ricardo almonte
ricardo almontealumni coordinator

Ricardo was born and raised in the Bronx and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies from Vassar College and his Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College. He has done college and career advisement work for over a decade, with professional experience at Youth and Adult Education Services, a high school equivalency program; Baruch College; and Harlem Children's Zone. A passionate advocate for social and racial justice, he also volunteers at local shelters and LGBTQ centers. Ricardo comes to Rocking the Boat committed to continue providing a safe, caring, and supportive environment for youth throughout the Bronx.
xiomara ayala, LCSW
xiomara ayala, LCSWsenior director of social work

Xiomara was raised in the Bronx and graduated with her BA in sociology from SUNY Stony Brook in 2002 and MSW from NYU Silver School of Social Work in 2005. Since then, she has focused on therapeutic work with adolescents and young adults in a variety of settings. They include home-based substance use treatment for juvenile justice-involved youth, and mental health and crisis services at a community health clinic. She most recently worked with adolescents and young adults diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and with LGBTQ+ youth exploring their identities at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center’s PROJECT Impact, providing them with an array of crisis intervention, case management, and short and long term counseling.
jasmine benitez
jasmine benitezenvironmental student program director

Jasmine was born and raised in the Bronx, and was first introduced to Rocking the Boat when her high school participated in an On-Water Classroom program in 2009. Jasmine participated in Rocking the Boat's On-Water Program until she graduated then went on to pursue her Bachelor's degree in Psychology (with a minor in Environmental Studies) at St. John's University. She returned to work at Rocking the Boat as a Program Assistant while attending college, during which she also served as an Assistant Instructor/Student Mentor with the National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC), participating in workshops as distant as New Mexico. After earning her degree, Jasmine began working as the Volunteer Coordinator at the Bronx River Alliance, and Rocking the Boat is now thrilled to have her back!
joe bly
joe blydirector of institutional giving

Joe comes to Rocking the Boat with a novel perspective from a 15-year career in documentary film and television. Since completing a double major in Film Studies and History from the University of Pittsburgh and teaching English abroad, Joe has worked as a Researcher, Producer and Writer on programs for networks such as PBS, Discovery Channel, History Channel, A&E, and AMC, as well as developing new series and filming independent projects including his own award-winning documentary. Covering subjects ranging from American history, religion, criminal justice, and science, to music and neighborhood food, Joe first became interested in youth education while working on a Ford Foundation documentary exploring solutions to the academic performance gap plaguing black males in school. In 2016 he began volunteering for Rocking the Boat, interviewing alumni and developing biographical profiles. As Director of Institutional Giving, Joe brings his sense of narrative to grant writing and fundraising, telling the stories of theses remarkable young people to foundations and public funders.
joaquin cotten
joaquin cottencommunications director

Joaquin has been involved with Rocking the Boat since the early 2000s. In that time he has been a volunteer, boatbuilding student, On-Water Program Apprentice, and always a photographer. He became Rocking the Boat's first Photography Apprentice, and has now elevated to the first full time staff position ever held by a former student. Joaquin is responsible for all visual documentation and presentation of Rocking the Boat activities, including photography, graphic design, and web design.
basilous falconer
basilous falconerfacilities and boat maintenance assistant

Basilous, a student of Art History at Hunter College, has probably built or restored the most Rocking the Boat boats of any other member of the staff. Basilous’ progress from student to apprentice to Program Assistant and now full time staffer began in 2009, when he was a freshman at Bronx Guild High School. A versatile member of the team, he is equally comfortable working independently to repair a leaky Whitehall or teaching a class of first-semester students about shop safety, how to use power tools and the process of creating the backbone structure of the boat. Basilous has enjoyed meeting fellow craftsmen through Rocking the Boat trips to the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT and the Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. If a tool isn’t in his hand, Basilous can be found biking or skateboarding in the Bronx.
jessie faveroy
jessie faveroyoffice manager

Originally born and raised in the South Bronx, Jessie has over 16 years of office management and administration experience, predominantly in the medical field. Jessie attended local Jane Addams Vocational High school for Court Reporting and received her Bachelors of Business Administration from Hunter College. Jessie is beyond excited to bring both her strong professional background and deep compassion for others to her role at Rocking the Boat.
angela fronda
angela frondastudent program social worker

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Angela comes from a family line of fishermen and carpenters. Summer visits with family in Italy always included lots of time in and on the water and fed a passion for protecting the environment. She graduated with a BS in Psychology from Brooklyn College and earned a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. Angela learned about Rocking the boat as a volunteer with the Billion Oyster Project and comes to her position with years of experience supporting young adults across various academic and clinical contexts. Angela is excited to contribute to Rocking the Boat’s practice of cultivating a space where students not only feel confident, but also empowered to navigate the challenges of everyday life and uncertainties of the future.
adam green
adam greenfounder and executive director

