North Shore Kiwanis Reporter (Chicago)

Silent Auction Items & Great Food

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on November 11, 2018

Our club fundraiser is this coming Tuesday (see post below).  We just received a great silent auction gift from Jarran Conger, owner of In Fine Spirits, a Manhattan mix kit.  We’ll also have gift certificates from Gethsemane Garden Center, tickets to a Cubs game, and other great items.  Food?  Sandwiches from Piatto Pronto and desserts from Taste of Heaven.  It will be a fine time.  Tickets are available online or at the door.


Jarron Conger (right) with Kiwanis member Xavier Zininger


Heroes for Literacy

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on October 24, 2018

If you live in Edgewater, you’ve seen “little libraries,” small boxes decorated like houses where neighbors can exchange books for free.  The man who conceived this model for book sharing, Todd Bol, died last week.  Bol built his first library in 2009.  Today, there are over 75,000 registered little libraries in 80 countries.  Bol’s story shows how one person can make a big difference.  Similarly, in Edgewater, Tom Welsh has championed the little library concept.  In doing this, he has provided both adults and children with books that bring wisdom and joy.  In 2017, the Edgewater Historical Society, recognized Welsh as a “Living Treasure.”  Little libraries come from people with big hearts.  We are lucky to have such people in the world and our local communities.

Our 2018 Fundraiser

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on October 13, 2018

Professor Bill Savage of Northwestern University will give a talk as part of a fundraiser to support North Shore Kiwanis Club (Andersonville, Edgewater, and Uptown).  The presentation will explore a little known aspect of Chicago history, or as Professor Savage writes:

“Everyone (or everyone who’s read The Devil in the White City) knows that the history of Chicago was fundamentally changed in 1909, with the publication of Daniel Burnham’s monumental Plan of Chicago, the text which inspired the City Beautiful Movement and which has justified generations of urban planning in Chicago.  But far fewer people realize that another event that year—the regularization of Chicago’s street numbering system—had far greater effects on the lives of everyday Chicagoans.  Edward Brennan, a private citizen and street-level gadfly, convinced the City of Chicago to make State and Madison Streets the east-west and north-south axes of our city, and every address in town tells you how far you are from our urban epicenter.  Brennan helped make the City Logical.  This talk will explore who he was, how he did it, and how quirks in the system expose the history of the city, beautiful, ugly, and everything in between.”

This event will take place on Tuesday,  Nov. 13 from 7-9 at the Swedish American Museum (5211 N. Clark St.  Parking is available at the museum’s parking lot on the NE corner of Foster & Ashland).  There will be sandwiches, desserts, and beverages.

All proceeds from this event will go to fund North Shore Kiwanis Club’s education programs which support students at Goudy, Hayt, Peirce & Swift Schools.  To learn more about our club, go to our WordPress blog

Tickets are $35 and may be purchased online online or at the door. 

Questions?  Please email or call Clay Cerny at or 773-907-8660.


The Chicago Grid – 1907

Photos from the 2018 Essay Contest

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on May 9, 2018

Here are some photos from today’s essay contest.  Again, North Shore Kiwanis Club thanks the students, teachers, and principals from Goudy, Hayt, Peirce, and Swift — great schools!






2018 Eighth Grade Essay Contest

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on May 8, 2018

North Shore Kiwanis Club recognizes the following students for their contributions to the 2108 Reverend John Hudson Essay Contest


Fayeze Salih

Goudy School

On February 2, 2011, a monumental blizzard hit North America.  The winds were blowing violently, and people were being swept right of their feet.  My uncle and I happened to get caught in the storm when I was returning from school.  The fierce wind pushed me down, and as I struggled to get back up and walk, my uncle held me by my hand and said to me, “Don’t give up, not now.”  I smiled at my uncle and got back on my feet, resolute in making it home.  After half an hour of struggling against the storm, we successfully made it home.  Almost seven years after the storm, I still recall what my uncle had said to me.  It really was something influential.

