Katie LeChase

NextGen Visit to Rochester Children’s Scholarship Fund Annual Reception & Post-Event Dinner

May 31, 2013 in NextGen Event, NextGen in the Community, NextGen Info, Uncategorized, YP Community Event

All are welcome to attend the Rochester Children’s Scholarship Fund (RCSF) Annual Reception at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at City Hall (30 Church St. in Rochester.) RCSF provides stipends, support and linkages to services for high achieving, low-income primarily minority Rochester City School District high school students. 100% of the RCSF scholars graduate from high school compared to a 50% graduation rate district wide. Over 90% of RCSF students attend college. Students have been accepted to prestigious universities such as Harvard and MIT. Other students choose to attend local universities with full scholarships to colleges such as RIT and the University of Rochester. Many RCSF scholars have had to overcome significant barriers such as: parent incarceration, foster care placement, and learning english as a second language. RCSF provides support during the vulnerable high school years in order to help students graduate and continue onto higher education.

NextGen’s donation of $2,400 funded one RCSF scholar during their entire four years of high school. The student reception is an opportunity to celebrate the success of RCSF students and families. The Mayor of the City of Rochester and the Superintendent of the Rochester City School District will be presenting. Complimentary cupcakes will be provided!

We’ll hold an informal post-event dinner at Nathaniel’s Pub at 7 p.m. Anyone can attend, even if you can’t make it to the RCSF event. Maria Fisher, the RCSF board president, will be at the dinner and can share more about the program. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to klechase@gmail.com by Tuesday, June 4.

Katie LeChase

A Q & A with Writers & Books

May 1, 2013 in Grants, NextGen Event, NextGen in the Community, YP Community Event

Writers & Books has invited NextGen Rochester members and friends to attend its celebratory launch of a new online teen literary magazine, with a reading and reception event for the publication’s teen developers and contributors. Next Gen’s 2012 grant helped fund the program, and the group looks forward to attending the event at 7 p.m. Friday, May 3.

To learn more about Writers & Books, check out this great interview with Writers & Books’ community engagement coordinator, Kristen Zory King:

Q: How did the idea of creating an online literary magazine come to be?

A: One of our largest programs at Writers & Books is SummerWrite – a ten week summer camp for kids ages 5-18 with classes in everything from writing fiction and poetry to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, theatre, art, music, and yoga. Sally Bittner Bonn, our Director of Youth Education, has done a fantastic job expanding the program and we now offer over sixty diverse courses and a large amount of scholarships so the youth in Monroe County can continue to develop their imagination and love of the written and spoken word outside of the school room. However, we noticed that once SummerWrite ended each summer, the bonds and sense of community that many of our participants felt – specifically teens – evaporated with the end of summer and beginning of a new school year. We wanted to create something that not only continued to encourage teens to write, but provided a sense of community, place, and empowerment. It was Sally’s idea to create a quarterly teen magazine (Canvas) that would be for and by teens in order to provide a safe, friendly, and creative forum for our SummerWrite teens and teens all over Western New York to express themselves through writing.

Q: How did you decide which students to select as contributors to the literary magazine?
A: The teens selected to be on the CanvasTeen Editorial Board were all recommended by Writers & Books teachers and staff as exemplar writers and leaders. After contacting a large group of teens and explaining the responsibilities of participating on an editorial board (no small feat for a high school student!), we then selected nine teens who now serve as our board members.

Q: What kind of content will be in the online literary magazine?
A: We publish poetry, fiction, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Q: How does the project benefit the group of teens involved? 
A: The teens involved benefit in a number of ways. For one, they are all writers, so they are learning what it takes to be on the “other side” of a literary board and how to select and fine-tune other teens’ pieces. Additionally, they are learning valuable skills such as copy editing, layout, website design, social media management, and the general logistics that go into producing a magazine. Perhaps most importantly, they are also learning how to work together to create a community for teen writers just like them!

Q: How old are the students and what schools do they come from?
Our board members range from 13 years old to 18 (we have two members who will be graduating this year). They are all from Monroe County and attend a mix of public and private schools in Rochester, Brighton, Pittsford, and other locations.

