all in the same boat - transitions

Only in this hybrid moment, between summer and fall, near and far, could a Rocking the Boat connection mean so much.


This August, Environmental Job Skills program graduate Robertson found himself alone with his boxes and suitcases in the St. Lawrence University dorm room he had just moved into that day. His parents had headed out for the long drive home; his roommate was not there yet. In that suspended moment right before his new life—six hours and a world away from the Bronx—was about to launch, he turned to his second family and logged into his last remote class as a Rocking the Boat apprentice.


About half of Rocking the Boat apprentices are seniors in high school, which means that come the end of summer there are always a handful of bittersweet farewells. While the door remains open for graduates to fill essential roles as Program Assistants, alumni mentors, and coxes for Rocking Manhattan, eight of our veteran participants effectively concluded their active Rocking the Boat careers in late August. Like Robertson, newly minted Emory University freshmen Havina also wanted to attend the final Job Skills session of the summer—direct from her dorm room in Atlanta! Program Director Kris Mielenhausen was thrilled. Both excitedly led 360° tours of their new surroundings and shared their first impressions of college life. Soon it was time for Havina to sign off her phone and log onto her Italian class.


Kris was wrapping up class and everyone said their goodbyes, but he could immediately sense that Robertson, lingering, felt a little lost. He started telling Kris about how, under COVID-19 protocols, St. Lawrence required family members to separate from their children at a certain point; he had to go into Health Services on his own to be tested. Then he changed the subject to registering for classes—he was particularly excited about Theater for Social Change and Environmental Science (he was an Environmental apprentice after all!)—and all the orientation activities coming up. But nothing was happening RIGHT THEN that Robertson could use as a jumping off point, a way to feel grounded in this new and, frankly, scary environment. Kris spotted the bureau in the background of the screen. "Here’s an idea," he suggested. "How about unpacking your socks and underwear?" And "together," Kris helped Robertson fill his first drawer in his first dorm room on his first day at college. And just like that, Robertson was over the hump and within moments had also signed off the call to move on.

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474
phone: 718.466.5799

Rocking the Boat is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Download Form 990.