2013-03-08 / Community

Classes Resume at YANA

With new walls and floors, YANA resumes classes at its Rockaway Park headquarters. Photo by Laura Deckelman. With new walls and floors, YANA resumes classes at its Rockaway Park headquarters. Photo by Laura Deckelman. YANA (You Are Never Alone), a worker training center in Rockaway Park, at Beach 113th and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, opened its doors a week before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on October 29th, 2012.

Sal Lopizzo, founder of YANA and a Far Rockaway native, said that the purpose of the training program is to help local young people create careers instead of simply finding jobs. YANA offers certification courses to help construction workers obtain contracting licenses to qualify them to get big city contracts, and enable young mothers to generate income by turning their homes into state-licensed day care centers.

During the hurricane, YANA’s building sustained several feet of flooding and was severely damaged. Immediately after the hurricane, YANA, with the support of Occupy Sandy volunteers and solar power provided by Greenpeace, became a hub of community relief, distributing donations, serving hot meals, providing free medical care and dispatching volunteers throughout the Rockaways.

At the same time, Occupy Sandy volunteers began work to restore the damaged YANA building. After completing mold remediation, the volunteers laid down a new concrete floor, then rebuilt the walls.

Reconstruction work has now come far enough along that the organization is able to once again host a schedule of training classes as noted above.

The group’s next goal is to make the building self-energy efficient via active and passive solar paneling, a “green” roof, with plants of top, which will provide food, a water catchment system, and the use of re-purposed building material. The use of solar panels and the “green” roof will provide heat in the cold months and coolness in the summer months. Solar panels will obtain and store energy from the sun. Should energy storage run out as a result of a series of non-sunny days, a backup system will take over.

YANA is still in the process of raising funds to install the solar panels. Currently $5,000 is needed to attain their goal.

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