3-8-23 Senator Comrie Community Update

Community Update: March 8, 2023

Community Update: March 8, 2023    

Dear Neighbors,
  With Women’s HerStory Month off to a tremendous start, I want to highlight International Women’s Day and recognize the work that has been done to advance gender equality in our community by some phenomenal women. I am proud to have so many women in leadership both in my office and the community that provide insight and guidance to me and my team. 

Women have been trailblazers in every aspect of life, breaking down barriers and creating new paths for themselves and for future generations. In science, we have Marie Curie, who discovered radium and polonium and became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. In politics, we have Kamala Harris, who broke barriers as the first woman, first Black woman, and first South Asian woman to be elected Vice President of the United States. In the arts, we have Frida Kahlo, who created bold and powerful self-portraits that have become icons of feminist art. In business, we have Oprah Winfrey, who built a media empire and became one of the most successful and influential women in the world.

These women, and countless others, have inspired us with their courage, determination, and resilience. They have shown us that anything is possible when we believe in ourselves and work hard to achieve our goals. Unfortunately, there are far too many girls around the world who are denied this basic right. In many countries, girls are forced to drop out of school early, or are prevented from attending altogether due to poverty, cultural barriers, or other factors. We must work diligently to dismantle barriers and advance issues including supporting women of color in government, promoting healthier birth outcomes, advancing women’s economic empowerment, and many other things. I mentioned last week that 2023’s Women’s History month theme is Celebrating Women Who Tell Their Stories, check out some of these fascinating women and their stories below. 
As always, if you need assistance, please contact my office at (718) 765-6359 or email info@leroycomrie.org. You can receive more frequent updates on my legislative work and happenings in Senate District 14 by signing up for the weekly e-newsletter by clicking here. 

Yours in Service,
Leroy Comrie 
New York State Senator
District 14 | Queens    

Table of Contents   Section I: Seen In SD 14
Section II: Legislative Update
Section III: Special Announcements
Section IV: Seniors, Veterans & Older Adults Resources 
Section V: Job & Career Training Opportunities
Section VI: Youth & Family Opportunities
Section VII: Young Adults Resources
Section VIII: Small Business Resources
Section IX: New York State Grants
Section X: Community Notices & Events  

I. Seen in  SD 14      
Women of Southeast Queens
  Today we celebrate International Women’s Day! I am proud to serve in a community where women continue to be the backbone, trailblazers and visionaries. While we look at the impact of women around the world, I would like to honor just a few of the dynamic and impactful women in our Southeast Queens community.  I am lifting up women who are champtions in their own right, Dianna Rose, Aneesha Jacko, Davelle Williams, Bobbie Cole & Ayana Cole-Price, MD and Camesha Grant, Ph.D.  These women exemplify the inspiration of First Lady Michelle Obama “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you,” Mrs. Obama wrote in Becoming. “You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

Bobbie Cole & Ayana Cole-Price, MD, this dynamic mother-daughter duo is a great example of creating a legacy of service and purpose. Bobbie is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Empower My Hood Inc.; a graduate of Adelphi University; mentor to Southeast Queens students that wish to pursue higher education and has 30+ years in the financial services industry.  Ayana Cole-Price, MD has a specialty is Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical education; featured in Forbes magazine in 2021; serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Empower My Hood, Inc. In the words of Dr. Cole-Price “To my mentees and future docs: You belong, keep pushing”.

Aneesha Jacko, DOE Principal at PS 35Q; Author of Audacity to Speak; Licensed Minister at Allen AME Cathedral; President & owner of The Results Are In, LLC.; graduate of Hampton University (undergraduate), Touro College (master’s degree in Special Education and Early Childhood Education), Long Island University – Brooklyn Campus (specializing in literacy) and Long Island University C.W. Post (specializing in educational leadership); collaborates with leaders across the globe with Off School Grounds, Inc.; esteemed member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Jack & Jill of America Inc.  Aneesha serves our community with audacity, compassion and vision.

