About Us

Who We Serve

Our direct services target youth ages 14-21 from the Kensington, Port Richmond and Frankford sections of north Philadelphia – all areas that face significant unemployment, high incidence of crime as well as substantial poverty.


Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory was founded in 1996 by Geoffrey McKonly, who believed disengaged youth needed a hands-on activity in a constructive environment to help them develop and apply academic skills. PWBF transitioned in 2010 from its initial school-based, vocational-technology approach to an out-of-school-time model, expanding both the numbers it serves annually as well as the range and duration of its programming.

Our Approach

Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory uses a longitudinal, resiliency-based approach that is grounded in the Reaching Teens curriculum developed by University of Pennsylvania’s adolescent medicine physician, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg. The longitudinal approach allows participants to develop trusting connections with staff over time, enabling them to explore, take risks and learn from failure. Read more…

Our Objectives

One of our explicit objectives is to support positive change with respect to early warning indicators adopted by the School District of Philadelphia. PWBF also works to encourage positive self-images among youth, knowing that how young people think about themselves has an impact on how they act as well as on their potential for success. Ultimately, we look to graduate youth from our program with the skills and resources to make constructive life decisions and to enter and succeed in employment or post-secondary education.

Key Staff Members

Victoria Carberry

RiverGuides Program Director
Victoria holds a BA in Psychology and has worked with youth for several years while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. She believes in positively engaging youth as equal partners to strengthen and promote sustainable community development.

Jesus Castro

Boat, Build, and Sail Program Director
Jesus holds a B.A. in psychology and began building boats with the Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum in 2009, after completing the WoodenBoat School’s fundamentals of boatbuilding program.

Julianna Fomenko

Clinical Director
Julianna holds a Masters in Social Work and has engaged youth across a range of service settings in New York City and Philadelphia. She believes in empowering young people by providing creative spaces to promote self and community growth.

Amelia Hay

Program Assistant Coordinator
Amelia holds a BA in Linguistics and has worked with students from all walks of life. She believes strongly in creating student-centered learning environments and that not all learning takes place in a traditional classroom.

Willa Rowan

RiverGuides Program Assistant
Willa holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Geology and brings her love of engaging youth in hands-on learning. She believes nature and community are inextricably linked and that the outdoors is a perfect space to develop personal and group strengths.

Kimberly Stuart

Sail Loft Coordinator
For over a decade, Kimberly constructed sets for t.v and film as a Studio Mechanic. She holds a BA from Bryn Mawr's McBride Program. Her teaching philosophy is informed by; love for craft, parenthood, and the belief young people need a place to explore the crafts-person within.

Board Members

Peter Groverman, Esq

Chief Counsel and Company Officer
Grovara LLC

Tiffany Ledesma

Public Affairs & Public Engagement
CDM Smith, Consultant to Philadelphia Water Department

Christopher B. Myers

Managing Director
Philadelphia Development Group Limited

Maari Porter

Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives
City of Philadelphia - Managing Director's Office

Patricia L. Red Hawk, MD.

Biotech and Healthcare Services

Kevin Sheehan, CFP

Vice-President, Senior Relationship Strategist
Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth

Christopher H. Tomlin

Vice President of Development
Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA

Rachel Viddy

Project Director
Drexel University