Education / Environment

Hunts Point after-school programs saluted

Rocking the Boat

Point and Rocking the Boat honored

Local after-school programs received a boost when three local youth program leaders, Danny R. Peralta and Earl Skinner, both of the Point Community Development Corporation on Garrison Avenue, and Adam Green, founder and director of the Hunts Point-based non-profit Rocking the Boat, were granted prestigious honors for their work with young people in Hunts Point.

Green, who founded the organization as an after-school program in 1996, was honored with the Manhattan Institute’s Social Entrepreneurship Award. Rocking the Boat teaches young people to build boats and then teaches them to row on the Bronx River, where they conduct studies of the environment.

The program aims to instill a sense of responsibility in middle school and high school students from the South Bronx through teamwork and hands-on activities.

Green and the other recipients were each presented a $25,000 prize, granted yearly to “honor inventive nonprofit leaders who implemented pioneering solutions to challenging social problems” and “whose effective programs influenced the way we think about helping those in need.”

Peralta, who has served as director of arts and education at The Point since 2008, was one of 19 youth workers from across the country chosen to serve as after-school ambassadors for a year by the After-school Alliance, a national organization.

Peralta and his fellow ambassadors will work to publicize the results of a nationwide survey of nearly 30,000 households across the country, gauging public opinion about the value of after-school programs.

At The Point, Peralta will organize public events and promote activities for local young people. He and the other ambassadors nationwide will also try to shape local and national policies by appealing to officials on behalf of youth programs.

“Mr. Peralta brings energy and talent to the role of after-school ambassador, and will spread the word about the urgent need to make after-school programs available to all children and families that need them,” said Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Grant worries that after-school community programs across the country are being hurt by the economic slowdown, and thinks more priority must be given to local initiatives, such as those offered year-round at The Point.

“Americans strongly support after-school programs but across the nation, we’re seeing programs cut back or closed in the face of recession-driven budget cuts,” she said.

Peralta, who worked for 10 years in schools and non-profits in the city before coming to Hunts Point, said he was “proud of the contribution after-school programs make to the community, and look forward to helping expand support for them.”

Skinner, who has coordinated youth programs at The Point for the last seven years, was honored for his ongoing work with young people in and around Hunts Point by the organization City Year New York.

City Year, which recruits volunteers between ages 17-24 to work with young people in neighborhoods and public schools across the five boroughs, honored Skinner both for his work with local young people, and for his role in helping City Year relocate its Hunts Point headquarters to The Point.

The organization gave skinner a distinctive red jacket that all City Year volunteers wear while working.

“You have to be connected to the community as well as the schools,” said Skinner of The Point’s programs.

Five local school principals who have collaborated on projects with City Year were also honored. The Point’s executive managing director, Kellie Terry-Sepulveda, has also been recognized by City Year.

A version of this story appeared in the November issue of The Hunts Point Express.

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