Learn More About Our Board of Directors:
Annye Cohen, President & Co-Founder
Annye has been "giving back" since she was a little girl and would help her Grandfather, Izzy, with his Boy Scout Fundraisers. She remembers sitting at the kitchen table with him and helping to roll up coins that the Boys Scouts had collected at their "Annual Tag Day". When Annye was in Grammar School, her 6th Grade teacher, Mr. Alster, assigned her what would be the first of many volunteer experiences in her life, the Peer Leadership Group. Twice a week, she helped students who were having problems with their reading skills. It was an experience she still thinks about and was very proud when she saw the students bring their reading levels up. Annye continued volunteering throughout her teenage years, helping her Mom, Sharyn, at fundraisers for the Brooklyn School for Special Children. While working at the Walt Disney Company, she saw many volunteer opportunities available to her, but none that were for the Seniors in nursing homes. Annye started a BlanketEars group at her office and she along her with her Mom and co-workers, crocheted 440 blankets. They were each hand-delivered to the Seniors at Kateri Residence. It was during this time that Annye found out so many of the Seniors had no family or visitors and she worked with the staff to create the Adopt A Senior Holiday Program. Each year on December 16th, her Birthday, Annye delivered the gifts to the Seniors. She now continues to do that each year with her Adopt A Senior Team!
Annye was on the Board of Directors for The Dwelling Place of New York for 6 years and ran their Annal Gala Fundraiser for 5 years. She received Disney's VoluntEar of the Year Award in 2006 and Disney's VoluntEar Team of the Year Award in both 2004 and 2008. She was also the Volunteer of the Year at Kateri Residence in 2007. All of these were awarded to her because of her work with the Seniors.
Sharyn Cohen, Vice President
Sharyn has a multitude of experience in volunteering. From helping her Dad, Izzy, with his Boy Scout Bingo fundraisers, PTA member at Annye's Grammar School, running fundraisers for the Brooklyn, School for Special Children, Co-Chairing Disney BlanketEars and assisting Annye with The Dwelling Place of New York's Annual Gala for 5 years. When Annye and Bill started talking about creating Adopt A Senior as a non-profit, Sharyn was their #1 supporter. She understood the need for an organization like this and feels so proud to be a part of it. Her continued support and dedication has been a huge influence on the organization.
Bill Cowen, Treasurer & Co-Founder
Bill is a firm believer in giving back. He was raised that it is "better to give than receive". He fondly remembers when he was a kid hosting a neighborhood carnival with his friends to raise money for MDA. The group of friends then went to the actual telethon in New York City to personally deliver the money they had raised.
While working for the Disney Store, he volunteered with Make a Wish Organization, More recently, he has been involved with many different organizations with Annye including Adopt A Platoon, The Dwelling Place of New York and Vinny's Hope For A Cure. Locally he participates in his church's monthly food drives, Thanksgiving Meal Program and Christmas Giving Tree Program. He loves working with Adopt A Senior because the Seniors are wonderful to interact with. They have wonderful memories and it is great to see them excited to share them!
Jill O'Toole, Secretary/Director
Jill has been with Adopt A Senior not only since the organization became an official non-profit, but at the inception over 10 years ago. Jill has volunteered and supported many organizations such as St. Francis Feline Rescue, Summit Annual Rescue, Susan B. Komen Walk, Vinny's Hope For A Cure, The Dwelling Place of New York and Purple Heart Foundation, to name a few. Jill has also taught adult bible study, children's church and was involved in the married couples' ministry and sang in the choir at her church. Volunteering for causes that are close to her heart have become an important part of her life and her family's life as well.
When Jill met Annye in 2007, Annye shared her volunteer efforts at The Riverside Premier. Jill immediately joined Annye in volunteering at a Senior Arts & Craft Program. She would bring her son who first came along when he was only four years old. Together with Annye, and other volunteers, they would go each month to help spread joy and friendship with Seniors who were sadly forgotten.
Jill remembers someone saying to her many years ago "Every Senior is someone's child". There is a parent who is no longer here to care for their aging child. When your children become Seniors and you are no longer around to protect and care for them, wouldn't you hope there would be sincere, caring people who would go and visit them?" Seniors will always have a special place in her heart.
Jill lives in Middletown, NJ with her husband John and their two children, Jessica and John Peter.
Margaret Morris, Director
Margaret was always very close with her Babci (Grandmother) Katherine Ziemiecki. Sadly, when she suffered a stroke Margaret's family was unable to safely care for her at home. Her family chose Bartley Healthcare for her and not a day went by that Margaret didn't visit her Babci. While there, Margaret noticed how many residents did not have visitors and it broke her heart.
She learned of the Adopt A Senior Organization and our mission while reading the TriTown News and reached out to us during the Holiday Gift Giving Season of 2015, After volunteering with us for over a year, in August 2017, we invited Margaret to join our Board of Directors. Margaret lives in Delaware with her husband Aaron.
Bob Tretter, Vice President
Bob is an Insurance Executive who also has a deep passion for helping others. In his early years, he served as Little League Manager and Camp Counselor, Later, during his working years, he served on committees for United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Artswave and other various volunteer projects. When Bob's niece passed away at age 6 from a brain tumor, he and his brother Matt formed Caitlin's Cause, a foundation which helped families where a child was diagnosed with cancer. Caitlin's Cause has raised over 500k, with funds going toward hand-made projects, counseling, and scholarships to those families in need. Bob met Annye in 2011 and joined the Board of Adopt A Senior in 2014.
Bob is married and has three grown children, all of whom have inherited his desire to help others, Bob and his wife Barbara currently live in the Cincinnati, OH area.