For the past 11 years, Row New York has helped local teens row their way into a positive future. Now, the program has made it as a semi-finalist for the Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
Long Island City-based Row NY was founded in 2002 and has helped enable young people from under-resourced communities in New York City gain strength, confidence and follow excellence through competitive rowing.
For the past nine years, Row NY had focused its attention on Queens girls ranging from the seventh grade to their graduating year in high school. Last year it expanded into Manhattan to begin its first boys program out of the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse.
On August 13, Row NY was announced as one of the 10 semifinalists for the 2013 New York Community Trust-New York Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards. In the fall, three of the semifinalists will be selected as winners and respectively receive cash awards of $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000.
“By showcasing inventive, innovative management at several nonprofits, we can help inspire hundreds of others to learn from best practices,” said Lorie Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust.
Row NY was started after Amanda Kraus, founder and executive director, was inspired to begin a rowing program in Queens after working for Girls Row Boston as a graduate student, where she helped bring rowing to girls from underprivileged communities.
“I was like ‘this is amazing,’” said Kraus. “The idea was that I was from New York City and I thought this would be so amazing to have in my city.”
The program, which began with one boat and eight girls, now has 110 girls rowing six days a week on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. There are also 110 participants in Manhattan. The students compete in an average of 12 races a year in the northeast and mid-Atlantic.
Along with competitive rowing, Row NY also offers summer camps and rowing sessions for children with disabilities. The program also conducts SAT and Regents prep, financial aid information sessions, and organizes college visits through the Long Island City office at 10-27 46th Avenue.
Kraus said the majority of the students stay in the program and graduate from high school and go onto college. Some even receive scholarships to continue their rowing.
“It makes them very attractive to college,” said Kraus. “The big focus is going to college and staying in college.”
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