Sargeant at Arms
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WELCOME TO ROTARY CLUB OF CHICAGO FINANCIAL DISTRICT
We meet for lunch each Thursday at 12:00 Noon
at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Boulevard, in the heart of Chicago's Financial District.
PLEASE NOTE: Business Casual Attire is required when visiting any U.L.C. facility. Men must wear a collared shirt (including turtleneck) with slacks and women must wear slacks or skirt with blouse or sweater. (NO JEANS OR ATHLETIC SHOES ARE ALLOWED)
The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
- High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
- The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;
- The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
LINK TO NEWS FROM ROTARY INTERNATIONAL
-------- CLUB NEWS! --------
ROTARY SMART – ART FOR KIDS!
February 27, 2014
“We have finally reached the point where we can publically announce a pilot program designed to help reintroduce art programs to select Chicago Schools where arts programs have been lost due to funding cuts”… announced Cliff Harstad, President of Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District. Although an official name for the project is yet to be determined, we have been referring to it as “Rotary Smart – Art For Kids”, which is a joint effort of the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District and University of Chicago Smart Museum. “We hope that once the pilot program has been honed, other potential sponsors will jump in to help expand the program to more schools”… said Harstad. Those working to develop the curriculum describe it as a novel and affordable way to introduce the arts to elementary age students.
The Rotary CFD Board of Director’s recently approved enough funding to introduce a pilot program into two Chicago schools: Frazier International (Pulaski & Roosevelt) and another, soon to be announced.
From a seed planted by Cliff, we began to explore for affordable ways to bring Arts education back into select Chicago area schools. Education in the various arts has been virtually eliminated in many city schools as budget woes continue to escalate. On a personal level, many realize how important the various art forms can be to developing minds. This opinion was echoed in a New York Times opinion article last fall. Click here to read the article: Art Makes You Smart - NYTimes.com
The Pilot program has been designed for 3rd graders at Frazier International (Pulaski & Roosevelt) and another, yet to be determined school. In summary, the program outline looks like this:
1. Participating Students will be provided an introductory visit to Smart Museum for a specially designed docent tour of the facility and introduce the students to art and this project.
2. The museum visit will be followed by 2X per week for 5 weeks of in school hands-on projects conducted jointly by an artist and a classroom teacher.
3. The program ends with a return visit to the Museum and a “concluding ceremony” for the students.
Parents will likely be encouraged to attend the ceremony. Our current estimate of cost is $2,500 per school. Assuming 35 students, that comes to $71.00 per student for 5 weeks of instruction and 2 visits to the Smart Museum.
Our first goal is to successfully complete the Pilot Program. From there, we hope to expand the program to other schools and include music, dance and theater in the mix. But, in order to expand, we need to find ways to encourage other Rotary Clubs and/or Businesses to sponsor individual schools. We are searching for ways to make this happen and need help to create a short video about the program and advice on how to market the program to others. If you would like to help… or have questions about the project, please contact Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District via this email address: email@example.com
Rotarians... All For One and
One For All!
Feb 23, 2014
Just because the Rotary Club you belong to isn't the official "Host" or "Partner" of an International Project doesn't mean you can't get enveloped with Rotary Spirit and share a bit of sweat equity with someone else's project. Rotarian John Schwandke, who spends his winter months living near Playa del Carmen Mexico, recently learned that a newly constructed Red Cross Hospital in Playa del Carmen faced a predicament similar to one addressed last year by the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District for a Red Cross Hospital in Puebla. The dilemma being... "Now that we were finally able to build a new hospital, where can we get the equipment to fill it?" In July of last year, Rotary CFD in partnership with the Puebla Mirador Rotary Club, delivered a semi-truckload of medical supplies that had been donated by Chicago area hospitals and clinics to the Red Cross Hospital in Puebla. Now the question became... "Could Rotary Clubs in and around Playa del Carmen duplicate the same feat for their hospital?"
Schwandke approached the" Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside" about the idea and they immediately jumped at the opportunity to act as the "Host Club" for the effort. They are currently seeking other area Club's who would like to partner with a "District Simplified Grant". The Denver Rotary Club has expressed interest in becoming the International Partner and is pursuing participation by their District 5450 as well. The goal is to raise $20,000 US Dollars, which will provide the funding needed to deliver an estimated $400,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies to the Playa del Carmen Hospital later this summer. The equipment itself comes from a non-profit organization named "Project C.U.R.E." which is located in Denver Colorado and acts as a "pass through" for equipment donations from hospitals throughout the United States. "We pay nothing for the donated equipment"... says Schwandke, "only for the fees charged by Project CURE, to help cover the costs for receiving, inspecting, categorizing, handling, packaging, documentation, and actual shipping cost. That is how we are able to deliver medical equipment valued at $400,000 for the fractional cost of $20,000."
A tour of the facility was provided earlier this month so potential sponsors (see photo to right) could meet the staff and learn first hand of their needs. As the visitors gathered in the hospital’s inviting lobby they were welcomed by Red Cross Board of Directors member Teresa Jiménez Rodriguez and Administrative Director Horacio Moreno Trinidad, who conducted the tour. As the visitors moved from area to area they were impressed by the design of the new facility, but also by the need for beds, equipment, and other supplies that they need to serve the community effectively.
The morning’s big highlight was meeting with the Red Cross’ youth group, who were assembled in their meeting room on the second floor. The young peoples’ infectious enthusiasm for their Red Cross involvement was obvious, especially when the visitors were greeted with chants that sounded like cheers at an American college football game that led the Rotarians to burst into a round of applause.
The tour concluded with a question and answer session led by John Schwandke and Seaside Rotary President Doug Morgan. Visiting Rotarians learned more about the project, and were asked to return to their respective Clubs and solicit additional support.
Additional information about this Rotary/Red Cross initiative can be obtained by contacting Project Chairman Bob Hyde of the Playa del Carmen Seaside Rotary Club at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Club welcomes visiting Rotarians from Europe
After hearing the stories of what brought our distinguished guests from Ukraine (Crimea) and Germany (Munich) to Chicago, our President exchanged club banners with the visitors. We also heard from community leader and author Robert Beezat presenting his book "Knowing and Loving; The Keys to Real Happiness."
Preventative medicine expert Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones
The club had a delightful speaker presentation on 2/13. Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern, gave an interactive talk on “Life’s Simple 7: The Fountain of Youth.” He began by quizzing us on trends in heart disease (down), nutrition (better), and exercise (the more the better). Life’s Simple 7 are basically seven things we can pay attention to prevent heart disease: blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, smoking status, healthy weight, physical activity and healthy diet. As we tucked into our ULC lunch, we were minded of foods to avoid, things to take in moderation, and other healthy lifestyle habits.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones has been actively involved with Chicago Public Schools and the City’s chief public health officer, to identify behaviors that could lead to heart and to advice on making better nutrition available to those who need it, especially in the inner city.
This was a great way to recognize that February is National Heart Disease Prevention month, and thinking of our hearts on the eve of Valentine’s Day!
John Notz Provides Insight about Chicago's Graceland Cemetery
January 16, 2014
Former Trustee, Vice President and Chairman of Graceland Cemetery’s Marketing Committee, John Notz, was our guest speaker today and shared a unique perspective about the landscaping elements of this famous historic site. If you have never toured Graceland, it is the permanent resting place for many of Chicago’s most famous families and listed as a “must see” on the list of Chicago Architectural Tours. He announced that a film based on a paper he wrote about one of the landscape designers of Graceland and the “Father of the Steel Skyscraper”, William Le Baron Jenney, will be shown at Chicago’s Alliance Francaise (810 N Dearborn St.) on April 8th at 6:30 PM. A reception will follow. The event is open to the public and there is no charge for admission.
DISTRICT 4180 ANNOUNCES DATE FOR ROTARY PROJECT FAIR IN PUEBLA MEXICO
Posted November 30, 2013
A recent communique from District 4180 Governor Alejandro Davila Valdes, states that next year’s Puebla Rotary Project Fair will be held on January 30, 31, and February 1, 2014 in the city of Puebla. The event provides a venue for Rotary Clubs from all over Mexico to gather in one place to showcase Humanitarian Projects in hopes of finding Rotary Clubs to partner with.
Puebla is a Mexican state with approximately 9 million people. Puebla, the Capital City, is centrally located about 2 hours drive south from Mexico City and is rich in its heritage. Rotary District 4180 rolls out the red carpet for visiting Rotarians as they share meals and provide tours of the area. You can scroll down this page to see stories provided by District 6450 Rotarians who have attended past Project Fairs.