Davelle Williams, Assistant Deputy Warden (ADW) with the NYC Department of Correction;  currently serves as the, Executive Officer of the Office of the Commissioner; prior to joining the DOC in 2013 ADW Williams served eight and a half years at the New York City Police Department (NYPD) School Safety Division conducting crime prevention audits, crime analysis and gang intelligence assessments; ADW Williams is currently pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice at Monroe College and is certified in dignitary protection and holds certification in Methods of Instruction with the State of New York. Davelle serves members of our community during their hardest moments with dignity, professionalism and wisdom.

Dianna Rose is the CEO and founder of Jars of Delight, a zero-waste catering company that delivers their delicious and nutritious meals in reusable jars. Dianna initially attended Hofstra University with no intention of pursuing a career in food. However, after taking a class in Community Health she soon realized how food was really connected to health and wellness, not to mention our community’s sustainability as well. She later ended up starting her business after her friend, who is a professional MMA fighter, reposted the meals she had prepared for him on his Instagram story. His followers soon gained interest in her meals and immediately began to ask where they could purchase the same meal in a jar. Two months later Dianna received her food handlers certificate and began working in a commercial kitchen. Now, four years later, Dianna’s business has gained so much momentum that it is contracted with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to prepare emergency meals for the city. 

Camesha Grant, PhD, currently serves as the Vice President of Community Impact and Investment for Food Bank For New York City; member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. – Queens Chapter; member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; served more than 17 years with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS); earned her Ph.D. in Social Work from Fordham University; previously served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University in the Graduate School of Social Service.  Dr. Grant persists in finding innovative ways of supporting and giving a voice to our community in our most vulnerable moments.      

JCP “Can You Feel the Love?” – Community Resource Fair
  This past weekend I had a chance to stop by and incredible event hosted by Jamaica Community Partnership at First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica. Nursing students from York College/CUNY were on hand to assist by conducting blood pressure screenings and volunteering to hand out items. Special thanks to JCP for allowing my office to co-sponsor this great community event and to all the incredible partnering organizations who continue to support our community in a major way.    

II. Legislative Updates      
Meeting Advocates on Budget Issues
  Each year as the budget discussions ensue, I try to meet with as many groups and individuals as possible to best inform my team and I about the needs of New Yorkers across the state. From environmental justice advocates from the Bronx, to Charter School advocates from Queens, I am a listening ear that works alongside my colleagues to ensure that every day people have a voice in how our state allocates public dollars. If you have a particular concern, please feel free to contact my office at info@leroycomrie.org.    

NYS Senate Fall 2023 Legislative Fellowship 
The New York State Senate is accepting applications for the Fall 2023 Legislative Fellowship. The program runs from September to June. Since 1965, the New York State Senate Legislative Fellowship has given graduate and post-graduate students direct access to state government and the legislative process. Selection for a Senate fellowship is competitive. Strong personal initiative and principles are essential for success. Applications from a wide range of interests and disciplines are welcomed and encouraged. Many fellows are today employees of the Senate, the Assembly, the Executive Chamber, or state agencies. Almost all go on to shape public policy in some capacity. Legislative Fellows are assigned to a Senate office. Duties vary and depend on the needs of the Senator. Legislative Fellows generally perform in-depth policy research, meet with stakeholders, and attend Legislative Session. Applicants may also request placement in Majority Counsel/Program Services, Majority Press Office, or the Senate Finance Committee. These memorial fellowships are awarded to applicants who demonstrate the unique qualifications and abilities required of each position. Applicants must have completed graduate studies at an accredited university prior to the beginning of the fellowship. Fellows work full-time and are expected to function as staff to their assigned Senator. Fellows receive a stipend in addition to employee benefits. For more information visit: https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/articles/2021/new-york-senate-graduate-fellowships   III.

Special Announcements        
Empower My Hood (EMH) Scholarships
EMH is proud to announce that they will be awarding eight (8) scholarships:
·         Two $500.00 scholarships to 8th grade graduating students entering High School in Fall 2023
·         Six $1,000.00 scholarships to 12th grade graduating seniors’ entering College in Fall 2023.

