Staff of the Month: Norman L. Roberts


Although Norman L. Roberts has worked at NeighborWorks® Rochester for a span of seven months, his relationship with NWR extends far beyond. Before joining the staff at NeighborWorks® Rochester, he served as a volunteer on the board of directors for 15 years, primarily as President.

Norman, referred to around the office as Norm, is currently the Lead Safe Hazard Coordinator. He facilitates the coordination and income qualification process of applications for homeowners applying for lead assistance/remediation through the City of Rochester. The aspect he enjoys most about his job is the magnificent opportunity to interact with a host of outstanding citizens who genuinely value home and neighborhoods.

In his spare time he particularly enjoys reading, golf and more golf. Norman understands the importance of home for other families and says that for him “home means security, coupled with comfort as well as an acute sense of family, belonging and love.”

Staff of the Month


You may have seen Jake Hershelman around town conducting energy audits for NeighborWorks® Rochester through our Technical Services Department. For a little over two years he has worked here, presently as the primary Lead Risk Assessor and Inspector and is one of our two Energy Auditors. Under certain programs he performs energy audits and services to help lower energy costs for customers. Jake also performs lead inspections for NWR loan customers and also for the City Lead programs.

Before moving back to Rochester and working at NWR Jake worked at Borg and Ide Imaging as an assistant to the main radiologist and worked at Read’s Moving Systems in South Carolina. While working at Read’s he was able to enjoy traveling and seeing the country to places he would probably never go to. “It also kept me in the best shape of my life because I was carrying thousands of pounds of furniture every day.”

Jake particularly enjoys the diversity his work creates, every person and house he works at is unique. Being the main contact that customers usually remember, he appreciates the relationships that he has been able to build with this variety of individuals. Being able to help people appreciate their homes even more is one of the rewards of working here. “I love that we can put money back into the pockets that need it the most.”

Aside from work, Jake spends his spare time with his fiancé and daughter. “They are my life and I enjoy every moment I have with them.” He also spends a lot of time watching and playing sports, his current pastimes being golf and participating in his kickball league. “I am enjoying teaching my daughter these sports that I love and grew up with. That is probably going to be my biggest accomplishment.”

Going Green with Energy


Beginning last Fall, the Healthy Blocks program has been working to improve the sustainability efforts of Brooks Landing and the Pocket neighborhood. One initiative urged residents to trade their old incandescent light bulbs for newer, more energy efficient CFL bulbs. Healthy Blocks also promoted supporting local businesses, like the Westside Farmers Market, to further reduce the carbon footprint. Another initiative included door-to-door outreach, providing information about free energy audits, conducted by NeighborWorks Rochester’s Energy Services.

An energy audit will test your home for many things including air leaks, insulation and your furnace. Then, the audit will provide solutions for you and your family as a result of the findings. These recommendations will show the most effective ways to make improvements from upgrading appliances to adding more insulation and other cost effective measures to get the most out of your home energy usage. An energy audit also confirms that your house is operating in a safe manner; carbon monoxide, exhaust methods on the furnace and gas leaks are all tested.

As an incentive for residents applying for an energy audit in the Healthy Blocks neighborhoods, they were entered into a raffle to win a free Energy Star appliance of their choosing (up to $750). Early this Spring, Healthy Blocks staff selected the winners! Penny Griffin from the Brooks Landing neighborhood and the Ruth Family from the Pocket neighborhood each received a brand new appliance just for signing up to do an audit.

Our green efforts will continue through this year. Up next, you will find some projects at the craft table at the Westside Farmers Market, teaching kids about sustainability. Congratulations to Penny and the Ruths!

For more information about energy audits and how you may qualify for a free audit, visit our website at:

Staff of the Month: June


With seemingly boundless energy, Anwar Pickett, Healthy Blocks Program Manager, takes on the city one neighborhood at a time. This job entails everything from managing the social engagement, outreach, neighborhood event planning and execution to special project coordination in the HB targeted neighborhoods. Currently, the Healthy Blocks crew is finishing up the initiative in Brooks Landing and the Pocket.

