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August 2018

A Collaboration in the Bronx: Rowing and Discussing How to Ask for Help

The weather forecasts were not in our favor, but as the afternoon rolled in and storm clouds rolled out, it looked like our scholars would get to go out on the Bronx River, after all. Donning shorts and flip flops in lieu of their more professional internship duds, Scholarship Plus students headed up to the Bronx for an adventure on the water and candid discussion about the importance of asking for help.

Upon arrival, our group was given a tour of the space and we walked by RTB students sanding and painting boats. We were then led to the water where the programs split into mixed groups and RTB students led us down the Bronx River, sharing rowing tips along the way.

Some well-deserved pizza afterward fueled the group for the final piece of our afternoon together: a discussion about transitions and asking for help. Together, Scholarship Plus Associate Board member Jayson Jones and one of our wonderful volunteers, Diane Exavier, a social worker and teacher respectively, led the discussion.

Students anonymously shared their worries about upcoming transitions (from high school to college, from jobs to careers, from working to not working, from living with family to being independent) on a worry wall — posted next to worries that members of our Associate Board recollected and shared from their days on the cusp of college.

The theme of asking for help was introduced — including how our friends and peers can be powerful resources for us in addition to the “adults” in our lives and at school.

Jayson closed with a piece of wisdom shared with him long ago that remains as universal and pertinent as ever: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. If there’s anything we can say is true across the board of our scholars, it is their strength.

Photographs by Kate Fenneman Stokes

You are welcome here. Our scholars receive a tour of Rocking the Boat.


Xabier, a rising sophomore at Columbia, raises his hand to ask a question from our RTB guide.


Thunderstorms continued to hold off as our tour took us outside — one step closer to the water!


New scholars Anijah, Arianna and Joselyn (headed to USC, Boston College and Dartmouth, respectively) and a new RTB friend stand starboard, ready to row.


Scholarship Plus volunteer, Diane Exavier, looks on as RTB crew members prepare to go out on the water.


The excitement is palpable.


Taking the lead from RTB crew members.


Look at that form: Columbia and Skidmore may have two new Crew members heading their way.


Scholarship Plus Associate Board member Jayson Jones enjoys a boat ride compliments of two RTB all-stars.

Next: From Downtown to Midtown — Dinner and a Show