Originally a part of the Latin American Project Fair, Mexico realized the need to create their own independent event. The first two fairs were held in the Colonial City of Oaxaca and Rotary CFD member John Schwandke was among the first Americans to attend. In an effort to encourage more attendance from District 6450 Rotarians, Governor Pat Merryweather, along with Chicago O'Hare member David Woodcock and wife Marisella, joined Schwandke at this year's Project Fair in Puebla to learn more about how they function. Project Fairs provide a forum for Rotarians from different countries to meet and explore a large variety of projects that have already been identified, but lack an International Partner to qualify for a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. There were 42 booths at this year’s Fair, all manned by individual Rotary Clubs from around Mexico and equipped with sophisticated displays that provided detailed information about their projects. In addition to participation by Rotarians from the United States and South America, at least two Districts brought their DDF Committees in tow to allow for approval of matching grant applications right there at the Fair.
After this second year repeat in Puebla, it is rumored that the 2015 Project Fair will be held in Veracruz. Mark your calendars now if you would like to attend Puebla Project Fair 2014. The dates are January 30, 31, and February 1, 2014. For more information, contact Rotary CFD International Projects Chairman John Schwandke at email@example.com
40+ District 6450 Rotary Clubs Make Commitment of Aide to Disaster Sites in Philippines and Washington Illinois
Response from Rotary Clubs to help thousands of families made homeless by recent storms has been heartwarming. Already more than 40 Clubs from District 6450, including Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District, have committed to assist with Shelter Boxes for the Philippines and monetary aid to support work already in progress there.
ShelterBox has been working relentlessly with Rotarians in the Philippines since November 9th to provide emergency shelter and relief to communities affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan, the largest recorded storm to reach landfall. You can read more about the emergency relief appeal and visit the Announcements section of Rotary.org for updates as more information becomes available. A "Shelter Box" contains a tent for up to ten people, with blankets, cooking equipment and other basic supplies. One box can be provided for a donation of $1,000. Some Rotary Clubs are able to donate one or more boxes and others have partnered with another Club to donate a box. Anyone can donate directly to ShelterBox.org in any amount.
Aid for the Washington Illinois Tornado is centered on cash donations to increase funding for work already in progress. Gary Deiters of the Rotary Club of Washington is serving as the Rotary Point Person for relief in the Washington area. Gary indicated that the biggest need at the moment is cash donations. Those wanting to help can send donations to the Washington Rotary Club, 2075 Washington Road, Washington IL. 61571.
Currently there are no opportunities to volunteer. All slots for clean-up activity are filled and there is a substantial waiting list. If this changes and volunteers are needed, the District will put out a call for help. For more information you can click here: District 6450 News
Rotary Foundation Receives Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator!
The Rotary Foundation earned a 4-star rating from www.charitynavigator.org/
, the largest and most prestigious independent evaluator of nonprofits in the United States. The 4-star rating, the highest that Charity Navigator awards, recognizes sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Charity Navigator evaluates thousands of nonprofits each year, and only one of four earns 4 stars.
This year’s top distinction marks the Foundation’s sixth straight, placing it in the top 3 percent of U.S.-based charities. In a letter to the Foundation, Ken Berger, the president of Charity Navigator, wrote, “This ‘exceptional’ designation differentiates The Rotary Foundation from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.” Some of the ways that Rotarians worldwide provide continuing support to their Foundation by becoming Paul Harris Fellows, Sustaining Paul Harris Members, Benefactors, Bequest Society Members and/or Targeted Major Donors. You can find more details about giving to The Rotary Foundation by clicking this link: Rotary Giving.
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District is a 100% Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member Club, which means that every dues-paying member personally gives $100 or more to the Annual Fund.
Two Honored Guests in One Day!
Posted Oct. 17, 2013 by J Schwandke
Pictured at right is Rotary CFD President Cliff Harstad exchanging Club Banners with Dirk Hermans of the Bree-Bocholt Belgium Rotary Club. Dirk, who is on a month long work/hobby sojourn in the United States is a writer, editor and owner of his own publishing company. As a long time Rotarian, Dirk's mission on this trip is to gather information for a book he is writing about the history of Rotary International... but, the story he plans to write comes from a different angle than those in the past and includes personal visits to each of the first ten Rotary Clubs that comprise the early beginnings of Rotary International. From here, he is off to Minneapolis, but Dirk was grateful to have had the opportunity of share a table with Rotary CFD Club Historian Dennis Gorman today, who was able to
fill in some blanks for Dirk, especially regarding the resurrection of Paul Harris' original office which has become one of the most sought after attractions for those visiting Rotary Headquarters in Evanston. Click here: http://www.rotaryfirst100.org/711/
It was also a treat to hear from today's guest speaker Bill Obenshain (pictured at left with Rotary CFD's Vickie Dorgan) and Adjunct Professor Andy Bateman's presentation regarding DePaul University's new Master of Science in Wealth Management degree. Bill is the Executive Director of DePaul University's Center for Financial Services and his straightforward presentation was enlightening to say the least.
You can get a glimpse of DePaul's new program by clicking this link: http://www.depaul.edu/university-catalog/degree-requirements/graduate/business/wealth-management-ms/
Puebla Mexico Rotarians visit Chicago Rotarians
Posted by J Schwandke - October 10, 2013
During the first week of October 2013, five members of Rotary Club Puebla Mirador and their wives came to say "thank you" to their Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District friends and project partners. Rotary CFD member John Schwandke first met these visiting Rotarians in January of 2012 while attending the Rotary Project Fair in Oaxaca Mexico. Relationships were forged that resulted in Rotary CFD acting as the International Partner for three different humanitarian projects with Rotary Clubs from Puebla, Teziutlan, Zihuatanejo, Chicago O'Hare, and Bellevue Washington. This summer, Rotary CFD partnered directly with Rotary Club Puebla Mirador to send a semi-truck load of medical equipment and supplies to a Red Cross Hospital in central Puebla. The project was such a huge success, that we hope to repeat similar projects, this time using multiple Rotary Clubs from Districts 6450 and 4180, to provide medical equipment to other locations where a need exists. In a nutshell... all of the equipment being shipped is donated by Chicago area hospitals and clinics. There is no cost for the equipment itself. The only costs are those having to do with the inspection, preparation and packaging of the equipment... , plus shipping cost. By forming an alliance between multiple Rotary Clubs and applying available grants... the cost per Club is minimal.
In addition to visiting numerous tourist sites around the city, our visitors were able to meet with Rotarians from numerous District 6450 Clubs and tour Rotary International Headquarters in Evanston. Pictured below you can see them posing with Gregory Franks, R.I's Supervisor of Club and District Support for the America's... attending the "Hispanic Heritage Celebration and Welcoming Party" hosted by the Rotary Club of Chicago Little Village... and touring Rush Hospital, with help from the Rotary Club of Illinois Medical District Chicago. Also, we give a special "tip of the hat" to our friend David Woodcock, from the Chicago O'Hare Club, for providing "hands on help" above and beyond the call of duty. We thank all who played a role in helping to host our visitors from Rotary Club Puebla Mirador. Our friends are very appreciative of the warm reception they received.
Zihuatanejo Mexico Ambulance Project Completed!
Posted August 26, 2013
We are pleased to announced completion of the Zihuatanejo Ambulance Project that provided a defibrillator, monitors and other sophisticated equipment for an ambulance serving all of Zihuatanejo and the surrounding area. The project was introduced at February's Puebla Project Fair by Zihuatanejo Rotary Club member Gloria Victoria Ortiz Espinosa, who can be seen standing in the center of these photos wearing a striped blouse. Total cost for the project was $21,665... but because the project was taking place at the end of the year, budgets were tight, and it took the cooperation of four Rotary Clubs in three different Districts to get the job done. The partnering Rotary Clubs were Zihuatanejo, Bellevue Washington, Chicago O'Hare and Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District. You can read about the beginnings of the project by scrolling further down the page and reading about the Puebla Mexico Project Fair.
Paying it Forward
Posted: August 22, 2013
by J. Schwandke
Designed to help disadvantaged high school students gain access to college,
recent grads who have experienced the program now pass their experiences on to the next generation of graduates at 22 different area high schools. As Adviser Representatives of the "Illinois College Advising Corps", Maritza del Real, Iliana Miranda and Jeremie Perez were present at today's Rotary CFD meeting to explain how the program works. Members of the "Advising Corp" have real-life experience in gaining access to colleges and therefore can truly relate to the high school students they serve. You can learn more by clicking this link: http://icac.uillinois.edu/mission-vision
What Do 4,000 "Supplies for Dreams"
Backpacks Look Like?
posted August 20, 2013
This is an update to an earlier story (scroll down) about University Student Nicole Bronnimann's "Supplies For Dreams" Project. Rotary CFD member John Robinson reports... "We packed over 4000 backpacks for this great project, in just a couple of hours at the Northwestern Norris Center on Saturday. They will be distributed to Chicago Public Schools where a need exists."
