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LaBella in the Community (LINC) – Fall 2023 Roundup


LaBella in the Community (LINC) is our employee-led, grassroots, committee-based service program that organizes volunteer opportunities to build and advance community partnerships. LINC was very busy this fall and we’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the activities the group planned and coordinated throughout the local communities where we live and work.

More details about the organizations that LINC partnered with can be found by clicking the links below. To learn more about what LINC has been up to, keep scrolling!


9/11 Ride

Organization: America’s 911 Foundation
Event Date: August 17–20, 2023
Event Location: All three 9/11 crash sites

Event Description: America’s 911 Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2003 after two successful rides and a strong desire by participants to continue and grow the effort. The foundation’s goals are to support first responders and pay tribute to the heroes from September 11, 2001.

The 9/11 Ride is a commemorative motorcycle ride undertaken in remembrance of those who served, protected, lost their lives, and to the volunteers who lost their lives that tragic day. The police-escorted ride visits all three 9/11 crash sites, starting in Somerset, Pennsylvania, stopping in Washinton, DC at the Pentagon, and finishing in New York City at ground zero.

This year’s ride had a relatively small turnout – around 300 motorcycles, excluding escorts. However, in big anniversary years the 9/11 Ride has included more than 1,000 motorcycles.

AIDS Ride For Life

Organization: Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP)
Event Date: September 9, 2023
Event Location: Ithaca, NY

Event Description: The mission of the Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP) is to compassionately and competently meet the evolving needs of our communities by serving people affected by chronic illness and to improve public health through disease prevention, care coordination2, and advocacy.

In its 25th year, the AIDS Ride For Life annual cycling event has become a regional attraction that encourages participants to ride more than 100 miles around Cayuga Lake to fundraise for STAP. Joined by his family, this year was Matt McCarty’s 10th time riding in this event.

All money raised by riders goes back to STAP and is used to fill the gaps in the funding required to serve individuals living with HIV/AIDS, individuals with two or more chronic illnesses, LGBTQ+ youth at the Identity Youth Center, or Syringe Exchange participants. This year’s AIDS Ride For Life brought in a total of $139,786, including $3,250 raised by Team McCarty!

Tour de Teddi

Organization: Camp Good Days
Event Date: September 9, 2023
Event Location: Branchport, NY

Event Description: The Tour de Teddi is a bike ride around the beautiful Finger Lakes region that was started in 1990 as a way to create awareness for Camp Good Days, which offers programs and services to children and families impacted by cancer or sickle cell anemia. This year’s ride offered two course options: a 27-mile bike ride down to Hammondsport and back, or a 45-mile bike ride around Keuka Lake.

Artist Row

Organization: Artist Row Rochester
Event Date: September 17, 2023
Event Location: Rochester, NY

Event Description: Since 2005, the Friends of the Rochester Public Market has sponsored Artist Row, an annual community arts festival at the Rochester Public Market. Artist Row serves as a crossroads for the greater Rochester community, bringing together people from all over the region for a celebration of art, music, play, and food.

The festival functions as a forum for exceptional work by established artists and artisans, as well as a launching pad for emerging artists. All show proceeds and donations go to support programs at the Rochester Public Market run by the Friends, including the SNAP EBT program, market tours, and Friends programming.

Barktober Fest 2023

Organization: Lollypop Farm
Event Date: September 23, 2023
Event Location: Lollypop Farm – Fairport, NY

Event Description: Barktober Fest is Lollypop Farm’s 2nd-largest fundraiser to support vital services and programs for homeless and abused pets in the community.

Barktober Fest features fun dog contests (i.e., costume, hot diggity dog, and pup pie eating), swag vendors, food vendors, live music, craft beverages, raffle prize drawings, kids activity zone, a bounce house, and more.

In addition, participation in the event’s “Walk for the Animals” (0.5-mile or 1.5-mile) provides care for thousands of animals each year.

Upstate Fall Classic

Organization: Special Olympics New York
Event Date: September 23, 2023
Event Location: Kent Park – Webster, NY

Event Description: The Upstate Fall Classic is a competition and skills event for softball, soccer, and cross country running. Athletes from four regions throughout New York State competed in tournaments, as well as skills challenges for each of the sports.