Applicants should visit https://www.emhinc.org/scholarships-funding to download and review the 2023 scholarship application. Deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 5, 2023 @ 6PM ET.                      

Temporary Water Bill Amnesty 
  As New York City recovers from the pandemic, DEP is offering this limited one-time amnesty with up to 100% interest forgiveness for all delinquent customers. If you owe water and wastewater charges, you may be eligible for this amnesty offer. To confirm your eligibility, see your available options and receive amnesty immediately, use the Amnesty Look Up Tool. If your remaining delinquent balance is greater than $500, you will be required to enter into a new payment agreement with DEP upon request. Don’t miss your chance to take advantage of this one-time amnesty program before it ends. For questions or concerns, please see our FAQ’s.  

Section IV: Seniors, Veterans & Older Adults Resources     
SEQ Veterans Advisory Committee Nursing Home Visit
 While our Valentine’s for Vets event had to be rescheduled due to a COVID scare, I am happy to report that our Veterans Advisory Committee along with my staff was able to visit the St. Albans Veterans Nursing home and provide clothing, shoes, toiletries and gift bags to our infirmed veterans. We owe them so much for their sacrifices, and I am thankful for the work of our SEQ VAC.    

Opportunity for U.S. Veterans and People With Disabilities to Apply for a Mobile Food Vendor Citywide Supervisory License
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (Health Department) is releasing mobile food vendor citywide supervisory licenses applications for U.S. veterans and people with disabilities. A citywide supervisory license allows you to apply for one full-term (year-round) citywide mobile food vending permit.
You can apply to be on this specific waiting list for a citywide supervisory license if you have a current, non-expired mobile food vendor license from the Health Department and are a U.S. veteran or have a disability. This citywide supervisory license waiting list will have a total of 300 positions, in this order: 100 for U.S. veterans with disabilities 100 for people (non-U.S. veterans) with disabilities 100 for U.S. veterans without disabilities You can only be on one supervisory license waiting list. If you recently joined another supervisory license waiting list and now want to be on this one because you are a U.S. veteran or have a disability, you will be removed from the other supervisory license waiting list you are currently on.
The mobile food vendor citywide supervisory license waiting list application form and instructions on how to fill out the application can be found at nyc.gov/health/mobilefood. You can also call 311 and ask for “mobile food” to have the application mailed to you.
Waiting list applications must be sent by mail and postmarked no later than April 17, 2023.
For more information, visit nyc.gov/health and search for mobile food vendors      

V. Jobs & Career Training Opportunities      

VI. Youth & Family Opportunities   Free online citizenship classes for green card holders preparing for the naturalization interview are on offer from the New-York Historical Society. Note that this class is only open to green care holders.

Register or learn more at the Citizenship Project.
Upcoming dates: February 6 – March 20, Mondays and Wednesdays 6 – 7 pm ET February 7 – March 21, Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 – 9 pm ET February 11 – March 18, Saturdays 10 am – 12 pm ET February 28 – April 6, Tuesdays and Thursdays 6 – 7 pm  ET, in Spanish          

Paid Summer Work Experience for Youth
The City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) application is now open. This program provides paid summer work experience for young adults ages 14-24. NYCHA residents at Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) developments will receive reserved slots with select providers via the MAP to $uccess program. Residents at select developments are eligible for the SYEP NYCHA CareerFIRST program. NYCHA residents aged 14-24 living outside the target developments will receive priority in the citywide SYEP application. Apply at https://application.nycsyep.com/ by March 31!  

VII. Young Adult Resources        
SUNY Application Fee Waivers for 60% of NYS High School Students
SUNY has automatically waived application fees for every single student at the 500 high schools statewide with the highest percentages of students receiving free lunch. Additionally, any student at any high school in the state who receives free lunch will also have their fees waived.

