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Boston sailing program helps students build important social skills

Boston sailing program helps students build important social skills
Boston sailing program helps students build important social skills 02:07

BOSTON – It may be the middle of summer, but students all over Boston are working on a critical skill to prepare them for the school year. It is known as social emotional learning, and it's one of the many things students missed out on during the pandemic. 

At Piers Park in East Boston kids spent a steamy August morning rigging up sailboats on the edge of Boston Harbor. 

"When I drive the boat, I feel very cool because not a lot of people can drive boats," sailing student Delina Nuegusse said.

She's one of dozens of students learning to sail at the Piers Park Sailing Center. It's one of one of many programs supported by Boston After School and Beyond, a program that helps provide after school and summer opportunities for kids in Boston.

Experts say social emotional skills are the ability to self-regulate and manage emotions while focusing on challenging content like schoolwork and learning to sail. According to Boston After School and Beyond Executive Director, Chris Smith, all of the summer and after school programs work on this.  

"They've been able to help kids re-engaged and, to re-socialize with one another, to do something interesting to them and to really have a sense of optimism of what the future holds," he said.

At the Piers Park sailing program, all the instructors are graduates from the center.

"A lot of kids come alone and meet friends, especially working on a boat, you have to work together so it's something that builds confidence," said Sophia Gomes, director of Science of Sailing.

For the kids, it's a lesson that still feels like summer vacation. 

"I do have summer reading, but I don't want to read the whole summer. I like meeting friends because I know when I see them or talk to them that they're always going to be very nice and a true friend to me," Delina said.

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