Statement by The Child Center of NY on the Passing of Ocean Bay Cornerstone Community Center Director Deborah Hoyle, Ph.D.

We have suffered a tremendous loss in the passing of Deborah Hoyle, Ph.D., Director of our Ocean Bay Cornerstone Community Center in the Rockaways. Deborah Hoyle held the heart of the community in everything she did for and with The Child Center. Her consistent and caring commitment to the staff and the children of the Rockaways reflected the Child Center mission to see the cycles of access and equity realized in every program and every child we were fortunate enough to serve. She had a beautiful habit of saying “thank you” to the people we served — thanking them for coming and providing us the opportunity to serve them. That is how she saw things.

The children of the community were always her priority. She wanted to be sure the Center was taken care of and at the center of what was important on the Rock. Deborah believed her role was about the community and making sure they know we are there for them — focusing on the challenges they experienced and doing everything she could to help people through them.

We relied on her leadership and legacy in the Far Rockaway community to inform, empower, and engage all our Child Center services. Her presence will be felt in so many aspects of the center, from the hydroponics garden that she made come to life and gave so many children the opportunity to see their garden grow; in the community garden that promises to be a vital part of the neighborhood; in the food banks she organized to feed the community at a time of widespread food insecurity; and in the children who believe in their own potential because she believed in them. She believed education was the key to success and made sure every child who came to the center had access to high-quality academic supports so they could thrive in school and beyond. And she made sure that programming at the center was engaging and met the needs of the community.

Deborah never stopped, not during the pandemic, and not even because of her own health challenges. Her dedication to the job was well known, and her persistence to support the Far Rockaway neighborhood relentless. She was essential to the team and will be deeply missed. Today we serve in memory of her passion and vision for Far Rockaway as a community — and a family. I had the privilege of speaking with Deborah’s family and members of the Ocean Bay community, and they vowed to carry on her important work.

We send our heartfelt condolences to her wonderful family. We hope you can take some measure of comfort in knowing how many lives she touched, and that her legacy will live on in the community she loved so much.

Traci Donnelly
Chief Executive Officer

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