Update 19 December 2021

President’s Message Karen Emerson

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Karen Emerson, President

John Perkins in his book Dream with Me states that “American society has lost its capacity for pluralism. We have begun to believe that if others don’t agree with us, we don’t have to listen to them. We dehumanize people who don’t think like we do and, consequently, justify our violence against them. …We live in a county that proclaims freedom of speech and freedom of expression and we must be willing to listen to and try to understand the thoughts and ideas of others. This is the way to make change happen without violence.”

I could not agree more. It can be discouraging to hear constant bad news of the hatred and violence that is being portrayed at all levels of our government and in our families. It is easy to think that nothing good is happening in our city, county or country. The fact is there is a lot happening. Since I took this position as 19th Ward Community Association president, I have had my eyes open to the hard work and dedication of city workers. Our Neighborhood Service Center has staff willing to help us.  They can supply neighbors with information, supplies to do Clean Sweeps, meeting spaces, access to other city services including but not exclusive to environmental, grants for repairing homes, animal services(they can check to see if a lost animal has a chip), fire and police. They are able to sort out who would be the best to address whatever problems arise. I know in the past that this was not always the case but there is new leadership and they have vowed to support the needs of the Southwest.

Another fantastic service is the Street Liaison Program and Business Associations. Chris McDonald and John DeMott are the eyes and ears for the city. They can help secure loans and grants for businesses, as well has being the watchful eye for problems. Please support our local businesses during the next month by supporting them when doing your Holiday gift buying. Most of the retailers are participating in the American Express Shop Small Saturday but are extending it the entire month of December. We need our small businesses and they need our support.

Ours schools committee continues to work on issues of bussing, school closings, finding volunteers to read, walking children to school, organize and support a spelling bee that includes college money and give input to help parents and children thrive. This group is strong and dedicated to making schools work for our children.

We have dedicated volunteers go out monthly (and if the truth be known some daily) to pick up the trash. They do it for their children and grandchildren.

Our membership committee is just getting back on its feet. We have instituted a method to invite new homeowners to join the Association with a welcome package and general information about the neighborhood. We also need to strengthen district representation. If you would like to or know someone who might serve as a delegate please contact the office.

Our Community Cats have an unbelievable group of volunteers who collect cat food, provide fostering and support of spay, neuter and release program to keep our feral cat colonies stable.

Our food pantries are supported by neighbors who are constantly filling our pantries. I know I have said this before but I am so proud of the constant supply of food in the cupboards. Trust me when I tell you these cupboards are well used.

Ruth and I have been connecting with our city, county and national official to get them to our neighborhood for MEET and GREETS. I’m not sure how this idea got started but I think will continue to engage these officials. 

Work has begun on MLK Luminary Celebration. Please consider volunteering for this event. I believe it is one of the highlights of the year and is a shining example of community.

We are partnering with SWAN this holiday season to collect unwrapped toys for their Christmas giveaway. I know my generous neighbors will help support this most valuable service and help create a memorable Christmas for our children. I look forward to continuing to work with SWAN to support our community.

If you did not make it to Convention you missed a great time. The Trivia Night was a nail biter with the lead changing hands many times. In the end the winner was Heather Adams. Congratulations to Heather and the planning committee for the great event.

I am still hoping we will be able to meet in person soon but the information I am receiving from the Health Department is grim. We continue to struggle with vaccination rates still hovering in the 60% range.(with the addition of children 5-11 eligibility our percentage has decrease as the number of eligible for vaccine has increased). The positivity rate is at 10%. With the gathering of families over the holidays and the introduction of new variants who knows what the time after the holidays will look like. I will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions based on the recommendations of our Health Department. Continue to encourage friends and neighbors to get vaccinated. We have several sites in the neighborhood to get vaccines. Check the Finger Lakes Vaccination Hub website for vaccine distribution locations. https://www.flvaccinehub.com/

Westside Farmers Market was a real hit this year. Our attendance was record setting. We served a more diverse group of shoppers than ever, including students and young families.  We had dedicated vendors who shared their produce with us. This is a vital part of summer in the 19th Ward. Come join us in June 2022.

Are you interested in history? You can join the History and Archive committee which has been diligently working on preserving our history. They also work with the Rapids Cemetery group to provide a beautiful area for reflection. Rapids Cemetery is a haven for reflection and stillness. We will be highlighting a film made by the group in 2022.

