Some people walk or ride bikes for their favorite cause or charity, but on September 25, long time Summit resident Lou Cafiero will row a boat for 28.5 miles around Manhattan Island to raise money for a Bronx, N.Y. based youth program called Rocking the Boat.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Cafiero wanted to do something to give back to his old neighborhood and help a unique youth program that introduces kids to environmental conservation and boat building.
"I love boats and nature, so when I learned about the program I was thrilled to offer my help to support this worthwhile organization," Cafiero said.
Rocking the Boat uses boats to help young people challenged by severe economic, educational, and social disadvantage develop into empowered and responsible adults. Participating during the school-day, after-school, and summer in hands-on wooden boatbuilding and on-water education programs, young people in the South Bronx develop the self-confidence to set ambitious goals and the skills needed to achieve them. Rocking the Boat was launched in 1996 by Adam Green as a volunteer project in an East Harlem junior high school. It has since developed into a fully sustainable independent non-profit organization annually serving over 2,500 young people and community members. Kids don't just build boats at Rocking the Boat, boats build kids.
The annual Rocking Manhattan fundraising effort was very successful last year with many corporations such as Goldman Sachs sponsoring employee rowing teams and a row boat. The race starts at Pier 40 in lower Manhattan, heads south around the Battery and up the East River around Spuyten Duyvil and down the Hudson, finishing at Pier 40. The 26 ft. rowboats stop at two places for rowers to rest briefly and get some refreshments. Last year's event lasted 9 hours and fielded 6 boats. More boats and rowers are expected this year.
Cafiero's goal was to raise at least $1,000. With the help of several Summit families and supporters he is well on his way but can always use more donations.
"Every little bit helps," Cafiero said. "Anytime you can help give kids a chance to succeed, it is a worthwhile endeavor. I have kayaked for years but this is my first time rowing this far. I hope I make it in one piece. I'll make sure my wife Celeste has plenty of Advil for me at the finish!"
To help support this fundraising effort and learn more about the project, visit www.rockingmanhattan.org .
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