When Rochelle Pollock was nearing retirement from her career as a university administrator, she knew she was going to want to use some of her free time to give back.
Little did she know that just four years later she’d be spending the majority of her weekdays volunteering for Heifer International, the group that gives cows and other livestock to needy families across the globe with the understanding that those families will pass on offspring to others, making whole communities more self-reliant.
“The year before I retired, we got one of their catalogues. I thought it was cute, so I got people to pitch in at work and we bought some chicks and other things for the holidays,” she said.
The Plaza Street East resident of three decades was impressed by the 68-year-old organization’s mission. “There’s a requirement that they have to pass on the gift of their knowledge and training and (animal) offspring if they have some, so it’s a ripple effect. And it works,” she said.
Pollock began giving presentations about Heifer to area schools and became more and more active helping to build Brooklyn’s volunteer group. At her first meeting about four years ago five people showed up, now the Brooklyn chapter is one of the most active in the country, she said, with a 480 volunteers in the database and a steering committee of about 16 people, about a third of which are from Prospect Heights.
Now, as the Brooklyn Area Volunteer Coordinator, she donates about three full days a week to the organization, giving out literature at the Farmer’s Market, speaking at schools, accepting checks from donors, and recruiting more volunteers.
She said she loves working with so many different people who all have the goal of making a difference in the world but have a “mosaic” of skills to offer.
“She’s beyond a volunteer, she is totally dedicated and passionate about Heifer,” said Amy Wexler, a Butler Street resident who Pollock recruited two years ago. “She’s just very passionate the mission. She really truly believes in it and that dedication inspires all of us.”
Right now the Brooklyn Chapter busy helping to organize the , which takes place tomorrow, April 24, at reBar in Dumbo. Pollock, who is co-chairing the event with Helen-Margaret Nasser of Park Slope, has been working nearly full-time on the event.
“It’s really a lot of work and she’s willing to do whatever it takes,” Wexler said.
But for Pollock, what she gets back is far greater than what she gives.
“They have this tagline: ‘You volunteer with Heifer and change lives—including your own,’” she said. “It’s true...It just makes you feel wonderful. I’m doing good work, I’m helping people, I have an impact on people’s lives and that’s what it’s all about.”
If you know a Prospect Heights volunteer who deserves recognition, please e-mail Amy.Clark@patch.com.