Cheryl Bird and the Reverend Brian Rotach.
Cheryl Bird and the Reverend Brian Rotach.
Cheryl Bird and the Reverend Brian Rotach.

Changing lives, often dramatically, was recognized by the Daemen College Associates in their 2012 Community Service Awards, presented on September 30 at Brookfield Country Club in Clarence, NY.

The Reverend Brian Rotach served United Methodist Churches in the Washington, D.C. area for four years, East Aurora for five years, and Buffalo for 26 years. For the past 18 years, his assignment has been the Seneca Street Church in Buffalo’s impoverished Seneca-Babcock neighborhood. In 1998, he recruited Daemen College social work professor Karen Little to help staff a struggling after-school program and provide real world experience for her students, and the Daemen College Seneca-Babcock Partnership was born. Collaborating a few years later with the Daemen College Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement brought life-changing improvements for the neighborhood, including improved health care, job training, literacy tutoring, and even tax preparation.

The Reverend Rotach is married to Cheryl Bird, who directs the Center.

As Executive Director of the Daemen Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement since 2004, Cheryl Bird’s efforts have positively impacted many lives. The Center partners with three Buffalo neighborhoods: Seneca- Babcock, the Fruit Belt and the West Side, to address educational, economic and environmental needs. The Center’s staff and Daemen students are involved in many community-wide initiatives, including an annual “Environmental Summit,” the construction of a fruit and vegetable bearing community garden in Seneca-Babcock, and the recent launch of the “Income TAXi.” Bird has also been recognized by the South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce with a Community Service Award for her work in the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood.

Variety The Children’s Charity of Buffalo & Western New York, Tent 7, is a 76-year old tradition of caring for children on the Niagara Frontier. Founded in 1928, the organization has emerged as the largest childrens’ charity in the world with 43 Tents, as the individual chapters are known. The sole commitment of each Tent is aid and service to children: the sick, the handicapped and the underprivileged in each locale.

Tent 7, the Buffalo Chapter, chartered on May 12, 1934, generated funds in its early years to provide iron lungs for polio victims, wheelchairs, braces and other equipment for handicapped children. In 2012, the 50th Annual Western New York Variety Club Telethon raised $1,251,148.