Anwar started with NeighborWorks® Rochester in the fall of 2012, quickly jumping into his role in community development. In addition to working on Healthy Blocks in Monroe County, Anwar provides HB programming for the GenevaNeighborhood Resource Center in Geneva, NY. For Anwar, the greatest joy in working with NeighborWorks® Rochester is working with his assistant “to engage local residents and stakeholders toward realizing the full potential of their neighborhood social fabric.”

Most of Anwar’s time outside of work is spent with his son Nolan, family and close friends. He and Nolan particularly enjoy spending warm days outside taking part in various activities. Those activities range anywhere from sports to exploration.

10 Ways to Save

By: Maggie Toro

  1. Carry a small notebook to document all your spending. Online trackers are also available, like
  2. Brown-bag it. You will save money each day by bringing your lunch to work.
  3. Check for coupons from local restaurants that you can use to reduce your eating cost.
  4. Avoid days when grocery items go up: the 1st, 2nd 3rd, 15th, 30th and 31st. Leave the kids at home, bring a list and stick to it.  Everything at eye level is the most expensive.
  5. Downgrade. Buy a converter box and TV antenna or eliminate cable all together.
  6. Carry small amount of cash if you are prone to spend.  Use a debit card to help you keep track of your monthly expenses.
  7. Look for ways to reduce cell phone charges. Prepaid cell phone is an option.
  8. Carpool with friends or co-workers to save money on gas or take the bus to work or school.
  9. Instead of going to the movies, rent a movie for a family night at home.
  10. Save at least 10 percent of your pay for an emergency fund. Once you have at least $1000 saved, put it in a CD account to make your money increase at the end of the CD term.

May’s Trivia Q&A

Which well-know Rochester Historian said, “The University of Rochester began life in an old hotel. The Eastman Kodak Co. had its beginning in a kitchen sink. And the Genesee River starts in a barnyard”?

Answer: Arch Merrill

Tips on Community Branding


Every community has a brand, whether formal or informal. What are some things you can do to positively brand your neighborhood?

Community Branding Tips:

1. Organize. Get together with other leaders in your area and figure out where you want to see your neighborhood. Come up with a list of short-term and long-term goals. Look at ways to engage your neighbors and move everyone toward a common initiative.

2. Get Involved. Continue communication with your neighbors, figure out a way to get people involved in your community. This can range anywhere from a block party to starting a forum to promote open yet respectful dialog. You never know what great ideas may come up!

3. Gain Support. While getting people more involved, see if there are any organizations that can help. Even if they can’t get directly involved, they can be a helpful resource.

For an additional resource:

April Trivia Answer

How many waterfalls are created by the Genesee River in Monroe County?

Although there are many opinions on the answer, Pete Dobrovitz, author of Rochestrivia indicates that there are two; the Upper and Lower. The Court St. Dam “falls” don’t count.

Michelle Bilock


If you have participated in Healthy Blocks, our NeighborWorks® Rochester targeted neighborhood initiative, you are sure to have met Michelle Bilock. As the Program Assistant for Healthy Blocks, Michelle works primarily with residents in targeted neighborhoods to improve their communities through physical and social investments. She enjoys “being out in the neighborhood, getting to know residents and seeing change and growth in their homes and hearts.”

Before beginning her position here in 2012 as the Healthy Blocks Program Assistant, Michelle lived in San Francisco, working and volunteering throughout the city. Even though she is in a new city with a slight temperature adjustment, you can still find Michelle thoroughly involved in Rochester, both through volunteering and working.

Although being extensively involved in the city through Healthy Blocks and other endeavors, Miss. Bilock enjoys a variety of activities in her spare time. She is active outdoors, very involved with her church, and loves to read a good book or watch good cinema. If you see her friendly face out and about in Rochester, be sure to say hello!