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Posted August 8, 2013
Our guest speaker today was Rotary Interact Student Sarah Dynia, a 2013 recipient of the “Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award.” Having founded the charity organization “Stuffed Love” as a 13 year old in 2010, Sarah is not your typical teen. "Stuffed Love" creates cuddly hand-stitched animals and other items that relate to a specific need, in an effort to help comfort those who feel alone. Sarah explains..."My objective was to use my skills, find other volunteers, and reach out to those going through difficult times and let them know, in some genuine heartfelt way, that we care.” https://www.facebook.com/StuffedLove
Materials were purchased and so began the creation of hundreds of cheerful stuffed characters. Sarah says… “The scope of “Stuffed Love” was not limited; so far, we have helped veterans, seniors, the developmentally disabled, the homeless and the sick." But, her most recent focus, is helping Chicago’s Mended Little Hearts program by making little hand-stitched hearts for baby’s, with heart defects, to cuddle and clutch as they recover from heart surgery. I never use sewing machines, because I feel that each person deserves the personal attention I give each item. I hand-stitch each one and stuff them with fiberfill and love.” You can learn more here: http://mlhchicago.org/CareBag_Program.html
Above, you see a photo of "Stuffed Love" founder Sarah Dynia, introducing Rotary CFD members Vickie Dorgan and Cliff Harstad to the Mended Little Hearts Care Bag program.
Visitor From the North
Posted August 8, 2013
Oshkosh Wisconsin Rotarian Catherine Zimmerman brought her smiling face to the August 8th meeting of Rotary CFD. The Club meets on the 8th floor of Chicago's Union League Club each Thursday at noon. Catherine was accompanied by her son and prospective Rotarian Karl Zimmerman, who owns the I.T. company "Steadfast.Net" with offices in Chicago and New York. http://steadfast.net/
Catherine is the retired Director of Fox Valley Technical College's Oshkosh Campus... has been a Rotarian for more than two decades... and was the first woman to serve as District 6270 Governor in 2003. Among her many accomplishments was acting as a lead collaborator with the FVTC, Winnebago County Board and the city of Oshkosh to create three new aviation-focused programs near Wittman Airport, with a goal of making Oshkosh
nationally known for aviation training and education since it already seems to be the headquarters for recreational flight.
The partnership blossomed into the S.J. Spanbauer Center
, a nearly 54,000-square-foot trade building on Oregon Street.The center opened in 1991 and was nearly doubled by a $2.6 million addition in 1999 that created space for classrooms, labs for metals manufacturing and two wood technology programs. Here is a "Big Tip of the Hat" to Super Rotarian Catherine Zimmerman, shown here exchanging Club Banners with Rotary CFD President Cliff Harstad.
How Bicycles Can Change Lives!
Posted July 25, 2013 by J. Schwandke
As a child growing up in Uganda, Muyambi Muyambi witnessed how life changing a bicycle could be for those in need of healthcare and other basic services, so he founded "Bicycles Against Poverty". BAP is a two-time recipient of the Clinton Global University Outstanding Commitment Award. Their mission is to provide affordable bicycles, for those who otherwise could not afford them in rural Uganda. BAP distributes bicycles to individuals who pay for them in small monthly installments over the course of two years. The bikes are shared within a household and used primarily for transportation of goods to and from the market, transportation for work, the hauling of water and going to school. Interesting statistics started to accumulate, showing that 67% of BAP participants increased their income after one year of receiving their bike and that 24 percent started a new business... all because of a bicycle. The money collected as payment from the recipients is recycled back into the system to perpetuate the donation of even more bicycles. At the same time, they are learning about micro-loans and how to manage money. Rose Acen and her husband live with AIDS and use the bike to travel for medicine from a hospital located four miles away. Another man was able to increase the amount of fruit and grain that he transports to and from the market because he can carry more weight much quicker on his bicycle than by carrying it on his head as he did previously. And, for many more, bicycles make education more accessible for the children.
In the photos below you can see Rotary CFD bicycle enthusiast Andy Horberg (left) and new District 6450 Asst. Governor Bonnie-Sanchez-Carlson (2nd from right) welcoming BAP Representatives Kate Rolfes and Alex Sandoval who were guest speakers at today's meeting. You can learn more about "Bicycles Against Poverty" by clicking this link: http://www.bicyclesagainstpoverty.org/
Rotary International President Ron Burton chose the Rotary Club of Chicago (Rotary-One) to be his first official appearance by presiding over the installation of incoming President Mike Faris during their July 9th meeting at Chicago's Union League Club. Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District President Cliff Harstad was also in attendance to congratulate President Mike and seize the opportunity to meet Ron Burton in person. It's not everyday that we get the opportunity to shake the hand of our International President.
As Keynote Speaker, President Ron shared his inspiration and asked that each of us fulfill two simple requests during his tenure as President. He asked that each of us bring one new member into Rotary... and that we all contribute to the Rotary Foundation. Wouldn't it be grand if that actually happens?
Before the January 2013 International Assembly in San Diego, which s the annual training event for incoming District Governors... Burton asked each of the incoming Governors to make a donation in their name to the Rotary Foundation in order to demonstrate leadership by example. At the assembly, he announced that all 537 Governors-Elect had complied; along with donations from all R.I. Board Members and Foundation Trustees; the contributions totaled $675,412.
"Now, I have to believe that some of this is money that The Rotary Foundation probably would not have received had I not asked. And, I think this is an important lesson" he said. "If you want somebody to do something... you can just sit around and wait for them to get the idea... or you can ask."
A Long Way!
Posted June 27, 2013
Rotarians traveled a long distance to hear guest speaker and former Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District member Sander Marcus. Marcus, who is a Ph.D Clinical Psychologist, spoke about his work with victims of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and led the group in a discussion about PTSD.
Guests attending today's meeting included Lena Bosson, newly elected President of the Helsingborg Sweden Rotary Club, and her daughter Isabelle who has spent the past year near Seattle Washington as a Rotary Exchange Student. The ladies are visiting Chicago prior to returning to Sweden. Also in attendance was Tony Spencer, a visiting Rotarian from the Annapolis Maryland Rotary Club. It is always a delight to meet Rotarians from other places.
In the photo at right, you can see President Gerald McIlvain (wearing tie) exchanging Rotary Club Banners with Lena and Tony.
Changing of the Guard
posted June 21, 2013
A "Changing of the Guard" takes place at all 34,000 local Rotary Clubs worldwide on July 1st of each year. New Officers and Directors are elected at the Regional and International levels too, so as to promote fresh ideas and fresh energy throughout the organization that was established in 1905 by Chicagoan Paul Harris.
Pictured below (left) Outgoing Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District President Gerald McIlvain hands the gavel to incoming President Cliff Harstad at an Inauguration Ceremony held June 20th at the Union League Club. Former Rotary Asst. District Governor David Baker presided over the ceremony. Prior to relinquishing the gavel, McIlvain reviewed highlights from the past year and offered special thanks and gifts to those involved. Among the members recognized, was Marilyn Sainsot, who received the "Distinguished Service Award" signifying her "above and beyond" contribution to the Club, and John Schwandke who received the "Good Samaritan" Award. A standing ovation was afforded long time Club Sergeant-at-Arms Ed Keating (bottom right photo), without whom it seems we would be lost. Here is a big "tip of the hat" from all of us Ed! The center photo shows some of the new officers and directors for the 2013-2014 Rotary Year. You can see the complete list of incoming officers by scanning the "Club Leadership List" on the left side of this page. Logged in members can view the entire photo album by clicking "Photo Page List" in the menu column.
Our congratulations to our new Club President Cliff Harstad, and to outgoing President Jerry McIlvain for a job well done! Numerous local and international humanitarian projects were completed under Jerry's watch.
Readers are Leaders!
Posted 6/15/13 by A. Horberg
"Readers are Leaders" is a common refrain among the promoters of literacy... and the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District promotes literacy by distributing free dictionaries to third graders at Chicago Public Schools. Why third graders? It is in the third grade when educators say students transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." A dictionary then becomes an indispensable tool. In cooperation with Rotary District 6450 and The Dictionary Project Inc., Rotary CFD handed out 350 dictionaries this year.
