Posted by Keith Reed
The meeting was called to order by Chair Norton at 12:15 PM.  There were 26 members and our two speakers present.  The “thought of the day” was given by Amy Skalinder who referred to a comment from Michelle Obama about “hope” and that  as individuals we may not be able to solve the World’s problems but “everyone together” can make a difference.
There was only one birthday, but oh what a birthday to celebrate!  It was the 95th anniversary of Rodger Morris’ birth and even though he wasn’t present at the meeting, the attendees all gave him a rousing cheer of congratulations.
ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Robert Mardirossian  gave us a sneak preview of what his Benefit Committee has planned for the Club’s Spring Benefit.  Marie , Sylwia, and Barb are on his Committee and are planning a fun virtual evening with plenty of auction items and “quiz games” with prizes.  It is scheduled for either May  7 (Friday) or May 8 (Saturday)-- the consensus of the members was to have it on May 7.  Members are encouraged to bring family and friends. There will be auction items and Robert is trying to get Cubs tickets for the auction since they are going to be hard to get this season with restricted seating.
HAPPY BUCKS: Bob Baker contributed for completing 40 years of service for the Killian Company; Barb contributed for having a successful virtual event last week in celebration of 61 years of operation for the Volunteer Center; John Thomas chipped in $10 for spending a very romantic moment with his wife at Evanston Hospital getting their Covid shots together; Fred donated in celebration of getting his Covid shot at a Florida “drive through” operation without even leaving the driver’s seat; and Rich was so happy to announce that the adoption papers were finalized for his two Chihuahua/Jack Russell puppies.
DIG N GRIN: Barb filled in for Heidi and shared some “News bloppers”.
SPEAKERS: John Thomas introduced the Executive Directors of the Counseling Center of the North Shore (Bob Sanfilippo) and of Good News Partners (Kenn Johnson). Bob started off by describing the impact of the Covid pandemic on the operation of the Counseling Center. He said that 27.8% of adults in the area recently reported depression as opposed to only 8.5% a year ago. He said that a CDC survey showed even higher rates of depression among adults—as high as 42% last December.  The major causes of stress, anxiety and depression are in the following order: First, fear of further sickness; financial insecurity; isolation from others; loss of their usual way of life; and they cannot achieve their potential.
   Bob said that their clients/visitors recently had more tele-therapy than person to person therapy and that most of their educational programs were done virtually on Zoom.  Although the Center’s Thrift Shop was locked down for a while, it recently reopened, although to smaller crowds because of the social distancing guidelines.  The Center had its “spring opening sale” recently and the intake was 12% higher than in past years.  There is a definite trend for more clients and more sessions being held with clients.  The Center noticed than many clients during this period were having problems with job loss and increased health insurance deductibles that went into effect the first of this year.  But donations and Grant funding are up 31% so far this year. At the same time the Center has improved Its phone and voice mail operations and its health record keeping procedures, has hired a part time Development Director, the Thrift Shop sales are  coming back and the Clinical staff and Thrift Shop team are very glad to be back at work ,
Bob said that the volunteers are  slower to come back because of their concern with the Covid.  But he is hiring high school students and college kids “on leave” to fill in, which has been very positive experience. When asked by the audience about the Federal PPP program, Bob said that with two “draws” on the program the Center should come out of the pandemic about “even”.
Kenn started off his presentation by saying that the Good News operation is definitely “blessed”, thanks to the support of many organizations like our Rotary Club.  He quickly pointed out how much Barb and her Volunteer Group helped lift the spirits of the Good News people with the lunch that they provided recently at the facility. He said that the two services they provide, shelter and hotel, never  totally shutdown during the pandemic. The City of Chicago issued them “transportation passes” so that staff could come in and go to work.  The facility actually developed a testing site in Rogers Park for the community.  It did have two minor outbreaks but its positive rate from testing never was over 5% versus the City of Chicago being as high as 13%. The shelter usually services 28-36 people and it had to limit itself to 30 due to social distancing rules. Usually there are two children for every one adult but the operation is fortunate to having an enclosed playground for the kids.  The kids were also tutored on site—the facility tries to maintain a “family feeling” to the extent possible.  Now 80% of its population is vaccinated and 90% of the staff is as well.  Kenn said that the facility is now trying to upgrade its 20 year old plumbing and electrical systems.  He also said that about 2/3 of their residents are African-American or Hispanic and most all are below the “poverty line”.  In addition to many residents from Chicago and Evanston, residents do come to the facility from as far away as Rockford.
(There being no further business, Chair Norton closed the meeting with the Rotary 4-Way Test.)