MICHAEL BENJAMIN: PRESIDENT OF BERGEN BEACH CIVIC ASSOCIATION
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Some people are just born to make their communities a better place. Bergen Beach resident Michael Benjamin is a prime example.
Benjamin, a former member of Community Board 18 and current president of the Bergen Beach Civic Association, feels like he was born to be involved in volunteer work. “It’s part of the DNA of those of us who believe that the quality of our neighborhoods and quality of our lives don’t just happen,” he said.
The hardships that come along with the territory don’t faze him at all; he is well aware of the conflicts that may appear with decision-making regarding communities.
“The hardships are the taxes of volunteerism,” said Benjamin. “You’re never going to get a consensus where everyone agrees. Anyone who leads an organization has to realize that there will be a diversity of opinion, which is a good thing and you have to do what you perceive to be the right thing, and take the actions that you believe to be the best interest of your community.”
Benjamin is also a member of the 63rd Precinct Community Council, a group whose goal is to maintain a dialogue between the community and police department. The dialogue helps when there are issues in the community that require police intervention.
“Through this dialogue, the commanding officer of the 63rd Precinct has made a major effort to involve the communities covered by the 63rd Precinct by keeping them informed proactively of what has been going on in the community,” said Benjamin.
PERSONAL LIFE: Benjamin finds himself to be fortunate to have a wife who supports and understands his efforts. On the downside, it does take time away from home.
CHALLENGES: Speaking from experience, Benjamin holds value in not always being successful and learning to lead with his heart. “You may not always get it right but if you act from your heart, seek the opinion of members of your board and others you trust, I think you’ll find that at the end of the day you’ll get it right much more often than not,” he noted.
Benjamin’s volunteer work is far from complete. He claims that his plan is to, “continue to sustain the true partnership that our civic has with our elected officials on every level. No one can do it alone, but together, there is little we cannot accomplish.”