information as well as the video Lori showed you can check out the website:
Meeting Recap – August 28
There were no guests but 29 members attended this week’s meeting.
Kristen Leahy reminded the members about our community service project for the fall to support the special appreciation for our local fire and police departments on 9/11.  She encouraged members to make a monetary contribution so she and co-chair Barb Tubekis could purchase baked goods.  We were also given the option of providing personally baked goodies.
Another event that our club is supporting in remembrance of 9/11 is Hadley School’s program at the Winnetka Community House on September 12 with author Michael Hingson the featured speaker.  Mr. Hingson, who is blind, will recount his escape from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center on 911 with the aid of his dog Roselle.  Our Rotary club will be one of the beneficiaries of this event along with The Winnetka Club and Hadley School for the Blind.  There will be two of his books that will be on sale and that he will autograph.
President Bob announced that Kristen was celebrating her 1st anniversary of Rotary membership.
The club sang to John Thomas and Randy Reeves who were celebrating birthdays.  Bob Baker threw in $5 for his 5K run, while Robert Mardirossian contributed in recognition of the fine job that Tim McCabe and his WCH staff did at the “Last Blast of Summer.”  Tim, in turn, contributed in appreciation of the participation of Rotary and the other non-profits in this event.  Finally, John Thomas contributed a ‘happy buck’ for the fact that his pen of sentimental value was returned though his dollar gift probably exceeded the value of the pen.
Again this week, the President had to fill in for two of the four weekly jobs as he took care of Dig-n-Grin and Sgt-at-Arms.  Let us all remember that we only get these weekly assignments a few times a year.  If you are unable to attend the meeting make sure you find a substitute.  Perhaps trade with someone who is coming up on the list!
This week’s program consisted of two of our active members giving their autobiographies.  First up was Kristen Leahy, our youngest member.  She grew up as an only child in suburban St. Louis, but was more of a hockey fan than a baseball fan.  She attended an all-girls Catholic high school and loved it.  It is where she developed her strong social service motivation, which has led her to the work she is currently engaged in as the Director of the Winnetka Youth Organization.  She worked at the St. Louis zoo giving guided tours on the zoo’s train.  This experience helped her hone her ‘people skills.’  She majored in sociology and juvenile justice at DePaul University.  Before coming to the “YO” she did some vocational counseling in the Englewood area of Chicago.
Patti Van Cleave told us that she was a life-long resident of Winnetka as was her mother.  Early in her marriage she decided that she had to move back to Winnetka to so that her children could attend the schools in Winnetka and have the same great experience Patti had enjoyed as a youth.  She loves her job as the Executive Director of the Winnetka Historical Society, which she been at for the past 7 ½ years.  Patti is very proud of what the Historical Society has accomplished, its own permanent museum in the 1857 house at 411 Linden and the purchase of the 1850s Schmidt-Burnham log cabin, which it then had moved to the Crow Island woods.  The museum houses both permanent and rotating exhibits.  The have over 6000 artifacts and have the 3rd largest costume collection in the state.  The log cabin is used by school and scout groups who are lead through by appropriately costumed docents.
Our club is extremely proud of these two members who are serving their community in such fine fashion.