Meet A Board Member…. Jen DiMarzio

Jennifer DiMarzio joined Literacy Rochester’s Board of Directors in 2018 and now co-chairs the Board’s outreach committee.

“Originally, I joined the Board as a way of expanding my professional network beyond the organization I work for,” says Jen, who’s worked at MVP Health Care, a regional health insurer, since moving to Rochester in 2003. “It was a way of stepping out of my comfort zone, while enabling me to contribute my knowledge as a communications professional and help Literacy Rochester grow.”

Our area is home to many non-profits. Jen chose to support Literacy Rochester with her time and experience because of how she found herself communicating with MVP’s customers. “Health insurance is not easy. To help health plan members understand the information we send to them by mail, for instance, we take time to consider the reading level—and lower it, specifically—so that every person who receives the information can hopefully understand it. By adjusting the language we use, we’re treating the symptoms of low literacy. Literacy Rochester goes beyond that to address the root cause, giving people the tools and help they need to improve their literacy. I wanted to be part of that positive, uplifting change.”

Circling back to the idea of stepping out of her comfort zone when she joined Literacy Rochester’s Board, Jen adds: “I know how difficult it can be to try something new, or ask for help. Every student who’s reached out to Literacy Rochester, or stopped by the LR area at their library for computer help—it might be uncomfortable or intimidating at first, but the volunteers and staff are so helpful and welcoming that taking the next step, and then the next, gets a bit easier because people see they don’t have to do it alone. My involvement with Literacy Rochester is about celebrating every single person who reaches out to improve their lives. It’s also about providing whatever support I can to those who keep Literacy Rochester going and growing. Whenever I show up to Literacy Rochester, I always start by asking ‘OK, how can I help?’”

Outside of work and her support of Literacy Rochester, Jen and her husband, Marco, are busy raising their daughters Liana (10) and Caroline (6), as well as Maxine and Hawk, two Labrador-mix pups adopted from Joyful Rescues and the Puppy Mill Adoption Team. “At the end of the day, spending time with my family is what grounds me. That, plus yoga and sleep – both of which I know I need more of, but that just means when I get good amounts of either or both, I appreciate them all the more.”

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