Trail Maintenance

Organization: Adirondack Mountain Club
Event Date: September 30, 2023
Event Location: Finger Lakes Trail – Hornell, NY

Event Description: Volunteers performed maintenance, including blaze marking, brush clearing, and bridge maintenance on the Bald Hill section of the Finger Lakes Trail.

Charlotte’s Adopt-A-Stream Cleanup

Organization: City of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County
Event Date: October 2023
Event Location: Charlotte, NC

Event Description: As part of the City of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County’s Adopt-A-Stream program, LaBella has taken ownership of a half-mile segment of the Dairy Branch Stream just off Ideal Way to Magnolia Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Twice a year (in the spring and the fall), we remove litter to clean the stream. We also test the water, observe stream quality, and report back to the City and the County on our observations.

Our team of volunteers for this cleanup activity included Christine Fink, Janel Daley, Chip Cannon, Samantha Doughty, Taylor Hurst, Zachary Jordan, Tanya McGee, Abigail Rodgers, Rajaa Samter, Miller Snyder, Nataliia Vozniak, Bob Wilson, and Robert Steen.

Out of the Darkness Walk

Organization: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Event Date: October 7, 2023
Event Location: Veteran’s Memorial Park – Penfield, NY

Event Description: Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss.

The organization’s Community Walks, which are held in hundreds of cities across the country, are the core of the Out of the Darkness movement, which began in 2004. These events give people the courage to open up about their own connections to the cause, as well as a platform to create a culture that’s smarter about mental health. Friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers walk side-by-side, supporting each other and in memory of those we’ve lost.


Organization: New York State Department of Transportation
Event Date: October 14, 2023
Event Location: Rochester, NY

Event Description: As part of the New York State Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program, LaBella has adopted a section of Interstate 490 (that our firm designed).

Each year, volunteers spend several hours on a Saturday morning assisting in roadway cleanup. On this day, our team of volunteers was comprised of Jennifer Wildrick, Steve Metzger, Michael Simon, and Wes Pettee.

Charlotte CANstruction

Organization: AIA Charlotte
Event Date: October 14-18, 2023
Event Location: Charlotte, NC

Event Description: Hosted by AIA Charlotte, Charlotte CANstruction is an annual exhibit and design competition that brings AEC professionals together to create colossal structures built entirely out of canned goods. Every can and dollar are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

Inspired by Beats by Dre headphones, our team planned, designed, and constructed an 8-foot-tall “Beats Charlotte Hunger” structure using 2,750 cans and 80 pasta boxes. The exhibit was on display from October 14th-18th at Camp North End, where visitors viewed and voted on the structures. LaBella’s CANstructure received the Structural Ingenuity award for utilizing engineering and architectural principles to overcome design challenges!

Overall, the food and funds collected total nearly 83,000 pounds of food which will create about 69,000 meals for those in need in the Greater Charlotte Area – a massive increase over last year’s competition total of 42,000 pounds!

Read more about this event here

Painted Paws Fundraiser

Organization: Greece Residents Assisting Stray Pets (GRASP)
Event Date: October 21, 2023
Event Location: Fairport, NY

Event Description: GRASP is committed to reducing the number of homeless pets in Greece New York by decreasing dog and cat reproduction, promoting responsible pet ownership, and placing homeless dogs and cats into compatible, loving, permanent homes. Hosted at the Fairport Brewing Company, this fundraising event featured live music, dinner, an auction, and artwork made by animals.

Women Build Day

Organization: Greater Rochester Habitat for Humanity
Event Date: October 27, 2023
Event Location: Rochester, NY

Event Description: Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program provide opportunities for women to take a proactive step in serving their communities. Since 1991, Women Build volunteers from all walks of life have come together to build stronger, safer communities.

Women Build opportunities are available across the U.S., and any woman who wants to learn how to build or repair a home is invited to join. No experience is necessary – volunteers work under the guidance of construction professionals, alongside other volunteers and future Habitat homeowners.

On October 27, LaBella participated in its 12th Women Build event with Habitat for Humanity. As part of this year’s event, our team of volunteers (Jennifer Gillen, Mary Steblein, Sara LoBello, Linden Speranza, and Brian Ringenwald) helped build a new 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath home at 535 Hayward Avenue in Rochester, NY.

