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