Join RIRA's Children, Youth and Education Committee

November 30, 2018

I want to introduce you to RIRA’s Children, Youth and Education Ad Hoc committee (CY&E). Though we formed just last term, we've already accomplished a lot. You have probably attended one of our events, or read our Time Capsule interviews published in The WIRE. As our population continues to grow, this committee continues to be a voice for our younger and smaller constituents and their families.


Finding Leadership Opportunities 


The CY&E Ad Hoc Committee believes in encouraging our youth to celebrate their talents by finding leadership opportunities for them through community engagement; including community service, sports, arts and sciences.


It is our goal to create initiatives that would lead the youth to a smart present, while building a brighter future. This is done through their introduction to multitudes of national and international professionals, while engaging in community service projects. Finally, we aim at becoming the voice of the youth and the source for ameliorating their lives.


As many of you know, Roosevelt Island has many wonderful activities and programs designed for children from six weeks old and up. We are lucky to have dance classes and a musical theater program directed by proficient instructors; swim, soccer, baseball, and tennis teams with world-class coaches; infant and toddler groups that offer entertainment for children and support for new parents; as well as cultural, social, and religious organizations led by dedicated parents, coaches and leaders. We are also lucky to have a successful public school on the Island, as well as other thriving educational entities. 


Mother's Day Celebration hosted by the CY&E committee brought out Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright.


A Sounding Board


In addition to supporting and showcasing the Island's existing programs, the Children, Youth, and Education Committee acts as a sounding board – we believe in listening to the ideas of our community and helping to advance new projects. While we focus on our younger population, we remember that we are part of the greater community of Roosevelt Island. We are excited and pleased to have worked on several projects that connect Island youth and seniors.


The Make it Count Project, with partners Amalgamated Bank and the senior center taught young adults how a bank works, how credit differs from ATM cards. It helped them understand how to save money for future needs and exposed them to new job opportunities in the financial field. There was a practical piece as well; the group was given a small budget for an event or program to serve the seniors and disabled on the Island.


We hosted a Black History month celebration at the Carter Burden Senior Center. On Mother's Day, along with the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, Girl Scouts, Carter Burden Senior Center, Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, and both Congresswoman Maloney and Assemblywoman Seawright, Roosevelt Island Disabled Association & Carter Burden, we arranged a four-course luncheon served by Girl Scouts and volunteers. Young girls read Mother’s Day poems to each table and passed around gifts -- cloth bags containing small items to eat or wear.


Other Projects


On Roosevelt Island WE is a long term project with the RIRA's Social Cultural and Education Committee; where children in various youth programming on the Island, including the Child School, the Beacon program, and Girl Scouts The idea behind was to encourage youth of all ages to think about what makes Roosevelt Island so special. They drew pictures illustrating what Islanders do, for example, "on Roosevelt Island We clean up after our dogs."



In conjunction with the youth center, the Italian Cultural Connection, including international renown chef Francesco Panella, cooked with us. The Music is All Inclusive Concert held this past May brought young musicians to the stage with accompaniment by professionals. This was done in collaboration with the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association. 


Time Capsule Project


The Time Capsule project, initiated by high school student Mark Shinozaki aims to capture the past, present, and endless future possibilities of Roosevelt Island. For that project, we work with students ages 13 to 16 years old. The process includes taking snapshots of Island locations, collecting historic images, and interviewing subjects.


The team attended a lecture on the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech, given by Four Freedoms Park’s Manager of Education, Ryan Lockwood. They also attended a series of hands-on, practical  lectures by the former Main Street WIRE editor, the late Dick Lutz.


Thus far they have researched, interviewed, and published the following: 


1- RIOC President Susan Rosenthal on Her Goals, Her Challenges and Her Purple Office 

2- Piccolo Trattoria’s Owners on Change, Competition, and Love at First Sight

3- Dr. Jack Resnick on Practicing Small-Town Medicine in the Big City

4- Public Safety Director Jack McManus on the Challenge of Earning Trust

5- NISI Owners on Their Royal Roots, Three-Year Renovation, and Love for the Island 

6- Council Member Ben Kallos on the Joys of Being an Outsider in NYC Politics 

7- Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright Knows Her Way Around Rattlesnakes



There are numerous more interviews coming. Also, elementary students will get to participate too! There will be a series of competitions for them to draw a futuristic map of Roosevelt Island, essays on future technologies and how they would help the Island, and the Island's ideal future as seen by teens and young adults.


All of the images, interviews, and artifacts collected will be stored in a sculpture/monument created by island artist Tad Sudol in coordination with RIOC President Susan Rosenthal. The plan is for it to be opened in 25 years, replenished, and then re-opened in 50 years.


Future Projects

For the future we are eager to include more leadership and community involvement as well as projects combating global warming Initiatives. I welcome new members, new ideas, and new projects. 


Please email me with your interest to become a member and any thoughts you might want to share.


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