Tag Archives: Robin Hood Foundation

Op-ed: Support programs that boost our economy

| oped@queenscourier.com


One by one, each student marched his way up to the front of the room to receive certificates of completion, each with a sense of accomplishment and hopefulness. One by one, each member of the cohort recounting stories of the past couple of weeks that gave them a second chance.

It was the workforce development initiative of the Queens Botanical Garden and LaGuardia Community College that made these second chances possible.

Unlike some traditional programs that lack strong ties to industry, workforce development programs often accelerate job creation because workers acquire precisely the kind of skills businesses need to expand. Today, examples like those of the Green Jobs Training Program include sustainable landscape design and maintenance, waste management, and other similar green practices.

More recently, the Robin Hood Foundation provided funding to create a workforce development program run by AAFE and One Flushing to recruit and assist those ready to enter the workforce. It is a welcome partnership that will enhance the growth and success of our local Flushing community.

Beyond that New York needs to implement creative ways to retain the talent we have. This year, I sponsored legislation that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo making New York a national leader in workforce development and job training. I have also introduced legislation supported by Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer that would continue our economic growth and create quality jobs by investing in our engineering workforce. The financial aid program for engineering students who commit to staying in the city for five years after graduation is a smart investment to bolster an innovation economy and prepare our workforce for the 21st century.

This year’s budget also focused on workforce development and new industries in every community. Cuomo pushed for programs including innovative “Hot Spot” incubators, the Venture Capital Fund, and job linkage initiatives that push our state’s ideas, create new businesses, and train our workforce for jobs of tomorrow.

Queens is one of the most diverse counties in the entire country and it needs a government that can embrace and harness that to power its economic engine. We need to keep creating ways to support programs that boost our economy. The task for our next administration will be to help more of the city’s workforce develop the skills to obtain jobs—and more importantly careers—in sectors that are growing and expanding.

That is what I am determined to champion to do in next year’s legislative session—to be a champion of minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, provide resources to assist local businesses flourish, and forge better partnerships between private and public entities. There has never been a better time to support these pathways and programs that ultimately help our most critical economic resource–our workforce.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic represents New York’s 25th District, which spans the northeast portion of Queens, including the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, and Douglaston.



New album benefits Sandy victims

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



In the midst of a storm, he kept his head up high. Most importantly, he turned the bad into something good for everyone and gave them a reason to smile.

Musician Walker Hornung—who has been writing and performing over the years with The Brotherhood of the Grape, Xtatik, Q-South and other bands—came up with a terrific idea after Superstorm Sandy devastated the east coast last October. Seeing the destruction around him drove him to create a compilation album, Greetings from South Queens—Songs That Survived SuperStorm Sandy, which has already sold more than 2,000 copies.

“Everybody was helping each other, doing things,” said the Howard Beach native who now lives in Island Park. “The only thing I know how to do is music. I’m not a plumber; it was my only logical approach.” As a result, he used the skills he has to lend a hand.

Hornung was personally affected by the hurricane. “We had no lights for six weeks,” he noted. “There was no power where I lived. I had to move my family out.”

But he stayed, despite the conditions. “Somebody had to stay behind,” he lamented. Without any protection for the home, Hornung felt he needed to look after the material things for which he was responsible. “It was me, my guitar and my dog.”

That’s when the idea to cut an album came to him, and he reached out to the bands that normally take part in Rockaway Beach’s annual Rockstock and Barrels Surf Festival to see if they were interested in contributing songs.

They were.

Hornung—who contributed three tracks to the album—received hundreds of submissions from different bands that wished to take part in the project. However, to keep the connection to the hurricane, he set a few rules.

“First of all, you had to be from one of the affected areas,” Hornung explained. “Some bands lost all of their equipment.” So he kept the focus on artists that were really impacted by Sandy, and he gathered 17 talented acts.

The songs that appear on the album had been previously recorded but never used before, so they are all new.

“These are really good bands with really good songs,” Hornung concluded.

The record was produced by Frank Persico (a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Ozone Park) and Into the Whip Records paid for the first 1,000 copies of the record.

Each band on the album was given a number of CDs to sell and the freedom to choose the organization they wanted to donate the proceeds to. Some of the charities that received revenue from sales are the Robin Hood Foundation, whose Robin Hood Relief Fund is targeted at areas hard hit by Sandy, and Rockaway W.I.S.H., headquartered in one of the communities most devastated by the storm.

As for the Rockstock and Barrels Surf Festival, although things may have changed because of the storm, Hornung’s spirits are high. “A lot of these places are gone,” he explained. “[However], we want to keep pushing forward.” He said the festival would be back this year.

The digital version of Greetings from South Queens can be purchased for $9.99 on iTunes. If you prefer a hard copy, contact Hornung via email at walker@brotherhoodofthegrape or buy it from cdbaby.com.



New program to help with post-Sandy mold damage

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Though FEMA assistance can help homeowners deal with some of the devastating effects of Sandy, there is no direct federal funding for mold removal.

A new program aims to solve that issue for around 2,000 homes in hard-hit areas.

Using private money raised to help storm victims, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, in partnership with the American Red Cross and Robin Hood Foundation, is sponsoring a $15 million mold remediation program, Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced.

The mold treatment will be performed free of charge by private contractors and nonprofit organizations.

“Through our first-of-its-kind Rapid Repairs program, we have helped more than 15,000 families return to their homes. But mold remains a challenge that many residents are confronting,” said Bloomberg.

“More than three months after Hurricane Sandy, while recovery and rebuilding is ongoing, families are beginning to discover that mold is a serious concern for their families,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. “For most, mold remediation was too costly or when done, not addressed properly and now with summer season approaching, mold can have a very dangerous effect on our health and environment.”

The Mayor’s Fund is also sponsoring free training sessions on mold remediation, where thousands of free mold supply will be distributed.

Below is a list of the first series of these mold treatment sessions. The locations will continue to be updated as they are scheduled. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov or by calling 311.

January 31, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Shorefront Y (Spanish Only)
3300 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11235

February 2, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Gerritsen Beach Fire Department
43 Seba Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11229

February 4, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Gerritsen Beach Fire Department
43 Seba Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11229

February 4, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
P.S. 195
131 Irwin Street
Brooklyn, NY 11235

February 5, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Gospel Assembly Church
2828 Neptune Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224

February 5, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Bayswater Jewish Center
2355 Healy Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

February 23, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
CYO-MIV Community Center at Mount Loretto
6541 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10309

February 9, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
St. Clare’s Parish
137-35 Brookville Boulevard
Queens, NY 11422

February 13, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
P.S. 277
2529 Gerritsen Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11229

February 13, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island
3001 West 37th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11224

February 13, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Bayswater Jewish Center
2355 Healy Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

February 16, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
St. Clare’s Parish
137-35 Brookville Boulevard
Queens, NY 11422

February 16, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Oasis Church
539 Greeley Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10306