Community Board 2 Member
Long Island City
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Sheila Lewandowski has been involved with Community Board 2 for the past three years. Lewandowski started going to meetings because she wanted to foster a stronger relationship with other residents and business owners in the community. During the initial years of her involvement, the board asked her to sit on subcommittees.
Eventually Lewandowski was invited to become a member of the board. She enjoys connecting with other people in her community. “A lot of small voices can make a big difference,” Lewandowski said. She believes it is “important for people to understand the resources available to them,” and what people they can contact if something needs to be addressed. Her mission is to assist people in resolving their municipal issues.
PERSONAL: Lewandowski and Ryan Rogers have been married since 2007, and they are proud parents of a 13-year-old stray dog they rescued on the Jackie Robinson Parkway. She attended Bennington College and SUNY Baruch, and helped start a theater.
JOB: Lewandowski is the founder and executive director of The Chocolate Factory, a theater in Long Island City. She described it as “a small non-profit entity that focuses on community outreach development.” They provide artists an opportunity to nurture and explore their craft. “It is another way for me to reach out to my community,” she said.
PROUDEST MOMENT: “When I could push the elevator button!” she exclaimed gleefully. She was turning 5 years-old. “I was twirling in my party dress, then I reached up, and I touched it!” Lewandowski said that moment represented overcoming a barrier between children and adults. It gave her a sense of maturity.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Some people might not see it as a bad thing,” she lamented. She began to explain in greater depth, “I need to create personal boundaries…making time for myself.” She said she becomes so involved helping other people that she neglects her own needs.
FAVORITE MEMORY: “I’m going to be really cheesy and say it…exchanging vows with my husband,” Lewandowski said. She and her husband had been dating for 12 years before they married. “The vows were very real,” Lewandowski said. “You don’t just say them from the book.”
INSPIRATION: “A combination of my parents and public school teachers,” she said without hesitation. As a child of the 1960s, she appreciated their “positive influence in a time of turmoil and transition…they were remarkable.” Their dedication has a profound influence on her.