Community Column: The Roosevelt Island Parents Network

Written by Eva Bosbach. Posted in Volume 37, Issue 10 - February 4, 2017

If you are raising a family on Roosevelt Island, you may want to join the Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network (RIPN). We are a social network and community organization that serves over 600 Island parents and primary caregivers, keeping them connected online, via a discussion forum, and through various family-oriented events and activities.

Eva Bosbach
Eva Bosbach, Coordinator
RI Parents’ Network
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Created in the summer of 2012, the network’s three main areas of activity include an online information-exchange platform, advocacy for families and their quality of life on the Island, as well as events and activities for children, parents, and caregivers. All our activities are 100% volunteer-based and free of charge.

What does the RINP do throughout the year? It all depends on our members and their ideas and interests. Let’s take 2016 as an example.

I would like to acknowledge and highlight specific contributions of some of our active members. The large portfolio of our activities and events is a team effort, and none of them would be possible without the dedication, kindness, and community spirit of numerous parent volunteers.

So here is a long list of thank-you’s from the bottom of my heart.

Getting Creative

Thanks to member moms Cecilia, Natalia, and Neha, we met monthly for Crafts with Kids workshops that included a Bee Mine Valentine, a Black History Month craft and a Snowflakes and Holiday Cards. On multiple occasions, thanks to Karine, Kristi, and others, the children created extra cards for our Island seniors. We hope we can maintain and deepen this important dialog between the children and seniors on Roosevelt Island in the future.

For our Tram’s 40th Anniversary, children decorated paper Trams, which were displayed in the shop windows on Main Street. On Roosevelt Island Day, we partnered with the RI Explorers for a fun “On RI We Take First Steps” craft event at Blackwell Park. Thank you to member moms Ana, Lauren, Leila, Natalia, and Neha. And, thanks to Beverly, we kicked off the summer with a RIPN visit to our local community garden where children enjoyed story time, learned about plants and composting, walked around the gardens, and had fun meeting some of the local wildlife.

Getting Outside

Thanks to Amy, Saskia, Maiko, Dawn, Lisa, Renate, and Sayuri, every week throughout 2016, moms with their children went for walks and enjoyed exercise, family yoga, dancing, chats, and playing together outside and in playrooms, during the RI Moms on the Move (RI MoM) series. An opportunity to relax, breathe mindfully, and meditate was provided by Prafulla during the outdoors RIPN Relaxation Group meetings for women. And during the RI Cherry Blossom Festival, Dawn, Lynne, Saskia, and Sayuri organized our 4th annual Potluck Family Picnic. Thank you all!

When the weather was rainy or cold, parents shared their playrooms with others who do not have one in Playroom Share Projects and got together for Library Playtime. Thank you to Aleksandra, Becky, Christina, Dawn, Kaja, and Theodora for hosting.

One of the highlights of last year was our Family Apple Picking Trip to the Outhouse Orchards farm. Due to the popularity of the event, we opened a second bus so that 28 families and over 90 people in all were able to join for the fall fun with apple picking, hayrides, a pumpkin patch, and a corn maze. Thank you to Nechama and Rabbi Zalman for organizing.

Getting Informed

During three Parents for Parents workshops, we learned about the City’s Gifted & Talented program, about different options when choosing the kindergarten for your child, and about family safety (during a joint event with the Roosevelt Island Residents Association). A thank you for the Family Safety event goes to Lynne, Neha, and Sharon, and for our school choices events to Aiesha, Adele, Arshi, Chaya, Chris, Firuza, Heart, Irena, Jax, Janine, Kippi, Kristin, Magda, Megumi, Melanie, Pamela, Ryan, and especially Michal and Scot.

Getting Involved

You might have seen or read about our member parents advocating for the needs of Island families, such as the functionality of the Tram elevators, free universal pre-kindergarten programs on the Island, the closing of gaps in the fences around the Island sea walls, a free community meeting space for informal Island groups, and – most recently, after a member mom was assaulted by a man she had asked to stop smoking marijuana close to a playground (see http://tinyurl.com/Bosbachletter) – for the safety of children and for drug-free public spaces. Thank you to everyone who is stepping up for our community, especially Simina, Heart, Kaja, Susy, Frank, Cecilia, Rachel, and Talia.

We interacted with RIOC and other Island organizations, and as a member of the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) and the Southpoint Park Stakeholder Committee, we added our voice to negotiations with Cornell regarding the new campus, as well as to the future design of the southern part of our Island. Thank you to Tsoni, Fiorella, Tamara, Leila, and Irena.

Supporting Each Other

Perhaps most importantly, the RIPN continued to serve as a free information-exchange platform and a support network for all interested Island parents and caregivers. This active online forum allows the planning and coordination of all the events and activities named above, as well as concerted action and support when needed most. A big thank you to Cecilia for her continuing assistance with all membership, technical, and coordination issues.

You can support us by donating your time and skills for an activity for the children, by sponsoring one of our events, or simply by keeping the well-being of the children and families on Roosevelt Island in mind. Send an email to Cecilia (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you would like to get involved. Thanks to all members who make our network thrive as a helpful space for parents, and to everyone who makes our Island a safe and pleasant place for families.

Eva Bosbach, Coordinator

RI Parents’ Network

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