This is the 6th year that the Club has distributed the books, and plans are underway to continue the practice next year.
Pictured above are Rotary Club members John Robinson and Vickie Dorgan with two proud and appreciative third graders from Rowe Elementary School. The photo to the left shows Dictionary Project Chairman Andrew Horberg with Otis Elementary instructors Genoveva Najera, Pranvera Karimani and Jestine Cross. Otis is a "5 Star" rated school, with 486 students of which 78% are Hispanic. The dictionaries become the property of the children who receive them to do with as they wish.
We Bid a Fond Adieu
... to first year Rotary CFD member Dr. Andrea Man. While we are sorry to see her go... it is with our blessings that we wish her much success as she advances her medical career.
Even though Andrea was a practicing physician in her home country of Romania, it was necessary that she return to medical school here in the United States to receive a license to practice in America.
Having passed her exams with flying colors, Andrea recently accepted an invitation to complete her Internal Medicine Residency at St. Mary's Health Center in St. Louis. Long time Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District member and Past President Marilyn Sainsot pins a rose on Andrea's lapel, as her sponsor, John Schwandke, looks on. Whichever Rotary Club gains Andrea as a member in the future is in for a pleasant treat. She is a very caring person, a hard worker, and seldom misses a meeting. Congratulations Andrea ... we wish you well.
"Supplies For Dreams" Helps CPS 6th Graders
Posted May 29, 2013
What started as a conversation around a kitchen table between two high schools students has become "Supplies For Dreams", a student-run nonprofit organization dedicated to giving Chicago Public School 6th graders tools that perhaps they would not have otherwise. Having continued their education beyond the high school level, they know some of the ingredients needed to fill younger hearts with a similar goal.
Since its inception in 2008, "Supplies For Dreams" has grown also to provide mentoring services and field trips for students at their "partner schools". The organization puts an emphasis on teamwork, passion, efficiency, and holistic impact. Their vision is to have a positive impact on the educational environment of Chicago Public Schools through a student-run organization. You can learn more by visiting this link:
Rotary CFD members Vickie Dorgan and Marilyn Sainsot welcome Northwestern University Student and "Supplies For Dreams" Executive Director, Nicole Bronnimann.
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Shares Her Story
Rotary CFD member Dr. Andrea Man exchanged Club Banners with today's guest speaker and Ambassadorial Scholar Dr. Suchita Shah. What a treat it was to listen to this bright young humanitarian share with us a piece of her story. Born in London, Suchita graduated from Cambridge University with a starred degree in Neuroscience and completed her medical degree at the University of Oxford. She has written a number of articles on public health issues and recently received her Master of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge in the United Kingdom, her Ambassadorial Scholarship helped finance her education.
In her application for the Scholorship, Suchita said... "I wish to acquire expertise in public health to realize my vision of established, sustainable and equitable primary care worldwide." As part of this goal, Suchita was awarded a three month global fellowship placement in Cambodia earlier this year, where she established a health-microcredit partnership as part of a Non Communicable Disease prevention strategy. You can read some of Dr. Shah's opinions on gun control and other global health issues here: log http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/?s=suchita&x=0&y=0
A Culmination of International Projects
Rotary CFD International Projects Chairman John Schwandke (center) delivers Rotary Club Banners to incoming Club President Cliff Harstad (left) and outgoing President Jerry McIlvain following his return from attending the dedication ceremonies for projects recently concluded in partnership with these Clubs.
Cliff holds the Teziutlan Mexico Club Banner, who was the "host partner" for a $26,000 Sewer/Sanitation Project in the village of Chignautla. The center banner is from Club Puebla Virreinal, host partner for a computer classroom project at a disadvantaged school, and President Jerry is holding a banner from the Puebla Mirador Rotary Club, which is host club for an ambitious project to send large quantities of medical supplies to Red Cross Clinics throughout the State of Puebla in Central Mexico.
This project is currently nearing completion and may be expanded for future shipments even more grandiose in size.
District 6450 Conference
Delavan, Wisconsin 2013
Rotary CFD Receives Recognition at District Conference
Posted 5/16/13 by C Harstad
President Jerry (and Debbie) McIlvain, President-Elect Cliff Harstad and Executive Secretary Dennis Gorman attended the District 6450 Conference this past weekend in Delavan, WI. It was a truly exciting weekend as Rotary gears up for another year. Outgoing Rotary International Trustee Mike Johns and retired Army Major General Burn Loeffke were an inspiration to all -not only in front of the audience but in private conversations as well.
The Oswego Club presentation was both moving and a reminder of what Rotarians can accomplish. In 2007 a tragic auto accident took the lives of 5 Oswego teenagers. The Oswego Club decided to do something, and their efforts resulted in a most remarkable addition to the standard drivers' education program and a video about that tragedy. There has been a sharp decline in teen auto deaths in areas where this program has been implemented. Oswego donated the video to District 6450 and its clubs. Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District was recognized with two special awards... one for its Website and another for its Community Service Projects. President Jerry McIlvain also received "a tip of the hat" for his participation in the Chicago Peace Initiative.
Banner Exchange with Slovakia
Posted May 16, 2013 by C. Harstad
Martin Klus, a member of the Rotary Club Banska - Bystrica (Slovakia), recently visited Chicago and met with our President-Elect Cliff Harstad to exchange Club Flags. Thanks to a generous donation from the Chicago Blackhawks and Michal Handzus (#26), our club was able to provide a signed photograph and signed hockey puck for Handzus' home town Rotary Club's next fundraiser.
(Click to Enlarge)
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District member Vicki Dorgan recently attended the Birkshire-Hathaway Annual Meeting in Omaha Nebraska and had an up close and personal photo opportunity with the world famous Geiko Gecko. Vicki asked, "How did you get so famous." Gecko's answer... "My boss spends a ton of money on advertising!?
Warren Buffet, owner of GEICO parent Berkshire Hathaway, has stated that he would spend $2 billion on GEICO ads if he could, which far exceeds the $994 million spent in 2011. Approximately 6.5% of Geiko's premiums are spent on advertising. The network stations must love the Gecko almost as much as Vicki!
A Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Shares her Story!
India holds a fascination on Westerners from E.M. Forster to the Beatles. Our May 9 speaker, Hannah Warren, is no exception. She described India’s hold on her imagination in her talk when she spent a year there as an Ambassadorial Scholar. She spoke of the insights she found in Hinduism after talking to a priest about her reaction to seeing pilgrims bathe in the Ganges despite its extensive pollution. But the greatest impact from her year as a Rotary scholar came from watching the impact on the lives of women when she provided them with the means to make their own saris.
What began on a small scale has now become a flourishing business with a factory that has more than 100 sewing machines. The opportunities offered the women gave them a new found independence and dignity. That attitude resulted in their growth in other areas too. She described how teaching English encouraged some of the women to teach others how to read and write in Hindi. Whatever India has given to our speaker, our speaker has returned to India. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
Council Approves Dues Increase and Unlimited E-Clubs
Twelve U.S. Rotarians were honored at the White House on 5 April as Champions of Change for their efforts to improve communities locally and around the world.
As part of the daylong event, more than 160 Rotarians attended a morning round of briefings by government officials on topics including polio eradication, health, violence prevention, and the environment. “It is a great honor to see these dedicated Rotary members recognized by the U.S. White House as Champions of Change for their work to improve the lives of people around the world,” said RI President Sakuji Tanaka.
Tanaka said the honorees exemplify how Rotary brings people together to solve problems that are too large for one person to tackle. “Alone, we look at the problems of our community and our world and we feel helpless,” he said. “But together, we are powerful. And through Rotary, we have the power to change our communities and communities throughout the world -- now and into the future. We have the ability to build the world we dream of: one that is healthier, happier, and with hope for better things to come.”
Among the 12 Rotarians honored as Champions of Change was Neli Vazquez-Rowland, a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago. Vazquez-Rowland and her husband in 1994 established Safe Haven, a comprehensive program that helps thousands of people dealing with homelessness, hunger, addiction, chronic unemployment, and other issues.
“The commitment of these individuals to service reflects that of our worldwide membership of 1.2 million men
and women, all of whom deserve to share in this recognition,” Tanaka said. “Rotary is a way for good people to step forward and work for a better world. And it is a way for all of us, around the world, to transcend race, religion, nation, and politics -- to come together to give help to the people who need it.”
