Category Archives: Community


An interview with recording artist Michelle Hilsman
By Melissa Peterson

Michelle Hilsman wrote most of the songs on her debut album, “Sapphire Blue,” while snowed in housesitting for her parents in the country. “All day long, every day for a week, all I did was write, write, write.” A year and a half later, a completed album was born.

From its opening song, “No Man’s Land,” Hilsman’s album feels like a lonesome, determined drive out West—a journey that rises and falls through a range of emotional elevations. Get out of town to the accelerating beat of “Pink Paradise.” Pause in a quiet roadside bar with the haunted, intimate beauty of its title track, “Sapphire Blue.” Continue reading

Zhōng Guó Xīn Nián

Chinese New Year 2021
By Maria Liang

This year Chinese New Year falls on February 12 and is the Year of the Ox according to Chinese zodiac. Its other name is 뉴節 Chūn Jié (Spring Festival), and it is the most important traditional festival celebrated in China and regions of Chinese and Han communities around the world. Generally the event begins on the first day of the first Chinese lunar month and lasts 15 days until 禱晷節 Yuán Xiāo Jié  (Lantern Festival).  Continue reading


Health disparities explained
By Erin Pagel

Health disparities are preventable differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that are experienced across populations. Disparities occur across many dimensions, including race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, location, gender, disability status and sexual orientation. Health disparities are often identified along racial and ethnic lines, in that African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Alaska Natives and whites have different disease and survival rates. Continue reading


Brie Bednar and the expanding services of Family Promise Rochester
by Anne Scherer

In 1999, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Rochester—now known as Family Promise Rochester (FPR)—was launched after a group of caring individuals saw the need to provide shelter, meals and comprehensive assistance to homeless families in the Rochester area. For 20 years, families were sheltered in partner congregations where they received a meal and a place to sleep.

In September 2019, Brigitte (Brie) Bednar took on the role of executive director, just in time to adapt to the new and still-changing rules of a pandemic. Continue reading


A local seamstress takes a moment to reflect … but not for long—orders are waiting
By Grace Menchaca

When asked what inspired her to start sewing as a profession, Brooke Burch remarks that nothing inspired her—she just knew. “Nobody introduced me to fashion design,” she notes. “I started sewing by hand when I was a child. My grandma saw that I liked sewing, so she got me a sewing machine.” Continue reading

Anti-Racism 101

Taking the first steps
By Nicole Andrews, Audrey Elegbede and Emily Watkins

Does hearing “anti-racism” raise your hackles? Do you love everyone equally and “not see color”? Have these beliefs been challenged lately? Because of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among many others, people are speaking out and up, and many more are “getting woke” to some realities that they had previously ignored. Continue reading


Area women are building careers in planning, preconstruction and administration
By Trish Amundson
Photography by

The warm weather is gone until spring, but the hard work of construction tradespeople continues year-round.  Across the city, residential and commercial construction is booming, and many men—and women—are busy building the city, from architects and business development professionals to engineers and hard-hat crews. Rochester Women Magazine interviewed three women who play crucial roles in initiating construction projects throughout the community and promoting change to eliminate inequalities throughout the industry.  Continue reading

Joan Kopacz


Building a practice with character,
integrity and tenacity
By Ruth Brennan Morrey

Photography © 2019
All rights reserved.

In the fall of 2007, over Moose Drool beers at Whistle Binkies, a dream was born from Joan Kopacz’s napkin drawing of a wagon wheel. Providing hope and healing, the wheel’s central hub represented Rochester, and its five spokes were rural satellite locations destined for specialized care in physical therapy. That pivotal night, the passion-filled conversation between Kopacz and Brian McQuilkin fleshed out a shared vision of critical core values and the realization that a robust team philosophy to patient care was paramount.  Continue reading