Queens DA visits Sunnyside to discuss the Trespass Affidavit Program

Sunnyside Shines organizes luncheon for Sunnyside business owners

By Yasin Akdag 

Last month, the Queens DA, local Police Department, and local business owners convened at Tangra in Sunnyside for a business luncheon event.

Organized by the Sunnyside Shines, the event featured presentations by the District Attorney of Queens County, the New York City Police Department, and AT&T.

“We’re delighted to bring together everyone to hear about the Trespass Affidavit Program and appreciate the Queens District Attorney’s office and the 108thPrecinct making presentations. We are grateful to AT&T for sponsoring this luncheon and to Tangra for hosting it”, said Dirk McCall de Palomá, Executive Director of Sunnyside Shines.

“Sunnyside Shines wants to create a more safe and welcoming community, and the lunch-in event helps in contributing to a more dynamic environment by bringing business owners together, empathizing and sharing similar values, thus enhancing the experience of the Sunnyside neighborhood,” McCall de Paloma added.

The event opened with remarks from Executive Assistant District Attorney, Theresa Shanahan, who talked about what values the Merchants Business Program brings to the Borough of Queens. 

“We’ve received a great deal of positive feedback from the merchants on the pilot programs”, she said. 

NYPD also led the event by explaining further on the purpose of the program, designed to discourage illegal and disruptive activity inside of local shops and stores.  

Mohamadyah Patwekar Executive Captain spoke on the recent crime stats in Queens and explained the crime rate has decreased by 60%. He specifically emphasized the Merchant Business Improvement Program that serves the purpose of helping fellow Queens residents who’ve been a victim or witnessed a crime. He elaborated on how the program works and ideally, when a resident experiences a crime the person should dial 911 and NYPD officers will respond and serve the individual crime offender with a trespass notice. The trespass notice serves as a conduct that provides a warning for the concerning criminal. A criminal served with a trespass notice will be held accountable for committing a second crime at that location, whilst copies of the served notices are kept at each precinct and provided to the merchant. 

AT&T also presented at the event, and their team reinforced their goal of continuing to  invest in the Sunnyside neighborhood. The company is keen to sponsor and serve local business owners with coverage for business phones and hotspots. Members of AT&T will receive benefits like member’s employee discounts, also covering for emergency purposes with FirstNet availability. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and connectivity has become the backbone of so many small businesses. We are proud to sponsor the Sunnyside business luncheon, and to work closely with small businesses to find the right connectivity solutions that can help them grow and thrive in today’s connected economy,” said Timothy Tapia, Director of External Affairs at AT&T. 

The company has invested nearly $2.7 billion in its network infrastructure in New York from 2019-2023 to connect more people to greater possibility 

Local business owners in the Sunnyside neighborhood also participated in the event. 

Among the participants were Erika Gilliard from the Sunnyside Community Services, Leon Dubov from QBK Sports, Daniel Yildirim from Chakra Café, Nelson Michell from Supreme Team Boxing, and Rapid Shrestha from Newa Chhe restaurant. 

The business owners actively participated in the meeting discussions, voicing their concerns and posing questions that sparked ideas for addressing community issues

The NYPD addressed people’s inquiries and discussed the implemented program, emphasizing their rights when witnessing a crime. 




Sunnyside Community Services wins national caregiving award

A senior center in Sunnyside received national recognition for the quality of care they provide to clients.

Sunnyside Community Services, an organization dedicated to providing support to caregivers of those who have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, was awarded a $20,000 grant through the Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Award.

The award is presented by The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Bader Philanthropies, Inc. and Family Caregiver Alliance, and is presented to three outstanding programs in the country.

SCS and their Care NYC program was recognized for its multicultural approach and services, and is the only New York City-based winner.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our accomplishments, in particular, providing support to the Latino caregiver community,” Shyvonne Noboa, division director for senior services, said.

“Our Latino caregivers are exacerbated in terms of their needs, including social support, basic healthcare and mental health needs,” she continued. “What we do is empower with education and provide that emotional support and in-home care, and it’s wonderful to be recognized for the area of expertise that we’ve been able to craft. We’ve been providing services to family caregivers in western Queens and all of Queens for over 10 years.”

Care NYC offers services to caregivers and their loved ones which include education and caregiver skills workshops, peer support groups and long term care planning.

Edward Rosado, a caregiver support specialist at SCS, said that he enjoys being able to provide necessary services to the Latino community by making resources accessible to them and engaging with them in their native language.

“When we speak in their native tongue, we develop that trust in the beginning, which can lead to them asking for other services they normally wouldn’t know how to ask for,” Rosado said.“From that moment on, we try to provide a care plan that would implement services for them to help navigate dementia.”

He added that “caring for someone that you love that suffers from this devastating disease is not an easy thing, and so we provide the services to keep them intact.”
Anna Romero, a resident of Brownsville, cares for her 71-year-old husband whose cognitive function is declining.

She has participated in SCS’ programs for seven years, and described the organization’s assistance as “instrumental” during her husband’s journey with dementia.

“Their expertise and support system is incredible, because there’s so much knowledge and experience with the roundtable talks and the sense of community they provide,” Romero said.

“It helps me remember that I’m not going through this alone. SCS’ care is more individualized, more heartfelt than other places I’ve dealt with,” she continued. “We developed several relationships through the support group that have continued, and it’s very helpful to just be able to talk to someone who’s going through the same thing as you.”

In 2021 alone, the SCS staff provided over 2,000 caregivers with support services, and performed over 3,000 check-in calls.

The awarded funds will be used to further support and expand upon the organization’s programming.

“A lot of the time, the funding that this program gets is really tight and restricted to particular areas,” Noboa said. “This grant gives the program and the team an opportunity to get really creative, to develop and strengthen their professional skills to create opportunities for caregivers and the team in a way that we couldn’t before.”

Rosado said that the most rewarding part of his job is hearing the feedback from clients and knowing how much the work he does makes a positive difference in someone’s life.

“We’re in this work to help people. We’re not looking to pat ourselves on the back or put ourselves on a pedestal,” he said. “These clients, these caregivers are so appreciative that somebody knows that they’re alive, or that they need assistance. So what I get is not in the pocket, I get it in the heart when I hear ‘Thank you, you saved my life. God bless you.’ During this part of history, I can actually say I’m part of an organization that helped mankind out… How many people get to say that?”

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