A Very Enlightening Program
Posted March 28, 2013 by C. Harstad
Our March 28, 2013 speaker was Vickie Meilach, Community Outreach Program Director for South Suburban Family Shelter, Inc. ("SSFS"). SSFS provides comprehensive, coordinated services for families in which domestic violence exists. These include various services to victims of abuse and their children, school education programs on abuse prevention, abuser intervention, and other programs and services.
A very enlightening program. Thank you, Vicki. We recommend this program for other Rotary Clubs to consider. For more information, please go to: www.ssfs1.org.
Banner... Banner... Who Has the Banner?
March 28, 2013
Debra Fine, a member of Denver Southeast
visited our club on March 28. 2013.
Debra and Cliff Harstad, President Elect, exchanged Club Flags.
Thank you for joining us, Debra. Please come again!
February Must be the Month for Ribbon Cuttings?
March 6, 2013
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District member John Schwandke took full advantage of his recent visit to February's Rotary Project Fair in Puebla Mexico by tacking on two other visits to sites nearby where his Rotary Club has been the International Partner for two different matching grant projects. The first was the dedication ceremony for the Sanitary Sewer System project in the village of Chignautla (as outlined in the story below)... and more recently, a visit to the Calasanz School to see their new Computer Classroom, which was a project done in partnership with Puebla Virreinal Rotary Club. Schwandke reports that the State Superintendent of Schools was on hand to provide an up close and hands-on tour. Schwandke said... "I was surprised at how quickly the little third graders had picked up typing and use of a computer." He said that the instructors "master computer" interconnects to all the student computers, which greatly enhances the interaction ability between student and teacher. A "Big Screen" television is also connected into the system for classroom instruction. "As I was kneeling down beside the children they were typing messages to me on the screen thanking our Rotary Clubs for what we have done for their school", he said. A permanent testimony to the school's gratefulness remains in the form of a plaque that has been mounted on the wall above the computers. This relatively small investment is reaping big rewards for the children at this school.
Teziutlan-Chignautla Sanatation Project Complete!
February 4, 2013
Construction of a half-mile long sanitation drainage system in the village of Chignautla connecting some 80 homes and 2 schools to an existing system further down the mountainside, was completed this January. With ground breaking taking place last September and ribbon-cutting in February, the $26,000 project was finished on time and within budget. Having two members of the Teziutlan Rotary Club project committee who were an architect and a civil engineer certainly helped hold down expenses and insure quality work for the project. Construction required trenchers to excavate ditches and install pipe from multiple property lines to the exit point. You can read more about the project by viewing an earlier story that is posted below. Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District member John Schwandke, who visited the site in person for the ribbon cutting, reported that the reception from the community could not have been better. He reported that many people turned out for the ribbon cutting, with numerous welcoming speeches from village leaders, and a local artist who presented Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District with a painting of the valley where the project took place.
Chicago Area Rotarians visit Rotary Project Fair
in Puebla Mexico
February 1st & 2nd, 2013
Photo to Left: David & Marisella Woodcock of Chicago O'Hare join District 6450 Governor Pat Merryweather, District 4180 Governor Horacio Solorio and Chicago Financial District member John Schwandke before entering the Project Fair's Closing Ceremony.
Other Photos: Rotary Foundation Matching grants Coordinator Lauren Marquez-Viso helps Chicago O'Hare's David Woodcock compute the financing for a proposed ambulance project with the Zihuatanejo Mexico Rotary Club. Pictured at right is John Schwandke with Gloria Victoria Ortiz Espinosa from the Zihuatanejo Club.
Rotarians from south central Mexico were pleased to welcome Rotarians from the "Birthplace of Rotary" at the 2013 Mexico Project Fair held February 1st and 2nd in Puebla Mexico. Originally a part of the Latin American Project Fair, Mexico decided to focus on an independent event during the first weekend in February each year. The inaugural years were held in Oaxaca, where Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District member John Schwandke attended last year. Hoping to encourage more attendance from District 6450 Rotarians, Governor Pat Merryweather, along with Chicago O'Hare member David Woodcock and his wife Marisella, joined Schwandke at this year's Project Fair in Puebla to learn more about how they function. Project Fairs provide a forum for Rotarians from different countries to meet and explore a large variety of humanitarian projects already identified, but lacking an International Partner in order to qualify for a Matching Grant from the Rotary Foundation. There were 42 booths at this years Fair, all manned by individual Rotary Clubs from around Mexico and equipped with sophisticated displays that provided detailed information about their projects. In addition to participation by Rotarians from the United States and even a few from South America, at least two Districts brought their DDF Committees in tow to allow for approval of matching grant applications right there at the Fair. A novel answer to the sometimes snail like pace it often takes to process the typical matching grant. After a second year repeat in Puebla, future Mexican Project Fairs are rumored to be in Veracruz and Cancun.
Although small in number, this year's District 6450 group was able to partner on a project presented by Gloria Victoria Ortiz Espinosa, from the Zihuatanejo Rotary Club to provide sophisticated equipment for a new ambulance recently purchased for a neighbering village. Schwandke reports, that although this project is not the highest dollar amount for matching grants he has participated in... this project does represent the highest number of Rotary Clubs (4) and Districts (3) that he has ever combined with when processing a matching grant. Being near the end of the Project Fair, and with many budgets already exhausted, it took the combined efforts of Zihuatanejo, Bellevue Washington, Chicago O'Hare and Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District, plus their respective Districts and TRF to come up with the total $21,655 needed to complete the project. Mark your calendars now if you would like to attend Puebla Project Fair 2014. It is an experience that will last a lifetime.
Work Begins on Crutzitzin-Chignautla Project!
Posted Oct. 18, 2012 by J Schwandke
Trenching began this week in the village of Crutzitzin-Chignautla in central Mexico. The rather ambitious $26,000 sanitation drainage project results from a partnership formed by the Teziutlan Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District. Together, we are constructing a half-mile long sanitation sewer system, with 14 junction wells, that will serve a village with 80 homes and two schools. Lack of proper drainage had created a genuine health hazard for this indigenous community, whose families have resided in this location for countless generations. The Rotary Club of Teziutlan provided the $1,500 in seed money needed to start the project, and Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District became their International Partner by contributing another $4,675 to the cause. The remaining $19,825 in needed funding came from a series of Matching Grants provided by our respective Districts and The Rotary Foundation. Without Matching Grants from the Rotary Foundation a Club as small as ours would never be able to participate in World Service Projects of this magnitude. So, the next time you are considering your pledge as a Sustaining Paul Harris Fellow... think of these families in a mountainous village who have benefited from your contribution... or, of the child's life you might be saving in Nigeria when they receive polio vaccine from a fellow Rotarian.
You can learn more about this and other World Service Projects that Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District is currently involved with by scrolling further down this page.
Posted 10/11/2012 by J Schwandke
Community Service Chairman Andy Horberg welcomes author and guest speaker Nahid Sewell to the October 11th meeting of the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District.
Ms. Sewell was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and moved to the United States in the late 1970s to attend Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Going to college in the United States had been her dream. Following graduation she accepted a job in Chicago and has been living here ever since. She married an American and they have two sons. Her parents still live in Iran.
Being a frequent traveler to her homeland, she witnessed first hand how suppressed life became for women following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when the Shah of Iran's western influenced monarchy was overthrown by a theocracy under the guardianship of Islamic Clerics. Some of these suppressions include that women must be veiled and segregated from men, may be forced to marry at age thirteen, and live in fear of an "honor killing" should they not abide by Islamic Law.
With little information available on the subject, Nahid decided to write a book. She wanted to share the beauty of her culture and the warmth of the Iranian people. "Initially, that was my goal", Nahid said. "But as I started writing, I felt it was just as important to expose how women are treated in the Middle East and how that affects their life and their rights."
Her book, "The Ruby Tear Catcher", is a historical novel based on real people and real events. It quickly found its way to the best sellers list. Having published The Ruby Tear Catcher means Nahid can't return home. "I knew this when I started to write the book"... she said, "but I made a conscious choice to go ahead because I believed this story needed to be told." This book is a timely read, given the current climate in the Middle East.
To learn more about Nahid Sewell and her book, click one of the following links: http://www.therubytearcatcher.com/ http://www.thesaturdaypost.com/2012/05/09/nahid-sewell/
Plowing the Roof?
Posted 9/27/12 by J Schwandke
Alex Poltorak, the creator and driving force behind an urban farming company called "The Urban Canopy" was guest speaker at the September 27, 2012 Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District meeting. Working as an Education Pioneer Fellow with Chicago Public Schools in 2010, there were a lot of discussions regarding how nutrition affects a child's learning in school. Alex came up with the idea of utilizing idle rooftops, in urban environments, to grow fruits and vegetables as a way to attack the problem.
