‘Rockaway Creates’ A Gala

 ‘Rockaway Creates’ A Gala

By Dan Guarino

Rockaway Creates conjured up a night of “fanfare, food, festivities and fun” on Saturday, January 20, with a celebration spotlighting and bringing together 11 other non-profits who make the Rockaways a better place. Their well-attended Winter Wonderment Gala took place at the Jade event space on Beach 129th Street.

Among those honored were Rockaway’s Graybeards, who work to fundraise and help friends and neighbors, local growers Edgemere Farm,  FRANC (Far Rockaway Arverne Nonprofit Coalition), whose member organizations join together in serving young people and conducting work on the peninsula, the community service and veteran’s group YANA/Veterans in Command and ARF-ARF, the Allied Rockaway Foundation for Animal Recreation and Fitness, which promotes animal welfare and helps maintain Rockaway’s dog parks.

Also celebrated were QEDC (Queens Economic Development Corporation) which supports start-ups and small businesses growth, Rockaway’s Kiwanis Club chapter, which raises funds for local causes, and Materials For The Arts which makes free creative supplies available to many Rockaway organizations. All table and other decorations, creative headdresses, and items many attendees fashioned for the party were made possible by Materials For The Arts.

Honored as well were Rockaway WISH, which works to raise money and create events focused on causes affecting women and children, RISE (Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity), providing civic engagement and youth development programs in social and environmental causes, and Gotham Whale, which studies, educates about and advocates for the whales and marine mammals now so prevalent in Rockaway and New York.

Rockaway Creates founders and board members, Chairperson Dana Humphrey, Co-Chair Samantha Cintron, Treasurer Galit Tsadik and Secretary Shane Kulman shared hosting duties as each honoree was presented with colorful certificates and hand-decorated trophies as those present were invited to address the gathering. “I just hope everybody keeps doing these kinds of events,” commented ARF-ARF’s Keren McEneaney, which spotlight “all that people do here.”

Scott Valentine, president of the expanding Kiwanis of the Rockaways, noted his group is hosting an open-house meet and greet at the new community center on Beach 44th Street and Edgemere Avenue from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, February 3.

For the rest of the evening more than 60 gala guests enjoyed music by DJ Hey Leonex, dinner buffet provided by Pizza D’amore, drinks, lively dancing, a fun photo booth, a silent auction with prizes from local businesses and artists, and a variety of flavorful chocolate ravioli desserts produced by Rockaway Creates member Stephanie Berwick’s Pastazerts company. There was also a running photo slide show highlighting the group’s activities over the past year.

Rockaway Creates, formed in late 2022, promotes and connects entrepreneurs, individuals and small businesses, develops and showcases local arts and artists, and both builds and brings in new business supporting enterprises throughout the Rockaways and Broad Channel. They held their first general meeting in January of last year at Jamesons Pub, just a few doors down from their gala event, and hold monthly gatherings and other activities at different local businesses to highlight and support them.

A goal of the Winter Wonderment celebration, Humphrey noted, was “about getting these great people together to get to know each other and to work together down the road.”

As one guest commented, “For a first-time outing, for it to go so well, they’re off to a flying start!”

Photos by Dan Guarino and Katie McFadden.

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