2006-09-01 / Community

Weed and Seed Sets New Site Coordinator

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

By Miriam Rosenberg
Contributing Editor

Ed Williams - steering committee chair - left, and Alexi Mantsios - of the Justice Department - flank Denean Ferguson as she tells steering committee members her vision for the site's future.Ed Williams - steering committee chair - left, and Alexi Mantsios - of the Justice Department - flank Denean Ferguson as she tells steering committee members her vision for the site's future.

After nearly four months without a site coordinator, the Far Rockaway Weed and Seed selected a woman to fill the slot during last month's steering committee meeting.

Denean Ferguson, who volunteers as special projects and the grants coordinator at the Church of God Christian Academy in Far Rockaway, was given the nod for the job after a search that started with eight candidates. It was cut to three after the initial interviews and then the search committee settled on Ferguson, who has been involved with the organization since last fall.

In putting the forward the nomination - which passed with 11 in favor and two abstentions - selection committee members Ed Williams (the steering committee chair) and Alexi Mantsios (of the Justice Department - which oversees the program) praised Ferguson.

"In addition to interviewing and working with her over the months, I was impressed by the research she has done," said Mantsios, at the August 16 meeting. "[Before the interview] I received calls from her asking questions."

Williams said "she impressed us with her excitement and aggressiveness. She put her thumb on the pulse of what Weed and Seed is. She is a community member, as well."

Lizzie Brown, also of the search committee, said, "I was hesitate [about her at first]. I had to get to know her. She is a dependable, engeratic young lady."

From her point of view, Ferguson said that Weed and Seed is all about the strategy.

"It's about eradicating crime," she said. "With more housing, comes more crime. At the same time, we have to provide meaningful services to youth who might be geared to crime. [It takes] all of us working together."

One of the reasons Ferguson told The Wave she put in for the job is the strategy of getting rid of crime - which became more meaningful after she witnessed a young man shoot off a gun in her neighborhood.

"It's not a housing project or where you normally [expect to see such a thing]," said Ferguson, a 17-year resident of the Rockaways. "It was shocking." Ferguson concluded by saying that she'd like to see "Far Rockaway accomplish the strategy, moving in that direction and not the personal conflicts and things of that nature."

At the top of Ferguson's list is to contact everyone who was part of the program in the past and attempt to bring them back to the table.

To find out more about the Far Rockaway site go to http:// www.farrockawayweedandseed.com. Ferguson also suggests anyone wishing to contact her can do so by calling 646 552-8453 or emailing Denean. Ferguson@ farrockawayweedandseed. com.

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