ADOPT A SENIOR
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Annye I. Cohen - President & Co-Founder
Sharyn Cohen - Vice President
Bill Cowen - Treasurer & Co-Founder
Heather McLaughlin - Director
Marisa Marino - Director of Community Relations
Margaret Morris - Director
Jill O' Toole - Secretary/Director
Robert Tretter - Vice President
Michele M. Adams - Director
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 Boy 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 Annual 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!
Heather McLaughlin, Director
Heather is a proud mother of 4, with the older 2 serving in the US Navy and Marines. I started working in assisted living in 2009 as the Director of Environmental Services, and then in sales and community relations; I enjoyed helping my senior community and the relationships that I made with them so much that I started volunteering my time and services to our activities department and grew from there. Making meaningful relationships and becoming a part of their lives when some had no one to share that with became a no brainer and a driving force for me. In 2018 I transferred to the Sunrise Senior Living community in Middletown NJ where I became the director of Activities and Volunteering and eventually was introduced to the Adopt a Senior Organization. As the AVC for Sunrise, my goal and purpose is not only to provide our residents with meaningful engagements, but also to keep their spirits lifted and to give them purpose. As I found too often, not everyone has family, friends, or just someone to "simply" share those special times with for example a birthday or holiday. We were able to introduce that community to Adopt a Senior, and results were nothing but pure joy. I watched as my residents developed meaningful relationships with the group and looked forward to their monthly birthday patrol, holiday "extras" and the end of year Holiday Gift Exchange. Residents that had nothing and no one, now had something to look forward to. I was able to branch out my professional career, and eventually help with introducing this organization to 5 different assisted living communities in NJ. I'm currently working in Sunrise of Shrewsbury and am now a proud member of the Board of Directors for Adopt a Senior.
Marisa Marino, Director of Community Relations
Bio coming soon!
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.
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 son, John Peter.
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.
Michele M. Adams, Director
Michele had always been a firm believer in "Paying It Forward". While in Junior High School, for 2 years, she volunteered as an aide at the local nursing home. Later while serving in the Armed Forces, she was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for her efforts during Operation Provide Comfort. Her squadron provided food and medical supplies to Kurdish refugees fleeing their homes in Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War. After retiring from the military, her love of aiding the elderly, led her to working as an Activities Director at a local Assisted Living facility for 19 years. During this time, she was introduced to the Adopt A Senior Organization and their noble mission and later became a Board Member.