Thanks to our amazing Portuguese professors Ana and Renata, our entire group was invited to Niteroi to visit a non-profit organization called Projecto Grael. Projecto Grael uses sailing, aquatic and environmental education, as well as professional training in mechanical work to teach youth about leadership, responsibility, and community while simultaneaously providing them with greater access to professional and athletic opportunities.
We were divided into pairs and introduced to young participants in the program. My partner and I were introduced to Arthur, who was only 9 years old, but definitely wise beyond his years. When we asked Arthur what he felt while sailing, he described the feeling as one of harmony. He was a stern, quiet boy who spoke when he was sure that he wanted to share. He and the other participants were excited to show us how to set up their boats and tell us more about who they were. Their personalities shined through while they explained their process. Getting to know these young people also gave us greater insight to the issues of poverty and lack of resources that affect many communities in Rio and places all over Brazil. Projecto Grael's goal was to combat those realities by giving these young people a purpose, a space to learn and relax, and ultimately, a community invested in their wellness and growth.
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<div>I'm a student, a friend, a naturalista, a budding activist, a writer, a wom@nist/feminist, an intellectual, a Tupac-lover, a New Yorker, and a person in process all wrapped in one. I'm living on the hyphen of many identities that allow me to see the world in a critical, refreshing way; and at the intersections of many struggles and journeys that I would love for you to join me on. :)</div>