I always turn to my uncle to comfort me when I am feeling down.  He is always understanding and compassionate.  Recently, I received my high school acceptance letters, and the results were vexing.  I was crushed to see that I did not get into any of the schools I wanted.  The majority of my family members were disappointed in me and were doubting my intelligence.  The only person who comforted me and made me feel good about myself was my uncle.  He told me, “This is what God has planned for you.  That is something we need to accept.”  This instantly made me feel less worried and more hopeful about my future.  All my feeling of worthlessness and sadness had suddenly disappeared and were replaced with a feeling of comfort.  I took what he said and contemplated it.  I said to myself, “If this is God’s will, then I must go with it, and I’m grateful that God gave me an uncle who is kind and caring.”

From assisting me during the tempestuous blizzard to consoling me in my high school related dilemma, my uncle has always been there for me when I needed him.  He would always help me when I seriously needed it, and I will never forget his sayings and actions.  I try my hardest to implement all of his teachings into my life and the way I behave.  For everything he has done for me, I am proud to say that my influential elder is none other than my beloved uncle.


Julie My Thai

Goudy School

“We are in charge of our own destiny.  We shape our own story.”  Matthew Robert Patrick

My hero, Matthew Robert Patrick, MatPat, has been an inspiration to me for a few years now.  Now MatPat is an Internet personality, a YouTuber, and being a YouTuber, people criticize him.  The Internet is just a place to be put out and called upon.  The thing with MatPat, though, is that he will not say anything back.  He would rather let a false rumor die down than feed the fuel into the fire of rumors and hate.  He and his wife, Stephanie Claire Cordato-Patrick, co-own their theory channels, The Game Theorists and The Film Theorists, and they co-host their live streaming channel, GTLive.  MatPat is always just telling you to be yourself.  That you matter and to be positive.  That people who bring you down or do not listen to you are not worth your time.  You play an important role, and you should be happy in life because you deserve to be happy.

When I first discovered MatPat, I was in the sixth grade.  Now sixth grade was just a stupid year for me.  I was involved with drama.  My friends avoided it and, in turn, avoided me by accident.  That really just piled on to the negativity I have had over the past few years.  I have had difficulty sleeping, and I just felt utterly useless and guilty over the smallest things.  I still feel that way, but it has been much better.  MatPat was just so vibrant and full of energy.  His positivity just flowed out, even through a screen.  I could feel myself starting to feel better, starting to think differently.  That maybe I will do better.  Maybe I am not always the problem.  He was just so inspiring.  Now I do still feel that way, but just listening to MatPat makes me feel better.  He is funny and smart and warm.  I love him and his wife and their cat and their team in strictly a platonic way.  He literally makes me be more optimistic, and I am a naturally pessimistic person.  I am really pessimistic.  I think about death and suicide and about hurting/feeling bad.  MatPat is my distraction from that.  He believes in kindness and positivity.  I want someday to be able to be fully positive and kind.  I want to stop thinking negatively.  I want to be truly, fully happy.


Nafia Khan

Hayt Elementary

Growing up I never realized how much my sister meant to me until I was separated from her for some time.  I always took her for granted and overlooked the way she cared for me.  She left for Pakistan in the month of March, and I do not remember crying that much for anything else in my life.

The day of her departure, I told myself to stay strong, and I was until she texted me while she was boarding the plane.  The text read, “I’m on the plane with dad.  I’m going to miss you.”  I had never thought of that phrase as anything special until I imagined it coming out of her mouth.  That was when it hit me.  I was going to miss her . . . a lot.  I replied to her text, “I will miss you too.  Stay safe and come back soon.”  Tears ran down my cheeks.  I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t.  I had to stay strong for her.

