Making a Difference, Changing Lives: The Nathaniel Rochester School Heroes Project

February 15, 2016

It’s been an amazing journey. One that nearly a dozen Catalyst volunteers began about three months ago after a request for assistance came in from Nathaniel Rochester School fifth grade teacher Michelle Cope.

Ms. Cope had a vision. Her students would choose a personal hero, read about the hero, then write essays about the person they’d chosen. The essays would be compiled, designed and published into a professional book that students and their parents would have to commemorate their work.

But she needed help. She needed mentors for each student to help them write, spell, edit, and develop their essays. And she felt that students would benefit by having these role models in their lives.

That’s where Catalyst came in.

Each volunteer mentored one or two students for an hour a week during the span of the project, which concluded February 11, 2016 with a gala book publishing party held at the school. The event was filmed by 13WHAM, a local television station.

Students were photographed by Catalyst senior account manager Lauren Taylor. The book was designed by Catalyst visual designer Jessi Putnam.

Pro bono printing for the book was secured by account director Chris DiMuro and generously provided by Mercury Print Productions, Inc., whose CEO just happened to be a relative of Chris’. Mercury also hosted a publishing tour for the students introducing them to the wonders of print production and provided each student with a colorful poster of their classmates. It helps to have family in the business.

The project was kept on track by project manager extraordinaire Ashley Stoller, and scheduling of volunteers was done by office manager Tammy Dostman.

Mentors included Lauren Taylor, Chris DiMuro, Ashley Stoller, Tammy Dostman, Jim Dellavilla, chief client officer, Elizabeth Mertz, senior account director, William Jacques, chief financial officer, Ken Fitzgerald, executive creative director, Pauline Wilcox, chief talent officer, Robyn Federman, director of marketing and communications, and Mike Osborn, managing director. Thanks to all who helped.

And an especially big thank you to Ms. Cope’s fifth grade class. You opened your hearts to us and we suspect that we benefited more than you did.

To read about the project and see the 13WHAM broadcast video, visit:

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