Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Newly Formed Roosevelt Island Center Of Community Development Seeks To Develop High Impact Local Leaders For Youth, Disabled And English Language Learning Initiatives

If there is one thing Roosevelt Island is not lacking, it's local residents forming community organizations to advocate on behalf of issues and to establish programs their members find of interest.

We have the:
  • Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA), 
  • Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC), 
  • Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA), 
  • Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA), 
  • Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP), 
  • Roosevelt Island Parents' Network (RIPN), 
  • Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA
  • Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS), 
  • Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC), 
  • Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) and
  • Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO)
to name just a few.

We can add one more Roosevelt Island organization to the list.

The Roosevelt Island Center of Community Development (RICCD) is the new kid on the block seeking to establish itself. According to the RICCD web site:
Empowering leaders for the flourishing of the Island

Formed by its adverse history and now facing some of its most significant changes to date, the Roosevelt Island community and the people who call it home enter an important season which is sure to shape the future of this city island. It is within this context that the Roosevelt Island Center of Community Development exists to equip and empower high capacity, high character leaders for the physical, social, and cultural flourishing of Roosevelt Island.
RICCD plans to focus on projects including:
  • English language courses for immigrants,
  • Living with disability and
  • Youth leadership development.
The RICCD development philosophy includes:
  • We are committed to holistic community development, one that equitably and thoughtfully integrates care and concern for the, physical, emotional, and social conditions of our neighborhood.
  • We have chosen to work exclusively on Roosevelt Island and within the 10044 geographical footprint. We live here, raise our families here, and will remain here to promote the value, dignity and worth of the island.
  • We have chosen to spend our time focused on leadership (finding and developing leaders) as much as developing programs. We believe high impact leaders will naturally lead to high impact programs.
  • We affirm that community development happens best when organizations step outside the shadow of top-down approaches and into to the homes, schools, and third spaces (restaurants, libraries, parks cafes, etc.) of Roosevelt island. To that end, we strive to account for the uniqueness of Roosevelt Island.
  • We believe that community development begins and ends with the empowerment of the families and individuals of which the 10044 footprint consists.
  • We are not merely about ideas, initiatives, plans or projects: we are first and foremost about people.
Roosevelt Island residents Dan Sadlier and Kim Massey are among the leaders of the RICCD Board and held a brainstorming session with concerned residents last October 22 to introduce RICCD and learn about community issues of concern.

After the brainstorming session, Mr. Sadlier reported about the meeting:
Here are some things we heard that we will take into serious consideration as we engage our first few program leaders.
  • Collaboration between the different parts of the island and the different entities on the island is key and is not often happening in the most effective and efficient ways.
  • Youth recreation is great, but we need to move from solely offering youth recreation to "youth development" as well. Higher quality programs are needed that are led by high capacity and high character leaders.
  • We need to engage the young professionals on the island who do not feel like they have the opportunity to invest in the island and its neighbors.
Mr. Sadlier is also the Pastor of the Hope Roosevelt Island Church. During the October 22 brainstorming session, Mr. Sadlier was asked what involvement the Hope Roosevelt Island Church would have in RICCD programs and activities. He replied that there would be none other than his involvement and that of his wife as well.

Mr. Sadlier also expressed a desire for RICCD to work with established Roosevelt Island organizations and did not wish to be seen as attempting to replace any existing group.

More information about RICCD is available at their web site.