Andy Ullman from the Des Plaines club talked about how his club's plans to sponsor a refugee family this spring.  
Happy New Year everyone!  Here's hoping 2016 is the Truthiest, Fairest, Beneficialest, and that it spurs much Good Will and Better Friendships for you all.  (Plus, that it's fun, too!)
We're off to a great start for all of that.  Our Classic 5000 plans are progressing very well.  Thanks to Kathy and John for doing so much of the grunt work in putting this together!
Today we welcomed Ned Lips to our meeting.  Ned recently moved to Mount Prospect from St. Louis.  The Lips family has been part of Club 11 since it's founding until now.  We appreciate Ned's family's long service and hope he looks to continue that service with us.
 We also welcomed Prospect Heights Police Deputy Chief Jim Zalowski.  There's some shuffling going on at the PD since Jamie left.  Al is now the chief, giving Jim the opportunity to move up a slot.  There were other promotions to fill resulting vacancies as well.  It's great to see so many qualified officers given the opportunity to excel further their careers where they've served so long and well.  
Andy Ullman joined us from the Des Plaines club and was our speaker today.  He talked about his club's new refugee sponsorship project.  Andy himself mentored three men from Nigeria recently.  They've since moved to Dallas, but he still stays in touch with them.  
Refugees are defined as people who cross an international border due to a well-founded fear of war, terror or persecution.  In 2012, there were 10 million refugees in camps throughout the world.  Today, there are 19.5 million.  Each year, just 100,000 refugees are resettled from camps to other countries.  The US accepts 70,000 of them.  
Typically, refugees spend and average of 17 years in camps before they are chosen to come to the United States.  Our program is based on human rights needs and is managed by the State Department.  Refugees arrive as permanent resident aliens.  Most US refugees come from Burma and Iraq with Syria and the African continent being next.  All potential refugees are thoroughly vetted before they come to the US and the wait before selection is seen as a strong disincentive for criminals or terrorists wishing to use the program to come to the US.  
The Des Plaines club will sponsor a family this spring.  To date, they've raised $2,500 with the Wheeling club towards their goal of $6,000.  The funds will help support the family until they're able to find jobs.  A local thrift shop has donated furniture and other home goods, but cash will be needed for groceries and the like.  
Two weeks before the family arrives, the clubs will learn the identity of the family  and will begin looking for a suitable apartment and school.  On the day of arrival, the club will have someone pick the family up at the airport, make sure they get a hot meal, and give them a basic orientation of their new home.  The family's sponsors will check in regularly as the family adjusts to answer any questions they may have and to show them around Chicago and develop job skills.  Refugees are eligible for formal adjustment services for one year and mental health care for two years.  Children are part of a special youth program until they are 18 and adults receive employment assistance for five years.  These services are provided by Refugee One, based in Chicago.
It was a very informative talk on an interesting and current topic.  We wish the clubs luck in their work!