By Alicia Venter
The Ozone Park Resident Block Association (RBA) selected a new chairperson to grow their mission in supporting residents of southeast Queens in whatever quality of life issues they may face.
Brina Ciaramella, 42, is a third generation South Queens resident, currently living in Howard Beach. She has practiced residential real estate law for approximately 10 years, predominately in southeast Queens.
As the new chairperson, her responsibilities will include attending events and speaking on behalf of the organization and its mission.
“The responsibilities of the chairperson are like being an overall glue that’s there for everything… I would like to hear community members’ concerns,” Ciaramella said.
While the block association is already doing a terrific job, she says, she would love to see growth in effectively and immediately meeting community members’ when they come forward with concerns.
“Reaching out to electeds and agencies — problem solving in a way that’s personalized,” she said. Providing a bridge between community members and the government, she said, is how the block association can best serve the Ozone Park residents.
“[It’s] a nice, local group that is a sounding board and a platform for community members to come and grieve their issues or just have a good time,” Ciaramella explained.
A major issue she will drive the RBA to continue tackling will be illegal commercial parking.
“We have a lot of people living in these houses because the cost of living has become so expensive. Whether people are sharing rent or sharing a mortgage, we are no longer living in a society where it’s easy for two people to take on these types of payments,” she explained. “There are more cars and people living in the home and that congests the streets. When you add on top of that illegal parking, it causes a quality of life issue… that’s on the forefront of what the block association is working on.”
Ciaramella describes southeast Queens as giving a small town feeling in the biggest city in the world. Its diversity provides the opportunity to celebrate a variety of cultures and ideologies that allow a comradery unlike any other. She takes the place of previous Ozone Park RBA Chairperson Jeanne Shannon.
First getting involved in community service around seven years ago with her children’s PTA, Ciaramella is involved in the Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park, the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic and the Ozone Park Howard Beach Woodhaven Lions Club. The latter of these she has become increasingly involved in, as the organization works to provide services to primarily the senior population of South Queens.
“Our primary focus is the senior population but we really do it all,” Ciaramella said. “Wherever there’s a need to host a fundraiser, event, giveaway, food pantry or things of that nature, [we get involved].
She serves because, simply, it’s just in her.
“I just feel like I have something to give. I don’t have a ton of time. I don’t have a ton of money,” she said. “There have been times where I have shied away a little bit more, but I’m always pulled back into it naturally. It’s just within me to want to serve.”
The Ozone Park RBA manages a Facebook page with over 25,000 members, providing newsworthy information directly to residents.