2010-07-09 / Community

Action Center Honors Locals

Katherine Pichardo-Erskine, who represented State Senator Malcolm Smith at the ceremony (left) with executive director Aria Doe and school activist Queen Makkada. Katherine Pichardo-Erskine, who represented State Senator Malcolm Smith at the ceremony (left) with executive director Aria Doe and school activist Queen Makkada. It was a sight to behold; public school kitchen staff standing shoulder to shoulder with our political leaders, parent coordinators joining hands with city agencies and school safety agents breaking bread with some of the biggest corporations and non-profits on the peninsula.

They were brought together as recipients of the Action Center for Education and Community Development Inc.’s 2010 Community Spirit Awards. Believing that it truly takes a village to make monumental change, the Action Center set aside the night of June 29, 2010 to publicly acknowledge each honoree’s contribution to the Rockaway community, and its partnership with the Action Center.

In explaining why the event was so important, Executive Director Aria Doe recalled a conversation she and her husband had when they first discussed starting the Action Center. Her husband told her three things she has never forgotten:

1) We can be part of the problem and pull our kids out of public schools, or be part of the solution, roll up our sleeves and work to make a difference. But we cannot outrun the problems we see here.

2) We can’t save the world so we have to be focused to maximize results.

3) We cannot do it alone; it truly does take a village to generate sustainable change. There is just too much need for any one agency or entity to handle by itself.

According to Doe, all of the recipients in some way had become a part of that village and partnership for change; and without them the Action Center would not be “The Action Center.”

There were seven categories of recipients, which included:

Political Support: Congressman Gregory Meeks; CongressmanAnthony Weiner; State Senator Malcolm Smith; Assemblywoman Michelle Titus; Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer; City Councilman James Sanders Jr.; former congressman Robert Simmons; Jason Hillard from the Office of Congressman Gregory Meeks; Fred Simmons from the Office of State Senator Smith;

Martha Butler, chief of staff for Michelle Titus; Joann Shapiro from the Office of Audrey Pheffer; Cecil Lloyd- Bey from the office of Councilman Sanders; Ed Williams from the Rockaway NAACP; and Borough President Helen Marshall.

School Based Support: CSD27 School Superintendent Michelle Lloyd- Bey; Kathleen Walker, NYC Department of Education; Marcella Sills, principal of PS 106; Pauline Frasier, parent coordinator of PS 106; Queen Makkada, D27 DPAC chair & D27 CPAC Rep; Parent Coordinators Kathy Meade of P.S 114,

Yvonna Hall of P.S 225, Janet Brady of Scholars’ Academy, Alla Nesmith of P.S 105, Kathy Malnew of P.S 43, Louis Hodgood of Far Rockaway High School, Joanna Mancio of P.S 215, Susie Wilson of P.S 197, Leah Chase of Beach Channel High School; Jackie Stillwell, PS 183 cafeteria; Sylvia Foster, PS 106 cafeteria; Bonita Holmes, PS 106 safety agent; Sunildatt Harilal, PS 106 safety agent; Geraldine Jones, cafeteria, Ocean Bay Community Center; Gene Pinkard, NYCHA Caretaker Ocean Bay Community Center.

Agency Support: Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation; Charlene D. Beverly NYHA; Beverly Campbell, Partners in Reading teacher; Cynthia Cummings, Community Parents, Inc.; Kathleen Degyansky, Queens Public Library; Denean Ferguson, 101 Precinct Community Council; Bernell Frank, Ocean Bay Houses Residents Association; David R. Hooks, SUNY; Keith Gaffney, Rockaway Ropes; Jonathon Gaska, Community Board 14 district manager; Keyatta Harris, Rockaway Ropes; Saywalah Kesselly, African Center for Empowerment; B’Jai Pierce, Reading First;

Anthony Richburg, NYC Housing Authority, director Queens-Staten Island Community Operations;

Pat Simon Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation; Jimmy Stillwell, Samaritan Hands Center;

Willie Traynham, NYC Housing Authority Resident Support Services; Maria Alverez-Davis, Community Parents Inc.

At-Large Support: Alan Berger, Brooklyn Free School; Howard Russo, CPA; Ernest Brown, Family of Fifty; Jeanette Brown, Family of Fifty; Renee Brown, Ocean Bay; Susan Locke, publisher Wave Publishing Company;

Angelique Malino-Reid, Events That Party; Michelle A. Ronda, sociology instructor, Marymount Manhattan College; Howard Schwach, managing editor, Wave Publishing Company.

Family and Friends Support: Jamilia Carter; Natalia Lens; Ann Derisma; Georgia Miller; Robert Westley; Sam Wouyea.

In addition, more than 40 members of the Action Center’s staff were honored.

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