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.

History

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

Jesus Castro

Jesus Castro
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.

Andrew Cintron

Andrew Cintron
Andrew joined PWBF as a student. He apprenticed two days a week with PWBF as a part of the school’s internship program. Andrew quickly connected to the program, demonstrating great carpentry, math and leadership skills. After graduating high school, Andrew was offered the position of Program Assistant.

Theopholis Collins

Theopholis Collins
Theopholis has a Masters in Environmental Management and he has taught nautical and marine science to students all across the U.S. His passion for communicating environmental concerns, especially with regard to coastal and marine issues, to the general public has brought renewed energy to the RiverGuides program.

Brett Hart

Brett Hart
Brett Hart is a graduate of the Landing School of Boat and Design and has worked as a tall-ship captain and wooden-boat builder. His expertise in the field of positive, youth development, coupled with a lifelong love of the sea, has helped to bring Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory national recognition as a high-quality, out-of-school time organization.

Patrick McGettigan

Patrick McGettigan
Patrick grew up in Northeast Philadelphia. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in Marine Sciences. After teaching biology for a year in California, Patrick served for 27 months with the Peace Corps in Mozambique where he taught in a secondary school and worked with the community on education development programs and environmental conservation projects. He is a member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication and is excited about expanding the Riverguides program throughout the Philadelphia area.

Zeelyna Wise

Zeelyna Wise
Zeelyna is a long-time advocate of underserved youth and has contributed to the development of several after-school programs focused on healing trauma, building resilience and developing life skills. She serves as the critical bridge between PWBF students and their families and schools they attend.

Board Members

Peter Groverman, Esq

Chief Counsel and Company Officer
Grovara LLC

Christopher B. Myers

Managing Director
Philadelphia Development Group Limited

Maari Porter

Executive Director
Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

Patricia Redhawk

Proprietor
Best Handyman Services

Christopher H. Tomlin

Assistant Scout Executive & Chief Development Officer
Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council

Rachel Viddy

Fiscal Monitor Supervisor
Public Health Management Corporation