Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rocking the Boat in the Bronx

A non-profit youth organization based in the Bronx, N.Y., named Rocking the Boat, is empowering young people challenged by severe economic, educational, and social conditions to develop the self-confidence to set ambitious goals and gain the skills necessary to achieve them. Students work together to build wooden boats, learn to sail and row, and restore local urban waterways, revitalizing their community while creating better lives for themselves.

Adam Green, Founder and Executive Director, launched Rocking the Boat in 1996 as a volunteer project in an East Harlem junior high school. It has since developed into a fully sustainable independent non-profit organization annually serving nearly 3,000 young people and community members.

Strong community connections have been essential to Rocking the Boat’s growth and success. Local middle schools, high schools and non-profits have always been the primary sources of program participants.

“Rocking the Boat also relies closely on outside groups with resources that add depth to our program,” said Jaye Pockriss, Development Director of Rocking the Boat. “By fostering relationships with SUNY Maritime College and Oakcliff Sailing, to name two, Rocking the Boat has been able to offer our students incomparable sailing experiences.”

For example, 18-year-old Gianmarco Bocchini is a recent graduate of the Rocking the Boat program. Through sailing, Gianmarco found the motivation and sense of purpose he desperately needed.

“I joined the on-the-water program and it was great because I enjoy being out in nature and disconnecting myself from city life,” he said. “I built the boat I learned to sail on and that was such a rewarding experience. The program has given me a new outlook on life. When you are interested in something and excited to go and do it after school, you can come to school with that same enthusiasm and motivation.”

Gianmarco has continued on to major in mechanical engineering at The City College of New York.
He said, “Mechanical engineering is mostly physics, so when you are sailing a boat you are dealing with physics and the mechanics of sailing through the wind and current. This experience was the catalyst for my career choice.”

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  1. Fabulous organization that has meant so much to so many South Bronx students.

  2. I have been wanting to do this in Cleveland for yrs. but no money for it, means no go. Thought inner city kids could learn a lot about organization and following orders without it being a problem for them. They would learn that it is all about working together as a team.