The mission of the Rockaway Youth Task Force is to empower youth in our local communities through civic engagement & volunteer opportunities.
The mission of the Rockaway Youth Task Force is to empower youth in our local communities through civic engagement and volunteer opportunities. We seek to spark social change in the Rockaways through youth leadership, and provide opportunities for teenagers and young adults to become productive citizens of the Rockaways.
At 21 years old, Milan Taylor founded the Rockaway Youth Task Force in 2011. Then, the youngest member of Community Board 14, he was concerned with the lack of youth representation in civic affairs. Believing it the utmost importance to include youth voices in community development, he created RYTF, a youth-led, community-based, volunteer organization.
Since 2011, RYTF has engaged hundreds of local Rockaway youth between the ages of 15—25. RYTF’s mission is cradled with our humble beginnings—to empower local youth through civic engagement and volunteer opportunities. We build on our Four Principles: civic engagement, volunteer work, mentoring, and personal advancement.
Since our founding, we’ve brought measurable to change to the Rockaway Peninsula. We rallied for an end to stop-and-frisk. We’ve conducted voter registration drives, and hosted communal Thanksgiving dinners and space heater drives. Our Superstorm Sandy efforts were especially notable, considering that we organized over 200 volunteers to hand deliver goods and supplies to disabled and elderly residents stranded in high-rises.
Our most impressive work surrounds our community garden, a once vacant lot that has been transformed into a half-acre of usable, self-sustainable space for local residents to enjoy. Our community garden is a major component of our newly developed Food Justice program.
RYTF has been fortunate to see measurable success in a relatively short period of time. Our unique approach to youth recruitment, training, and development is an emblem of our belief in the spirit and drive of young people. As we continue to expand as an organization, we are thankful to all those who supported us along the way.
Chief Executive Officer
At 21 years old, Milan founded the Rockaway Youth Task Force in 2011. Appointed to Community Board 14 in 2010, Milan founded RYTF after recognizing a dire lack of youth participation in the political and civic process. With this realization, Milan created RYTF as an advocacy organization composed entirely of young people in Rockaway.
In 2012, Milan’s mettle was tested during Superstorm Sandy. Along with his small team, he mobilized an extensive relief effort consisting of a national array of volunteers. He coordinated the exhaustive delivery of supplies, food, and other necessary resources to the elderly and homebound who were stranded in high-rise apartments throughout Rockaway. CBS News and BET Honors recognized his efforts.
Chief Operations Officer
From Brooklyn, Silaka Cox joined RYTF in 2011 and has played an instrumental role in the organization ever since.
Cox’s approach to community engagement is holistic. She currently serves as the youngest sitting member of Community Board 14. Previously, she served on the Citywide Steering Committee for PBNYC, the New York Communities Rising Rockaway East Planning Committee, the OEM’s Community Emergency Response Team.
Accepted to the esteemed New York University in 2013, Cox majors in Social and Cultural Analysis. She’s on track to graduate with B.A./M.P.A in 2018. A practicing minimalist, Cox believes in the power of Target.
Chief Innovation Officer
Born and raised in Far Rockaway, Arielle Newton graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and International Affairs in 2013. The first in her family to attend and graduate college, Arielle is a strong believer in racial and gender justice. A Black feminist blogger, Arielle believes in the power of the pen when it comes to socio-political advancement for women of color.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Jazmine Outlaw moved to Far Rockaway in October 2012. She joined RYTF in December of that year, and currently serves on the Community Emergency Response Team. She is currently a freshman at City Tech studying Graphic Arts and Advertising. Jazmine enjoys graphic design, listening to music, and shopping at her favorite store, Walmart. She also plays the trumpet and watches cartoons late at night.
Senior Field Organizer
Khaleel was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Rockaway in December 2005. He has lived in Rockaway for nearly 10 years and has been an active member of RYTF since 2011. Khaleel attends Queens College where he majors in Political and Computer Sciences. He received the NYC Council Merit Scholar due to his significant prowess in local civic engagement.