After witnessing firsthand the tragic plight of a neighborhood beset by poverty and gang violence and frustrated with the pace of change and the number of dying youth and children, Executive Director Aria Doe left the corporate world in 2001 to found the Action Center of Far Rockaway with her husband Semeo.
Initially a self-financed organization, operated from the couple’s basement, the Action Center has grown to become a community resilience hub serving more than 66,000 families and 6,000 children; while providing dozens of local jobs in one of the nation’s most at-risk neighborhoods. During it’s 13 year history the Action Center has conducted; 19 after-school, week-end and evening youth programs, the largest health advocacy community empowerment program funded by PFIZER, been designated as one of only three New York based Federally Funded Parent Information Resource Centers implementing support and services for the 0-5 population, Seniors, and the parents, youth and adults of the low-income Rockaway community. During Superstorm Sandy the Action Center served 600 to 1000 families daily; providing nearly 1 million dollars of in-kind services, while treating over 200 residents in their clinic weekly at the height of the storm. For their efforts, they received the Mayors Helping Hands Award as well as national acclaim for the organization with coverage featured in the Huffington Post, the New York Times, The New York Daily News, ABC, CBS and NBC News, and Al Jazeera. The Action Center was also featured in Academy Award® nominee Josh Fox’s film Occupy Sandy and Greenpeace’s Postcard for Climate Change series.