The RIRA Column

January 9, 2016

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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Neighbors, family and friends – a very Happy and Healthy New Year to each and every one of you! It seems that Jack Frost has finally returned from his vacation, and winter has arrived. As the cold winter sun begins to settle over the City and we begin the long march towards spring, your Common Council has been hard at work. Here’s what been happening over the holiday season and in the works for 2016.

RIRA Polling Initiative

The RIRA polling initiative begins in earnest this month, and now is your chance as a RIRA member and Island resident to directly influence the Common Council’s agenda for the months to come and in the coming new term. Through online polling, traditional and social media, Town Hall meetings with members of the Common Council, and building representative lobby meet and greets, RIRA will, over the next six months, be creating an action for next term’s Common Council which is shaped directly by your opinion. Stay tuned about how you can participate, and read more about the initiative in this edition of The WIRE. (See page 1)

RIRA Youth Initiative

Steered by Common Council member Adib Monsour, RIRA will be continuing to coordinate events this year that bring middle-schoolers and their parents together for fun and learning. Last month’s cultural event at PS/IS 217 brought together over 70 teens and their parents, as Chef Ciro Casella taught his secrets of making pizza with fresh and healthy ingredients. Be on the lookout in 2016 for even more Youth Initiative events, including a planned skateboarding workshop! Want to help out or have some ideas for future events of the RIRA Youth Initiative? Drop the Common Council a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Composting Initiative Partnership

Through the efforts of Common Council member Anthony Longo, the Roosevelt Island Composting Initiative has partnered with RIRA, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC) and iDig2Learn to bring local composting to Roosevelt Island. In cooperation with the NYC Compost Project and BIG-Reuse, Roosevelt Island Residents can now bring their organic kitchen scraps to the Roosevelt Island Saturday Markets under the Helix to be composted and used to rebuild Island and City gardens, all while reducing landfill waste by 20% to 30%. In just the first six weeks of accepting organic materials, the Roosevelt Island Composting Initiative has collected over 1,320 lbs. of organic materials over the span of 280 drop offs. Have you contributed your kitchen scraps to the movement? Join your fellow neighbors, RIRA, the PS/IS 217 PTA, -iDig2Learn, RIGC, the RI Girl Scouts and 45 other Island residents every Saturday as we look to reduce, reuse and recycle. And keep your eye out as the initiative grows! Programs in the works include urban organic farm to table gardening at the Senior Center and educational workshops on organic and healthy eating. Want to find out more about how you can join the movement? Send the Common Council an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pay It Forward Committee

Chaired by RIRA Secretary Susan Pirard, the goal of the Pay It Forward (PIF) Committee is to identify our Island neighbors, friends, and residents who are in need of food, coats, and other basic items, and to organize collections and initiatives to provide these items to those in our community who are most in need. Just this past December, the PIF Committee partnered with religious groups on the Island, doctors practicing on the Island, anonymous donors and Family Table Food Ministries to acquire items and deliver food boxes and coats to over 72 families. This coming year, the PIF Committee will look in earnest to spread the word of its initiative in the hopes that challenged families and individuals will come forward for help or will be referred by a friend or neighbor, as well as in the hope that more Island neighbors will come out to help and donate. Interested in volunteering or in making a donation? Reach out at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hands-Only CPR

Thanks to Amalgamated Bank’s donation of $1,000, RIRA’s goal of having nearly every family and household on the Island trained in Hands-Only CPR continues, with over 818 Island residents and households having been trained. New, larger CPR training mannequins have been also ordered and more training events organized. Are you yet to be trained? Keep your eye out on the Island for banners and flyers noticing when and where the next round of training will occur. You might just save a life!

Gifted & Talented Forum

Last December, over 50 families attended the education forum on the Gifted and Talented Program at Roosevelt Island’s PS 217 and had their questions about testing, admission and Gifted and Talented curriculum answered directly by New York City Department of Education Enrollment Director Daniel Hildreth, Principal Beckman of PS/IS 217, the G&T curriculum educators at PS/IS 217 and the PS/IS 217 PTA. Many thanks go out to the Roosevelt Island Committee and Youth and Education Committee of Manhattan Community Board 8, Principal Beckman PS/IS 217 and the PTA of PS/IS 217 for helping pull together the event. Do you have an educational forum you would like to see happen on the Island? Email your suggestions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or reach out directly to Jeff Escobar as President of RIRA and Chair of the Roosevelt Island Committee of Community Board 8 at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On Roosevelt Island We…

As Chair of the Social, Culture and Education Committee, Chair Lynne Shinozaki is hard at work with Island Girl Scouts, schools and other children’s groups to bring community awareness and service to the Island through the “On Roosevelt Island We … “ public service campaign. Through the use of Island authored pictures and artwork to be posted throughout our community, Island residents will be reminded what it means to be a good neighbor and to take care of the community. Many thanks to our partners at RIOC in assisting the printing and displaying of the pictures around the Island to encourage Islanders to be good neighbors and to highlight the children’s artwork. Want to participate? Reach out at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Call for RIRA Treasurer

Do you have an Accounting degree or are you a certified CPA? Do you have experience supporting non-profit organizations? Looking to get more involved in your community or joining the RIRA Common Council? Now is your chance. By becoming the organization’s Treasurer, not only will you have an opportunity to support RIRA, but you will automatically become a voting member and advocate for your community. Interested? Drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions or concerns. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Tags: RIRA Column

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