More than 60% of all 12th graders in New York are eligible to apply to up to seven SUNY campuses at no cost to themselves or their families. Waivers are available for: Students from designated high schools Students facing economic hardship Students eligible for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Military-connected students Students graduating with an AA or AS from SUNY or CUNY Learn more here.    
We are thrilled to announce that as part of the Mayor’s Blueprint for Economic Recovery, SBS has launched a historic $75 million loan fund to help NYC’s small businesses rebuild, grow, hire, and thrive.   The NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund delivers flexible, low fixed-interest-rate capital, including:    No minimum credit score required    Loans up to $250,000 at 4% fixed interest rate   Free business support from trusted, local, mission-driven lenders  Easy to apply    No application fees   Open to businesses at all stages – from startups to growing to rebuilding   Businesses can learn more about the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund and resources available to help apply at SBSOpportunityFund.nyc or by calling 888-SBS-4NYC.  
Please help us spread the word in a variety of languages! Our toolkit includes messaging for social media, emails/newsletters, flyers, talking points, and branded digital graphics and guidelines.     VIII. Small Business Resources   Con Edison Virtual Energy Efficiency Opportunities Forum

  Date | Time: Thursday, Mar 9, 2023 | 07:00 PM  See Zoom Link below:
Save with Rebates and Energy Saving Incentives: See how much you could save this year by making your home more energy efficient Save by switching to LEDs Save up to $135 on Smart thermostats Save $1,000 off Weatherization Heat pumps for renters and homeowners Get discounts and earn incentives for smart charging your electric vehicle Savings for Small-Medium Business Customers: Join the tens of thousands of local business owners saving energy and money Make your energy more energy efficient Convert to clean heating and cooling Get thousands off food service equipment Get thousands off freezers Save on building and water heating Speakers Steven Pak, Program Manager of Residential Energy Efficiency Watson Millison, Deputy Program Manager of the Small and Medium Business Energy Efficiency Program
Con Edison has Been in the Energy Business for 200 Years…..Hear what their experts advise to save Energy and your $$$$$

Join Zoom Meeting


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Passcode: 086232
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         NYC Small Businesses Recovery
The NYC Small Business Resource Network is a unique private/public partnership that provides our local businesses with the free, personalized guidance they need right now to survive the pandemic. If you have a small business, you can sign up for this network today.

Once you fill out the brief intake form, you will be matched with a business support specialist. Through this program, all five borough Chambers of Commerce have specialists offering one-on-one support to businesses in their boroughs.
The program is funded by a $2.8 million grant from the New York City-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation and supported by in-kind contributions from other partners, this collaboration, led by the Partnership for New York City, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and all five Chambers of Commerce, leverages the city’s corporate, financial and professional services sectors, as well as universities, philanthropies and expert volunteers to help small business owners gain access to a range of programs and services.  

IX. New York State Grants  
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the application portal for the first-in-the-nation Seed Funding Grant Program, created as part of the FY2023 budget, is now open. This program provides flexible grants to support early stage, micro and small businesses in a still recovering New York State economy. This program will ensure that small businesses that opened shortly before or during the COVID-19 pandemic will have the funds to continue to operate and grow.  If you have any questions about the applications or if you qualify, contact Greater Jamaica Development’s Business Services Group (BSG).   Make An Appointment with BSG  

X. Community Notices & Events  
Applications are due on Tuesday, March 14, 2023   The No Kid Hungry New York School Nutrition Opportunity will provide funding to school districts to maximize child nutrition programs and ensure children and families have access to healthy meals at school during the school year. No Kid Hungry knows that school districts play an essential role in ensuring students receive nutritious meals to learn, grow, and thrive to reach their full potential. These flexible grants will allow school districts to respond to growing needs and emerging opportunities to provide meals and resources to kids and families.

For additional information, please join No Kid Hungry New York’s School Nutrition Grant Opportunity Webinar on February 2nd at 1 pm EST  and/or reach out to Liz Lucas at elucas@strength.org with any program-related questions.             Stay Tuned, Coming Soon….   District Community Office
113-43 Farmers Boulevard, St. Albans NY 11412
718-765-6359  (fx) 718-454-0186

Albany Office
Legislative Office Building Room 612 Albany, NY 11247
(ph) 518-455-2701 (fx) 518-455-2816 

Email: Comrie@nysenate.gov