Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates marks 50 years of service
Members of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates work year-round on community projects, but on Oct. 17, they rested.
More than 160 members and their guests gathered at Chandler's Chophouse in Schaumburg to kick off the club's 50th anniversary year. It was billed as a birthday bash and included watching a video -- set to iconic music from 1969 -- with photos from many of their projects over the decades.
More than reminiscing over photos, club members celebrated just how much money they have raised since their inception: more than $5 million for local community efforts.
"Clearly, the work we have done enhances our sense of community," says Pat Groenewold of Hoffman Estates, club president. "But collaboration is key. We don't just give money, we get involved."
Consider some of the club's ongoing projects:
• Empowering and healing abused children and preventing violence against children by working with the Children's Advocacy Center in Schaumburg.
• Breaking the cycle of domestic violence by working with WINGS in Palatine.
• Building a lifetime of learning for children born in high-risk environments by working with Children's Home and Aid Society.
•Providing recreational opportunities for children with disabilities by working with Northwest Special Recreation Association in Rolling Meadows.
• Supporting children and adults with Down syndrome through their support of GiGi's Playhouse in Hoffman Estates.
• Feeding hungry students to foster a quest for learning through partnerships with Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54.
• Providing nutritious meals and fellowship to seniors through work with Schaumburg Township.
• Funding scholarships to underemployed and unemployed adults through scholarships to Harper College in Palatine.
Currently, members are working with community partners to enhance a healing butterfly garden at the Children's Advocacy Center while, last month, club members presented checks to administrators with Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates high schools for their "Blessings in a Backpack" program. It supports students and families with nutritional food for the weekends.
At the anniversary party, club members reflected on their roots, back to the pivotal year of 1969 when Dr. Howard Baker formed the Rotary Club of Schaumburg as a way for area businesses to give back to the community. There were 35 charter members its first year.
In 1991, the club would rename itself to reflect its Hoffman Estates business leaders, and they also would go on to charter two more Rotary Clubs: the Schaumburg Morning Club and the Rotary Club of Bloomingdale-Roselle.
Groenewold is relatively new to the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates club. She joined after moving to the area and retiring from her work with nonprofit management. However, she brought her background from serving more than 25 years with another Rotary Club, as well as working on the staff of Rotary International, which is based in Evanston.
After collaborating with members of the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates club, she says their nickname for themselves, "the Friendly Club," is true.
"I can honestly say that this is one of the most engaging -- as well as engaged clubs -- I've seen," Groenewold says. "Building community is one of the real foundations of Rotary. That and, of course, service over self.
"Both are alive and well in Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates," she adds. "It's not a meeting that you have to go to, it's a meeting you want to go to."
For details on the club, visit portal.clubrunner.ca/2404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.