Toast to The Arc of Monroe

2022 A Toast to The Arc Award Winners

Join us for A Toast to The Arc benefitting The Arc Foundation of Monroe! This year’s 2022 Honorees are truly spectacular with each one of them championing and empowering the people we support in their own unique way. We are truly blown away by the inspirational people we are honoring at this year’s festivities. Read on to learn more about the Class of 2022 honorees and the commitment they've made to creating a more inclusive Rochester community.

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Congrats to our 2022 award winners!

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Cornerstone Award: Nazareth College

This award is presented to a person or persons who stands for ingenuity and perseverance and has been integral in sustaining and building The Arc of Monroe for the benefit of the people we support and the programs and services it provides.

Nazareth College is the perfect recipient for this award because of the support and possibilities they provide to Arc students through the LifePrep@Naz program. For more than 10 years, Nazareth College has opened its doors to The Arc, fulfilling the dream of a college education for countless young adults. LifePrep students gain opportunities to be fully immersed in campus life through enrollment in Nazareth curriculum, involvement in clubs & organizations, attendance at college functions and athletic events, internships on campus, and participation in Commencement upon completion of the LifePrep program. Nazareth is a true partner in inclusion with The Arc of Monroe.

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Pillar Award: Phil Andolina

This award is presented to an individual or company who exhibits the core values of excellence and camaraderie and who is steadfast in their support and partnership with The Arc of Monroe.

Phil Andolina is this year’s recipient and a perfect choice. Phil has been an active member of The Arc Foundation of Monroe Board of Directors for the past 6 years, and recently joined The Arc of Monroe agency Board of Directors. It’s no wonder he’s doing double-duty – Phil has a heart and true passion for everything that happens at The Arc. He is eager to help The Arc in any way he can and has the propensity to go above and beyond when it comes to giving philanthropically as well as to giving of his time and expertise. Phil’s personal spirit of giving also transcends to his professional life, Lawley Insurance. Over the years, Lawley has generously supported The Arc and they continue to play an integral role in our fundraising events. Even as Phil begins to lessen his responsibilities at Lawley, they continue to support us and to be a part of our giving family. A pillar is often regarded as a person who is “reliable and provides essential support.” In our world, Phil is the true epitome of a pillar to The Arc of Monroe.

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Together We're Better Award: Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services | Djifa Kothor

This award is for an individual or group of volunteers who epitomize empathy and integrity by generously committing their time and resources to The Arc of Monroe.

When it came time to give this award, we knew it belonged to Djifa Kothor and his organization, Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services. For the past year, Arc Employment Specialist Nick Wagar has been bringing his Community Connections volunteers to assist Djifa to prepare homes for refugees moving to the Rochester area. Because of the pandemic, finding volunteer placements has been challenging, but Nick says Djifa has given his group a sense of purpose again and they have loved volunteering at the homes and learning new skills like painting and even building a deck. Volunteering at Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services doesn’t just benefit the people moving into the homes but gives the Community Connection volunteers an opportunity to be givers – something that means a lot to all of them. Nick says Djifa is special because he doesn’t see the disability in someone – he sees the ability.

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Employer of the Year Award: Tree Town Cafe

Given to an organization/company for their dedication and unwavering commitment to creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to build their skills, achieve goals, gain independence, self-confidence to move forward in their future endeavors. 

This year’s winner is Tree Town Café. At Tree Town, owners Pete and Jenna Morgante believe all individuals should be treated with dignity and respect, and all individuals are unique and deserve recognition for their abilities and strengths. Tree Town employs just under 30 people, many who have a variety of intellectual, developmental, emotional, and mental health diagnoses. Tree Town was recently honored with a state-wide award by The Arc New York and Job Path – a 2022 Employer Recognition Award highlighting the valuable relationships that The Arc of Monroe has formed with Tree Town and the meaningful work opportunities they provide for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Pete and Jenna’s philosophy is simple: all people should have the opportunity to work in their community, based on their skills and interests. Their approach isn’t actually “new” at all – it’s the age-old Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Pete and Jenna treat people with kindness and compassion – and everybody prospers.

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Business Partner of the Year Award: Ambrell

This award is given to an organization/company for their dedication and unwavering commitment to creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through their business relationship and interactions with The Arc of Monroe. 

This year’s winner – Ambrell Corporation – welcomed ArcWorks as a manufacturing partner with open arms, is a great communicator and a treasured collaborator. Ambrell and ArcWorks are next door neighbors, so the connection has deepened over the past year with ArcWorks often hand delivering any completed items directly to the Ambrell CEO who is often holding the door, waiting for them to enter. Ambrell returns the favor by instructing all its executive management team to send all the business they can to ArcWorks. Ambrell and ArcWorks have fostered a tight partnership, they offer great communication and the entire staff including their CEO treats the business – and the people – as true partners.

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Community Partner of the Year Award: Ken Rohr

This award is given to an individual, family, or organization for their dedication and unwavering commitment to supporting the mission of The Arc of Monroe. 

Ken Rohr is the recipient of this year’s award. To be a successful member of a board of directors, a person should bring a passion for the mission of the organization. For the past 30 years, Ken has done just that. He is a staunch advocate for the people we support and strong fighter for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He also truly cares about Arc staff and is usually quick to praise staff and ask how the Board can support them. Elected to The Arc Board of Directors in 1992, he had been working for the Town of Brighton as their Director of Finance when he joined The Arc’s Finance Committee. In 2002, Ken was elected treasurer of the board and became chair of the Finance Committee – roles he continues to hold today. As a resident of Fairport and then elected to the Fairport Town Board, Ken was instrumental in showing his support of The Arc during the process of establishing several of our Fairport residential homes, plus his wife, Kathy, worked as a vehicle operator for The Arc until her retirement. Thirty years can seem like a lifetime, but for Ken, it feels like he’s just getting started – we are truly grateful for the amazing work he’s done on behalf of The Arc for the past 3 decades.