Rockaway Youth Task Force

The mission of the Rockaway Youth Task Force is to empower youth in our local communities through civic engagement & volunteer opportunities.

Our Mission

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. Through our extensive community service projects, our members gain a holistic understanding necessary for professional success. Our members are training to become community organizers, lawyers, business owners, doctors, and public servants. We work together to ensure that we conduct ourselves in the appropriate manner to achieve our end goals.

Our History

Milan Taylor founded the Rockaway Youth Task Force in 2011.  Then 21 years old, he was the youngest member of Community Board 14.  Concerned with the lack of youth representation in civic affairs, he wanted to create a way for youth to have a voice in the community.  Today, the Rockaway Youth Task Force is a community-based volunteer membership organization comprised of 50 youth and young adults ages 13-25.  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 to provide opportunities for teenagers and young adults to become productive citizens of the Rockaways. To become a member, youth and young adults must live on the Rockaway peninsula, and undergo an 8- week youth leadership-training course. Once a member, they must attend weekly committee meetings and assigned community meetings and help facilitate RYTF events. Our staff members who work in collaboration with our members manage the organization. Once the 8-week course is completed, members can take part in different advocacy campaigns on a cycle bases. Over the past two years, RYTF members have identified issues important to them and the community and organized a number of successful positive events for youth in Rockaway.  We organized voter registration drives, youth town hall meetings, Farmers Markets and neighborhood beautification efforts.  After Sandy, we organized contributions of food and supplies and delivered them door-to-door to disabled and senior residents (see below).  We also organized a space heater drive, and a community Thanksgiving meal at Nordeck Apartments.  Our members participate in marches, including the March to End the Madness, the Trayvon Martin Silent March and the March to End Stop and Frisk.  We have also rallied with our local library against library closings in Queens for the last two years. RYTF is an active member of the Far Rockaway-Arverne Nonprofit Coalition and has built partnerships with various community organizations both local and citywide. Both President Milan Taylor and Vice President Silaka Cox act as appointed members of Community Board 14, with Taylor serving as co-chair to the board’s Youth Services Committee. When Hurricane Sandy hit the Rockaways in October 2012, RYTF members responded by distributing food and supplies to residents of the surrounding community. Our members organized the supplies at the Nordeck Community Center and managed it as a hub for donations and volunteers. After the storm, we received attention from local media outlets, including the Daily News, NY1, and the Amsterdam News for our efforts to respond, and our ability to mobilize aid through social media and received over $35,000 in on-line donations through Go Fund Me. Our actions in response to the storm gave our organization more local visibility and national recognition.  Our relief efforts were featured on CBS National News and our President was a Do Something Award Semi-Finalist, recognized by a proclamation from the City Council of New York, and was honored on the nationally televised BET Honors broadcast in February.  We are advising and/or partnering with Pratt Center, the Pratt Institute, Grow NYC, CUNY Graduate Center, Citizens Committee and New York CARES, other local CBO’s and schools, and have been invited to speak about our experiences nationally. At the same time, more youth are interested in becoming a part of RYTF.  The need for our voices to be heard, especially as our community rebuilds, is greater than ever.

Our Team

Milan Taylor

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.

Silaka Cox

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.

Arielle Newton

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.

Jazmine Outlaw

Member Coordinator

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.

Celine Anderson

Director of Communications

Born and raised in Far Rockaway, Celine Anderson is currently seeking her BA in Journalism and International Studies. Celine is an animal lover and a strong supporter of Animal Rights. She enjoys cooking and believes there is nothing headphones and a good playlist can’t fix.

Khaleel Anderson

Civic Engagement Coordinator

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.

Our Alliances

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