NY1 VIDEO: The Road to City Hall’s Errol Louis visited City Councilman Daniel Dromm’s 25th city council district in Queens.
The Jackson Heights Art Club is struggling to stay afloat, while two other similar art clubs in Queens have closed in the last two years, according to Rob Lesser, the club’s membership coordinator.
The Alliance of Queens Artists and the Flushing Art League of Queens both shut down over financial concerns, Lesser said.
“The money has come down to a dribble lately,” Lesser said of the organization, which has been providing the area with art classes and events for the last 64 years.
The club pays for its art teachers and the rent at St. Mark’s Church in Jackson Heights through a combination of membership dues, class fees and some City Council funding. But it’s bringing in less than half the money it had two years ago, Lesser said.
“I’m a big supporter of the Jackson Heights Art Club,” said Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who devoted $3,500 of his discretionary “member item” funds to the club last year, and did so again this year.
At present, the club has 87 members, according to Geraldine Benfante, a volunteer at the club who also oversees membership. One of the biggest difficulties facing the club is that many of its members are getting older.
“I have members that don’t even attend the club,” she said.
This coming fall, the club will try to offer an art class nearly every day of the week, including mixed media classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; a watercolor evening course on Monday; and an oil and acrylic course on Tuesday.
Members of the club pay a $75 annual fee, which entitles them to pay less for classes. Any adult or child, regardless of membership status, can take classes at the club, Lesser said.
Lesser invited former members of the Alliance of Queens Artists and Flushing Art League of Queens to consider joining the Jackson Heights Art Club.
Yvonne Sumner, who has been a member of the club since 1992, hoped the club would weather this storm as it’s weathered others. Sumner, now in her 70s, moved to Jackson Heights from England in 1963.
“We’d really like to keep them going as long as we can,” she said.
To find out more about the club, call Benfante at (718) 446-4709 or visit jacksonheightsartclub.org.
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and David Shin, president of Sunnyside nonprofit Healthy Family & Aging Service Inc., recognized exceptional community volunteers at an awards ceremony held last Thursday at the Elmhurst/Jackson Heights Senior Center.
Those honored ranged from a 75-year-old woman caring for her 100-year-old father to volunteers at the senior center to a band made up of students from Stuyvesant High School that raises money for charity. About 150 seniors at the Elmhurst/Jackson Heights Senior Center, at 75-01 Broadway, watched the ceremony, which included music performances from the New York Evangelic Opera Co.
Dromm said David Shin was responsible for organizing the event. He said he appreciated the ceremony as awards often go to elected officials who earn many such honors.
“Mr. Shin tries to recognize people who are not always recognized,” Dromm said.
While she did not attend the ceremony, the first person to be singled out was 75-year-old Young Choon Lee, who is taking care of her 100-year-old father.
Shin’s organization is focused on encouraging strong family relationships.
“He’s a deep believer in the family structure,” Dromm said.
The next group to be honored were volunteers at the senior center. Lucy Garcia, the center’s director, said the center has been working with Shin’s group for 15 years and that they always recognize the volunteers, especially the senior volunteers.
“A lot of them feel useful by doing different types of work at the senior centers,” Garcia said.
Shin and Dromm also gave awards to C3 and Friends, a band made up of Stuyvesant students who play a variety of music from traditional Korean tunes to Korean pop music, or K-pop, to American songs.
Andrew Kwang, 16, the band’s bass player, said the band has held concerts to raise money for charitable causes. Most recently they raised $5,000 in relief for victims of the tornadoes that hit the Midwest in April 2011.
Andrew said he was surprised at being honored because he did not think the band was able to raise all that much, but realized later every bit helps.
“It’s one step closer to providing relief,” Andrew said.
Others recognized by the ceremony included volunteers Cynthia Caceres and Ruci Bansal, who were recommended by the Regal Heights Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, at 70-05 35th Ave. in Jackson Heights. Han-Chang Kim and Eun Kim, were honored for arranging this year’s award ceremony. Finally, 13 other student volunteers received certificates for their work for Habitat for Humanity, Christian humanitarian organization World Vision and other organizations.
On Thursday, August 11, Councilman Daniel Dromm honored a few volunteers who have made positive contributions to help families in their communities.
“We are here today to recognize people that are not in the spotlight as the volunteers,” Dromm said in a speech at the annual award ceremony at the Elmhurst Senior Center. “I want to say ‘thanks’ for their wonderful work for the community,”
Dromm, chairman of the council’s Immigration Committee, said that his district is the most diverse in the city. One of his platforms is making a connection with the communities that are often discriminated against, such as the LGBT population and immigrants.
That is one reason why Dromm made it his duty to attend the award ceremony, held by Healthy Family and Aging Services, which has made a difference in families’ lives, especially immigrant families, since 1992.
Each year, the organization recognizes individuals who are role models within their communities. At this year’s award ceremony, the organization honored model volunteers who have freely contributed their time to improve the lives of the elderly at the Elmhurst Senior Center.
David Shin, a Korean immigrant and Healthy Family and Aging Services president, has crossed paths with Dromm before when he taught Shin’s son at P.S. 199 in Sunnyside before being elected.
“I want to say thank you to Mr. Shin,” said Dromm. “He does a great job in putting community together.”
Fun Kim, a 15-year-old 9th grader who sporadically works for Kim, was one volunteer who was recognized.
“I want to help him, it makes me feel good,” he said.
A Korean band was also honored. This year the band C3 raised $5,000 for the tornado relief effort in the Midwest.