In the process of researching the idea’s feasibility Alex discovered "Plant Chicago", which is a vertical farming project directed by John Edel, in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. The Urban Canopy began a pilot rooftop farm at The Plant in the beginning of 2011 with a few test systems as a proof of concept.
The Urban Canopy’s vision is to show how rooftop farming can be a vital part of the urban agriculture movement to create a sustainable and equitable food system. To learn more about "The Urban Canopy" you can visit their website by clicking this link: http://www.theurbancanopy.org/
Lunch with Claude Monet
Posted 9/20/12 by j Schwandke
Chicago Union League Club art docent Mary Ann Hoey treated Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District members and guests to a tour of some of the art on display throughout the building at 65 West Jackson Boulevard in the heart of Chicago's Loop District. Collecting art has been a tradition at the Union League Club since 1886 and their Chicago collection has now grown to nearly 800 works, representing more than 150 years of art making in America. Our Rotary Club is fortunate to have such grand surroundings in which to hold our weekly meetings, but you don't have to be a member of the Union League Club or Rotary to see some of the art.
On the first Friday of every month at 10:00 a.m., Club members and the public can enjoy a tour of highlights from the art collection. Tours are usually 45-60 minutes and are geared toward an adult audience. Guided tours are free but reservations are required and must be made well in advance of each monthly tour.
To reserve a place on the monthly public tour, please contact Club Curator Elizabeth K.Whiting at 312.435.5942 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Work In Progress!
Posted 9/20/2012 by J Schwandke
With Matching Grants approved and funding now in place, work has begun on two World Community Service Projects that Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District is involved with. The photos below show the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Chignautla Sanitation Project, which is located in Mexico's northern Puebla State. This is an ambitious project and involves construction of a half-mile long drainage system with 14 connector wells, that will serve a village of 80 homes and two schools. Lack of good hygiene was threatening the water supply, and consequently, the health of an entire village. The plan requires trenchers to excavate ditches and install pipe from property lines to the exit point. You can read more about the project by reading an earlier story posted below. It is estimated that the project can be completed by the end of this year.
Here is a direct quote received this week from Project Co-Chairman Edgar Jaime Cardoso of the Tezuitlan Rotary Club: "On September 2, work began on introductory drainage Cruitzinzin community. I'm sending some photos to have them show it to our friends in your Club. Soon I will send other advances. We are working on the project, thank you for your help. Greetings from your friends in Teziutlán. Hope to see you soon"!
Almost sumiltaneously an email was received from Project Co-Chairman and Puebla Virreinal Rotary Club President Alejandro Ponce Rivera y Chavez, saying that work has also started on the Calasanz School Computer Room project as well.
Here is what Alejandro's email said: "Dear John, I am very happy to read your news. I hope that the project of the medical supplies goes well. And also I hope that many Rotarians from Chicago can visit us at the Puebla Rotary Project Fair in February of next year!! About our project at Escuela Calasanz, we receive the funds since last month. We are working now on the electric installation. It was a little delayed but now is going on. Before September ends we are having an event, kind of presentation of the project, with all the students and maybe some local authorities, Ivon is working on that. We will send you pictures so you can upload them to your website. We will keep you informed!"
Contact Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District if you would like to visit one of these sites in person. Also, please read information posted below regarding plans for District 6450 travel to the Rotary Project Fair in Puebla January 31 - February 3, 2012.
A Good Time Was Had By All
Posted 9/15/12 by J Schwandke
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District celebrated their annual fund raising event on September 14th under the guise of being the "Last Picnic of Summer." And a picnic it was, as Food Channel Diva and picnic hostess Ina Pinkney served up homemade recipes of Crispy Southern Fried Chicken along with several of her most famous summer salad entrees from the comfort of her restaurant at 1235 W Randolph Street. You can learn more about Ina by clicking this link: http://breakfastqueen.com/about_queen.html
In addition to having lots of fun, the evening provided an excellent platform from which to raise money for Rotary International's "End Polio Now" campaign. And who better to host the event than polio survivor Ina Pinkney, who contracted the disease at the age of eighteen months and has never experienced what it is like to have normal agility. With fifty Rotarians and guests in attendance, the combination of ticket sales and silent auction generated a net $6,000 for the cause. The "Finale" for the evening was the "Pinning of Ina", when Club President Jerry McIlvain thanked Ina for her contibution by making her an Honorary Member of our Club.
Rotary first became involved with polio in 1979, when the organization committed to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines through a Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) grant from The Rotary Foundation. Encouraged by the program’s success, Rotary consulted with Dr. Albert S. Sabin, developer of the OPV, and launched the PolioPlus program in 1985. Over the years, Rotary members have raised funds in some very creative ways. Rotary also benefits from outside grants, including contributions totaling $355 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
After thirty years of hard work, and more than two billion children having received oral polio vaccine, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of reaching their ultimate goal of a polio-free world. For the week ending August 15, 2012 only 121 cases of polio have been reported to date. Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan seem to be the last bastions where work continues. If we can't eliminate these final pockets, the disease will begin spreading all over again and that is why so much emphasis is being placed on the project this year. Kudos seems too small a word to express the thanks we feel for those involved with the "End Polio Now" program.
* Members can view more photos of the event by clicking "Photo Page List" in the left-side menu.
Posted by J Schwandke 8/31/12
We hope not! In July, Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District initiated a four-way partnership as part of a "District Simplified Grant" with Rotary Club Puebla Mirador and our respective Districts 4180 and 6450. The plan is to ship 5,000 pounds of much needed medical supplies to Red Cross Clinics in the state of Puebla, Mexico.
In Mexico, the Red Cross is much more than simply an organization designed to respond in time of disaster. The Mexican Red Cross is pretty much the health care system for an entire country! By and large, emergency health care in big cities is good, but in smaller towns and villages people rely on Red Cross Clinics for care, where you can see a Doctor or Dentist, get an x-ray taken, have a prescription filled, or call an ambulance. Signs posted in the clinics list suggested fees, but the fees are considered a donation and rarely cover the actual cost. Those without the ability to pay receive free care. Red Cross Clinics in Mexico are highly respected, receive no money from the Federal Government, and operate solely through donations and voluntarism.
Equally fascinating is a 501(c)3 organization known as "Hospital Sister's Mission Outreach", with facilities in Springfield and Chicago. Mission Outreach has developed relationships with most of the major healthcare providers in our area who, for a multitude of reasons, desire to donate expendable materials to others. Mission Outreach acts as a clearing house, with dozens of volunteers who help sort, label and organize the material. All items are donated free and clear, users of the service pay only for the cost of preparation and shipping. May God Bless Hospital Sister's Mission Outreach and those who donate their time and material.
Pictured here is Mary Ann Skvara who gave us a tour of their warehouse near Chicago's Midway Airport. While having stepped most of the way through this project, we are currently in a "holding pattern" as we attempt to document the shipment in the manner required by Mexican Customs officials at the border. Their regulations are far more stringent than those of the United States. Please keep your fingers crossed!
Where is the Border?
Posted 8/30/12 by J Schwandke
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District was pleased to welcome Asad Hayauddin, from the Consulate of Pakistan, to this week's meeting. Mr. Hayauddin, who specializes in matters regarding Trade and Commerce for the Consulate, instead provided us with an "insider's perspective" regarding the obstacles that stand in the way of a more harmonious relationship between Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and the United States.
The country of Pakistan is one of several new countries created in 1947 during the dismantling of British Colonial India. Even India as we know it today did not exist until 1947. It too was only a small piece of the total puzzle. Similar to what happened with the Berlin Wall, Israel, and other nations whose borders get changed by treaty and wars, the individual families and ethnicities caught in the middle don't easily accept the resulting change.
The terrain of today's Pakistan makes it nearly impossible for a central government to impose wide rule and, since Pakistani's see India to the east a greater threat to their security than Afghanistan to the west, nearly 80% of their troops are aligned at the eastern border. People living in the more mountainous regions are more accustomed to being governed by tribal leaders than a central government. Hence, one of the recent strategies used by the Taliban, being to assassinate tribal leaders to create fear and confusion. Having lived and studied in the United States for many years, Mr. Asad Hayauddin displayed great insight and sensibility as he explained the issues.
The editor thought you might find these links informative: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_India and http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/targeting-tribal-leaders-new-militant-tactic-sinai
Poof... a New Member Appears!
