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.

Volunteer Receives Surprise


The life of a college football kicker all changed at a routine team meeting last month. A normal day for University of Minnesota back-up kicker Justin Juenemann consists of going to class, practicing football and volunteering at the Masonic Children’s Hospital. He was patient Kyle Tanner’s favorite and most consistent visitor. Arriving at a recent practice, Justin found Kyle, his coaches, and his teammates ready with a big surprise. His volunteering and acts of kindness earned him a scholarship. Read More Here

Free Dinner


Imagine having dinner with your coworkers and the check arrives already paid. Well, that’s what happened to a group of 25 firefighters in Colton, California. An anonymous woman secretly picked up the $355.22 tab and left a $50.00 tip. The firefighters enjoyed this act of kindness following a five and a half hour battle against a nearby forest fire. The fire department shared the deed on Facebook, posting that it was “honored to serve the citizens of our communities.” Read More Here

A Helping Hand is Always Near


A quick helping hand is all it takes to make a stranger’s day a little easier. Photos of a young woman helping a blind Chicago Cubs fan hail a cab have taken the internet by storm. Yusef Dale, an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, was trying to flag down a cab for several minutes when Casel Spelman, of Indianapolis, chose to be a good samaritan. One photo shows Superman holding onto Dale as she gets a driver’s attention while the other captures the two in a kind hug before they depart. The photos have garnered an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the public and will hopefully inspire others to be kind and give their assistance when needed. Read more here.

Beware: This might be Random Acts of Kindness Week

Who knew?  A non-profit organization exists solely to promote acts of kindness around the world.  This year, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation started a random acts of kindness week. For seven days, a daily challenge proposed doing an act of kindness for a stranger.  The hastag #RAKWEEK17 tracked postings by participants on social media.  Can we double down and keep it going for two weeks?  A year? 

Read More Here

Did you get – or give – a surprise gift this Valentine’s Day?


On Valentine’s Day this year, one Rocky Mountain Jr. High School student made sure the girls in his school felt “unique and special.”  In order to boost his female schoolmates’ confidence, Tryston Brown gave them all chocolates.  He and his mom Anissa Brown stayed up until 2 a.m. preparing the gifts, hoping to inspire others to do good deeds as well.   Read More Here

Two shaved heads are better than one


Principal Tim Hadley of Pekin Middle School in Packwood, Iowa taught his students a valuable lesson about kindness and compassion.  Student Jackson Johnston had shaved his head to stand in solidarity with his grandfather, Papa Rick, who was battling cancer and enduring chemotherapy. After hearing how classmates teased Jackson for being bald, Principal Hadley addressed the student body about the importance of supporting and caring for others.  The principal then had Jackson shave his head in front of the entire school, backing up his anti-bullying message with real action.  Read More Here

If she can do it…


Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Schofield is completing her bucket list and changing people’s lives worldwide – all while battling terminal cancer.  Over two million people have performed random acts of kindness to participate in her campaign using the hashtag #BeccaToldMeTo.  Ranging from buying coffee for strangers to making charitable donations, countless individuals inspired by Rebecca are learning to cherish the life of others through kindness and giving.  Read More Here

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.