NEKA is Excited to announce our support for team Ocean Grown and their campaign to compete in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Nini Champion and Lisa Roland will row 3,000 miles unassisted across the Atlantic this December while raising awareness for diversity and inclusion in the marine industry. The proceeds of this campaign will go into a scholarship fund for former foster care youths. This fund will provide a pathway for recipients pursuing careers in the maritime sector: four oars, two women, and a vision for a better future.
Growing up in Annapolis, Nini learned to sail with her family on the Chesapeake Bay. For the last five years, she has worked in the professional sailing industry as a first mate, and rigging technician. Nini is currently based in Denmark for a rotational captain's position onboard a superyacht. She received a degree in environmental science and hopes to combine her passion for ocean preservation with her love of sailing.
Lisa started her career in the marine industry at age 19. She quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a successful captain for DYC and sailing around the world in the process. At age 30, Lisa runs a private, internationally run charter program. She also provides consultation for the super-yacht industry concerning diversity and inclusion.
Nini Champion and Lisa Roland will be competing as a female pairs team in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge this December 12th, 2022. The challenge is a 3,000 nm unsupported rowing race from La Gomera, Spain to English Harbour, Antigua. Their goal is to take on the female world record, rowing two hour shifts, and arriving at the finish line within 45 days. The boat will be propelled by sheer strength, and powered by solar energy. Nini and Lisa will be tested physically, mentally and emotionally. This Race will be the ultimate test of human endurance.
As a former youth in foster care, Lisa experienced the challenges of the system firsthand. Her exposure to sailing allowed her to move past the depression, addiction, and homelessness she experienced growing up. Many of her friends who did not have this outlet are not as fortunate. As Lisa describes, "This is an opportunity gap we are aiming to close." Ocean Grown aims to provide a tailwind for the next generation of young people emerging from foster care by removing the financial barriers to entry in the marine industry.
Ocean Grown is creating a maritime scholarship fund for former youth who have aged out of the foster care system. Our goal is to raise $60,000 , to be divided into 10 individual scholarships. These funds will help cover the costs of relocation, training, and living expenses.
Please show your support and donate to Team Ocean Grown. All proceeds go directly to their scholarship fund and provide foster care youths an entry way into the marine industry.