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Volunteer Stories

Bess Lewis 

Bess Lewis has been a volunteer at CP Rochester for the past eight years. She began volunteering in order to help her youngest daughter fulfill a community service requirement for high school. Her experience at our agency inspired Bess to continue volunteering long after her daughter’s school requirement was filled. Bess truly loves volunteering at CP Rochester and helping out whenever possible.

Bess has learned some important lessons while volunteering, such as to live each day to the fullest. “No one should ever take life too seriously,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to be silly, and remember to appreciate the little things in your life.”

When Bess is not volunteering, she works as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She also loves spending time outdoors with her two dogs, Bella and Harper, as well as her loving and supportive family. She and her husband Ed have three children.


Marcy Jo Arnold

Retired florist Marcy Jo Arnold is a volunteer at CP Rochester in the Day Habilitation ‘Seniors’ Room.’ She began volunteering about two years ago after hearing about the caring people at CP Rochester from her husband Paul, who is the agency’s Adult Basic Education teacher. Marcy absolutely loves volunteering here and helping out in any way she can. Her co-workers, as well as the individuals at CP Rochester, truly make her day. The biggest lesson Marcy has learned in her time at CP Rochester is how blessed her life is.

“Sometimes I would wake up and think that I don’t want to go in to volunteer,” Marcy said. “But then I think about all of my friends here at CP Rochester. They never complain and live their life with a smile. So now that’s what I do, too.”

When not volunteering, Marcy likes to garden, scuba dive, collect rocks and gem stones, and share her love of fossils with children in her neighborhood. Marcy also loves to wrap presents! She shared her wrapping skills with CP Rochester over the 2013 holidays and helped raise over $100.


Henry Boessl

For the past 19 years, Henry Boessl has been volunteering at CP Rochester in the Adaptive Workshop. Henry designs, fabricates, and repairs various types of equipment used by the individuals receiving services at CP Rochester. He truly loves devoting his time and talents in order to enhance the lives of so many individuals.

“Volunteering with a group of similar-minded people not only keeps the body and brain active, but it is balm for the soul with a touch of self-satisfaction and a spot of humility,” Henry said.

During his time here, Henry has learned a lot about himself as well as others. CP Rochester has given him a different perspective on problems and challenges that he personally faces. He has also learned to appreciate all of life’s moments and to help others whenever he can.

At CP Rochester, Henry is considered a jack-of-all-trades. His talents and abilities outside of the workshop are just as varied. Henry is a nationally-recognized hang gliding instructor! He also plays the piano and accordion, and enjoys gardening, writing, reading, and windsurfing. 

If you are interested in volunteering at CP Rochester, contact Tina Bennett at 585-334-6000 x1321 or tbennett@cprochester.org. 


Marty Chatt

Over the past five years, Marty Chatt has shared his talents as a volunteer in CP Rochester’s adaptive workshop. Marty was an avid member of the Rochester Woodworking Society when he heard about our need for support in the workshop.Every week he stops by CP Rochester to fix, retrofit, customize, and build things needed by the individuals who receive services here and the agency. His efforts truly enhance the experiences of all. Before he started volunteering with us, Marty had limited experience interacting with people who have special needs. He has since learned to appreciate everyone for their abilities.

“Everyone is different,” Marty said. “It’s important to understand and accept people for what they can do rather than focus on what they cannot.”

When Marty is not volunteering, he spends a lot of time woodworking. He also enjoys kayaking, biking, and cooking breakfast for him and his wife. Marty loves spending quality time with his family, especially his children and grandchildren.

If you are interested in volunteering at CP Rochester, contact Tina Bennett at 585-334-6000 x1321 or tbennett@cprochester.org. 

Jeanne Sloan

For some people, retirement is a way to stay busy by doing something they are passionate about. Pursuing fresh interests often leads to new and exciting opportunities for individuals to give back to the community. So it is with CP Rochester volunteer Jeanne Sloan. In 2009, after recently retiring from her job as a supervisor of Monroe County’s Early Intervention Program, Jeanne started volunteering at CP Rochester because she was impressed with the agency’s early intervention services. In addition, she took on consultant positions for both Monroe County and Catholic Family Charities.

