Working to make Malibu East a better home

Posted on Mon, 12/01/2014 - 12:10pm

By Beth Robinson

Sandy ChaetHave you gone to an ice cream social, attended a fire safety lecture or taken a child to the Easter egg hunt at Malibu East? If the answer is yes, you have experienced firsthand some of the activities Sandy Chaet has organized.

Sandy, a longtime member of the Malibu East Board of Directors, has chaired the Social Committee for more than 30 years. She joined the committee as a member shortly after moving to the building in 1978 and became first a co-chair and then the chair. Over the years, the Social Committee has put together events ranging from Halloween parties to dance classes to potluck meals to a celebration of the building’s 40th anniversary. Among the committee’s most popular gatherings is the holiday party in December, which fills the Lobby with residents enjoying food and conversation each year.

Social activities provide opportunities to meet other residents and create a sense of community, an important contribution to the quality of life in a large building like ours. Sandy has been a leader in organizing activities outside of Malibu East as well, planning social events at the school where she taught.

A native Chicagoan, Sandy grew up in West Rogers Park. Her father managed real estate, including a shopping center in Elkhart, Ind., where Sandy recalls seeing Amish families pull up in buggies to shop. Her mother was active in Hadassah, a Jewish women’s organization that supports Israel, and as a teenager, Sandy accompanied her mother to the organization’s convention in New York. She remembers family gatherings with both sets of grandparents. In her living room, the candlestick holders her grandmother brought with her when she came to the United States from Russia are on display. Nearby are some of the antique clocks that Sandy owns, a collection started with a gift from her parents.

When Sandy graduated from Roosevelt University, she took a job as a teacher but quit after one year to become a nuclear medicine technician. However, education was her calling, and she went back to work as an elementary school teacher, a profession she loved. She taught for 35 years at Nelson School in East Maine School District 63 in grades 1, 4 and 5. She substitute-teaches now but misses the connection built with students as a classroom teacher over the course of a school year. She still keeps in touch with former students.

When she taught fourth grade, one of her students, Alan Brin, died of leukemia. Deeply moved by Alan’s struggle and his family’s loss, Sandy organized a fundraiser each year at the school for the Alan Brin Memorial Chapter of the Leukemia Research Foundation and serves as membership chairman of the group.

Sandy is passionate about her interests. She has season tickets for Bears games. She has been a big fan since she got to know several Bears players personally as neighbors when she lived in Lake Park Plaza. Sandy is a dog lover. The fact that Malibu East allows dogs was one of the reasons she chose the building. She is a member of the International Kennel Club of Chicago, earning her green jacket as a committed volunteer and working each year at its show at McCormick Place. She owns a beautiful schnauzer, Zim, and has a collection of many items with dog motifs.

Following in her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps, she is active in Hadassah. She has gone on several trips to Israel with the organization. In 2012, she was scheduled to go on one such trip when her mother became very ill. Sandy canceled the trip over her mother’s objections. Sadly, Sandy’s mother passed away before the trip date, and Sandy was able to travel to Israel, fulfilling her mother’s wishes.

In 1976, Sandy earned her real-estate license with the intention of helping her father in his business. She took a job at Omnibus Management & Realty, handling rentals and sales and managing condos for individual owners who rented out their units. Working in a real-estate office gave Sandy insight into how property is managed and how to collaborate with management, boards, owners and staff. This experience helped her when she was elected to the Malibu East Board.

On our Board, Sandy chairs the Security & Life Safety Committee as well as the Social Committee. She is also Malibu East’s liaison to the Association of Sheridan Condominium/Co-op Owners (ASCO). She has been active in this neighborhood association for years in different roles, including ASCO board member, treasurer and currently vice president. She credits Sheli Lulkin, president of ASCO, and former Ald. Kathy Osterman, who became director of the Office of Special Events for the City, with encouraging and supporting her involvement in community affairs.

As a Board member, Sandy tries to listen to all points of view and to consider what is best for the building as a whole. She is not afraid to take a minority opinion if she believes that it is the best course of action. When she first moved into the building, owners were faced with a special assessment, so Sandy values being able to plan within the Association’s budget while also addressing necessary infrastructure improvements. She would like to see updated décor without losing the original character of the building.

In earlier years, building social activities attracted more participants than they currently do. Sandy would like to encourage more residents to attend the social activities, and she’s always looking for new ideas and suggestions from residents.