Every once in a while when I’m driving through Old Town I’ll notice a tall, angelic woman walking down one of our city’s beautiful historic streets. I always feel like I’m watching some sort of commercial, or like I’m behind the scenes at a photo shoot because she is stunningly beautiful and she walks with such grace.
As I’ve gotten to know Kathy Seifert (outside of the drive-by occurrences), I’ve learned that she’s just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Kathy is the executive director of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, a local non-profit that redirects the lives of young adults in the DMV. Through an apprentice program, these individuals are mentored in woodworking and boat building in hopes of teaching them a craft, building their self confidence, and developing their social skills.
Scroll down to learn more about Kathy and how she is helping make major strides in our community!
Tell us about the Alexandria Seaport Foundation and how it is helping the youth in the DMV.
The Alexandria Seaport Foundation gives young people ages 16-22 the opportunity to redirect their lives and become self-sufficient, productive adults. ASF provides the life, career, and educational skills they need to both secure and maintain employment through adult mentoring, carpentry, and the craft of wooden boat building. ASF has impacted hundreds of young people in the DMV area who needed a second chance.
How did you get involved and what inspired you to help?
I became involved with ASF twelve years ago when I accepted the position as Director of Development. I summered on Cape Cod as a child and had taught sailing for years. The opportunity to work with a foundation that used traditional wooden boat building as a way to improve the lives of young men and women at risk of slipping through the cracks was one I found very appealing.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role there?
I took over as executive director of the Seaport Foundation last May and, along with a very engaged board of directors, am committed to continuing its important work and serving more young people in need of guidance and direction.
What is a typical day like for a student enrolled in the Apprentice Program?
Apprentices work Monday through Friday from 8am-4pm. They are paid an hourly wage and follow a three-phase curriculum during their time at ASF, which ranges anywhere from seven to 10 months, depending upon the individual needs of an apprentice. A typical day will involve some form of carpentry….whether it be making a piece of furniture or working on the current boat project, may involve working with a tutor toward the GED, may involve learning life skills through a TED talk or lecture, or an apprentice may be off site doing an externship at a local business. Apprentices take yoga/meditation twice weekly and are connected with community resources to address any personal barriers to success such as safe housing, substance abuse, psychological counseling and/or to secure legal documents necessary for employment.
How can people get involved/volunteer?
There are many ways to be involved with ASF from tutoring to on-the-water instruction, life skills lectures, and fundraising events. For more information contact Jay Helinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have a big event coming up this Saturday, Wine on the Water! What’s the low down?
Wine on the Water is ASF’s largest annual fundraising event. We had more than 250 attendees last year. Featuring exceptional wines and charcuterie from Unwined in Alexandria, live steel drums, and fabulous auction items, this event is a local favorite! The event will be held at 44 Canal Center, 5th Floor Balcony, which boasts stunning views of our nation’s capital. All proceeds will benefit the Alexandria Seaport Foundation.
How do we get tickets?
We hope to see you at Wine on the Water this Saturday! Come out and support this wonderful foundation, meet Kathy Seifert, and have an amazing time! If you can’t make it you can support the foundation by donating here.
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