Show Some Love for Rockaway W.I.S.H. Jr. This Saturday!

 Show Some Love for Rockaway W.I.S.H. Jr. This Saturday!

By Kami-Leigh Agard

Who runs the world—girls! Seventeen-year-old local resident, Charlotte Turchi, is showing just that with founding Rockaway W.I.S.H. Jr. And this Saturday, February 10 at 1 p.m., Turchi and her peers welcome the community to their organization’s official launch, a Valentine’s Day-themed event aptly named, “With Love From WISH,” happening at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club. From a sensory hour, Valentine’s Day treats and crafts, photo ops, party time with a DJ and their first official membership meeting—W.I.S.H. Jr. wishes for the community to come out and show some love for their new group, determined to continue their inherited maternal instinct of paying it forward.

Rockaway W.I.S.H. Jr. is an offshoot of Rockaway W.I.S.H. (Women Inspired to Share and Help), a registered 501c3 non-profit organization founded by Rockaway resident, Kelli Donohue Tirado. Since 2006, W.I.S.H.’s group of born-and-bred Rockaway women have been at the forefront of local volunteer efforts, including significantly coming to the aid of residents in response to Hurricane Sandy. And since their founding, W.I.S.H. has supported scores of residents and local organizations with their philanthropic efforts, including every Mother’s Day since May 2013, surprising local mothers who have sick children, deployed in the military or who face hardships themselves with a Mother’s Day gift of flowers. Other initiatives include their WISHING event in which they recognize local residents for the selfless acts they do for their community; awarding community service scholarships to eighth graders on their way to high school; their annual Red Wish & Blue Spring Fundraiser and so much more.

For Turchi, whose mother, Tiffany Turchi, is a longtime member of W.I.S.H. and owner of Rockaway Beach Dance Company—founding W.I.S.H. Jr. was a natural progression.

“As a younger kid, I’ve always loved volunteering at W.I.S.H. events. So, I thought about starting something new to get more young people involved. Also, my mom really does inspire me. Everything she does, from being a member of W.I.S.H., owning Rockaway Beach Dance Company—my mom does so much for our community, and she taught me to do the same,” Turchi said.

Membership to W.I.S.H. Jr. is open to all middle and high school students, 13 years and up, and volunteering is open to anyone interested. According to Turchi, the group’s goal is to empower young women and create positive change in Rockaway and surrounding neighborhoods. Membership dues are $20 annually, and perks include: priority notice to volunteer at events, an opportunity to run for founding executive board positions, and a platform to present ideas to aid individuals and organizations in the community.

The first opportunity to volunteer will be at their official launch event, “With Love From WISH,” happening this Saturday, February 10, 1 p.m. at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club (533 Beach 126th Street). Volunteers need to arrive at 12 p.m. to help with set-up and clean-up throughout the event.

The event’s agenda includes: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. sensory hour, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Valentine’s Day photo ops, crafts, treats and dancing with a DJ, then at 4:15 p.m., the membership drive meeting, where attendees will learn more about W.I.S.H. Jr., joining the board, volunteering at events and more.

Turchi said that W.I.S.H Jr. already has attracted some members, including girls she has volunteered with in the past. “We already have some teens and have been heavily promoting the group on social media, and with this Saturday’s event, we hope to get a lot more people and start building the founding board,” she said.

For Rockaway W.I.S.H. founder and past president, Kelli Donohue Tirado, seeing W.I.S.H. Jr. finally coming to fruition, she’s beyond proud of Turchi.

“When I came up with the idea of W.I.S.H. in 2006, from the beginning, the mission included inspiring the youth, and trying to get the younger generation to participate and volunteer. And that’s what we’ve always strived for, and seeing Charlotte, now a young lady inspiring her peers is wonderful.

“It’s exciting to see Charlotte take this on, not just with building out the concept of W.I.S.H. Jr., but also, taking ownership is impressive. W.I.S.H. Jr. is how we are going to grow. Even my little daughter, Mia Anne, who’s volunteered at events like Mother’s Day Flowers and Treats With Santa, says she is going to be president of W.I.S.H. Jr. one day. So, I just love the idea of instilling the importance of service into the next generation. Rockaway is such a special community that really sticks together in time of need.

“When I first started W.I.S.H., in 2006, we already had the Graybeards and R.I.B.S. (Rockaway Irish Boys). When a friend and local resident, LCpl Michael Glover, USMC was killed in action in Iraq, this was an incredible loss in Rockaway. The men were all coming out to help, but what about the women? As women, we are natural caretakers. Most of us here in Rockaway work in fields like nursing and education, and on top of that are moms. I felt we needed to organize and help too, and now 18 years later, here we are still doing just that, and now with Charlotte and other young people, Rockaway W.I.S.H. Jr.—the next generation—is continuing that legacy.”

Turchi, a senior in high school with her eyes on college, hopes that before she embarks on a new chapter, someone steps up and takes the reins as president of W.I.S.H. Jr.

“With this Saturday’s event focusing on getting people to sign up to volunteer and join the board, hopefully by the spring, early summer, somebody can take over as president while I’m at college,” she said.

For more info about Rockaway W.I.S.H. Junior, including how to volunteer or join as a board member, email: or follow on Instagram at wishjunior_rbny.

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