2017-06-02 / Community

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA): A History

By Taisha Khalil

The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) was founded by Jeanne DuPont in 2005 with the hopes of bringing more environmental awareness to the Rockaway community. Twelve years later, RWA is still going strong.

All of the staff members work closely with the Rockaway community to hold events, teach classes, but to mainly develop all of the abandoned waterfronts in the Rockaways. Most of DuPont’s involvement with RWA has been to protect the public waterfront access with the youth of Rockaway.

On the RWA website, its missions for the organization are listed:

“To inspire members of the local community to become active stewards of the waterfront through enriching educational programs, to revitalize the health and well-being of the Rockaway community through arts, environmental conservation and outdoor recreation, [and] to strengthen the community’s role as advocates through community planning efforts to make a vibrant and sustainable coastal community.”

RWA holds several events throughout the year to support its mission; beach cleanups, surf, swimming and kayaking classes and Earth Day celebrations.

Upcoming events include The Great Fish Count on Saturday, June 3, 12 p.m. at Bayswater Park, and the 2017 Rockaway Bike Parade on Saturday, June 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. starts at the RWA’s RISE building at 58-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd.

Another one of RWA’s popular programs is the Rockaway Farm Share. For this program, members of the community bring their shopping bags and pick up vegetables at the RISE Center that have been delivered from a farm. Volunteers distribute vegetables and lead cooking demonstrations. Members of the Rockaway Farm Share program applaud themselves for how fresh and organic the vegetables are.

RWA attracts many young people. Program Assistant, Daniel Borrero joined RWA when he was a sophomore in high school in 2010. While working with RWA he learned how to surf, kayak and he took part in a lot of the community’s projects. Now he is a senior at New York University studying more about the environment and urban planning, but he continues to give back to the Rockaway community and RWA.

To get involved with the RWA, you only have to follow four simple steps. The first step is to join their mailing list to receive updates on future events, meetings and workshops. The second step is to volunteer on community outreach or stewardship. Then, encourage friends, co-workers and family members to help at a shoreline cleanup or event to bring vibrancy to the community. And lastly, make a financial contribution to support RWA’s programs, classes and events. After these steps are concluded, you are considered a member of RWA.

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