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Upcoming Events
A Site of Struggle
Block Museum - Northwestern University
May 27, 2022
5:00 PM – 6:15 PM
Club Service Committee - Zoom
Jun 08, 2022
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
ELRC Last Meeting of the 2021-22 Board
Jun 22, 2022
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Installation of 2022-23 Board - Dinner on June 26
Lovelace Park
Jun 26, 2022
5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Club Service Committee - Zoom
Jul 13, 2022
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
View entire list
The Light for May 24, 2022
The Light for May 24, 2022
By Kathy Tate-Bradish
President Linda Gerber welcomed us to the 46th meeting of this Rotary year. MaLu Simon read “Why We are Rotarians” and quoted Eleanor Roosevelt for the Thought for the Day: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” This Memorial Day, we celebrate our deepest gratitude to the men and women who gave their lives so Americans can be free. It’s our responsibility to honor their sacrifice and protect that freedom. 
Linda Gerber -  On Monday, May 23, International Service Committee members Patrick Mbullo, Pram Chakraborty, Bruce Baumberger, Harold Bauer, Don Gwinn, Albert Menard, Ann Searles and Linda Gerber approved three grant proposals. They were joined by prospective member Jose Lopez, and friends from Rotary Clubs in Mexico - Enrique Dominguez and Analy Castaneda. The three grants approved on Monday bring the number of 2021-22 ISC grants to 14. 
Planting 100,000 trees in Kenya, brought to us by Patrick Mbullo.
Building beds and cubbies for a new girls’ dorm at the Ak' Tenamit School in Guatemala, proposed and built by Don Gwinn.
Water for Life in Mexico - Women building cisterns in the dry central region of the state of Guanajuato. The all-women Rotary Club of Irapuato Internacional is training women to build water tanks hooked up to rain catchment systems; proposed by Heart 2 Heart; championed by Sue Patel.
A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence -How has art been used to protest, process, mourn, and memorialize anti-Black violence within the United States?  On Friday, May 27, at 5 p.m., we are invited to Northwestern University’s Block Museum at 40 Arts Circle Drive. We will be met by the exhibit curator, Janet Dees. After a self-guided tour, we will join Janet in conversation to consider how the exhibition explores intersections of race, violence, visual culture, and history, and what the arts can bring to a national conversation about racial justice. Let Linda know if you can come. Also, join the group for dinner at Reza’s afterwards. Please let Katherine Peterson know if you intend to join them for dinner so an appropriate seating can be obtained.
Katherine announced that an invitation for the upcoming Installation Dinner has been sent to all members, including registration and details.  Food by Hecky’s and dessert by C&W’s new ice cream truck will be provided at Lovelace Park on Sunday, June 26, at 5:30 p.m.  Please bring your own chair, beverages, and cups, and be reminded that alcoholic beverages are prohibited in Evanston city parks. Everyone, including significant others, are welcome.  Please use the link in the Club Runner communication to register, and reach out to Club Service with questions.
Don Gwinn announced that we have two workdays at the EDC house on Jackson on June 4 and June 11 (if needed).  He is looking for volunteers for two-hour shifts each of those days, starting at 9 a.m.  The task will be painting the apartment.  With enough volunteers, we can finish on June 4.  Please contact Don ( with your availability.
Kristin Brown talked about Rotary Fellowships, which are an additional way that Rotarians connect beyond the club. Kristin is a member of Cycling to Serve, with Edwin Velarde, who is cycling to Houston for the Rotary International Convention. Don Gwinn joined them Friday for a warmup ride, with Jean Saunders and Jackie Mack.  Another fellowship Kristin belongs to is the Rotary wine appreciation fellowship, with Hillary Hufford-Tucker and Marisa Naujokas.
Ann Weatherhead thanked everyone who signed the petition in support of the purchase of the Margarita Inn by Connections for the Homeless to allow bridge housing.
Topic: 2021-22 Community Service Grants
Community Service Chair Steve Goranson welcomed everyone to the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club Community Grant Awards Presentation.
The Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club is pleased to announce the 2021-22 grants to local projects and organizations.  The funds for these and other Club programs, scholarships, and exchanges were raised primarily through the annual Holiday Sale of plants, nuts, citrus, and hams by Rotary Club members, and the club’s annual Taste of Evanston event.  This year’s Taste of Evanston will be held on Sunday, September 18, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Evanston History Center (a/k/a The Dawes House) on the Evanston lakefront.  Additional funds are raised through member and friends’ donations, as well as other club fundraising efforts.
Childcare Network of Evanston
Home Visiting Environmental Education Program
Executive Director Carol Teske thanked the ELRC for funding to purchase books, plants, little watering cans, and other gardening tools to allow young children to have an opportunity to grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Since Head Start focuses on the most vulnerable families, access to a garden is new for most of them.
Evanston Public Library
Green STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Summer Activities
Engagement Services Manager Jill Skwerski oversees staff who work outside the walls of the library. They focus on the south and west sides of Evanston, using their mobile truck and book bikes with a full-service mini library starting June 1. STEM and STEAM events help address the “summer slide” – even reading just one or two books helps. They will give out STEM and STEAM kits such as biodegradable pollinator plant pods – kids can plant their own garden anywhere. There will be an opportunity to help create 1000 peace cranes, wind powered pin wheels, and other activities to keep kids active and engaged in the summer. 
Evanston Scholars
Mental Health Initiative
Kay Israelite, Director of Development, explained that the Evanston Scholar program provides success support for families and students who are the first to go to college and/or come from a low-income background. The average graduation rate for these groups is only 11%; but 83% of Evanston Scholars graduate! They offer one-to-one support in high school, during college, and offer career support as well.
The ELRC initiative is to strengthen the mental health component of the program. There will be a new mentoring component, expanded office hours, and a revamped mental health curriculum. They will be matching the next class of scholars with mentors, and ELRC members are encouraged to apply.
Evanston Work Ethic (WE)
Summer Internship
Joy and Chris Joyce reported on Executive Director Lynn Weiss’s behalf. ELRC will fund a summer internship for an ETHS rising senior. Internships span such workplaces as hospitals, auto shops, bakeries, etc. It’s an opportunity for work-based learning. Students can explore a promising career path and get a head start on saving. Some previous interns have been able to secure jobs they’ll start upon graduation. It helps them gain some of the soft skills that prepare them for a career. Linda added that the WE program was started by Hecky Powell, and ELRC was among the first funders.
Family Focus Evanston
Foster Street Urban Agriculture Program
David Chappell, Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, explained that the ELRC grant will help fund the Foster Street Urban Agriculture Program, partnering with the Evanston Food Exchange. Urban agriculture involves producing, cooking, selling at the Evanston Farmer’s Market. The students will learn about food preservation to leadership development and team building. The program has about 40 kids, and more than 100 people will benefit.  Ms. Joann Avery runs the program with Ann Sills of the Evanston Food Exchange.
Fifteen non-profits are housed in the Family Focus building, which is the historic Foster School. There will be a meeting of the City of Evanston Community Development Committee to discuss a three-million-dollar grant to update the building on June 21. They would appreciate support from Rotary.
Ms. Joann Avery, Program Coordinator, said ELRC members should come to the center and see what it’s all about. She told us that Bryant Wallace comes in and talks to the kids and asks them about their hopes and dreams. Rebeca Mendoza came in with a whole team and reorganized the room.
Ann Sills reported that there is a new organization in Evanston - Evanston Grows – – a collaborative collective of people who are growing food in Evanston. Growing more food, educating youth, and expanding the inspiration we could give children.
Please visit them at 2010 Dewey, Family Focus Our Place Evanston. The Garden workdays are Wednesday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. and Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. -12 noon. Their summer program begins in June and the garden is planted and ready for campers. Volunteers are welcome! The Farmstand will begin in June and is located between Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center and Family Focus.