We have to change the narrative to one of hope rather that violence. Ruth and I are meeting with some of the news outlets to get our good news in the media. Thanks to the organizations that are willing to listen.

Thanks to the University community which continues to recognize our interconnectedness. We look forward to having input and creating a neighborhood destination point at the Brooks Landing site. 

Lastly, thanks to all the hard work of anyone who volunteered this year. Congratulations to the newly elected officers. I look forward to working with you to create a strong and vibrant community. Continue to talk and listen to one another for as John Perkins says.” We live in a county that proclaims freedom of speech and freedom of expression and we must be willing to listen to and try to understand the thoughts and ideas of others. This is the way to make change happen without violence. “  

Please continue to volunteer, share this and other neighborhood information with anyone who will listen.

You are all part of the solution.

Karen Emerson, President

19th Ward Community Association

Around the Neighborhood

2022 19WCA Executive Committee Members

President – Karen Emerson

1st VP – Josie McClary*

2nd VP – Position is open

Treasurer – Angela (Angie) Burch*

Secretary – Cecelia Hencke

*Newly Appointed – See biographies below

1st Vice President

Josie McClary – 1st VP

I moved to Rochester 32 years ago with my family. I have four children two boys ages (35, 32) and two girls ages (38, 28). I am honored to say I am a grandmother of three wonderful grandchildren: two boys ages (8, 5) and one girl (10 months). Of the 32 years, I lived in the 19th Ward for 23 years and before that in Corn Hill.

Last year I took on the role as a delegate representing District 19 of the 19th Ward Neighborhood Association. What an honor it is to serve the community that I love, have high expectation and respect for! I’ve been employed with Monroe County for 27 years in which 25 of those years I spent serving the public at the Monroe County Clerk’s office. Currently I am with the County Executive’s Office.

I am currently on the first ever Food Policy Council Board for the City of Rochester.  I also sit at the table for ABC (Action for Better Community ) 2022 Community- led Needs Assessment Planning Committee and am a board member of TRU-Impact Inc. I am also personal trainer/Wellness coach that educates my clients on how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle and the importance of Wellness.

I completed the City of Rochester Neighborhood Leadership Program in 2020 and most recently I completed the United Way Latino Leadership Development Program (2021).

I am looking forward to serving the residents of the 19th Ward and making this community a vibrant and age friendly quadrant of the City of Rochester, Monroe County.


Angie Burch – Treasurer

A native Rochesterian, I grew up in what is now called the Neighborhood of the Arts. I bought a home with my then husband in the more affordable 19th Ward in 2004 on Winbourne Rd. I was active in the 19WCA for many years as a District Delegate, served as Treasurer for a time, chaired a few committees and coordinated the annual skating party. After a couple years away from the 19th ward I missed city living so I purchased a home on Post Ave. I am looking forward to being active in the community again!

Meet and Greet with Adam Bello and Swan Toy Collection

With hot chocolate, donuts, mittens and fire pits, the event turned out perfect (no snow!) Those in attendance appreciated the conversation with County Executive Adam Bello and the time he took to spend with 19WCA and community residents. The additional Toy Collection was an extra highlight in supporting SWAN’s celebration of the season for our city youth!


Karen Emerson received the award from City Hall on behalf of the 19th Ward Community Association.

Congratulations to former 19WCA president Zola Brown for receiving the City of Rochester’s highest honor in recognition of her valuable work in service to our community

Congratulations also goes out to Toni Nelson (Delegate District 18) for award received from City Hall (no photo).

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our 2021 Annual Convention and Trivia Fundraiser!

THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to pledge money Nov 30 in the annual ROC the DAY to the Association.  We raised over $500 to do our neighborhood work.