Adam started the volunteer project that would become Rocking the Boat in 1995 during a semester off from Vassar College. Influenced by his experience teaching kids about the Hudson River aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, he developed a program that used the process of building and using wooden boats as a way to educate and empower young people from underserved communities. He has received numerous awards and accolades for Rocking the Boat, including an Echoing Green Fellowship, a Union Square Award for grassroots organizing, a Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneurship Award, and in 2014 was named one of 25 international CNN Heroes.
talene kelly
talene kellydirector of special events

A graduate of The New School, Talene has spent the last five years overseeing various fundraising events as a volunteer. A New York City public school downtown is the beneficiary of the Taste of Battery Park City, a community food tasting event she co-founded, and an annual auction and gala she co-chaired. She has also served as a volunteer tennis coach for the USTA and softball coach in Downtown Little League. In her spare time, Talene enjoys writing and acting.
pascale mevs
pascale mevssenior director of programs

Pascale brings over a decade of youth development experience to Rocking the Boat where she oversees all programming. Following earning her teaching degree from NYU, Pascale taught at Validus Preparatory Academy in the South Bronx where many of her students participated in Rocking the Boat’s student programs. After completing an M.A. in Urban Education Policy at Brown University, Pascale spent several years working at the Department of Education and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity where she oversaw various educational programs aimed at increasing equity for young people. Pascale currently resides in Rockaway Beach, Queens, where she enjoys all sorts of water activities and taking in the beauty of NYC’s wetlands in Jamaica Bay.
jaye pockriss
jaye pockrisssenior director of development and operations

A graduate of Vassar College, Jaye has worked in development for more than 20 years including for a historic preservation organization, a music festival, and a residential social service agency. She also raised funds in her free time as a past President of the Brooklyn Heights Music Society. Jaye learned about Rocking the Boat during the summer that 20 students came to build a boat at Philipsburg Manor, a living history museum operated by Historic Hudson Valley, where her husband Peter is Senior Vice President.
edmanuel roman
edmanuel romanboatbuilding student program director and facilities manager

Manny grew up living three floors above Rocking the Boat's shop back when it was located on 174th Street and Walton Avenue. As soon as he was eligible, 14-year-old Manny signed onto the Boatbuilding Program and worked to build Aurora—the first of 14 vessels he would help to construct. Over the years, Manny has held various roles at Rocking the Boat including Boatbuilding Assistant, Interim Boatbuilding Job Skills Program Director, and Restoration Manager.
safiya sabir
safiya sabirdirector of public programs

Safiya is an educator, environmental activist, and aspiring naturalist. As a native New Yorker she hopes to inspire families to get outside and observe nature around them, especially in cities. Safiya previously taught science education programs for various audiences at the American Museum of Natural History, Poconos Environmental Education Center, and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Safiya received her BA in Environmental Studies from Wells College and she is currently a graduate student at Miami University of Ohio. Through her graduate studies, Safiya has travelled to the Galápagos Islands and Baja California. In her free time Safiya likes to cycle around New York City, go birding, and hiking.
alex severino
alex severinoassistant director of public programs

Alex was raised in the Bronx and introduced to Rocking the Boat by a high-school classmate when she was 15 years old and continued to be involved as a seasonal Program Assistant while earning her Associate’s degree at Borough of Manhattan Community College. After college, an internship with the Student Conservation Association, a position with the National Park Service’s River Trials Association, and roles with the Bronx River Alliance furthered Alex’s interest in environmental education. Beyond the Bronx, Alex has sailed the Caribbean with The Beautiful Nation Project studying plastic debris in the ocean and, in collaboration with Cornell University, traveled to China to speak on the behalf of Rocking the Boat about oyster restoration on the Shanghai River. For the past five years, Alex worked for the New York City Department of Education, supporting special education students in her old elementary/middle school and is thrilled to return to the outdoor classroom of Rocking the Boat.
juan pablo sarmiento torres
juan pablo sarmiento torresdirector of sailing operations

Juan Pablo comes to Rocking the Boat as an experienced sailing instructor with an emphasis in advanced cruising and keelboat education. Originally from Colombia, Juan Pablo holds a bachelor's degree in Film and Anthropology from Denison University. He is an ASA and US Sailing certified sailing instructor with offshore emergency medicine expertise. His love of sailing started at a young age when he lived at an international boarding school in British Columbia, Canada and now he looks forward to passing down his sailing knowledge to a new generation, and to continue bringing diversity to the sailing world.

kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474
phone: 718.466.5799
fax: 718.466.2892

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