My sister has always helped me stand up again even if I had lost hope in myself.  She dealt with me through my mood swings and all of my phases.  She was always there for me and kept things real.  She knew the horrors of the world and always tried to prepare me for them.  She said I acted like the older sibling sometimes because I was always telling her not to waste money on clothes that are not worth it.  I got most of my life lessons from her, and she is unique.  Nothing in this world can compare to her.  I aspire to be confident as she is with a smile always on her face that suits her bubbly personality.  I feel that I do not mention it enough, but I love my sister:  “I love you, Kinza.”


Rachel Mulick

Hayt Elementary

There are many influential people in my life that I look up to, but one of the most important is my godmother Saila.  Not only is she an amazing, inspiring person, she has also offered me many opportunities.  I never realized how influential she was until I thought about it, and she immediately popped into my head.  Saila is a hard worker, an intelligent person, and a role model.

Saila is an aortic heart surgeon and one of the only females in her field at the hospital that she works at.  This is one of her many accomplishments.  It inspires me to be ambitious and strive to do my best no matter the obstacles.  Saila has been there when I needed her, like when I had to bring an inspiring woman to an interview panel for Girl Scouts.  I immediately thought of her, and she wanted to come even though it was a four-hour drive from Indianapolis after a long day at work.  Saila wanted to support me, and I am very grateful for that.  Last, but not least, Saila offers me many opportunities.  For example, this summer she is taking me on a trip to Italy.  This will be a life-changing experience, and it will all be thanks to her.

Saila is my role model and has influenced my life greatly.  She has supported me, given me goals, and offers opportunities to change my life for the better.  She is one of the most influential person in my life, and I cannot thank her enough.


Aaliyah Vlahakis

Hayt Elementary

My brother is a very inspirational person in my life because he has succeeded in many activities, clubs, and personal projects.  He is extremely intelligent and while he was in my position, waiting to get accepted into a high school, he received a letter from Northside College Prep.  As many people know, Northside is the best high school in Illinois, and it is very challenging.  He passed with flying colors and is now going to one of the best colleges in the world, Stanford University.  I am inspired by all of his success and hope that I can make an impact just like he did and just like he still is.

While growing up, my brother and I fought over silly things, but as we got older, we got along more, and he helped me with school because he wanted to see me succeed.  His is ambitious and caring like no one I have ever met.  He cares about people out in the world just as he does his family.  He has an extremely busy schedule, but still finds time for the people and activities he care about most.

There are so many reasons why my brother inspires me, and I am glad to grow up with and learn from such a determined person.


Imani Cruz

Peirce Elementary

The most influential person that I have encountered is my violin teacher Hilary Bailey.  I started working with Hilary when I was nine years old.  She taught me how to play the violin, and I have been playing ever since.  I admire her because, despite only being a young high school student, she managed to start a program that opens up opportunities to many inner city kids.

Music for Kids is a program that I have been a part of for about five years.  Hilary is so inspiring to me.  At only 16 years old, she created this program.  She asked for donations of money and instruments and put together something amazing.  She is a smart, young, bright female who demonstrates that although you are young you can still make an impact on the world.

Hilary attended DePaul University and graduated last year.  I saw Hilary twice a week every week, and she always was busy, teaching and attending college at the same time, which is truly astounding.  Hilary is so selfless because Music for Kids is a non-profit program.  With all that on her plate she continues to teach kids like me to play the violin.

Hilary teaches kids and walks away with only the joy of helping others.  She helped me with my audition for the Lincoln Park Music Program and showed me how to be determined and powerful.  As I see myself go to high school, I want to make an impact on the world just like she did.  Hilary Bailey is someone I look up to, someone who has influenced me to be a motivated, independent, selfless person just like her.


Angelina Carvasce

Peirce Elementary

It would be fair to say that through my life I have met a handful of adults between moving states, schools, and so on.  However, I could tell you with confidence that Aimee Baker, my seventh grade teacher is – hands down – the most influential of them all.  Just meeting her, one could tell she has the most lively and welcoming aura.  I instantly knew that she was a good soul.  She was a caring person who wore a Saint Christopher necklace and had the brightest smile.  She had a seemingly never ending love for those around her.  She made a point to let her students know that the only thing she wanted for them was to thrive off of good energy.