Our thanks to community resident Liz Rich for submitting the following article on fall prevention:

Fall and Winter months increase the possibility of falling, especially outdoors.  The best fall prevention is to be aware of fall hazards in places that increase risk, such as icy sidewalks and parking lots.  L

Some tips:

  1. Clean and shovel entryways and use deicer.
  2. Carry baggies filled with salt (in your purse/pocket/car) so you have your own deicer when going in to supermarkets, doctor visits or others’ homes.
  3. Wear footwear with good tread.
  4. If using a cane, attach spike end, instead of rubber tips which  can slide out
  5. Asks for help if you need it!  Asking for help iss taking care of yourself and many people are willing to assist you.
  6. Use delivery services for groceries, animal food, etc., so you don’t have to go out if weather is really bad.
  7. If going outside to shovel, or fill the bird feeder, always wear warm clothing and carry a phone in your pocket so you  can call for help if you fall.
  8. Stay inside if weather is very bad.  In Rochester, it will change to better weather!
  9. Lifespan of Rochester offers Fall Prevention classes.


Martin Luther King Celebration – January 17, 2022

Square Fair – June 4, 2022

We are excited to be in the planning stages of this fun annual community event (pre-COVID). Volunteers are needed! Please contact Ruth at the 19WCA office to sign up to help. Office hours are Tuesday-Friday 9:30-2:30p. Please call 585-328-6571 or email: 19thward@19wca.org

Community News

City Scouters

We are hosting join events throughout the City on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. To promote the event we printed, bundled and distributed over 13,000 flyers and got them to schools before thanksgiving break.

As a special promotion to our current scouts we are going to raffle off a Nintendo Switch to any scout that has a friend come to one of the sites and sign up and pay!

Here are the sites:

Tuesday 12/7

Cameron Community Ministries – 48 Cameron St

Hudson Avenue Firehouse – 704 Hudson Ave

St. John the Evangelist – 553 Humboldt St

Wednesday 12/8

Arnett Library – 310 Arnett Blvd

Maplewood Library – 1111 Dewey Ave

Phillis Wheatley Library – 33 Dr Samuel McCree Way

Thursday 12/9

South Wedge Mission – 125 Caroline St

Monroe Library – 809 Monroe Ave

All sites 5:30-6:30


More News

Southwest Area Neighborhood Association Inc at Montgomery Center Senior Ball

Please feel free to share.  We are pleased to announce the social event of the year for our Senior Nutrition Program participants and friends who have partnered with us this past year.
If you are interested in attending, tickets are available in our office for purchase.  If you are interested in sponsoring a Senior to attend the event, please call our office and ask to speak with Viola Curry or Sentretta Baity – Program Coordinators. Thanks in advance!

Books for Kids

Our goal is to fund and donate books, purchased from a local bookseller, to Rochester city kids, ages 2-18.  Bruce Tehan, librarian at Arnett Branch expressed unfailing interest.  So the person (Terry, info below) who organized this, selected Arnett Branch.
Last year we purchased 224 children’s books from Hipocampo, a small South Wedge bookstore.  Arnett Branch Library, which provided the list we shopped from, put every imaginable effort into delivering each item to a kid who wanted to own a book. And although the pandemic complicated the process, Bruce delivered some books using a bike and a wagon, we were delighted with the outcome.
Everyone – the bookstore, the library, the kids, their parents – even the people who so kindly sent us donations – thanked us enthusiastically.  The Arnett librarian called it one of the few bright spots in the entire pandemic winter!
Obviously, all of us would like to see all of this happen again – which is where you come in.  
This year, instead of limiting our books to ages 2 to 18, we have added books for reading to prenatal and newborns, along with a few self-care books for expectant Moms and Dads
If you would like to donate to the second annual Books for Kids project, please write a check to: 
            Therese M. Parks
            10 Chablis Drive,
            Fairport, NY 14450. 

Please write  “Books for Kids 2” on the memo line.
And if you’d like to share this information with a family member or friend, we’d be very grateful.
Thanks for your time and stay warm and safe.
Terry Parks
First Tuesday Book Club and Friends: Books for Kids Project #2

Committee Information

Reach out to our office manager if you would like to get involved.

Delegates Council

Delegates Council meets virtually on second Thursday of each month at 7pm via Zoom.

Garden Committee

Please volunteer if interested!

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is in search of a new chair. Get in touch!

Housing Committee

The 19th Ward Housing Committee will meet the third Thursday of each month at 1 pm when we are able. Please get in touch with our Office Manager about how we’ll meet during social distancing. Our meetings generally last about an hour. A City representative from Buildings and Code Enforcement attends to work with us on specific properties, concerns/issues, code enforcement, etc. 

Schools Committee

Dr. Phyllis Moss is the new Chair for the schools committee. They are continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.