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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Environment, Environmental Education, Recreation & Sports, Sports, Swimming & Other Water Recreation

Mission: Piers Park Sailing Center is a community sailing center that uses Boston Harbor and the seas beyond to provide year round recreational, educational and personal growth opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

Results: Achievement: Improved academic performance and graduating from high school. Learning job skills to gain employment. Prevention: Living healthy, active lifestyles to prevent obesity and depression. Avoiding peer pressure and not engaging in violent or risky behavior. Development: Building tolerance and understanding of their peers of all backgrounds and abilities. Realizing their full potential to become engaged citizens and live productive adult lives.

Target demographics: Our youth development program serves youth who are at-risk or living with disabilities. Participants are ages 7-18 from East Boston and other primarily low-income, diverse neighborhoods in the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, and Revere. The majority of the populations from the neighborhoods we serve are recent immigrants and English is not spoken at home. These neighborhoods provide few healthy eating options. 80% program participants qualify for free lunches and participate in our free summer food service project.

Geographic areas served: Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Western Mass

Programs: The flagship of PPSC is our free Summer Youth Program. Each year more than 500 young people, aged 10 to 18, able and disabled, enjoy learning to sail, race, and explore the islands of Boston Harbor. From April through October we teach sailing to dozens of adults, and offer Sailing Passes for adults, and their families and friends, to enjoy the unique recreational resource of Boston Harbor with the boats in our fleet. We support a weekly race series and host several special events each year. Our facility and dock are fully wheelchair accessible, as is our fleet of sailboats. The majority of our fleet is made up of Sonar class sailboats, which are one of the boats sailed in the Paralympics. Our Adaptive Sailing Program teaches sailing to people of all levels of physical ability; it is headed by Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, a gold medalist in the 2008 Paralympic Games.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Piers Park is an absolutely remarkable place. To me, Piers Park is all about accessibility. The design of the space and of the programs make it possible for a variety of non-traditional sailors to savor the harbor. Disabled sailors come to Piers Park to really sail, not just to be sailed around. Children and adolescents come to Piers Park to learn and grow, not just for a pleasant summer activity. The staff at Piers Park seems to be always growing themselves and are constantly looking out for ways to better serve their communities. It's a great place, worthy of support...don't miss out on any chance to be part of this!

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

PPSCis different from other sailing programs due to the fact that it is all inclusive, its amazing to see kids with disabilities of all sorts sailing. My daughter has been involved with other sailing programs in the city and has learned more in two summer sessions at PPSC than any other program. They really teach, and the kids really learn. Amazing program !!!!

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Nearly 40 years experience in sailing and maintaining sailboats from 10-44 feet and teaching my children and others to sail.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've sailed with Piers Park Sailing for several years and delight in the wonderful youth they serve. Piers Park Sailing does more than just introduce at-risk kids to a sport and a world out on the water that they might never experience otherwise - Piers Park Sailing creates young leaders. The kids who learn to sail at Piers Park come back to teach others. Often they progress to study maritime trades, ecology or the environment.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our boat, Averisera, is moored at one of the moorings that Piers Park provides for local boaters and visitors to Boston Harbor. We interact with the youth and folk that Piers Park serves, whenever we go down to sail in our beautiful harbor. We have met young people doing sample collections and exploration activities on the dock, and invited them onto our boat, so they can see what a cruising/sailing vessel is like. When we dinghy out to our mooring, we observe the members who use the adaptive facilities, like the lift for wheelchair-bound people. It has been a humbling and uplifting experience, sharing the harbor with the population that Piers Park serves. This is an amazing place!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Piers Park Sailing Center brought me up since I was just 10 years old. In the Fall of 2000 I started sailing with Piers Park. I was so impressed and happy with them that I decided to stay with them and do all of their spring, summer and fall sailing sessions. At the age of 15 I became a future leader, training to become a sailing instructor. Now as a cadet at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, I still teach sailing to the youth and underprivileged of the city. I am giving back to a place that gave me so much.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had 15 years of sailing experience prior to joining Piers Park Sailing Center in 2007. PPCS has proved to me that disabled people can sail. In my prior life, I was an Outward Bound Instructor. PPSC has brought out the confidence I have in my ability. I highly recommend sailing as a life-long sport. The boats and staff at PPSC are extraordinary. The boats are easy to sail and the staff find ways to help people have a great time.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been living in East Boston for nearly two years, and I am convinced that there is no other community like this in the world. The success of the Piers Park Sailing Center is exemplified in the stories of many of its participants, but more importantly, its mere existence is a source of pride for the people of this neighborhood. For years, this organization has penetrated the hearts and souls of every person living in the region, and now for the first time, PPSC is gaining international recognition for its programs that provide access, recreation and therapy for people with disabilities. Many of us here in East Boston count down the days until the start of the season. Hundreds of children and adults of all abilities wait eagerly for the boats to hit the water each spring. Truthfully though, the profound impact of this program stretches far beyond sailing. It fosters hope, confidence and community in a neighborhood that would otherwise be lost. Thanks PPSC!

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Last year I learned to sail at PPSC, and it was a great experience. Our sailing coach Santiago grew up sailing at Piers Park and is currently attending Mass Maritime, a true story of how a nonprofit can help children throughout their childhood and give them valuable skills - not just sailing, but discipline, responsibility and respect for our natural resources. PPSC not only serves the inner city youth of Boston, but also the disabled. It was a joy and pleasure visiting the sailing center and seeing how empowering sailing on your own can be for those who may not have full mobility on land. PPSC is truly a great nonprofit.

7

Donor

Rating: 5

I am an attorney, and present president of Piers Project Advisory Committee, Inc., a non profit that advises Massachusetts Port Authority on the Maintenance and Security of Piers Park East Boston where the PPSC is located. The sailing program is now in the best condition both fiscally and programatically since its inception, almost 15 years ago. Along the way, there have been all the problems that might be expected in a small, community-based program. These include nepotism and blatant financial mismanagement which threatened the continued viability of this valuable resource. Fortunately for our community, the last two directors, Ms. Cuzzi and Mat Rosa have deployed both skill and integrity to achieve the high level of performance that realize the potential that this program always had. The program is strategically located on Boston Harbor with a unique adaptability build out that offers the sailing experience to many who would otherwise be unable to participate in sailing activity. It is impossible for me to describe the value that this program contributes to the fabric of our community. The development opportunities for our young people are simply unmatched and unmatchable by programs that lack the physical and human resources available at Piers Park Sailing. In my opinion, this program is uniquely deserving of the wholehearted support they receive from their communities. Robert F. Strelitz