2023 Annual Appeal

Over the past 15 years, HRCS has built a community dedicated to supporting student futures, opening up the waterfront to New Yorkers of all abilities, and breaking down barriers. As we wrap up our Anniversary year, we want to highlight a few profiles of the people and programs that help make up this incredible community. 

Please take a moment to read and consider making an end-of-year gift to help us invest in the next 15 years. Thank you for your support!

Meet Sail Academy Alum Liberty

When Liberty Abordo joined Sail Academy in 9th grade, she had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She had moved to New York from the Philippines at age 15, and started at HRCS that same year. While she loved sailing, Liberty really enjoyed the math and science components of the program. She remembers building tin foil barges and popsicle stick bridges. “If it weren’t for Sail Academy,” Liberty says, “my interest in STEM [Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math] in high school would not have lasted. It was just numbers and theories. Sail Academy brought it to life.”

When Liberty began to explore her post-secondary options, HRCS’s guidance was instrumental in finding a school that aligned academically and financially. In the fall of 2021, she enrolled at City College and majored in Civil Engineering. She also became a sailing instructor with help from the HRCS Instructor Development Program. In her role as an instructor, Liberty sailed with an engineering firm during the annual New York Architects’ Regatta. She talked with her team about the physics of sailing and her studies. The team was so taken by Liberty that they offered her an internship at their firm Bala Consulting Engineers the following summer.

Liberty Abordo

Liberty instructing Sail Academy students

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Watch: Sail Academy alums share the program's impact

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Watch: Adaptive Sailing is increasing access for New Yorkers living with disabilities

Help Us Grow Adaptive Sailing

HRCS’s Inwood location at Dyckman Marina was busier than usual this year. It's here that participants living with a range of disabilities enjoy sailing within a close-knit and encouraging community. Adaptive Sailing provides waterfront access, sailing instruction, and a sense of community to New Yorkers living with disabilities. The program launched in 2021, and this season expanded to nine partners, adapted a new boat, and began serving individuals living with visual impairments. 

The program has grown significantly with the addition of adaptive equipment, staff, and training for volunteers and interns. The dock, equipped with a Hoyer lift, provides the perfect platform to safely get people with a variety of disabilities (ranging from spinal cord injuries to visual impairment, to developmental disabilities) onto boats adapted to their needs so they can take the lead in steering and adjusting the sails. The program also provides important opportunities for respite from hectic city life with sails for adaptive sailors and their caregivers.

Meet Volunteer & Skipper Luis

Luis Jaramillo would often walk past the Pier 66 Boathouse, picking up brochures and telling himself he should join. In the summer of 2018, he finally signed up. 

He spent much of that summer sailing and his connection with HRCS quickly grew. That fall Luis began volunteering with Sail Academy. He was drawn to Sail Academy for one of the key reasons he enjoyed being a member: the culture of learning. “The organization is focused on teaching and learning. And everyone is teaching, and everyone is learning,” the 2022 Volunteer of the Year explains. “I think it’s rare for a community to have that kind of focus and that kind of intentional focus that influences everything that everybody does.”

That culture of learning that Luis embraces continues to guide his development as a teacher and sailor. Over his more-than-five years of volunteering, he has helped quiet and curious first-year students evolve to become his peers. “I think it’s great how many of them have stayed connected to the program,” he says. “All those kids who did the Basic Keelboat Instructor Course (BKIC) and then started teaching adults, it’s amazing.”

Luis Profile 1

Luis receives 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award from Denise Meagher, HRCS's Vounteer and Member Training Manager

Thank you for investing in Hudson River Community Sailing's future. Your support helps power the growth of our programs and community.