James Present is an active, committed citizen of the Rochester community. He is a retired fourth grade teacher of the Rochester City School District, a devoted family man, and remains involved in the faith community. He contributes most of his time serving his community utilizing his expertise in education, business, finance, strong family values, role modeling his faith in spirituality, volunteerism, and philanthropy.
Present is currently serving terms on the Hillel Foundation at University of Rochester, Jewish Family Service of Rochester, Inc., Compeer, Inc., and Board of Governors for the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester. He has served on the Board of Temple B’rith Kodesh, where he is a member of the congregation and serves on numerous committees. He also served on the Board of the Rochester Eye and Human Parts Bank, Inc.
After retiring, Present started an organization at the University of Rochester (U of R) for college students to tutor inner-city students each week at their schools, and then the mentors would invite the students on the U of R campus to expose them to the college environment. Two years ago Present confidently left the program in the very competent hands of U of R campus student leadership so that they are able to continue to develop healthier starts for children in education. He volunteers weekly by tutoring English to an inner city school #36 third grade student. The Soviet Union immigrants relocating to the community are also helped by Present, who teaches them for two hours each week on the many human resources available to them, so that they can obtain access to the services needed and transition into the community and American lifestyle.
On May 18, 1994, Present began working as a volunteer at Compeer, Inc. to provide one-on-one friendship and support for a young man with a mental illness. He joined the Compeer Board of Directors in 1995, serves on two committees, Finance and Faith In Action as liaison to the Board. Since his involvement with Compeer, he has worked to recruit volunteers. This year he made referrals for a new campaign called, “Open the Door to Friendship – Close the Door to Loneliness.”
He is committed to the agency’s strategic plan, improving services to the mentally ill, and recently negotiating the new facilities lease for the Compeer relocation of their offices. He saved the organization thousands of dollars by reading, studying, and interpreting the hidden fine print of a long-term lease contract for the administration.
Present’s Compeer, Daniel, has improved in so many areas over the past few years since they have been matched. He is more open, trusting of others as well as himself, confident, self-reliant, more in control of his thoughts, actions and activities and appears to be happy within himself. Previously, Daniel was not involved in volunteer activities but now, thanks to the time and companionship of James Present, he does extensive volunteer work for many organizations.