Youth Task Force Takes Shape
A group of young people from Rockaway have come together to make what they see as needed changes on the peninsula. They are the Rockaway Youth Task Force and they intend to prove that the youth of Rockaway care about the community in which they live.
The group is the brainchild of Milan Taylor, a 21-year-old political science and dispute resolution student at John Jay College. Taylor is also the young-est member of Community Board 14.
She said, “I saw there wasn’t proper representation of youth in civic organizations … and I wanted to create a way for them to have a voice in the community.”
Taylor explained it as being “more of a social movement. [Proving] that it’s cool to be involved in the community.” To that end, at their February 10 meeting, after listing a number of goals they would like to meet, the members of the task force chose as their first project to clean up the lot next to the Arverne Library and begin a community garden. While the list of goals also included finding a way to stop the violence in Rockaway and opening a recreation center for young people, the garden was determined to be the more doable project in the short term.
The Task Force is made up of two groups. Group A is composed of college, high school and middle school students. Their goal is to create mentorships between college students and their younger peers. Group B will include adults and college students. “The college students will be the liaisons between the younger students and the adults. We also hope to form mentorships with the adults,” said Taylor.
The college students will also report to the adults about discussions that take place in Group A.
Pesach Osina, of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Rockaway, is the first adult to join the group. He acts as a mentoring liaison helping us bridge the gap with adults,” said Taylor.
“Right now we are taking baby steps. We first want to bridge the gap between college students and adults.” She continued, “The challenge is with committed adults to work with young people, because a lot of the time young people feel they aren’t taken seriously.”
Taylor has used the social networks of Facebook (type in youth enrichment services) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/ YESqueens), as well as email
(firstname.lastname@example.org), to get the word out about the group.
The first meeting for adults and college students will be February 24 at 6 p.m.
Meetings for high school and middle school students are the second and fourth
Thursdays of each month at 6 p.m. All meetings are at the Arverne Library, located at 312 Beach 54 Street.
The library’s telephone number is 718-634-4784.