By John Lynds
One month ago it looked as though Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) was heading for closure. However, the community stepped up, raised money for the cash-strapped community sailing program and last week the PPSC board announced the center’s sailing boats would be in the water and youth and adults programs would return for the 2017 sailing season.
This week the PPSC board announced it has hired Alex DeFronzo as the PPSC’s new Executive Director while Daniel Moreno will take over the reigns as the Sailing Center’s Director of Operations. Board of Directors at Piers Both DeFronzo and Moreno both learned to sail at PPSC as children and worked in PPSC’s youth, adult, and adaptive programs.
DeFronzo holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Suffolk University and for the past five years has worked as a program and development manager at the Northeastern Family Institute, serving at-risk Massachusetts youth. DeFronzo is the great grandson of the late Anna DeFronzo, a well-known community activist who worked for years to improve relations between Massport and the community.
DeFronzo is a U.S. Sailing Certified Instructor and brings a great deal of expertise in nonprofit management.
Moreno holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and has been an Eastie resident since emigrating from Colombia in 1996.
Moreno crewed for several Boston Harbor ships, honing skills in marine maintenance to big-boat racing. As a sailing instructor and lesson coordinator for PPSC, Moreno skippered sails for patients from the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Charlestown and youth groups from a number of local adaptive schools and organizations.
“Piers Park Sailing Center drove both of us to pursue professional and educational opportunities with nonprofit organizations,” said DeFronzo. “The programs at PPSC built our confidence, skills, and understanding of others. We are the product of this mission-driven organization, and we could not be more honored to take on the task of ensuring many future years of strengthened programming at PPSC. We want to make sure that the enriching experience that had such a profound impact on us, and hundreds of others, remains vital and vibrant for generations to come.”
Both DeFronzo and Moreno will start on April 24. PPSC will re-open for the season on April 29.
“We are happy to announce that 65 East Boston families have registered their children for summer programming at PPSC in just the first two days of enrollment, and the numbers keep growing,” said Moreno. :Registration will remain exclusive to Eastie families through April 30. Families from other cities and towns will be able to register starting May 1.”
For families that cannot access the online system, Moreno said PPSC will have in-person enrollment days at the sailing center on April 8 from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., April 22 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and April 30 from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.