On May 22, 2017, an unspeakable act of horror occurred halfway around the world that is reverberating throughout the hearts and minds of our community. We ask that each and every one of us, as members of our global community, take a step back to reflect on the horrifying events of these last few days, and give a moment of silence and kind thoughts for the children and youth around the globe who are victims of ruthless and senseless violence. We especially ask that you think of the concertgoers in Manchester, England. We are saddened by this event and hope for an end to violence against youth.
Roosevelt Island Day
It is times like these that make it especially important to take time to come together as a community. One opportunity is Roosevelt Island Day. On Saturday, June 17, we can once again strengthen the bonds that make us a community, meet neighbors old and new, and have another excuse to be outdoors for a day of family fun, games, and rides.
It is often forgotten that Roosevelt Island Day was originally created as a day of Island service and beautification, a day where anyone and everyone is encouraged to pick up a shovel and plant new flowers and seedlings throughout the Island. We are encouraged to clean up and attend to Island elements that need attention, and to generally come together as a community to make this Island a cleaner and more beautiful place to live, work, and play. Interested in being a volunteer or want to help out? All you need to do is show up on Roosevelt Island Day, raise your hand, and you’ll be given a T-Shirt and a task. We hope to see all of you there! Make sure you come by the RIRA hospitality table hosted by the RIRA Social Cultural & Education Committee for some coffee, bagels and juice on us, as well as a chance to catch up with your neighbors while you fortify for the day ahead of beautifying our already beautiful Island.
RIRA & RISA Blood Drive
Another way to participate in the recharging of the spirit of our community is to participate in the annual Blood Drive. This year, the Blood Drive is sponsored by RISA in partnership with RIRA and benefits the New York Blood Center. Now in its 14th consecutive year, RIRA and RISA volunteers will be manning a sign-up table at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday until Roosevelt Island Day, to sign up any and all donors who wish to participate. The Blood Drive will culminate with the pledged donations to occur on June 17, during the annual Roosevelt Island Day festivities. If you are able, please sign up to donate. You can save a life.
Mother’s Day Celebration
On Saturday, May 13th, the RIRA Children, Youth & Education Committee, in conjunction with the Carter Burden Network and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, held a Mother’s Day gathering at the Senior Center celebrating Island mothers and honoring four Roosevelt Island mothers and grandmothers whose unconditional love, relentless spirit, and self-sacrifice, truly demonstrate what it means to be a Roosevelt Island mother. Patty Fallone, Derl-Marie Cole, Shirley Carrero and Alvie (Pat) Rivera were all honored and joined by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and RIOC President Susan Rosenthal.
Those in attendance enjoyed performances by the cast of the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance’s Pippin, participated in a sing-along led by MST&DA musical director Jonathan Fadner with his wife Kimbirdlee; listened to the solo vocal performance of 16-year-old Mia Zurovac as she performed her rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon,” dedicated to her father and loved by her mother; enjoyed the recitations of troop members of our Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts and Anyah Lamb of poems they had written or picked out for their mothers, and the dance stylings of Tia Young. The piano students of Island Resident and Common Council Member Shuang Yu performed: Emma-Rae Alexia Deiye (9), Thea Edna Deiye (5), Alexander Bertellini (13), Danel Reparaz Basoko (6), Lou-Ann Sire (11), Mark Reparaz Basoko (10), Amelia Ghrib (8) and Isra Ghrib (9-Flute).
Roosevelt Island’s Zurovac family, owners of Pain d’Avignon, provided brunch for the mothers. The children of the RI Parents Network and Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts presented those in attendance with handmade picture frames, cards, and silk flowers.
Kudos and many thanks go to Adib Mansour and Anne Heskel, co-chairs of the RIRA Children, Youth & Education Committee, whose mission, amongst many, is to connect our Island’s children and youth with their community. We thank the Carter Burden Network, Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, and the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition, including, but not limited to, Carter Burden Program Director Lisa Fernandez and RI Community Collaborative Coalition’s Wendy Hersh, for their unwavering support, time, and effort in making the event a success; and to all the volunteers and organizations who contributed their efforts to the Mother’s Day celebration. Without all of us coming together as a community, we would not have been able to properly honor those in our lives who are our mothers in every sense of the word.
Trash Conditions at P.S./I.S. 217
The RIRA Island Services Committee chaired by Aaron Hamburger was approached by the PTA of P.S./I.S. 217 for support and assistance in helping our Island public school ameliorate the growing trash conditions and associated problems. For some time, the school had been working with the Department of Education and RIOC in trying to address the trash concerns to arrange a different setup and times for trash pickup. Responses and efforts by those parties responsible for addressing such issues, although in process, have been slow and without a definitive timeline. Using their past successes with respect to other parts of our Island that have suffered similar issues, members of the RIRA Island Services Committee, the PTA, and the school are working to find viable solutions and a quick response to the growing problem. If you are interested in helping with this issue, please reach out to the chair of the RIRA Island Services Committee, Aaron Hamburger, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for the next meeting of the Committee.
Jeff Escobar, President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association