Posted 8/23/12 by J Schwandke
Chicago Based Magician Nathan Lee Powell works his magic in front of prospective Rotary Club member Andrea Man during the August 23rd meeting at the Union League Club. With reactions ranging from astonishment to outright laughter... I don't know whether to describe Nathan as a magician or a comic. But, I can say unequivocally, that I have never seen better!
When hearing some of Nathan's true life experiences... they sound like the material that books and movies are made of. We are told that Nathan's fascination with Sleight of Hand began at a very young age... and that few were surprised, when at the age of 20, Nathan made himself vanish! You see... Circus Vargas had come to town, and Ward Hall's famous "Side Show" was touring the country. For decades since, Nathan has perfected his craft, gaining priceless experience with traveling shows like Jimmy Dixon's Magic Circus. He trained and toured with Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. More recently, to the delight of local audiences, Nathan has returned to the Chicago he loves.
To see photos of Nathan Lee Powell, including one where he is kissing an elephant, visit www.MagicbyNathan.net
District Governor Pat Merryweather Shares Her Vision for the Year
Posted by J Schwandke
Past and Present Rotary CFD Presidents Marilyn Sainsot and Jerry McIlvain welcome District 6450 Governor Pat Merryweather and Assitant Governor Osei Andrews-Hutchinson to the August 2nd Meeting at the Union League Club. Governor Pat shared with us how her personal desires to Help American Veterans and to sponsor a Chicago Peace Summit, that focuses on youth when addressing the growing violence in our neighborhoods, is spreading throughout Rotary District 6450.
You can learn more about what is happening in District 6450 by clicking this link: http://rotarydistrict6450.org/
Lawson House YMCA
Posted by J. Schwandke
Pictured in front of the "Jobs" bulletin board at Lawson House are Alvena Clark, Director of Lawson's "Life Development Center", along with Case Worker Kenya Taylor and Rotary CFD member John Schwandke, who does volunteer work at the facility.
Alvena was Guest Speaker at our July 26th Rotary Club meeting and provided an overview of the services provided to the residents of Lawson House. She described the facility as the largest single-room occupancy (SRO) supportive housing facility in the Midwest and playing a key role in Chicago's efforts to address homelessness.
As Ms. Clark explained, "Lawson House is dedicated to enabling residents to become self-sufficient." Through its "Life Development Center" highly trained Case Managers connect residents to medical treatment, job training, life skills, substance abuse counseling and socialization activities. John became curious about Lawson House YMCA when looking for a "clothes closet" where his donated clothing could have impact. Lawson House has need of clothing appropriate for job interviews, which can be in short supply for newer residents. If you have clothes to donate, he suggests Lawson House, which is located on Chicago Avenue, between State and Dearborn Streets. You can reach Alvena Clark at email@example.com
Rotary Banner Exchange
with Tajimi Japan
Marilyn Sainsot, Immediate Past President of Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District exchanges banners with visiting Rotarian Kazuhiko Yamamoto of the Tajimi Riverside Rotary Club in Tajimi, Japan (District 2630)
Kazuhiko is spending the week visiting his brother, Minoru Yamamoto, who is Executive Director of Japan's External Trade Organization in Chicago. Kazuhiko is in the business of Designing and Manufacturing Custom Furniture.
Do you have your Rotary Pin for your Car?
Did you know that you can buy Specialty Plates that denote you a Rotarian?
Did you know that when you buy a Rotary License Plate, you are contributing to the Rotary Foundation?
The License Plate shown here belongs to Rotary Club of Chicago Financial
District member John Schwandke. The letters are his Ham Radio Callsign.
During the past three years, Illinois has sent the Foundation $5,000 because of Rotarian's who wanted to display these plates on their cars.
It is easy to apply for Rotary plates - Just go here
Select the picture on the left that represents your car type, click on it, then select specialty. Then select "Rotary International" and You will be on your way!
Continue picking letters and numbers until you get what you want.
If you have really special numbers that you want guaranteed - singles or doubles -
contact PDG Art Davis - email here
or call 630-917-0000.
Shutterbugs find a Picture-Perfect Way to Develop Skills and Friendships
The photography fellowship is among 62 recognized by RI. Fellowships bring Rotarians, their spouses, and Rotaractors together to share common interests, explore new opportunities to serve, have fun, and promote vocational development through friendship. Each June, they are celebrated during Rotary Fellowships Month.
How Do You Make A 3rd Grader Smile?
You Give Them Their Very Own Personalized Dictionary!
Kids are anxious to learn, but don't always have access to the tools that can help make it happen more easily. The idea behind the "Dictionary Project is to put a dictionary in the hands of as many 3rd grade students as possible. One that is presented as a gift... can be personalized with their own name... taken home and kept for the rest of their lives. When members of the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District decided to make dictionaries for schools their community project for 2012, many had no idea of the welcome they would receive. Andrew Horberg took on the daunting task of organizing the project and determining which schools had the most need. Club members labeled and delivered the books. Gratification came from seeing the reaction of the children when they learned that they were about to receive their very own dictionary, with a place inside the cover to write their name. Our club name also appears on that same page. One 3rd grader, with a great big smile, asked... "Should I print my name, or use cursive?" I suggested that cursive was more "grown up. In this age of the Internet, many of us were surprised to see the excitement caused by a simple book. But, it wasn't just a book... it was their book! We also met some extraordinary 3rd grade teachers along the way. One teacher wanted to show us her classroom, where 40 students shared just three dictionaries. Another said... "I purchased dictionaries for my students last year, but I can't keep doing that." In every instance, we were made to feel that the "Dictionary Project" was filling an important need. Kudos to Andy Horberg and the members of Rotary CFD who worked so hard to bring this project to fruition. In the process, they delivered more than 1,000 dictionaries to 20 schools.
WE DID IT!
May 18, 2012
During a special "Visioning Meeting" last summer, the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District targeted development of a new and more interactive website as its number one priority in an effort to improve communication. Rotary CFD members John Schwandke and Werner Gonnissen spent a good part of September 2011 working on the design concept, and the new interactive website made its debut the following month. It is nice to be rewarded for work being done, and that is just what happened recently during the District 6450 Conference at Blue Harbor Resort, in Sheybogan Wisconsin.
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District President Marilyn Sainsot is presented this year's "2nd Place in Website Design" award from District 6450 Governor David Templin. A pleasant surprise for an enjoyable task!
Photo by Hunter Byington
More Photos from the District 6450 Conference
Welcome to the District 6450 Conference in Sheboygan!
When Marilyn Talks.... People Listen.
How many members of Rotary CFD do you see?
The GSE Group from India certainly added to the fun!
Rotarian's Celebrate Milestones in Fight to Rid World of Polio
From www.rotary.org - May 8, 2012
Rotarians celebrated two major milestones in their decades-long fight to rid the world of polio this week during the third plenary session of the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.
Rotarians were congratulated for meeting and exceeding Rotary's $200 Million Challenge, in response to $355 Million in Matching Grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for polio eradication. Attendees also celebrated India's removal from the polio endemic list, which leaves only three countries where transmission of the virus has never been stopped. But, John F. Germ, Chairman of Rotary's Challenge Committee, went on to say... "with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative facing a significant funding shortfall for 2012 and beyond, it is vital for Clubs and Districts to keep pushing forward with their many creative fundraisers."
As part of this continuing need, Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District will be hosting a Charity Dinner with Silent Auction on Friday evening, September 14, at Ina's Restaurant (1235 W. Randolph Street). Owner Ina Pinkney, herself a polio survivor, will be Co-Host and Honoree for the event. The fund raiser is open to the public and guests are welcome. Please mark September 14 on your calendar, as more information will follow.
NEW COMPUTER CLASSROOM TO BE BUILT
Posted May 10, 2012
Rotary Club of Chicago member, John Schwandke, recently returned from visiting two Rotary
Matching Grant Project sites in Mexico. You may recall having read about Rotary CFD's visitation to the Rotary Project Fair in Oaxaca earlier this year, and of its desire to partner with Mexican Rotary Clubs on the two projects that caught Schwandke's attention.
That desire has now become reality, with both projects having been approved by their respective Clubs and Districts. Subject only to final approval from the Rotary Foundation, work on these projects is expected to be completed this summer.