Q: Why is Writers & Books an important organization for Rochester community?
A: Writers & Books is the only literary center in Rochester, NY providing a creative and friendly haven for readers and writers throughout Western New York. Our programs benefit those ages 5 through 105 by catering to the needs of the literary minded. We provide classes in creative writing and the book arts, author events from both local and nationally recognized authors, a community wide reading program “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book,” writers’ retreats in our Finger Lakes facility, a used bookstore, a literary lounge, book publishing through Big Pencil Press, and theatre collaborations, among many other things. We seek to foster creativity in our participants, young and old, as well as fine-tune the mechanics of writing and other literary skills. Being involved in the creative process and the literary arts nurtures important human qualities including observation, critical thinking, imagination, and empathy  Our program stretch our participants, asking them to grow in all of these areas, requiring risk taking within a safe environment. There are not many organizations that give so much in the way of active inspiration and creativity for the people of Rochester, NY and we are happy to provide a space that aids our audience in their quest to find their voices and share them.

Q: Can you think of a story or example that illustrates how a person benefitted from a program at Writers & Books?
A: Here are some quotes from participants in our programs and events:

“I took my first writing workshop at Writers & Books. It was scary to think of sharing my work, but that workshop provide a supportive community that helped to nurture a talent and an award-winning book that otherwise may have never come to light.” – Sonja Livingston, Award-winning author of Ghostbread
“The sense of community and creativity that I experience at my high school pales in comparision to Writers & Books. At W&B that atmosphere is entirely different. I have always felt welcome to be completely myself there. Kids here aren’t afriad to be goofy or to speak up because there is no fear of humiliation or bullies.” – Abby Johnson, a Rochester-area teenager who has taken writing courses at W&B and worked as an apprentice in our SummerWrite program.
“I can’t thank you enough for giving me such an amazing four days with readers. I was especially impressed by what Writers & Books has created for the community: so expansive and smart…” Debra Dean, author of The Madonnas of Leningrad, the selection for the 2012 “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book” program.
“Deaf poet Peter Cook and I could not have begun our deaf/hearing collaboration without the help of Writers & Books. Wirters & Books gave us the space to create, the forum to perform, and helped us write grants that got us goin. Our Deaf Poetry Series took place at W&B and was the only deaf poetry series in the coutnry at that time.” – Kenny Lerner of Flying Words Project.
Q: Can you tell us more about the 2011 grant from NextGen and what that helped fund?
A: We are so grateful for the NextGen grant which helped us to kick-start Canvas, allowing us to select and pay an adult administrator (author, editor, and teacher Nina Alvarez) who would be primarily responsible for teaching the Board the “ins and outs” of producing a magazine. Additionally, the grant is helping to fund the receptions that go along with each publication, and the costs associated with creating and managing a website.
Q: What are some upcoming plans or new programs you’d like to bring up to NextGen members?
A: We have a lot of very fun spring and summer events coming up that some NextGen members might enjoy (I’m only listing a few in May, for more event listings and classes, please visit our website at www.wab.org):
Monday, May 6th – Authors Aloud! A collaborative program of Writers & Books and The Little Theatre, Authors Aloud! brings two area authors each month to The Little Theatre Cafe. Detroit Poet & Rock Poet M. L. Liebler will perform with Grammy Winning Eminem Producer, Musician and Co-Writer Steve King. Liebler & King are part of M. L. Liebler &The Coyote Monk Poetry Band made up of some of Detroit’s best known, award winning musicians. In Rochester they perform as a duo Wyote Monk with special guest acclaimed poet Sean Thomas Dougherty.

Saturday, May 18th – Gell Open House. Come visit our Gell Center in the Finger Lakes and explore our beautiful and picturesque facilities. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with family or friends!

Monday, May 20th – Downton Abbey Discussion Series. Are you a fan of Downton Abbey? Then join us for our four week discussion series this spring! Each night of the discussion series will include a brief lecture followed by an hour of discussion. Tea and crumpets will be served. You can read any book or other material on the subject and join the discussion. Discussions will range from season one to the end of season three.
The first in a series of four, we will discuss the dynamics of an upstairs/downstairs relationship. Ever wonder why, despite resenting his position, Thomas yearns to be a butler? Do you ponder O’Brien’s bitterness or Anna’s devotion? Then join us for a discussion surrounding the relationships and complexities in Downton Abbey’s strictly dictated society. You must register to attend! Additional dates include: June 10th, 17th, and 24th.