Born and raised in Rochester, Jeanne graduated from Nazareth College and earned her master’s degree in social work at Fordham University in New York City where she lived for over 20 years before returning to Rochester. Jeanne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has held a variety of positions including Early Intervention Service Coordinator and Supervisor of Service Coordinators for area agencies. Jeanne loves to read, cook, paint ceramics, travel, and work on her house. Over the years, she has volunteered for other causes near and dear to her heart including the Women Helping Girls Program, United Way, and Friendship Children’s Center.

Jeanne became involved with CP Rochester for one main reason – to stay involved with children receiving services through the agency. She spends one afternoon per week with the kids in the agency’s warm water therapy pool. Jeanne started out working with the early intervention children and gradually transitioned to working with the preschool children.

“It has been a joy to work with CP Rochester for these past three years and see how the children have blossomed,” said Jeanne. “I am impressed by the dedicated staff, and am thrilled to see how these children learn through play, discipline, and love.”

If you are interested in volunteering at CP Rochester, contact Tina Bennett at 585-334-6000 x1321 or tbennett@cprochester.org.


Jerry and Laura Adamski

Twenty-five years is a long time to volunteer for anything; but to drive 90 miles in the cold and snow and give up your Saturday mornings for a quarter century... that’s dedication! But that is exactly what CP Rochester volunteer Jerry Adamski did. Jerry was a long-time Kodak employee looking for a volunteer opportunity when a friend told him about Shared Ski Adventures (SSA), an adaptive learn-to-ski program for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. Jerry’s had an interest and was introduced to the program coordinator in 1987. From her wheelchair, and with an enthusiastic smile, the coordinator explained the program and why they needed volunteers. She explained being the best skier or knowing how to instruct wasn’t the main criteria; it was having a helping spirit and wanting to help make people’s lives better. Jerry was sold. 

In the late 1980s when Jerry joined Shared Ski Adventures, the program was not yet partnered with CP Rochester. Jerry and other volunteers wanted to take the program to a new level; they successfully pitched the idea to CP Rochester and began partnering with soon after. CP Rochester’s knowledge and connections in the community, its infrastructure, and well-trained and talented staff were a huge boost to the program.

When asked why he volunteers, Jerry listed many things he has gained from the experience. SSA has provided positive opportunities to mutually grow and learn. He has experienced camaraderie like no other, connections with others, and a higher sense of purpose. He has enjoyed not only the opportunity to see students excited over their newfound abilities and progress, but he is continually learning through the students.

“I’ve loved everything about this program,” Jerry said. “It’s extremely moving to watch the participants become passionate about their newfound abilities and progress.”

Years ago, Jerry began sharing his SSA experience with his oldest daughter, Laura. The experience exposed Laura to life’s diversity. As she grew, her interest in helping others grew as well. A strong skier, she became one of the youngest (and most popular) SSA instructors.

Jerry has found that volunteering has enriched his life in many ways. He notes that knowledge and skill are not valuable until we share them with others. He and the hundreds of Shared Ski Adventures volunteers encourage anyone who is interested in sharing their love of skiing to visit Swain next season and see first-hand what SSA is all about.

For more information about volunteering at CP Rochester, contact Tina Bennett at 334-6000.

Yanni Papadakos

Yanni Papadakos has been a member of the CP Rochester volunteer family for over a year. He gives his time to CP Rochester’s Augustin Children’s Center and also assists in the agency’s warm water therapy pool. The 16-year old ‘virtual’ high school student was recently inducted into National Honor Society, which requires him to fulfill a certain amount of volunteer hours through a personal community engagement project.

Yanni immediately felt drawn to volunteer at CP Rochester. He loves working with children and has a deep connection with people with disabilities. His uncle, who lives with Yanni and his family, has Down syndrome. He knew that CP Rochester could provide him with valuable experiences in his personal life, while allowing him to service others.

There is no doubt Yanni has truly enjoyed his experiences at CP Rochester! Before volunteering at the agency, he had never worked with children with disabilities. “This experience has made me much more compassionate, patient, and understanding,” Yanni said. “I wanted to help each child reach his or her goals.”

When Yanni is not volunteering, he stays very busy. He is an elite figure skater competing across the United States and Canada. His love for the sport inspired him to become an instructor for young aspiring skaters. Yanni also competes in épée fencing and is a member of the Rochester Grey Ghosts, a local U.S. Navy Sea Cadet division. He is hoping to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. 

For more information about volunteering at CP Rochester, contact Tina Bennett at 334-6000.