She was a truly amazing teacher.  Her lessons were planned, and we had fun while we learned.  She interacted with her students one on one as well.  If there was a problem, she noticed and tried to fix it in a positive way.  Throughout the seventh grade, I had been through a lot on my own, and if I came to class, she could instantly pick that up.  At one point in the year, she pulled me aside to discuss what had been happening outside of school.  We discussed the issue, and I came out of the classroom with a new perspective on who I should be spending my time with.  Every day, I strive to show a portion of Aimee Baker in myself.  She taught me to always be kind to others and to forgive, and not ever forget what was important.


Oliver Lopeztello

Peirce Elementary

I have had many different coaches through my years, but my baseball coach Joe has inspired me the most.  He has made a huge impact in my ability on the field.  He is willing to help players like me with private workouts throughout the offseason or regular season.  He has improved my skills over these past three years since I joined the Chicago Warriors.

My coach is named Joe Perona, and he is a former major league baseball player for the Detroit Tigers and a Northwestern alumni.  I learned so much from him.  He is a coach who loves the game more than anything else.  He believes playing as a team is the most important thing at the end of the day.  He reminds us often to look at the back of our hats where he had the word “team” customized on all Warrior hats.  He has made this team more than just a baseball team.  He has made our 13 players feel like a family whenever we play.  I have been playing baseball since I was three years old.  We have had our big moments during games, but none of this would have happened without him.


Ying Xie

George B. Swift School

Even almost four years later, I still remember that wistful stranger.  Back in the fifth grade, I was only about ten years old.  My parents owned a Chinese restaurant on Argyle, and I had to go there every day after school.  For me, the only reason to go there was to use the computer.  Little me often hated talking to customers due to the awkward tension of talking to a stranger.

That day could only be called fortuitous.  During that moment, my dad just kicked me off the computer.  I was upset, but then I heard a hoarse voice follow.  It was directed at me.  Quickly, I realized that the voice came from a customer.

“You should respect your elders,” he said.  He followed by lecturing me about how hard my dad worked to provide for the family.  In my mind, he was right.  But I did not want to hear it from a stranger.  He continued on and on, so it was impossible for me to complain.  Despite how much I hated the lecture as a kid, I knew he was right.

We sold off the restaurant a few years later, and we never exchanged names.


Jessica John

George B. Swift School

“For myself, one of the sweetest words I have ever heard is “Nana.”  Zelda Rosenbaum

Patti, as I called her, was my great grandmother.  Born into an underprivileged family in India and married off at the tender age of sixteen, she rose to be the matriarch of her household: five girls and four boys and, eventually, their children and grandchildren.  I was one of the fortunate kids to see her and get her love.  She was blamed by her neighborhood since she sent her daughters to school and not for work.  Girls in her days studied until second grade, and either went as child laborers or they were married off.

The challenges she faced were numerous: teaching herself to read and write, standing strong in the still male dominated society, and being labelled a rebel, a fighter, a believer.  Her wrinkles expressed her life story.  She was known for her resourcefulness with anything handed to her: handmade mud stoves, detergents from burnt coals, and cooking fuels from cow dung.

I see her qualities in my grandmother and mother, who went on to graduate from university.  If she had ever thought about giving up, I would not be here right now to tell her story.


A Breakdown of Most Influential Elders

88 essays were submitted for this year’s contest.  They broke down in this way:

15 Grandmothers

15 Teachers

13 Grandfathers

8 Sisters

8 Brothers

6 Coaches

5 Aunts

5 Cousins

5 Family Friends

5 Uncles

1 Godmother

1 Entertainer

1 Doctor


To view essays online, go to our club blog:

To read essays from previous years, go to blog entries for May or June.