Friday, May 31st 
– Last Friday Story Slam. An open mic of true, loose, and spontaneous stories based on one’s own life, as heard on NPR. Each performer gets approximately 5 minutes. Come prepared to tell a story, or simply to enjoy them. Each month has an optional story theme. Fashioned after the wildly popular Story Slam in NYC (www.themoth.org)

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
A: We hope to continue the Canvas and to expand the reach of the magazine. While it is very important to maintain a local sense of place and voice, we hope to reach teens all over Western New York and perhaps even farther, and continue to provide a forum for self-discovery and creative writing.

Q: What is your role at NextGen, as community engagement coordinator? (That sounds like a cool job!)
A: The position of Community Engagement Coordinator was created by Writers & Books for a recent college graduate interested in developing their skills in a literary field. I was selected in August and have since had the wonderful opportunity to expand my skills in a number of areas including grant writing, program and event development, and youth programming and management. I work a lot with both our Director of Development, Alexa Scott-Flaherty, and our Director of Youth Education, Sally Bittner Bonn, to make sure our programs are well funded and running smoothly. Additionally, I’ve been able to work on some really fun projects such as the Downton Abbey discussion series, the opening of the Lit Lounge, and the development of online creative writing courses (to launch in the fall of 2013).

Q: What are some ways community members could get more involved with helping Writers & Books?
A: We are always looking for volunteers to help out with events and around the office, but our primary goal within the community is to get people reading, writing, and exciting about sharing their passion with others.

Visit  Facebook or Twitter to learn more about Writers & Books.


NextGen Picks Up the Parks!

April 10, 2013 in NextGen Event, NextGen in the Community

The 4th annual Pick Up the Parks Event will be Saturday, April 13th, 2013, from 9am until noon.

Please consider joining NextGen Rochester members in helping clean up the parks from the winter accumulation of trash and debris, reduce litter entering our waterways, and help get the parks looking great for spring and summer. Afterwards, there will be a Thank You Picnic at Highland Park Bowl from noon until 2pm. At this picnic, there will be free food for any volunteers that worked at any of the Monroe County Parks that morning.

Last year NextGen families and friends had a great time helping clean Durand Eastman Park and Durand Eastman beach area. This year we are volunteering @ Genesee Valley Park (near UofR).

This event is open to anyone, so please bring your friends, family members, kids (weather permitting).

Katie LeChase

Cameron Community Ministries nurtures minds, fills bellies and gives kids a place to play

March 18, 2013 in Grants, member musing, Member POV, NextGen Event, NextGen in the Community, NextGen Info, YP Community Event

Katherine Warren, youth program director, welcomed us into Cameron Community Ministries and began by sharing the non-profit’s mission: to provide hope through emergency services, engagement, education and empowerment to the greater Lyell-Otis neighborhood. She explained how NextGen’s grant money had been used to provide after school programs to students in reading and math — a necessary program since School #30, which most of the kids attend, has just been ranked as having the lowest New York State test scores in the entire state.

Katherine guided us through resource rooms, into tutoring rooms with math games, through a game room with a stage for local performances, and up to an area with a library and some desktop computers. She told us about the new playground that has just been donated, and talked about the trust that their organization has been able to build with the community. We ended with a tour through the food pantry and cafeteria — which feeds dozens every weekend.

Cameron Community Ministries felt like the backbone to the neighborhood — a safe place with people committed to making a difference. It was clear that the charitable spirit in which the non-profit operated was reflected in the kids as well: The kids raised $110, penny by penny, to help families at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

NextGen’s Education Committee holds monthly educational visits, followed by lunch or happy hour, to raise awareness about invaluable community resources like Cameron Community Ministries. This year’s visits are just getting started, with visits to former grantees planned to take place over the course of 2013. A full list of the 2012 grantees is available here. Anyone is welcome to attend. Check on our Facebook page regularly for upcoming visits.

