Meet Our First Three Rivers Champion: Paul Rojik
As a longtime volunteer at the Sarah Heinz House, Rojik has impacted the lives of thousands of children.
Paul Rojik, 79, has been volunteering at the Sarah Heinz House every Wednesday evening for the past 50 years.
There, he acts as a mentor to a group of 30 middle school boys, guiding their projects and activities during their weekly meetings.
Rojik enjoys working with the boys and planning activities for his group, such as different crafts and trips to the museum and planetarium. He says this time together is important as it offers the boys a calm, respectful setting in which they can learn to work together.
And he would know. As a North Side youth, Rojik participated in programs at the nearby Sarah Heinz House himself. Through educational and fitness programs, the Sarah Heinz House helps kids in grades 1-12 develop the skills necessary to pursue a variety of careers and become engaged citizens.
“I felt strongly to give back to the ‘house’ because of the guidance, leadership and caring of the staff when I was a member. It had a great impact on me,” he says. “I had to give my time and whatever I could offer back to the ‘house.’”
“It’s a very rewarding experience knowing you have been involved in a young person’s life in some way,” says Rojik, who founded Frame Gallery, Inc. in 1980 in Sharpsburg, which is now owned by his son.
Jennifer Cairns, the executive director at Sarah Heinz House, says that by volunteering two hours each week, Rojik has impacted thousands of kids. “His constant presence and calm demeanor help staff as they implement programs and intervene with specific boys as inevitable conflicts arise.”
If you know someone who should be recognized for their volunteerism, please nominate them at pittsburghmagazine.com/Three-Rivers-Champions.