North Shore Kiwanis Club (Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown)

 recognizes and thanks the dedicated students, teachers, administrators,

parents, and families from the following schools:







You make Andersonville, Edgewater, and Uptown better places to live.

Thank You, Hayt School

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on March 27, 2018

A few days ago our club received thank you cards from the students at Hayt School.  The students also told us that their favorite books are Let the Children March, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors, She Persisted-Around the World, First Big Book of How, I Am Gandhi, Iggy Peck Architect, My Daddy ‘Martin Luther King Jr., Beekle, and Maps.  Our club is very happy to make a donations that will enable students to enjoy such books.

More importantly, we want to thank the students of Hayt school, the faculty, staff, and Principal Dan Gomez for the great work they are doing.  You are building the future.

Hayt thank you

Thank you, Hayt School

2018 Reading Support Awards

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on March 11, 2018

At our most recent meeting at Fireside, our club awarded $500 gift cards to the following public schools:  Goudy, Hayt, and Peirce.  We were joined by Principal Pamela Brandt from Goudy School, Principal Dan Gomez from Hayt, and Principal Lori Zaimi from Peirce as well as our special guest, Alderman Harry Osterman.  The awards are used by schools to supply books for the school libraries, holiday show programs, and family night.  We thank our friends at Women and Children’s First Bookstore who have been very helpful to us and teachers from the schools we are proud to support.

Big thanks to Kim Kaulas for organizing and hosting this event.

Kiwanis feb 27 1

Ald. Harry Osterman joins us to honor Edgewater’s great neighborhood schools


2-27-18 2

Edgewater Sweetheart Peggy Gelsomino shares ideas with Inspired Youth Tutoring’s Margaret Sullivan



Our January 2018 Meeting

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on February 13, 2018

We entered 2018 with some important club business:  School literacy grants.  This year $500 grants will be given to the following schools in Edgewater:  Goudy, Hayt, Peirce, and Swift.  The grants will be distributed as gift cards for purchases at Women and Children First Bookstore.  We also enjoyed some fine Italian cuisine at Ranalli’s of Andersonville.



North Shore Kiwanis Club Looking Forward to a Great 2018


Chicago Kiwanis Division One Holiday Party

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on February 13, 2018

We changed some things for this year’s Holiday Party – and it was a blast!.  First, we held the event at the Fireside Restaurant.  Second, our new musicians were club members Kim Kaulas on the ukulele and David Behm on bongos.  Some things did not change.  We were joined by our great friends from the Lake View Club and the Ravenswood Club.  All of the guests brought toys that we stuffed into Greg Katzman’s car for delivery to Care for Real.  And Maria Bappert led us in song, including the pantomime we do during Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  A great time was had by all.



Maria showing us that Rudoph’s nose is “bright”



Kim & David rockin’ the Xmas Carols



Rev. John Hudson led us in Grace & then to the buffet!





2017 Fundraiser

Posted in Uncategorized by claycerny on February 13, 2018

We held our annual fundraiser at the Swedish Museum on November 11, 2017.  Our guest speakers were the Pack the Car guys, Steven Pryor and Gregg Rojewski, the youngest living legends honored by the Edgewater Historical Society. Over eight years, Steven and Gregg have brought carloads of food and clothing to one of Kiwanis’ favorite organizations, Care for Real.

As we do every year, we had a fun raffle and a silent auction that included donations of landscape design (Thanks, Kim!), Cubs tickets, gift certificates from Women and Children First bookstore, Koval liquor with a distillery tour, and a very generous gift from Gethsemane Garden Center.  We had great food donated by our great friends at Piatto Pronto and Taste of Heaven.  Big thanks to Karin Abercrombie from the Swedish Ameican Museum for her help.  We appreciate everyone who helped us have another great fundraiser.



Gregg & Steven from Pack the Car