If you’re a member interested in helping plan these educational visits, email klechase@gmail.com to learn about opportunities to get involved.

Teresa Gianni and Teresa Ferris share a project they worked on at Cameron — beautifying a bulletin board about the kids’ donation to Golisano Children’s Hospital.


NextGen Rochester Explores “RACE: Are We So Different”

March 12, 2013 in NextGen Event, NextGen in the Community, YP Community Event

You are invited to join NextGen Rochester as we experience the current exhibit at the Rochester Museum & Science Center – RACE: Are We So Different.

Come with us on Saturday, March 23rd, to explore stories of race from biological, cultural, and historical points of view.  We will be meeting at the RMSC (657 East Avenue, Rochester) at 2:45pm to begin our independent tour at 3pm.  Midway through, we will be led in a conversation by an RMSC volunteer.

At the exhibit we’ll explore the stories of race through three themes: the everyday experience of race, the contemporary science that is challenging common ideas about race, and the history of this idea in the United States.

  • Everyday Experience of Race
    Learn about social and personal experiences of race in familiar settings such as home, neighborhood, health and education. Race and racism is not just inside our heads. It is built into our laws, traditions and institutions.
  • The Science of Human Variation
    Racial categories are human-made. Humans are more alike genetically than any other living species. This section focuses on what current science tells us about human variation and our species’ history.
  • History of the Idea of Race
    Race has not always existed. Sorting people by their physical differences is only a few hundred years old. Discover how the development of the idea of race is closely linked to early United States.

We are receiving a special group rate of $5/person (paid at the door – normally $13) and RMSC staffing, so please be sure to RSVP so we can give them an appropriate headcount.

After the exhibit, we’ll be heading to an establishment (to be decided by the group) in the East/Alexander area to continue conversations.

To RSVP or for any questions, please email NextGenRoc@racf.org.

Teresa Gianni

Visiting NextGen Grantee Cameron Community Ministries

March 1, 2013 in Grants, NextGen Event

The NextGen Education Committee will be putting together visits to some of our past grantees this year so you can learn more about the impact we’ve been having in the community. Our first visit this year will be to Cameron Community Ministries (http://cameronministries.org/ ) on Saturday March 2nd at 10 am. Cameron has been the recipient of two grants from us – one for an after-school Arts program for elementary children (2010), and the other for a tutoring program to help bring children up to grade level in reading and math.

We will get to see their facility at 48 Cameron Street, and hear about the how our grants have helped their work in our community, as well as all the other work that Cameron does. We will also have the opportunity to help them setup for the upcoming week by helping prepare materials (cutting, creating examples) and changing out bulletin boards, and whatever other tasks are needed.

Afterward, we will be heading out to Dinosaur BBQ for lunch.

An RSVP to Teresa at teresa@newkenmore.com would be greatly appreciated.

Cynthia Pacia

Come with a spent ink cartridge, leave with a full bottle of wine.

January 13, 2013 in NextGen Event, NextGen Info

Did you get any new toys over the holidays – a new cell phone, printer, mp3 player, etc?  Wondering what to do with your old or busted technology?

Or maybe you have some spent ink or toner cartridges laying around to get rid of.  You want to do the environmentally-friendly thing, but you just haven’t had the chance.  Well… let NextGen recycle it for you!

What does this have to do with wine?  Anyone that brings in cartridges, old cell phones, or other portable electronics to recycle will be entered to win a bottle of wine at NextGen’s Open House on Wednesday, January 16.


Open House – Wed., Jan 16th!

January 8, 2013 in NextGen Event, NextGen in the Community, NextGen Info, YP Community Event

Come help us kick off our 5th year of friendship, philanthropy, and strengthening greater Rochester!

Since 2009, NextGen members have met many new friends (including some community leaders), learned more about our region, and distributed grants totaling $43,480 to 22 different nonprofits.

Through NextGen, we are demonstrating the exponential power of working together to build a stronger community. What does that mean? Consider this: A member that joined NextGen in 2009 and contributed $25 a quarter for 4 years, helped distribute 100 times more to local nonprofits than they would have alone.

