New York – AkzoNobel’s Volvo Ocean Race team visited “Rocking the Boat” Tuesday in New York’s South Bronx for a day of sailing, sustainability and boat building activities honoring the organization’s commitment to youth empowerment.
Rocking the Boat, a non-profit that empowers young people to develop self-confidence in order to set ambitious goals and gain the skills necessary to achieve them, played host to the group of world-class sailors and AkzoNobel employees from the U.S. and the Netherlands as part of an event organized by the company’s Human Cities campaign.
Students at Rocking the Boat work together to build wooden boats, learn to row and sail, and restore local urban waterways, while revitalizing their community and creating better lives for themselves. The organization’s motto “Kids don't just build boats, boats build kids” was an inspiration to the sailing team, prompting them to support the organization during a promotional tour in NYC.
For the past ten years, AkzoNobel has proudly provided the organization with donations of its Interlux boat paint to coat their vessels. At the event on Tuesday, AkzoNobel employees got a firsthand look at how youth from Rocking the Boat meticulously build and then paint their wooden boats. The boats in turn then support the organization’s environmental mission that is helping to bring the Bronx River back to life after years of neglect.
Members of team AkzoNobel, including skipper Simeon Tienpont, also shared some tricks of their trade on the water as they led the youth in some fun-spirited, competitive sailing on the Bronx River.
Tienpont, a two-time America’s Cup champion, will serve as skipper for team AkzoNobel in the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s longest sporting event, which will see seven teams battle it out against each other through some of the world’s most inhospitable oceans as they race around the world. The nine-month challenge sets off from Alicante, Spain on October 22, 2017, and will make stops in 11 cities around the world—including Newport, RI in May 2018–finishing in The Hague, the Netherlands, in June 2018.
“It’s been just over a year since we announced team AkzoNobel’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race and the preparations can be all-encompassing and very intense. The crew and I always look forward to opportunities like this when we can break away from the build-up program and share our passion for the sport with people outside of the sailing world, especially with kids. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get future generations excited and show them just how sailing and the qualities you develop through sailing, can help to enrich their lives,” says Tienpont.
“This is a great opportunity for our kids and a real extension of our message—that personal growth comes through teamwork, discipline and making a commitment to a common goal,” says Adam Green Executive Director of Rocking the Boat. “Today, the AkzoNobel sailing team and its employees helped bring that message home showing how it all comes together to lay the groundwork for success.”
Human Cities is a global commitment made by AkzoNobel to improve, energize and regenerate urban communities around the world. In the past year, AkzoNobel has launched Human Cities initiatives in the U.S. in Nashville, TN, Pontiac, MI and Chicago, IL, creating programs that encourage and motivate today’s youth to become future leaders.
“The power to inspire and empower young people to become leaders in their communities and responsible adults is at the heart of our Human Cities initiative,” said Bill Collins, corporate director at AkzoNobel. “We applaud the powerful mission of Rocking the Boat and their commitments to helping their kids have a greater sense of self-worth and purpose while promoting sustainability education and life skills.”
Team AkzoNobel announced its participation in the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race in July last year as part of a strategic partnership to raise global awareness for the company’s brands and expertise and create opportunities to engage in projects with local communities.