2005-09-09 / Community

Doe Fund To Clean Up Far Rockaway Business District

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

By Miriam Rosenberg
Contributing Editor

Joanna West, of the Doe Fund, speaks with Councilman James Sanders, Jr. before the presentation of the check. Also pictured are Joanie Omeste (Executive Director Rockaway Chamber of Commerce), John LePore (President of the Chamber), Curtis Archer (Executive Director RDRC) and LaVida Jervis (Rockaway East Merchants Association).Joanna West, of the Doe Fund, speaks with Councilman James Sanders, Jr. before the presentation of the check. Also pictured are Joanie Omeste (Executive Director Rockaway Chamber of Commerce), John LePore (President of the Chamber), Curtis Archer (Executive Director RDRC) and LaVida Jervis (Rockaway East Merchants Association).

  • Councilman James Sanders, Jr. presented a check for $45,000 to the Doe Fund on September 2 for the organization to begin cleaning the streets of the Far Rockaway business district.
  • While Sanders secured the money to bring the agency to Far Rockaway, Curtis Archer, (the executive director of Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp. – RDRC, credits the hard work and determination of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce for making it a reality.

    As a member of NY1 records Sanders signing the giant check – Omeste, LePore, Archer, LaVida Jervis (REMA) look on.                                  Photos by Miriam RosenbergAs a member of NY1 records Sanders signing the giant check – Omeste, LePore, Archer, LaVida Jervis (REMA) look on. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Joanie [Omeste, the executive director], and John [Lepore, the president], stayed on top of it and pushed,” said Archer.

    Lepore continued by saying “We saw how successful it was on the West End. We had such tremendous results.”

    Chamber’s John LePore and Councilman Sanders shake hands after the presentation of the $45,000 to the Doe Fund as Omeste, Archer, and LaVida Jervis (REMA) join in the celebration.Chamber’s John LePore and Councilman Sanders shake hands after the presentation of the $45,000 to the Doe Fund as Omeste, Archer, and LaVida Jervis (REMA) join in the celebration. Lepore said the eventual thinking was “Why isn’t it happening on the East End, where it is as much needed as on the West End.”

    In the beginning, Sanders was not convinced the Doe Fund was the answer for the East End.

    Saying it was more of a gentle nudge than a push, Omeste explained the concept was introduced to Sanders at a meeting between her, Lepore and Linda Plummer (of RDRC).

    “[Sanders] saw what it had done for Beach 116 Street, beginning in July 2004, and was impressed,” Omeste said. “The lag time was in organizing everything. The Doe Fund is so popular, they had to [develop the] manpower, but because they knew us before [from other projects] they knew it would be good.”

    The Doe Fund began working in the Rockaway Park area last year after Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. brought the organization to the chamber’s attention.

    The nonprofit Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program offers homeless men several types of job training opportunities, including the Community Improvement Project.

    “We help [them] get their lives back together and become self-sufficient,” said Joanna West a representative of the Doe Fund. “It combines housing, social service, work and training opportunities.”

    Workers would supplement the job done by the Department of Sanitation – such as bagging garbage and refuse, sweeping streets, removing flyers from poles and clearing snow from fire hydrants and bus stops. Once a-year street furniture – mailboxes and street poles – get a fresh coat of paint.

    West said we should start seeing the workers in their distinctive blue uniforms begin work in the Far Rockaway business district on September 15.

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