Chipper is a Rescue Dog that Loves to Recycle

Chipper, a social media influencer, is doing his part to help the planet. That’s big news for anyone, but it tends to really make headlines when you’re a dog.

Chipper is an 8-year-old rescue with an affinity for picking up trash. His owner, Katie Pollak, noticed Chipper loved to pick up plastic bottles as a pup, so she encouraged it.

Today, Chipper and Pollak hit the wilderness with trash bags and spend their free time hiking and recycling.

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Short Hand-written Letters Make a Big Difference

While home recovering from surgery, a retired Utah school teacher helped others. Googling for volunteer opportunities, Lisa Arrington-Radulovich stumbled upon a way to give back as she healed. On, she penned handwritten letters anonymously to women undergoing breast cancer treatment. One letter turned into two, then three, and then hundreds. Her goal is to hand-write 1,000 letters.

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Man Cycles Around the World with Stray Cat as Companion


Dean Nicholson, 31, left his job and home to fulfill a lifelong dream to pedal from country to country. While climbing a steep hill in Bosnia, Nicholson ended up with an unlikely lifelong companion: a stray cat. Nicholson adopted the cat, naming her Nala, after a character from his favorite film in “The Lion King.” Nicholson and Nala now ride as a duo, with the newly adopted cat taking a spot in Nicholson’s bike basket or atop his shoulders. The two have since trekked through Albania and Greece, and have plans to continue touring the world.

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Man Seeks to Ease Boredom for Kids in Hospitals through Bed Sheets


After spending a week in the hospital, Charlotte, N.C. resident Kevin Gatlin, learned that hospital stays are not exciting. After watching a friend’s child suffer through long hospital stays, Gatlin vowed to create a space for hospitalized children to flourish.

Gatlin created Playtime Edventures, interactive bed sheets on which educational games can be played by children and their parents while healing in hospitals. The three-piece sheet sets are being used in 10 hospitals across the United States and can be purchased or donated to families online.

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Teamwork Saves the Day and the Dog


Thanks to the quick thinking of a good Samaritan and members of the Police and Fire Departments in Monona, WI, a small dog is home safely after falling into icy waters.

A local kayaker spotted the dog after it had fallen through the ice on the Yahara River. After neighbors watching the scene called authorities, teamwork helped bring the dog and the kayaker back to dry land.

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A Helping Hand in the Cold


It’s been a brutal winter. The never-ending snow and work that goes with it feels endless this time of year. For most of us, getting up before the sun rises to clear our driveways so we can get to work is a necessary routine. For Natalie Blair of New Jersey, it’s a life or death challenge. Blair is awaiting a kidney transplant and must get dialysis daily to clear toxins from her body. Missing a dialysis session is not an option.

After several inches of snow blanketed Boonton, New Jersey, a team of five teenagers grabbed their shovels and cleaned up Blair’s driveway so she could make it to her 6 am dialysis appointment.

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98-Year Old Woman Still A Treasured Hospital Volunteer


In the 1930s, Mary Ellen Owens turned down a role in “Gone with the Wind.” Before that, she was a runway model in New York City. Today, the 98-year-old is busy doing more important things: volunteering. Owens has logged nearly 7,000 hours of volunteer time at Morton Plant Hospital since her husband died 20 years ago.

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Inspiring Our Neighbors Award: Long-time Rock Properties Resident Gives Selflessly to Others



Resident Iris Zammit, this season’s winner of the Inspiring Our Neighbors award, has lived at our 45 Hopkins Avenue property since 1983. Originally from Malta, marriage to a building resident brought her to the building. In the years she has lived here, she has established close friendships in the building by doing good deeds for her neighbors. She is the unofficial Santa for the building’s youth, giving away presents at Christmas time. She also helps a working neighbor drop her daughter at school nearly every day. She claims to be happiest when relaxing with her neighbors at outdoor barbecues using the grill in the building’s backyard.

Ms. Zammit worked on the 50th floor of the World Trade Center for Marshall and McCluen for 35 years, surviving both the 1993 bombing and the 9/11 attack. When the first plane hit, and many of her co-workers lingered, Ms. Zammit immediately descended the stairs, exited the building, and, helping an elderly woman accompany her, left the area. She was blocks away, riding the subway, when the towers fell. Within two weeks, her company established alternate offices in Midtown Manhattan, and Ms. Zammit was back at work, resuming duties for many of her colleagues who were tragically lost in the attack.

We congratulate Aunt Iris, as she is known to her neighbors, on winning a $1,000 rent credit.

Resident Managers Jangchup Gyalsten and Karma Norden Lachugpa received $300 for nominating their community’s resident.

“Our Neighbors Are Our Relatives”: Rock’s Latest Inspiring Our Neighbors Award Winner Cares for Others


Resident Georgina Bajo at our 219 Lincoln Avenue building in Newark is this season’s winner of our Inspiring Our Neighbors award.   When a neighbor two doors down had a heart attack at night, the neighbor’s wife called Ms. Bajo for help.  Ms. Bajo called 911 and, as a nursing assistant who works in an area hospital, assisted with the emergency.  During the neighbor’s two week stay in the hospital, Ms. Bajo visited, transported his wife back and forth to visit, and took custody of their youngest daughter.    As Ms. Bajo said, “It is not that we are rich, but we have a passion of helping others in times of crises.”  Ms. Bajo won the immigration lottery and moved here from Ghana in 2009 with her daughter and husband.  They now have three daughters.  She relates that working full-time and raising three children in this country with no other family is difficult and stressful.  She is thankful for the education system in this country and the opportunity it provides her children.  Their goal is to purchase a home one day, and until then she plans on living in our building.  “We don’t have a direct family member nearby, but our neighbors are our relatives.”  Ms. Bajo’s actions are an inspiration to all of us at Rock Properties, and she received a $1,000 credit towards her rent. (Photo found on the Charter for Compassion’s website.)

Bringing Cheer with the Stroke of a Brush: Rock’s Latest Inspiring Our Neighbors Award Winner

Resident Vera Vuchich at our 40 Gifford Avenue building in Jersey City was this season’s winner of our Inspiring Our Neighbors award.  Her volunteerism embodies our three values of Progress, Service, and Power.  At our Lebanon, Pennsylvania community’s annual block party, she can be found face painting children and adults.  Our Property Manager Luis Gomez offers transportation to her for the 2-plus-hour trip to the party, and – for almost no remuneration — she spends the day cheering up our resident children and adults alike with colorful paint and henna designs of their choosing.  She also volunteers for arthritis, cancer, AIDS, and food pantry events.  “I love seeing the faces of the kids as they’re transformed into superheroes, mythical beasts, and exotic creatures,” she relates.  Her residency in the building predates our 2007 purchase by 10 years.  About her home, she states, “One of the joys of living here is the diversity.  Oh, the mouth-watering smells as you walk through the halls!”  She spoke Russian and Serbian growing up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where her parents were professors.  She eventually moved to New York City and then to our building.  She plans on staying at 40 Gifford Avenue for the long-term while she further develops her performing and graphic arts endeavors.  We are proud to offer a home to Ms. Vuchich, and congratulate her on winning a $1,000 rent credit.

Our Mission: Inspiring Our Neighbors

We provide rental housing for over 1,200 people, and our staff believes that housing is the most fundamental of needs. Almost all of our staff lives in our communities, and each morning we are there as residents embark on their day. We expect our residents to pass on to others the good service, good deeds, and acts of kindness we provide every day. Our staff works hard to inspire our residents so that they can inspire others. Like a pebble dropped into a pond, the staff’s deeds spread across our properties, to our neighbors, down our blocks, and into the entire region.