At our Open House you will:

  • Hear from Cindy Harper, seasoned nonprofit executive and community volunteer, speak on giving, philanthropy, and making a difference in your community.
  • Learn more about the launch of NextGen’s campaign to raise an endowment— an effort supported in part by a $5,000 challenge grant from the Community Foundation.
  • Have a chance to meet some of our members – socialize and ask questions about NextGen.
  • Mingle with some representatives from organizations that have received past NextGen grants.
  • Tour the Community Foundation’s historic Georgian Colonial home.
  • Enjoy free wine, cheese, and desserts.
  • Experience the rockin’ beats of deejay extraordinaire, Saul Maneiro. (Yes, you read that right.)

Event details:

NextGen Rochester’s 5th Annual Open House
The Community Foundation (500 East Ave.)
Wednesday, January 16
6:00pm until 8:00pm

Parking is available behind the Community Foundation’s building and on-street parking is available after 6pm where posted.

To view the event on Facebook, visit our page at: http://www.facebook.com/NextGenRoc.


Save the Date for NextGen’s 5th Annual Open House!

January 4, 2013 in NextGen Event, NextGen in the Community, NextGen Info

NextGen’s 5th Annual Open House will be on Wednesday, January 16th from 6-8pm at the Community Foundation offices (500 East Ave., Rochester).  Join us for an opportunity to learn more about NextGen, celebrate our past successes, and kick off our 5th year!!


NextGen Rochester Awards its Fourth Round of Grants to Five Area Nonprofits!

December 10, 2012 in Grants, NextGen Info

NextGen Rochester is awarding $9,000 in grants to support high-impact nonprofit programs in Greater Rochester for 2012. This giving circle of young professionals, which pools its resources for annual grantmaking, also recently announced a campaign to raise an endowment for NextGen — an effort supported in part by a $5,000 challenge grant from the Community Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to help support promising programs at five area nonprofits this year, bringing our total giving to $43,480 to 22 organizations since our founding 2009. As we look to the future, we know that an endowment will allow us to sustain and expand our impact with local nonprofits,” says NextGen Chair Matthew McDermott.

At NextGen’s fourth annual meeting, held November 5 at Geva Theatre Center, the group announced plans to raise an initial $25,000 for an endowment to support its vision to sustain and empower philanthropy from young professionals committed to improving Greater Rochester.

NextGen introduces philanthropy to young professionals early in their careers and provides them with opportunities to initiate positive change in the community by annually pooling financial contributions and awarding grants to nonprofit organizations. Members contribute at least $100 per year and have the opportunity to participate in selecting the grant recipients.

After reviewing more than 100 initial grant applications this fall, NextGen’s Grants Committee invited eight nonprofit organizations to present their grant proposals to Giving Circle members at the annual meeting. The public meeting also gave nonprofit representatives and NextGen members the opportunity for one-on-one networking. The meeting culminated with members voting to select the organizations that would receive grants.

Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $2,500 for the following programs, which were approved by NextGen’s membership:

  • Friends of the Rochester Public Market ($2,500): Funding would support the token program at the market, which was initiated in 2008. Food stamp-eligible residents are able to use their benefits cards to buy tokens and exchange them for fresh produce at the market.
  • Green Angels ($2,000): This program provides a printed community resource guide in Wayne County for low-income residents with limited access to the Internet and other services.
  • Rochester Hearing and Speech Center ($2,000): Summer Services Outreach provides speech language therapy, academic readiness, and early literacy enrichment to 200 preschool-aged children over a seven-week period. Participants are primarily low-income residents of Rochester.
  • NW Neighborhood Outreach ($1,500): Serving residents in the Northwest section of Rochester, this program helps provide identification documents, including birth certificates and non-driver state identification cards, to residents who cannot afford the cost of obtaining them. Once they have the proper ID, these residents have greater access to employment opportunities and services.
  • Writers and Books ($1,000): This grant will support the development of an online literary magazine written for and by local teens. The organization will partner with area high schools and businesses on this project with the goal of encouraging youth to participate in creative writing, poetry and literature.


For more information, visit www.racf.org/NextGen.