2013-06-07 / Community

Sandy Groups Host Children’s Festival

Mandy Bickerstaff, founder of UWSLoves and Regional Director of Do Your Part is partnering with teen Ariel Creamer, founder of Survivor’s Silver Lining to bring a Children’s Festival to Rockaway on Saturday, June 9th from 12 – 4 p.m. at PS/MS 114.

The family-friendly festival will be jam packed with fun, games, and will provide a much needed reprieve from on-going relief efforts.

This festival is intended to support of Rockaways’ youngest Sandy survivors. All invited children are from two area schools: PS/MS 114 and Scholars’ Academy.

Organizers feel that while the majority of recovery programs in NYC are hyperfocused on adults, this project creates an opportunity for children to come first.

The event has been planned with the hope of giving families an opportunity to spend time together, reconnect and, if only briefly, forget the devastation Superstorm Sandy brought to them personally and the Rockaway community as a whole.

Creamer founded Survivor’s Silver Lining as a social media based effort which seeks to replace Sandy-affected kids’ and teens’ most prized possessions, lost in the storm.

She and her family live in Rockaway and suffered damage to their home. In part, this led Creamer to reach out to the fellow kids/teens in her community.

Together the 14-year old Creamer, recent recipient of the White House Champions of Change Award, along with fellow White House honoree Bickerstaff, designed the Festival to bring the community together and celebrate each other in what may feel like a hopeless time.

“Bringing a family festival to the Rockaways would be exactly what the families need to come back together as a community,” explains Creamer, “it will be a time to find strength in each other to keep rebuilding,”

UWSLoves was launched by Bickerstaff days after Superstorm Sandy slammed New York City shorefront communities. Bickerstaff, along with UWSLoves volunteers, prepared thousands of hot meals, sandwiches and desserts out of Bickerstaff’s Upper West Side apartment.

The organization went on to raise funds through a cookbook, compiled of recipes used to provide meals to Sandy survivors and also relief effort stories. Proceeds were used to help survivors rebuild kitchens.

Bickerstaff went on to team up with DoYour Part (DYP), a grassroots organization committed to assist in the first response, relief, and recovery of people and animals in need during times of distress. DYP strives to help those affected to regain self-sufficiency and confidence in the wake of disasters.

The festival is made possible by generous donations made through Global Giving, a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities. Any remaining funds not needed for festival production, will be used for summer program scholarships and/or childcare, which will give the children something to look forward to and allow parents to focus on rebuilding.

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