By: Marc B. Willage
Dan Summins gave a presentation on Blessings in a Backpack at our club meeting on January 5, 2023. The organization started in Louisville Kentucky in 2004, now serving 95,000 children - with food insecurity across the country; 5000 of whom reside in the Chicago area. Each program participant receives a backpack containing meals on each Friday that school is in session. Dan is the Managing Director for the program in the Chicago area.
The food is "shelf stable," with no cooking or refrigeration required. 600 volunteers work with the Chicago program here.Read MoreShare
Decreasing discipline problems, decreasing anxiety, improving grades and improvement in school attendance have all been observed in children participating in the program.
Dan noted that "pockets of poverty" exist throughout the Chicago area; for example, in Highland Park.
Dan also noted that 6,000,000 children live with food security, as well as 13,000,000 of all US residents in general.
By: Marc B. WillageThe "Smart Art Project" was conceived by the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District and has now grown to include multiple Clubs throughout Rotary's District 6450.
We feel it is unacceptable for any child to live in an environment of constant violence... or to lack some type of basic art education. According to an article from the New York Times... "Art Makes You Smart!" The purpose of the program is NOT to train potential artists... but rather to develop the mind to think in different ways and perspectives. An environment of violence, in whatever form, stifles the ability of a child to develop to his or her potential. Far too often, it ends the life of a child.
There are many organizations doing great things to address the problem, but as a community, a country, and a world, we've got to do more! We've got to stop failing future generations. The "Rotary Smart Art" program is designed to supplement, not supplant, the work of others. "Smart Art" is a basic awareness program for elementary school children that exposes them to what art is... so as to "spark their imagination, creativity, and to develop new ways of thinking." Using Art as the medium, the message is that violence (in all its ugly forms, to include domestic violence, bullying, and street violence) is not a given and must be diminished... or eliminated.
Started by the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District, our team now consists of multiple Rotary Clubs... plus the Near South Planning Board ... Smart Museum of Art... and the University of Chicago Provost's Office. Our goal is to continually expand the program, first in Chicago, and then ever outward. The goal is to enlist involvement from communities, residents and businesses. At present, the program consists of:
1. An Initial Visit to the Smart Museum at University of Chicago for an interactive introduction to art.
2. 10 in school classroom sessions with our Art Director, spread over a 5 week period, with a focus on awareness of violence
issues through the use of various art techniques and media.
3. A 2nd visit to the Smart Museum so the children can share what they have learned, display their own art work, and interact
with museum staff and volunteers who also participate in the program.
4. The final Museum Visit is very exciting and includes a catered lunch.
Volunteer helpers assist with the in-class sessions and museum visits. The cost to conduct one class of 30 students is $2,500. The original "Pilot Program" was launched with one Chicago Southside School in 2014. Learning from that initial experience, it was then expanded to two schools in the second year... and, with additional "streamlining", we conducted the program on an even larger scale (7 schools) during 2016. As more people get involved, we can continue expanding the program, which has received "rave reviews" from the students and faculty who benefit from the program. Would you like to join us?
Read MoreShare By: Marc B. Willage
INSTALLAGION OF CLUB OFFICERS COMMITTEE CHAIRS FOR OUR CLUB - FOR THE 2022-2023 TERM
On July 7, 2022, our club Installation of our club officers for the 2022-2023, Rotarian Linda Yates officiated, installing our : officers:
In the upper Row - from the left are: Jerry McIlvain - President; Tom Baltz - Treasure; Bob Mantsh - Foundation; Vickie Dorgan - International Service;
In the lower row - Linda Yates - Officer Installer; Marilyn Sainsot - Social Chair Sargent of Arms; Debbie Willage - President Elect / Immediate Past President; and Marc Willage - Secretary / Program Chair.
Not pictured are: Katie Anderson - Assistance for service projects in general; Cliff Harstad - Service projects for the local community; Gus Samios - Club membership; and Dennis Gorman - Executive Secretary;
The installation took place at the Chi Restaurant in China Town, with the food being very plentiful, and very plentiful.
A good time was shared by all.
By: Marc B. WillageSERVICE EVENT CONSISTING OF BACK PACK STUFFING WITH ART SUPLIES FOR OUR "SMART ART" POGRAM
On April 2, 2022, five of our club members and one spouse, gathered at Vickie’s Dorgan’s home, to stuff art supplies into back packs to be presented to students served by our Smart Art program.
A sizable portion of the funds to purchase the back packs and the art supplies that were placed in them, were obtained with funds obtained through a Rotary District (6450) grant procured by club president Debbie Willage.Read MoreShare
OUR SMART ART PROGRAM, emphasizing “Peace Though Art,” provides an art program to students who no longer have the availability is formal art instruction in their schools.
We plan to restart our program’s engagement with students during the next school year (2022 - 2023), though our efforts in conjunction with the Smart Art Museum at University of Chicago.
Through this program, classes of students are bussed to the Smart Art museum, followed by six to eight classroom sessions lead by a teaching artist, which is then followed by a second museum visit. The backpacks are distributed to the students at the of the 2nd museum visit.