Project #1 is a simple one. Add a modern, well equipped Computer Classroom to a school that probably wouldn't have one without our help. The right hand photo introduces you to the 5th Grade Class at "Escuela Calasanz", which is primary school, grades preschool through six. It is located in an economically depressed neighborhood in Puebla. The Principal of this school (left hand photo, young man on left) and teacher's are young, motivated, and eager to provide their students with tools to help them excel. This computer classroom includes 10 wireless computers, 10 work desks, 35 chairs, blackboards, a printer, plus associated audio-visual equipment to expand their teaching capabilities. The computer lab will be used primarily by grades three through six. Rotarian's will provide the equipment and instruction for its use. Using a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant, Rotary CFD was able to leverage a $2,100 investment into the total $13,000 needed to finance the project. We give special thanks to Alejandro Ponce and Ulises Solorio of Rotary Club Puebla Virreinal for introducing us to this project and for their club's hard work in bringing this school's dream to fruition. Good Job!
(Members can see more photos and commentary by clicking "Photo Page List" in the menu)
LET'S BE SANITARY
Posted May 10, 2012
Project #2 is much more ambitious... and involves construction and trenching for 2,000 feet of sanitary
drainage for the village of Crutzitzin, near the town of Tezuitlan, in the mountains of northern Puebla state. It is a village of approximately 80 homes and a school , but no sanitation system whatsoever. A Civil Engineer and Architect, who are members of the Texuitlan Rotary Club, donated the design plans which sliced thousands of dollars from the cost to build the system, which includes 14 junction wells. Even so, the cost will exceed $25,000.
The photo at left shows a typical outdoor toilet facility currently being used by residents of Crutzitzin. The center photo is Chicago Rotarian John Schwandke, posing with the project designer's in the valley where the main portion of the drainage pipe will run. The third photo was taken in front of a school classroom. It is an interesting structure, made from every material the builder could find. Brick, wood, tar paper, sod and tin. Rudimentary, but clean and functional. This sanitation project required $4,600 in seed money from Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District. The Mexico partnering club in Teziutlan, along with matching grants from District 6450 and 4180 combined to add another $9,400. A matching grant from The Rotary Foundation will account for the remaining balance. (Members can see more photos and commentary by clicking "Photo Page List" in the menu)
When Rotarian's travel to foreign countries to work on projects like these, they are usually hosted by members of the partnering Rotary Clubs. Your host typically provides room, board, and transportation during your stay. It is an economical way to travel, to meet new people and learn a country's culture from those who live it. At the same time, you are doing good deeds and building lasting friendships. If you would like to participate at one of these project sites, or learn about other travel opportunities with Rotary International, please contact Rotary CFD member John Schwandke.
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District Receives Tezuitlan Club Banner
Photo by Neil King
Rotary CFD Club Member John Schwandke is shown here presenting President Marilyn Sainsot with a banner from the Rotary Club of Tezuitlan Mexico. Rotary CFD has partnered with the Tezuitlan Rotary Club in a rather ambitious and much needed sanitation drainage system project for the village of Crutzitzin-Chignautla, which is located in a remote region of northern Puebla State in Mexico. The project has been approved by both Clubs and both Districts and now awaits final Matching Grant approval from the Rotary Foundation.
District 6450 Keynote Speaker
April 21, 2012
Posted by M. Sainsot
Tammy Duckworth was the keynote speaker at the Rotary 6450 District Assembly on April 21, 2012. Her entertaining and inspiring presentation was filled with anecdotes about her time as an employee at Rotary International Headquarters in Evanston. She highlighted the 2012-2013 District 6450 Mission to support our Veterans, which is the theme chosen by incoming Governor Pat Merryweather, who has two sons in the military.
March 8, 2012
Assistant District Governor Osei David Andrews-Hutchinson was joined by members of the Village Leadership Academy to enlighten Rotary CFD members about their World Scholar's Program.
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District President, Marilyn Sainsot, exhanges Club Banners with a visiting Rotarian from Canada.
Dr. Bob Schenk
February 9, 2012
Posted 02/13/12 by Staff
Our speaker on 02/09/12 was Dr. Bob Schenck, a retired Chicago surgeon who remains active using his professional skills in volunteer programs in various locations around the world. Dr. Schenck recently completed a 10,000 mile trip across Europe and Asia to deliver an ambulance purchased in the UK to a village in Mongolia. This project was in connection with “Go Help,” an organization that arranges such projects in the developing world. Dr. Schenck’s presentation was inspirational, not only because it demonstrated what one or two people are capable of accomplishing, but also due to his insight that most people around the world, regardless of religion, ethnicity and all other varying backgrounds, are kind, good and willing to help others. It was a reminder to all of us that we truly live in a small world together, regardless of the miles involved. Thank you, Dr. Schenck!
WORLD COMMUNITY SERVICE IN ACTION
January 26 - 29, 2012
Posted 02/06/12 by Staff
Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District member John Schwandke, and his wife Darlene, recently attended the Oaxaca Rotary Project Fair 2012 in south-central Mexico. Oaxaca is a two day drive from their winter residence near Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Penninsula. Schwandke, who has attended Rotary Project Fairs in Belize and Guatemala, was encouraged to attend Mexico's Project Fair by Rotary friends from District 6000 in Iowa where John had been a member prior to relocating to downtown Chicago in retirement.
"My Rotary passion has been World Community Service ever since I was invited to join a contingent of Rotarians who spent a week visiting The Rotary Club of Xicotepec de Juarez in the coffee mountains of northern Puebla State. Representatives from many different Club's were included in the group and we all came home with project ideas that lacked only an international partner to partake in the Matching Grant proceedure. The first World Community Service Project that I personally worked on was at a children's orphanage in Nuevo Necaxa. The sound of excited children running toward my car shouting JUANITO... JUANITO... still rings in my ear today. And, I've been hooked ever since".
Schwandke says this trip was no different, in that Rotary Clubs (and the world alike) benefit when they build new friendships and work side-by-side in helping to improve the lives of those less fortunate. The feeling of camaraderie that you experience in the process is like no other. John and Darlene say that the friendships they forged in Oaxaca will last a lifetime. They can hardly wait to return and begin the work.
The photos above are with Rotarians representing projects that Schwandke hopes Rotary CFD can partner with.
"My intent was to find one good humanitarian project that filled a need in one of the areas our membership has expressed interest in", He said. Instead, he came back with two!
The photo on the left is the booth sponsored by the Rotary Club of Teziutlan, who wants our help on a sanitation and water project. The people of the Chignautla-Crutzitzin village contacted the Teziutlan Rotarians and asked for their help. They have no sewage system, defecate in open air, and are experiencing serious health issues and a poluted drinking water source. There is no government resource to help them. The men of the village will do the hand labor and a Rotarian, who is also a Civil Engineer, has already drawn the plans. A plus to the project is the positive affect it will have on the community's drinking water source.
The right-hand photo shows John and Darlene with members of the Rotary Club of Puebla Virreinal. This is a new Club, having existed for only 18 months. The members are young and energetic. Their proposed project includes creating a computer classroom for an impoverished school for orphans and transform it into one of the communities more progressive schools. Demonstrating the significance of the Rotary Foundation's Matching Grant program... an investment of $2,150 from Rotary CFD would result in the entire $12,950 needed to complete the project.
As you already know, the Rotary Year runs July 1 through June 30. For Matching Grants to be approved within the current Rotary Year, they must be submitted before the end of March to allow time for processing within the current year. Matching Grants not submitted by March 31, will have to wait until after July 1st before they can be submitted. The clock is ticking... and we'll see what happens.
To learn more about Rotary World Community Service and other ways you can travel the world with Rotary, please contact Rotary Club of Chicago Fianancial District member John Schwandke. The opportunities are endless!
Members wishing to see additional photos and commentary should click "Photo Page List" in the left hand column.
Join Us at our Club Meetings
March 13, 2014
Motivational Speaker Lekan Ahmed will explain "The Power of Choice"
March 20, 2014 - TBA
March 27, 2014
Dr. Terre A. Constantine, from the Brain Research Foundation, will discuss their Mission and Accomplishments. https://www.thebrf.org/
April 03, 2013
Member Classification Talk
April 10, 2014
Rotary "Service Above Self' Award Winner Scott Dudley is our Guest Speaker today.
April 17, 2014
Rex Fritschi presents a slideshow tour of his trip through the South Caucauses (Uzbekistan, Armenia & Georgia)
April 24, 2014
Joel Brammeier, President & CEO of "Alliance for the Great Lakes" explains their mission to conserve and restore the world's largest fresh water resource. https://www.greatlakes.org/
May 01, 2014
Club Assembly Mtg.
May 08, 2014 - TBA
May 15, 2014
Astronomer and Visual Artist Jose Francisco Salgado is our speaker: JoseFranciscoBio
May 29, 2014
Cassandra Francis, President of "Friends of the Parks" is our guest speaker today. Click here: http://fotp.org/