Programs

Leadership Course

The 8-week Leadership Course is designed to give prospective members a complete and thorough understanding of the Rockaway community. The Leadership Course explores various phenomena that impact communities of color such as racism and poverty. Through our interactive course, prospective members are better prepared for the duties and responsibilities that come with full membership.

Junior Membership

Upon successful completion of the 8-week Leadership Course, participants are invited to become Junior members of the Rockaway Youth Task Force. Junior Membership is composed of three structured rotations:

Youth Engagement, Stronger Schools, and Food Justice. Youth Engagement: Through this rotation, members are taught how to conduct various forms of outreach – street outreach and door-to-door canvassing – in order to learn how to engage their peers in member-led campaigns and events. Junior Members participate in community events, attend public meetings, and engage with civic and public officials active on the Rockaway Peninsula. In time, Junior Members are expected become actively involved in civic processes. The Youth Engagement component is the most fundamental in that it gives members direct knowledge of local government and civic organizations.

Stronger Schools: Junior Members identify issues and concerns within their schools and universities. Members then ideate a campaign strategy intended to correct perceived shortcomings.

Food Justice: Junior Members are directly instrumental in maintaining sustainable energy solutions and creating healthy food options for Rockaway residents.

RYTF’s Food Justice began as a response to the widespread damage to the Rockaway peninsula after Superstorm Sandy, resulting in the shuttering of many small stores and supermarkets. Lack of healthy food options in the wake of this destruction – particularly for lower income families and individuals in the community – prompted RYTF members to develop sustainable solutions for access to locally grown, low-cost fresh produce that could be easily available to residents.

Through this program, young people not only learn the importance and benefits of healthy eating and living, but are also taught how to grow and sell organic produce at the RYTF Community Garden.

Junior Members complete each of these sections in four month intervals, going through each course at least once. With this structure, Junior Membership lasts one to two years. Junior Members are then invited to advance to Senior Membership.

Senior Membership

As Senior Members, participants put into practice all of the skills and experience they gained during Junior Membership. Senior Members focus on campaign identification, development, and implementation. Senior Members learn how to effectively rally public support for campaign initiatives, while cultivating partnerships with community stakeholders in order to win their campaigns. Senior Membership lasts for one to two years.

Our Senior Members are currently working on campaigns such as Far Rock the Vote, and improved transit campaign to “Extend the Q52” and extend free shuttle service for the soon to come Rockaway Ferry, and a “Lower the Age” campaign that would allow 16 and 17 year olds to sit on their local Precinct Community Council.

Campaigns

Far Rock the Vote

Over the next 12 months, members will aim to register over 1000 residents living in the 11692 zip code (Arverne) for their #FarRocktheVote campaign. Through this campaign, RYTF members will raise awareness and increase education on voter eligibility, local representation, and community issues. The final goal of this campaign will be to increase voter turnout in 11692 by 30% in the 2016 general election.

Lower the Age

The Lower the Age campaign is a push for the New York Police Department to make an official policy change that would allow 16 and 17 year olds to sit on their local Precinct Councils. We see it as necessary for young people to have a voice on policies such as broken windows and community policing, especially minority youth, since they are the ones disproportionately affected by these policies.

Improved Transit

Extend the Q52 and Free Rockaway Ferry Shuttle Bus

Extending the buses from their current terminus at Beach 67th Street to the east into Far Rockaway would:

  1. Provide faster service and a one-seat ride to over 61,000 Rockaway residents who currently only have local service on the Q22
  2. Give 75% of Rockaway residents direct bus access to education and job opportunities in central Queens and beyond
  3. Would provide 85% of low- and moderate-income Rockaway residents with faster service and access to job opportunities throughout New York City compared to the only 20% currently served by the Q52

You can sign the Q52 petition here.

You can sign Rockaway Ferry Shuttle Bus petition here.

We would like to thank the Pratt Center for Community Development for their research and data points regarding the extension of the Q52.