YANA , which stands for “You Are Never Alone,” is a community resource center located in Rockaway Park, NY that opened in October 2012 - two weeks before Superstorm Sandy devastated the region. After Sandy, with the help of Greenpeace, Occupy Sandy, and countless volunteers, we reemerged as a relief hub - supplying the community with hot meals, supplies, medical and legal assistance, and volunteers to help with the clean up efforts throughout the peninsula. Almost two years after the storm we are still a strong pillar of the community.
Our mission is to help job-seekers develop their employability, to bring employment opportunities to the community with an emphasis on sustainable technologies, and to engage Rockaway in resident-led community improvement initiatives that are sustainable in all aspects of life.
We believe that with Global Warming this emphasis on sustainability and the environment is incredibly important for everyone - particularly for our Rockaway neighbors who are so vulnerable to rising seas and increasing storm activity.
After a floor-to-ceiling rebuilding in the wake of Sandy, we reopened in 2013 to provide:
* Career Skill Workshops: Past pilot workshops have included DCA contractor’s licensing, solar panel installation, green job practices and technologies (Building Performance Institute certifications), commercial driver’s licensing (CDLs), and childcare trainings.
* Educational Workshops: We have held youth job readiness and college prep programs, which included assistance with acquiring a driving learner’s permit.
* Arts Programs: We are currently offering free music lessons for community members, and host an art installation for local artists on the walls of our community center.
* Community Resources: We provide space and resources for community groups organizing for self and community empowerment – from grassroots community based organizations to church services and prayer groups. We also host the Unmet Needs Roundtable (UNR) - a biweekly meeting of key figures from organizations such as The Red Cross of America, Catholic Charities, and the Salvation Army discuss how they can address unmet needs in the community.
* Social Services: We provide Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment assistance, Healthcare and Medicaid enrollment assistance, SCO Housing Services, Job Assistance (resume building, interview workshops, job training, & job placement) in cooperation with partner organizations that work out of our space.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
To date, all of our funding has gone towards rebuilding YANA, and towards instituting the above-mentioned pilot Career & Educational programs. At the same time, we have struggled to cover the costs of our overhead. That’s where you can help!!
While we continue to open our doors six days a week, we struggle to cover our operating costs and our bills are mounting. Your support will allow us to keep our doors open and maintain our much needed presence in West Rockaway.
We are seeking funds so that we may continue to work to improve the lives of residents of the Rockaways by providing social services as well as our sustainable career training programs. Please consider donating - any little bit helps!
Moving forward, we plan to make Individualized Career Counseling (Youth & Adult) and Youth Programming our focus, with a part-time career counselor and a part-time tutor in the office each week to assist community members on a one-to-one basis.
In addition, we plan to offer the following core workshops, as funding allows:
* Adult GED (TASC) Preparatory Workshops
* Youth College Preparatory Workshop
* Youth PSAT, SAT & Regents Workshops
As we establish our core curriculum and services, we hope to expand into offering the more specialized workshops we have offered as pilot programs in the past, as gauged by community interest and funding availability:
* Home Improvement Contractors Licensing
* Daycare Provider Licensing
* Sustainable “Green” Jobs Training & Certification
* Commercial & Class D Drivers License Trainings
* Computer Skill & Media Workshops
Meanwhile, we will continue to provide the healthcare and food assistance enrollment services that we already offer, and will remain available to local community based organizations for their meetings and events.
Through this multi-faceted approach, we hope to address the needs of underemployed and disadvantaged community members on several levels:
First, in partnering with local community-based organizations for their meetings and events, we engage their constituents directly. Through these partnerships, our services, and events we have been able to establish ourselves as core members of the community.
Secondly, in addressing immediate health-care and nutritional needs, we can help to alleviate some significant financial pressure and quality of life deficiencies that prevent many from focusing on employment and career development.
Finally, through general career counseling and tutoring, and through workshops and trainings that focus on specialized job skills, we can enable motivated community members to further their education and careers, thereby increasing their wages.
Unfortunately, we cannot continue this work if we cannot pay our bills. The courses we have offered in the last year are just the beginning and we are acutely aware of the need for more such programming - particularly for local youth. With your help, we will address these needs!
YANA IN THE PRESS
For more information about YANA’s work - after Hurricane Sandy and beyond - please check out the following articles:
The Guardian: Sandy's fury leaves Queens residents cold, dark and uncertain (11/06/12)
The Daily Beast: Rockaway Beach, Ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, Gets an Assist From Occupy (11/07/12)
The Atlantic: Hurricane Sandy: The Long Recovery (11/14/12)
The Wave of Long Island: Classes Resume at YANA (3/8/13)
The Forest Hills Times: Salvatore Lopizzo, Yana Services (9/10/13)
The Times Ledger: YANA center of Rockaway moves from Sandy relief (10/28/13)
The Wave of Long Island: YANA Music Night (3/14/14)
The Times Ledger: Queens Impact Awards: Rockaway Beach resident forges sense of community on peninsula (5/12/14)
You can also visit us on Facebook or at YANA's website. Thank you!!
DonationsSee top donations
- James k. Hennessy
- Lynne Sachs
- Rockaway Artists Alliance
- james brady
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