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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. Sadly, Jack lost his cousin, Catherine Violet Hubbard in the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and decided to create the organization as a way to honor her memory. He also built the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary to support her affinity for animals. Since its launch, Jack and the rest of those involved have hosted numerous community events, such as dances and bake sales to help raise money for charity. Catherine’s Peace Team has currently raised over $100,000 between the events and the website where those interested can go to volunteer and donate online (www.cvhfoundation.org). Jack’s heart-warming story is an inspiration to us all and demonstrates what it truly means to be a humanitarian.  
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. He has acted as an advisor and a mentor for many students in the program who have needed guidance. Chef James is a 1997 graduate of REOC’s Food Service program and has been working at the facility since July 2012. In addition to his culinary work, James also conducts workshops on Life Skills, Behavior Change and Anchor Management at the Monroe County Jail.  James’ support and dedication for at-risk youth has led to immense growth for many of his mentees. In 2002, James created Just Your Concerned Citizens of Rochester, Inc., an organization that collects funds to help those with criminal records and those recently released from prison. His ultimate goal is to open a half-way house. James’ passion for his craft as well as his devotion for helping others, are important and admirable traits worth celebrating.
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. In 2010, Patrick was diagnosed with prostate cancer and discovered Us TOO International Inc., a global not for profit organization dedicated to support, educate and advocate for those affected by prostate cancer. After conducting some research, Patrick noticed that Rochester did not yet have a chapter started for the organization. Therefore, he made it his mission to create one and called it “Us TOO Rochester NY.” Patrick spends 20-30 hours each week scheduling monthly educational meetings with local urologists and field experts who conduct presentations on topics that are relevant to survivors and men at risk. He also coordinated Rochester’s first “Blue Glove Dance for Prostate Cancer” at Marketplace Mall and encouraged friends and fellow survivors to take part in it. Moreover, Patrick’s willingness to accept phone calls at home from those dealing with similar issues demonstrates his altruistic nature. Patrick’s kindness and compassion for those affected by HIV/AIDS and prostate cancer is truly remarkable and noteworthy.
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. Dr. Bennett not only provides medical assistance to refugees, but mental and emotional support as well. Dr. Bennett has traveled to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and the village of Ndoombe in Tanzania to administer medical treatment for those in need. Since her retirement from the Westside Health Center three years ago, Louise has continued her involvement in helping refugees, especially the Somalian community.  Dr. Bennett is the acting Administrator for the Somali Community Center, which was started in 2011 at Charles Settlement House on Parkway. She spends the majority of her time researching grants to help fund programs and coaching adult students on various issues, such as citizenship and Medicaid. Dr. Bennett’s philanthropic efforts are a blessing to the entire refugee population.

2014 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Hon. John C. Ninfo II
After twenty 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 by volunteering his time as an educator for The Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program (CARE), Wild Wings, Inc., a Raptor Sanctuary, and the Friends of Ganondagan; to further the arts in Rochester, as the House Manager for RAPA, the Rochester Association of Performing Arts, which now operates the Kodak Center for the Performing Arts, and The Rochester Lyric Opera, Rochester’s only professional opera company; and as a personal finance columnist for The Messenger Post Newspapers and the Italian American Community Newspaper. John is the Founder of CARE, which makes bankruptcy professionals available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to educate thousands of high school and college students annually about personal finances. John started in the schools in 1997 and does over 60 presentations annually. As an outreach educator at Wild Wings, John developed and financially underwrites an enrichment Initiative to bring its amazing birds of prey to at risk, underprivileged Rochester City and Charter School Elementary Students, who might not otherwise ever learn about or see them. In addition to being a Trial Guide at Ganondagan, a New York Historic Site and National Landmark, John is the Chairman of the Building Committee for a new Art and Culture Center, the fulfillment of a 30 year dream, which will make the site even more of an international tourist destination.

2015 Jefferson Awards

We are always seeking nominations for the ESL Jefferson Award for Volunteer Service.

TTo nominate an extraordinary volunteer that you know fill out the form below with as much detail as possible by Monday, February 13, 2015.



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