Ms Louis, We Sure Will Miss You!

When #NoExcusesRockaway was no more than 3 pages of ink on paper, our dear friend Manny Fiallo "bought in" and gave us the courage to build out the program. (Don't worry Mr. Manny, you'll get your own novel on how much we love you one day soon!) He helped us sell our crazy scheme to get every kid in Rockaway to school to anyone who would listen.  One such angel was Nathalie Louis, the director at the Beach 41st Street Cornerstone Community Center. Ms Louis embraced our first #NoExcuses students and invited 20 K-5th graders to join her after school program; something typically unheard of halfway through a school year.

At that point, our "discipline style" was nonexistent, and every day we delivered rambunctious, unruly Little Risers to Beach 41st. Ms Louis and her staff would embrace them with open arms. By teaching our kids how to operate within the boundaries of the Center, she taught us how to set our own. She constantly encouraged our efforts and never judged our often chaotic operation.

Ms Louis is moving on from Beach 41st, but she has left a legacy that will forever shape the kids of Cornerstone and the Little Risers we sent her way. She has been a gift to our community, and the team at Rockaway Rising is eternally grateful for his wisdom, encouragement, and love. 

WE MISS YOU ALREADY, MS LOUIS! WE LOVE YOU AND LOOK FORWARD TO FOLLOWING YOUR JOURNEY ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP. XOXO

 

Our Hearts and Bellies are Overflowing with Rockaway Love

Live music courtesy of White Merlot's Justin Vegh and Omaesh Persaud. Photo: Miachel Breton

Live music courtesy of White Merlot's Justin Vegh and Omaesh Persaud. Photo: Miachel Breton

"Linking arms and connecting strengths to get every student in Far Rockaway to every class, every day" - Rockaway Rising's Mission Statement

Under the pink glow of Saturday's setting sun, the creative minds behind The MP Shift rallied our community's uber-talented and kind-hearted restaurateurs to "link arms" and serve up a collaborative feast benefitting - we still can't believe it - us.

Sarah Owens baked her James Beard Award winning sourdough and Goody's dished out endless ribs for our kids. Tracy Obolsky woke up at 4 am to meticulously prepare her honeycomb dessert for our kids. Abra Boero kept her trendy Off Season boutique open late for our kids. The legendary Whitney Aycock plated blueberry compote and served up craft beer (thank you Rockaway Brewing Co.) for our kids. Taylor from Fox Fodder Farm hand painted real fruit centerpieces for our kids. Leyla and Ximena Yrala of Chicks to Go shared their perfectly seasoned ceviche for our kids. The kind gents at Brothers left their boardwalk HQ to ensure everything was farm to table for our kids.

Statistically, less than 40% of our kids in Far Rockaway will graduate from high school. Contrary to what the data suggests, our kids are not failing. We are failing our kids. As these chefs and hosts demonstrated so flawlessly, we all have something to bring to the table. We cannot sit back and watch as over half of our children slip through the cracks. 

They are our kids.

Thank you to each and every soul who celebrated Rockaway's kitchens and our kids on Saturday evening. Your joyful participation and sacrifice of time and talent means the world to everyone here at Rockaway Rising.  You always have a seat at our table.

Mary Bermudez Rocks Our Socks Off

Mary Bermudez of P.S. 104 is the president of the Over-Achievers Club. She is our constant encourager, supporter, and can always be found going the extra mile for her students. 

Without her, the #NoExcusesRockaway attendance initiative would never have gotten off the ground. She helps us coordinate with teachers and ensures that our students are safe and cared for each day before and after school. She volunteers to coach her students in sporting events, always sends us grant opportunities, and will drop anything to help us with just about anything.

 THANK YOU MS B for all you do for Rockaway Rising and your students :) WE LOVE YOU!

To Santa's Little Helpers

The Holidays in Far Rockaway were extra special this year thanks to the generosity of the Storms Family. The Storms exchanged their WISH lists for GIVE lists and delivered presents and joy to the kids of Rockaway Rising instead of opening their own gifts on Christmas morning. 

Thank you Brian, Maryann, Sarah, Megan, Greg, Taylor + ALL the Storms/Greenwald GANG for spreading your joy in Far Rockaway. Your love is infectious and you made our holidays Oh So Merry and Bright!

Special shoutout to the two little elves who also make great homework helpers :) 

Dropbox + Rockaway Rising = Picture Perfect

Christy Childers, Dropbox recruiter extraordinaire, used her clout to hook us up with a FREE Dropbox account.

To Christy and the Dropbox team, THANK YOU! Over the years, Rockaway Rising has become a giant family and now we can store all our family pics and videos in one place without worrying about losing them or crashing our computers. Dropbox has become our treasure chest of memories, and we are so grateful for your gift.

xoxo,

Your Rockaway Rising Family

 

Meredith, you're a dream

Three little Risers had the night of their lives last night thanks to Meredith Williams, Microsoft, and The Visionary Group.

Meredith gave us vip tickets to the Pitbull concert at Rockefeller Plaza. She took us backstage to meet the event crew and showed us all the hustle and muscle that go into pulling off such an epic event! To top it off, she gave us an exclusive tour of the brand spanking new Microsoft Store on 5th Ave where we got to play Halo 5 before it "dropped" at midnight. BRAGGING RIGHTS for days!

We may have gotten home a little past curfew (sorry moms!), but we had the best night ever thanks to Mere and her team!

 

 

We'd vote for Dan Kass to be president of the world

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Dan Kass and Georges Clement created Justfix.nyc with one goal: To ensure "healthy and safe homes for all." Dan has trekked to Far Rockaway two weeks in a row to help our neighbors form a Tenant's Association and navigate their exploitative and neglectful housing situations.  We joke that we need to carry a "digital Dan" in our pockets because he is a human encyclopedia on tenants' rights and fair housing practices (which is just what we'll get when the full version of Justfix.nyc launches!). Dan's kindness, sense of justice, and diplomatic spirit will make him a great world ruler one day. We can't wait to say "We knew Dan Kass when..." 

 

To Our Besties at DoSomething.org:

 

How can we express our love for you?
Every time we visit, you teach us something new.


We treasure your hugs, your smiles, and cheer.
And your belief that by doing what's right, we'll have nothing to fear.


You have 4.2 million members who report back to you,
but you take time on Tuesdays to EMPOWER our tiny little crew.


Bonnie, Marah, Liz, Hannah, Shae, and the rest of your team
thanks for treating us so well, and reminding us to DREAM.


We think you're just the best and we love you all globs,
But don't say we didn't warn you when we come after your jobs! 

xoxo

The girls of Rockaway Rising



 

 

Thank You Mont Lawn Camp

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Thanks to Josh Cruz at Bowery Mission, 127 Rockaway rascals just spent a week in the woods at Mont Lawn Camp in Pennsylvania!

Even as adults we're reminded that there's nothing quite like the privilege of having a summer camp experience. We're so grateful to the Bowery Mission for giving the kids of Far Rockaway yet another year of "Remember that one time at Mont Lawn..." memories.