Former Piers Park Sailing Center Instructor Uses Birthday to Raise Funds for Adaptive Sailing Program

Adam Riley spent his summers as a kid learning to sail at East Boston Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC). Then, throughout high school and college, he would come back to Eastie’s popular sailing program to teach other neighborhood kids the skill of sailing and the lessons that come with being on the ocean at the helm of a sailing vessel.

Recently, Riley decided that instead of friends and family taking him out for a drink or buying him a gift he asked that people donate between $5 and $10 to help PPSC’s adaptive sailing program.

“I grew up going to Piers Park Sailing as a kid, I learned to sail there, taught there as an instructor in high-school and college, and have gone back to volunteer and race as much as possible as an adult. It’s really a special place for me,” said Riley. “My initial goal for this is $795, because $795 is how much it costs to sponsor a scholarship for a disabled sailor to go through a Learn To Sail Course and Season Pass.”

While Riley said that $5 to $10 may not seem like much the ability for someone with a disability to be able to learn to sail is a life-changing moment.

“As unlike many other sailing centers on the harbor, PPSC has the equipment and an amazing, dedicated staff to safely transfer adaptive sailors from their wheelchairs or mobility aids on the dock, into the boat, and keep them secure in the boat, while on the water,” he explained. “And when they finally do learn to sail and can leave their wheelchair physically behind on the dock and go out on their own, or with friends, they all but leave their disability behind at the dock as well.”

For these sailors, Riley said there’s no need to look for ramps or elevators or handicap spots.

“The water, the greatest asset of our beautiful city, and all it has to offer is as open to them as it is anyone else,” he said. “It’s really an incredible thing to see, and one of the most rewarding things on earth to be able to be a part of. In a world full of worthwhile charities, this place and this program are each important to me, and could make a real difference in someone’s life.”

Well, Riley’s kind gesture not only exceeded his expectations but the expectations of all the people that decided to give.

In less than 24 hours Riley met his $795 goal.

Then something amazing happened.

People kept donating forcing Riley to double his goal to see if he could get enough money raised for two adaptive sailing scholarships totaling $1,590.

By Monday, with six hours left in his online fundraising endeavor, Riley had raised $1,650.

“PPSC would like to thank Adam Riley for raising enough to cover two full adaptive scholarships,” said PPSC Executive Director Alex DeFronzo. “Two disabled veterans that learned to sail in our programs will be able sail all season on their own because of Adam’s birthday fundraiser.”

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