Previn Chandraratna leads by example, showing the girls at Row New York that with focus and effort, they can achieve anything. Working with girls who have never been near a boat before – some of whom do not even know how to swim when they enter the program – Previn builds their confidence and turns them into independent young women and competition-quality rowers.
While Previn is extremely humble, his effort and commitment are universally recognized by colleagues, parents, and youth. One participant says, “We all work hard because we see how hard Previn works. We know he could be making a lot more money doing something else, but he chooses to work with us. That means a lot.” Previn’s unflagging energy and dedication inspire the girls at Row New York to try their hardest.
Another student recounts a time when Previn referred to her as “one of my athletes.” She said, “I can’t believe he called me an athlete. It is amazing to have this person in your life who is so successful and who believes in you.” Previn provides constant encouragement to the youth in his program, growing their self confidence and pushing them to discover and use the strength they already possess.
Previn approaches the girls in his program with respect, guidance, humor, and patience, a mix of characteristics that makes him an excellent coach, but Previn is not only adept on the water. He is as comfortable editing a student’s essay or helping with her calculus homework as he is critiquing her stroke. A brilliant thinker, writer, and communicator, Previn helps the girls succeed academically as well as athletically.
Nothing will dispel preconceived notions of what urban girls are capable of more quickly than the image of the girls of Row New York loading their boats into the water and setting off to practice in 30-degree weather and gusting winds without complaint. And the man helping these girls accomplish what many people would believe they are not capable of is Previn Chandraratna, whose hard work and dedication enables these New York City girls recognize and fufill their great potential.