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Patch Portrait: Middle East Traveler Comes Home to Make Local Changes

This week's Patch Portraits also feature a food pantry director in Skokie and a taxi driver in Oak Park.

This week's Patch Portraits were produced and edited by Casey Cora, Phillip Downie and Natalie Kaplan. Check back on Mondays for the next installment.

Also showcased, Skokie's food pantry director and Oak Park's taxi driver.

The Middle East interested Bobby Kellman from a young age.

“My dad would sit us down and force us to read the newspaper,” the Evanston native said. “I was always attracted to those parts of the world.”

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2006 with a major in Arabic and Middle East History, Kellman spent a short stint in Washington, D.C. before moving to Dubai to start working for a polling firm.

“A large part of what we did was find out how governments could involve their people on issues like education and health-care,” Kellman said about part of his time overseas.

That kind of work sent Kellman to places throughout the Middle East most of us can’t pronounce let alone point to on a map.

But there’s no place like home, which is why Kellman recently moved back to the Chicagoland area where his mother’s a teacher in Deerfield and his father works as a professor at DePaul

Once back in the United States, Kellman was hired on as the campaign manager for Citizens Aiming for Responsible Enhancements. CARE was an advocacy group that supported high school referendum.

While Deerfield and Highland Park residents voted the measure down in April, Kellman would like to stay involved in issues that are important to him like education.     

“I wanted to work in government issues here,” Kellman said about his initial desire to move home. “I wanted to make an impact at a place that I knew best.”  

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