Women Build teams are central to the Women Build program and these projects – it’s how the program raises money for a new Habitat home each year, and how the organization schedules most of the construction shifts on the new homes.

Casino Night Fundraiser

Organization: Webster Comfort Care Home
Event Date: November 3, 2023
Event Location: Ontario, NY

Event Description: Webster Comfort Care Home strives to provide comfort care, symptom control, and pain management to residents while being a source of respite care for the families. The home does not charge residents or families for the care they provide. They gratefully exist solely through the generosity of the community, donations, volunteers, and special events.

This fundraiser, one of many held by Webster Comfort Care Home throughout the year, offered the community an opportunity to support the organization’s mission to uphold the dignity and ease the suffering, of its residents, and support their loved ones in a warm, home-like atmosphere.

Ultimate ’80s Party Fundraiser

Organization: Rochester Hearing & Speech Center
Event Date: November 4, 2023
Event Location: Rochester, NY

Event Description: In early November, the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center hosted an ’80s-themed fundraiser at the Photo City Music Hall in Rochester, New York. All proceeds from the event contribute to Rochester Hearing & Speech Center’s continued support of the community.

The event featured live music from ‘80s tribute band The Breakfast Club, a spirit toss, costume contest, and virtual silent auction, along with special guest emcees Aggy Dune and Darienne Lake alongside Dr. Michael Mendoza (a.k.a. “DJ Commish”) spinning all the greatest hits from this totally tubular decade.

Beds for Buffalo

Organization: The Service Collaborative of WNY
Event Date: November 15, 2023
Event Location: Buffalo, NY

Event Description: Beds for Buffalo, presented by The Service Collaborative of WNY, is a project that addresses a critical community need by mobilizing community volunteers to construct and assemble twin beds for children in need in the Western New York community. The project will provide 200 children with a bed this year, which will improve their self-esteem and ability to learn, and positively impact the likelihood of graduating from high school.

LaBella was tasked with cutting, planing, routering, and sanding the lumber used to construct the beds. Our team of volunteers consisted of members from the Architectural, Environmental, and Operations groups in Buffalo and included Chas Cowans, Kathy Kogut, Brent de Riszner, Jeff Kloetzer and his father Charles, Steve Siekmann, and Ben and Rob Napieralski.

St. Joseph’s School Gala

Organization: St. Joseph’s School Foundation
Event Date: November 18, 2023
Event Location: Fairport, NY

Event Description: The mission of St. Joseph’s School Foundation is to enhance the student experience through events that bring the community together as well as through initiatives that create an exceptional learning environment for the children.

The Foundation hosts three major fundraisers throughout the year, including the St. Joseph’s School Gala. This year’s Gala featured a masquerade ball theme and included a cocktail welcome, a live band led by a St. Joseph’s School alum, a seated dinner, and a silent auction.

Rochester CANstruction

Organization: Canstruction
Event Date: November 18, 2023 – December 3, 2023
Event Location: Rochester, NY

Event Description:

CANstruction Rochester is an annual exhibit and design competition that brings AEC professionals together to create structures built entirely out of canned goods. After closing the exhibit, all canned goods and food items are donated to Foodlink, a Rochester-based nonprofit organization that distributes food to local food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, the elderly, and daycare centers.

This year’s theme – Discovering Cans at the Strong – led all participating teams on a hunt around the Strong Museum of Play in search of inspiration for this year’s competition. LaBella’s team, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butterfly Effect,” had a vision of building a larger-than-life butterfly, showcasing the hallmark Butterfly Garden at the museum.

Our team planned, designed, and constructed an 8-foot-tall butterfly structure using more than 3,600 cans of mixed vegetables, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. All accent pieces were edible as well and included beef jerky sticks for antenna and legs and Ferrero Rocher chocolates as flower pollen.

The exhibit was on display from November 18th through December 2nd at the Strong Museum of Play, where visitors were able to view and vote on the structures. Our team’s structure received the Structural Ingenuity award for utilizing engineering and architectural principles to overcome design challenges!

Read more about this event here