2018, 2019, 2020


Hunts Point, NY

Rocking The Boat

College Persistence Program

Using activities centered on small boats and local waters—sailing, environmental science, and wooden boatbuilding—Rocking the Boat helps young people in the poorest Congressional District in the nation, develop the technical, social, and emotional skills to realize their full potential. This new grant launched the College Persistence Program, which provided social and academic support to Rocking the Boat alums after high school, through college or training experience to ensure success in the long-term.

Rocking the Boat has long been committed to preparing its students socially, emotionally, academically, and financially to enter college, offering resources such as college trips, application support, essay writing workshops, individual tutoring, regular check-ins from the Director of Social Work, and scholarships. Starting in 2018, Rocking the Boat strengthed its efforts, not just by helping seniors graduate high school and get into college, but also by assisting and supporting them through graduation.

The majority of Rocking the Boat participants were first and second generation immigrants of Hispanic and Afro-Latino descent. Every participant came from an economically disadvantaged household, more than half with parents or guardians who did not attend college. With overlapping social and academic support, Rocking the Boat set the following goals for participants in their College Persistence Program:

  • Learn unique technical proficiencies in sailing.
  • Hone transferable professional skills and habits.
  • Graduate from high school on time.
  • Enroll in college or start on other post-secondary paths.
  • Complete college or a certificate program that ensures a fair living wage.

About Rocking the Boat

Shortly after being launched in 1996 as a volunteer project in an East Harlem junior high school, Rocking the Boat worked under the aegis of New Settlement Apartments, which provided both workshop space and students for the cornerstone Boatbuilding Program.  Incorporated as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2001, Rocking the Boat continued to cultivate relationships with a wide variety of community-based, educational, environmental, cultural and historical organizations, and expand the size and scope of its services.  Namely, the On-Water Education Program was added in 2002, the On-Water Classroom in 2005, the Job Skills Program in 2006, Community Rowing in 2007, and the Sailing Program in 2015.


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