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Did you know that over one third of local residents spend time volunteering in our community? This makes Rochester one of the most active cities in America for volunteerism.

Each year, the ESL Jefferson Awards honors individuals who tirelessly give of their time to help others in our community.

Five finalists will be selected from among the nominees. Of those five, one will be chosen as the Greater Rochester regional honoree. This volunteer will be eligible for the national award and will attend the National Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. in June 2018.


2018 ESL Jefferson Award winner: Richard Perez

2018 ESL Jefferson Award winner: Richard Perez


2018 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Devon Reynolds

2018 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Devon Reynolds


2018 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Geri Spino

2018 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Ashley Donlon

2018 ESL Jefferson Award winner: Kurt Engel

2017 ESL Jefferson Award winner: Yana Khashper

Yana Khashper never intended to start a non-profit organization for addicts trying to recover...


2017 ESL Jefferson Award winner: Rick Keane

Rick Keane lives by the motto, “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” because he knows being sick or needing medical treatments is not fun...


2017 ESL Jefferson Award winner: Dan Lill

Dan Lill is just one person but he’s convinced 160 people to volunteer with him every week so that people can get around Rochester...


2017 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Mary Kate Brushafer

Mary Kate Brushafer is only 17 years old but she’s already created a non-profit organization and has served...


2017 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Sal Gerbino

Sal Gerbino spent 31 years with the Gates Police Department before going into “semi-retirement” with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department...


Sadiya Omar – 2016 ESL Jefferson Award Winner

Imagine arriving in Rochester with just the clothes on your back, no way to make money to feed your family, and sometimes no way to even communicate...


Tom Fellion – 2016 ESL Jefferson Award Winner

Two to three times a week, you can find Tom Fellion of Groveland waiting for an assignment...


Angel Alecia - 2016 ESL Jefferson Award Winner

Angel Alecia came to Rochester 30 years ago from Puerto Rico. He continues to dedicate almost every waking hour to young people in Rochester as a coach and a mentor...


Anne Marie Gefell – 2016 ESL Jefferson Award Winner

All week we will be honoring this year’s ESL Jefferson Award winners. The award recognizes those who volunteer their time to make our community a better place.


Justin Collins - 2016 ESL Jefferson Award Winner

All week we will be honoring this year’s ESL Jefferson Award winners. The award recognizes those who volunteer their time to make our community a better place.   


2015 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Dan Draper

All week we will be honoring this year’s ESL Jefferson Award winners. The award recognizes those who volunteer their time to make our community a better place. Today we take a look at a man who's helping hundreds of thousands of kids, nationwide...


2015 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Ann Lacey

We continue to honor this year's ESL Jefferson Award winners. The award recognizes those who volunteer their time to make our community a better place...


2015 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Rudolph Harris

We continue to honor this year's ESL Jefferson Award winners. The award recognizes those who volunteer their time to make our community a better place. Today, we feature a retired man who has helped turn around a once troubled Rochester neighborhood...


2015 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Oliva Caiazzo

We continue to honor this year's ESL Jefferson Award winners. The award recognizes those who volunteer their time to make our community a better place. Today we meet a third grader who's become an inspiration...


2015 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Linda Bolan

We're honoring another 2015 ESL Jefferson Award winner -- a woman who will no doubt inspire you. She's working to boost others and doing so after a personal tragedy...


2014 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: James Caldwell

James Caldwell (Chef James) is a retired chef and current volunteer at the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in the Culinary Arts Program...


2014 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Hon. John C. Ninfo II

After 20 years of service, John Ninfo retired as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in 2011. Since then he has been fortunate to be able to continue to follow his passions and serve the public...


2014 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Louise Bennett

For over 25 years, Dr. Louise Bingham Bennett has dedicated her life to serving the refugee community in Rochester, New York...


2014 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Patrick Fisher

Patrick has been advocating for HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years. He was a key planner in an employee training program and benchmark corporate policy recognized by the White House HIV/Aids Policy team under former president, Bill Clinton...


2014 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Jack Sullivan

At just nine years old, Jack founded Catherine’s Peace Team, a group of children and adults promoting peace and kindness...


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