Girls Play Sports
Support of Youth Advisory Board Leadership Program
Associate Executive Director Mary Collins explained that Girls Play Sports is an organization that focuses on providing access and bridging the opportunity gap for girls and children that identify as girls, with leadership development and confidence building using sports as a vehicle. ELRC is funding the new Youth Advisory Board, which is comprised of 10 girls from different grades, schools, and sports. The girls have charted their own course with communication, team building, problem solving, styles of leadership, etc. Going into their second year, they are adding seven new members. There is built-in sustainability because of the different grade levels. Our grant will pay for supplies, space, and staff time. As an aside, Cherie Animashaun, our Empower Girls Ambassador, is a member of that advisory group.
Kids Create Change
Exhibition and Workshop Programs
Melissa Raman Molitor, Founding Director
Angela Lyonsmith, Director
Kids Create Change is a non-profit organization that utilizes art-based storytelling to promote social and emotional development, cultural awareness, and social justice learning in young people. They create spaces that center relationship-building and are rooted in healing-centered engagement by activating the wisdom, history, and lived experiences of Black, brown, and indigenous people and individuals who are marginalized due to their social identities.
The ELRC grant will be funding their exhibition program. They have a community art studio and gallery called Studio 3 at 617C Grove Street (alley entrance). They do an ongoing series of exhibitions and workshops that explore self-care and social justice, and center the voices, art, and stories of young Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people who experience marginalization due to their social identities, such as gender, sexual identity, or neurodivergence. They are increasing equity and inclusion in Evanston.
Join Kids Create Change at a community Lantern Floating Ceremony as part of ASPA (Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander American) month. Tuesday evening, May 31, at 7 p.m. at the lagoon at Dawes Park.There will be many ways for Rotary to collaborate with Kids Create Change, and Melissa suggested the gallery space as a possible off-site location for meetings.
Learning Bridge Early Education Center
Good Food Garden Project
David Wolf, Director of Development
Learning Bridge is a pre-Kindergarten early education center that provides equitable access to high-quality early learning in a caring and safe environment, so that every child thrives. They offer a full-day experience, which means that parents don’t have to leave work early, they can have a full workday. More than 75% of the children come from low-income households, and the programming at Learning Bridge is shown to be exceptionally effective for kids coming from that background.
The ELRC grant will be used to purchase gardening supplies, such as plants, compost, mulch, buckets, and tools for little hands. The children will participate in planting, caring for, and harvesting the plants, and eating the fruit and vegetables from the garden. There will be many lessons learned, such as planning, organizing, patience – it takes 90 days to grow a carrot! – and teamwork. It will bring environmental awareness, as well.
David mentioned that he saw several opportunities for collaboration with other non-profits as he listened to the other speakers.
Rainbows for All Children:
Volunteer Facilitator Training & Support
Blair Findlay, Development Manager
Rainbows is an Evanston-based non-profit that also operates in 40 states and 13 countries. They believe that, yes, children are resilient if they’re given the tools to cope with their grief and loss in order to heal. Rainbows trains volunteer facilitators to lead peer support groups for children going through a major loss. That could be a death in the family, divorce, deployment, incarceration, anything that separates them from their primary caretaker, or any major trauma.
Because peer support is key in social-emotional learning, Rainbows trains facilitators to lead support groups for these youth. A big roadblock in Evanston is the perception that because Rainbows is headquartered here there are plenty of facilitators. Through the ELRC grant to fund more facilitators, Rainbows will waive the $160 fee for any Rotarians who would like to be trained. The training is online, takes eight hours, and gives all of the tools and resources needed to facilitate groups for children ages 3 – 18 healing from grief and loss. Thank you to Rotarians who showed up to help with the alley clean-up last weekend.
The rich post-meeting discussion is largely captured within the descriptions of the grantees’ presentations. President Linda mentioned that the club is open to new members, and many of the organizations that we support also have ELRC members as volunteers, board members, and participants in other ways. She asked how Rotary can be of use to them. President-nominee Bryant Wallace said he was astonished by the work of the non-profits and encouraged them to ask us about Rotary – the possibilities for collaboration are endless. Harold Bauer dreams of connecting local kids to kids internationally through our work in other countries.