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.
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