On Wednesday, July 25, the Shelter Island Yacht Club (SIYC) will host a race and dinner for participants of the “Rocking the Boat” program, a non-profit youth empowerment initiative that offers boat building, environmental science education, and youth sailing and rowing to at-risk high school students in the South Bronx — the nation’s poorest congressional district.
Their slogan? “Kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids.”
Over the past 20 years, the program has grown to a $2.7 million youth development effort.
Participants receive wrap-around social services from licensed social workers, as well as the comprehensive social and emotional support needed to graduate from high school and apply to college or trade school, according to the organization’s website.
Participants of the Rocking the Boat program have a 91 percent graduation rate compared to the area’s 33 percent.
They are currently finishing up a wooden H12 boat — similar to a doughdish boat — that they constructed using most of the traditional woodworking methods of the early 1900s, the era when the boat was first built.
It is currently moored with the Shelter Island Yacht Club’s fleet by Bridge Street.
Those interested in the program or its partnership with SIYC should visit rockingtheboat.org or contact David Ruby at [email protected]