Bus 52 Presents: Rocking The Boat





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Published on Nov 26, 2012


Very few people would be able to say they know how to build a boat using traditional methods but young adults in the Bronx, New York, are learn the life skills and confidence they need to succeed in life by doing just that.

At Rocking The Boat, a nonprofit situated in Hunts Point, the saying goes, "We use boats to build kids."

While this might seem like an unusual idea, Adam Green, Executive Director, explains that, "Rocking The Boat is a youth and community development organization. We use these odd mediums of traditional wooden boat building, environmental science, and sailing education to help young people develop into empowered and responsible adults."

The idea for the nonprofit came to Green when he was volunteering in an East Harlem school at the age of 22 before graduating from college. The teacher he was working with wanted to build a boat and asked Green if he would be interested in trying to do so.

"It felt like a cool idea," explains Green, "so he gave me some wood and set up plans and a couple of kids to work with and after about 8 months, we built a little 8ft dinghy and we floated it in the pool in the basement of the school."

It was the children's reaction to the project, as well as his own, that led him to think that boat building would provide the perfect vehicle, both literally and metaphorically, to helping young adults in challenging communities.

"It was just the most exciting thing for the kids but for me too," continues Green, "and it was just this feeling that kids who are actually learning things that really mattered, applying them immediately and feeling the impact of the success they were having and that just seemed like the right way to do it."

Rocking The Boat focuses on all aspects around boats, from the building of the boat itself and rowing to environmental science about the water ways on which they travel. Programmatically, this means they have two tracks which students can follow: on-water, which includes the environmental science and research, and boat building.

"All of the science we do is water-based," says Green. "It uses the boats that we build to go out on, in our case, the Bronx River, and do a whole range of scientific work and restoration, research projects."

The question on most people's minds is, 'Why boats?' Green explains that, "We are building something real that actually works, that's beautiful, but will literally take you somewhere that you wouldn't be able to get otherwise and in our case, it's the water ways around New York City."

He goes on to say that, "For the kids we work with, they've never left their neighborhoods before and to be able to create something that you can actually get on and go off to distant places is pretty huge."

Stephanie Cabral, a program assistant explains that, "A lot of these students ... have never experienced the Bronx River before. They've probably walked by it but probably never really experienced it first hand and they actually get to go out there and explore and learn so many things while they're out there."

Read More ... http://web.bus52.com/profiles/rocking...


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