The members of C3 first met during a summer youth program.
“It is nice to get recognition for the help we did for others,” said Eric Han, 17.
As the ceremony carried on, the honorees were not the only ones who were happy.
“It is not easy to deal with people of a different background,” said Judith Moreno, a 70-year-old Columbian immigrant. “Here it feels easier to get along with each other.”
City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Community Board 3 District Manager Giovanna Reid called upon area residents last week to participate in a survey aimed at fixing every pothole and picking up every piece of trash on every street corner in the area.
“We’re going to go out and find out, ‘What does the community need?’” Dromm said.
At a press conference outside of CB 3’s headquarters at 82-11 37th Ave. Sept. 15, Dromm and Reid asked for 200 volunteers to help conduct a widespread survey of all streets CB 3 covers, which includes Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and North Corona — or the area bordered by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway East, Roosevelt Avenue and the Grand Central Parkway.
The survey will be prepared by CB 3, and residents participating will look for a number of issues such as graffiti, trash cans that are overflowing or missing, cracks in the sidewalks, potholes and noise problems.
“Who better knows what the problems are than the people who live on the actual blocks?” Reid said.
Dromm said they want volunteers to come from all parts of the community, not just one area.
“We want to have all areas represented if possible,” he said.
The survey will be conducted Sept. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Reid said the board did a similar survey about eight years ago, which was successful but on a smaller scale.
“[Residents said,] ‘You didn’t reach my block,’” Reid said.
She said problems and complaints will be submitted to the proper agencies for repair.
Dromm said some problems, such as potholes and trash, can be handled immediately and that his office and CB 3 has a good relationship with the city Sanitation Department. Larger issues may require capital projects.
“This is not a one-day thing,” Reid said. “This is something we will work on until all problems are resolved.”
Dromm said this would be a positive way for residents to improve the community.
“This is a unique opportunity for people to get involved,” he said.
Those who wish to participate in the survey should contact CB 3 at 718-458-2707 or e-mail email@example.com.
Petition Signers Say: It’s Time for a City Council Member Who Gets Results
QUEENS – Daniel Dromm filed over 2,700 petitions to place him on the Democratic ballot for City Council in District 25, where he is challenging incumbent Helen Sears’ brazen bid to give herself a third term over the objections of New York City voters.
The 2,714 signatures Dromm filed are three times the 900 needed to qualify for the ballot, demonstrating the strength of his grassroots campaign operation. More than 100 volunteers spent five weeks knocking on roughly 15,000 doors throughout the 25th District to gather these petitions.
In another sign that Dromm’s challenge is resonating with voters, a large portion of his signatures came from neighborhoods like Elmhurst and LeFrak City that incumbent Sears has largely ignored during her time on the City Council. LeFrak alone contributed one out of every five signatures Dromm gathered.
“So many of the voters I met during this process were just thankful to have a City Council candidate actually show up at their door and ask what matters to them,” Dromm said of his petitioning efforts. “People have been waiting eight years for our current Council Member to address major issues like hospital closings, traffic congestion, school overcrowding and quality of life in our neighborhoods. She hasn’t done that – but I have the experience and energy to get it done.”
Daniel Dromm has been a public school teacher in Queens for over 25 years, and a community organizer working to advance civil rights and opportunities for diverse communities in the 25th Council District. He has been endorsed by Assemblyman José Peralta, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, Councilman Eric Gioia, the United Federation of Teachers, the Working Families Party, the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, the Stonewall Democrats, and many other New York City organizations and community leaders.
You can help by signing up for a volunteer shift this week. No prior experience necessary.
Petitioning (week nights starting Tuesday 6/9)
5pm-9pm Campaign Office 77-15 37th Ave Jackson Heights
With a strong grassroots operation that is made up of real people talking to their neighbors, we can be victorious in the September 15th primary. Join us and be a part of our coalition for change.
For more information, drop by our campaign office (77-15 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets join together and make history!
Daniel Dromm for City Council ’09
Daniel Dromm, Democrat for City Council
Assemblyman Jose Peralta
City Council Member Julissa Ferreras
City Council Member Eric Gioia
Danny’s campaign needs your help today! June 9th kicks off New York City’s petition period, and we need volunteers to help collect signatures to get Danny on the ballot. Danny is running to bring new leadership to the City Council and to improve our local schools, expand health care access, create jobs, and increase green space in our community. But first we need to make sure he gets on the ballot. Sign up today to become a petition volunteer, and help us take the first step to victory. ..
Petition Training Session
Saturday, June 6th 10am
77-15 37th Avenue
Alternate Petition Training Session
Monday, June 8th 7pm
77-15 37th Avenue
Petitioning begins on Tuesday, June 9th
Flexible morning and/or evening hours are available for anyone with any time to contribute.
Stop by our campaign office at 77-15 37th Avenue to sign up for a petition shift now. Or email us at email@example.com or call (718) 457-2928.
Make history. Join Daniel Dromm and the movement for change in Queens today.
People For Daniel Dromm is happy to report another successful fundraising period. We have built a grassroots organization that brings hundreds of people into the political process. Our campaign for the City Council 25th District is centered around bringing progressive changes to our community. Over 75% of the contributions to our campaign are from Queens residents. The majority of those contributions are from people who live in the council district giving small donations.
Our success requires additional resources. Grassroots volunteers will play a major role in the ground efforts to generate turnout and to educate voters about our campaign. Get involved today. To join us, click here.
photo credit: creativecommons/wikispace