Category Archives: volunteering

Hillary…A Woman of Valor

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Last week, I had the privilege of attending a benefit luncheon at which the former Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator from New York was the featured guest speaker. As the purpose of this occasion was to raise funds for charitable purposes, rather than political ones, no press was allowed inside the room (and I doubt anyone missed them), although they were congregated outside. Continue reading

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Curt’s Café: Serving up Hope and Opportunity

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Imagine creating a warm, welcoming space and filling it with fresh-brewed coffee, tempting pastries, healthy meals, music, art and community. Add to that mix a mission to help at-risk teenagers and young adults develop discipline and find a direction in life. I found all that—and more—when I visited Curt’s Cafe. Continue reading

Of Books, Women and Prisons

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This summer, at my daughter’s suggestion, I started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Pretty soon, I was hooked and binge-watched the entire season over the course of a few days. I was intrigued even further when I found out that this show about life in a woman’s prison is based on the true account of Piper Kerman (Piper Chapman, in the show), a Waspy Smith graduate. In fact, I’ve persuaded my book club to read Kerman’s book of the same name. Continue reading

Have a Grand Day: September 8

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Do you know that the first Sunday after Labor Day is National Grandparents Day? This special day is meant to celebrate the important bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.

You can mark this day in whichever way suits your family best. Grandparents might give and/or receive presents. You might gather for a festive meal or make cards for each other. Be as creative as you like in how you celebrate, but I recommend that you let the usual suspects know that this special day is soon approaching. Continue reading

Best School Supply: A Library Card

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It’s no secret to the readers of grandbooking that I’ve spent a great deal of time in libraries and value the services they provide. As a child, my neighborhood library—first on Devon Avenue and then later relocated to California Avenue— was special to me. Beyond losing myself in children’s literature, I needed (in those pre-Google days) the library’s encyclopedias and other reference materials for my homework (although one day, my dad surprised me with a brand-new set of beautifully-bound Encyclopedia Britannica; remember encyclopedia salesmen?!). Continue reading

Little Free Library—Chapter 2

Celebrate the Power of Stories

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Yes, I do have exciting news! After months of deliberations, emails, phone calls and a champion for the cause in their midst, the local Park District has approved my gift of a Little Free Library (LFL). I expect it to be installed soon in Sunset Park, a park with many family-friendly amenities and a natural, graceful beauty. Continue reading

A Dog is a Kid’s Best Friend…When it Comes to Reading

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Like humans, dogs can wear many hats. They can be our best buddy: comforting, entertaining, companionable, affectionate, protective; they can also be trained to provide guidance, assistance or therapy.

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Here in north suburban Chicago, K-9 Reading Buddies of the North Shore (K9RBNS) offers a unique twist—dogs (and their humans) are helping children improve their reading skills and boost their confidence in academic settings; in fact, they’ve proved to be quite successful in doing so.  Continue reading