Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 07-30-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 WOONSOCKET JULY 30-AUGUST 5, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Grant helps Woonsocket Summer Learning run through COVID Registration for summer program still open WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Summer Learning Initiative, located in the C3 Center at 120 Northeast St. in Woonsocket, has received a $142,000 grant from United Way. The program has required a lot of innovation by partners and educators to run during the COVID-19 pan- demic, and that innovation has led to a successful summer program in atypical times, say those behind it. Getting this off the ground in four communities, including Woonsocket, took a lot of work to meet demand- ing challenges, paired with a $450,000 investment by United Way to bring a safe mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid opportunities to children, many of whom missed sub- stantial distance learning days. Community partners in Woonsocket include NeighborWorks, Connecting for Children & Families, Community Care Alliance, and Riverzedge Arts. All of them have had an impact in setting up the initia- tive to run as it has been during the pandemic. Sandra Costa of CCF is the program manager, and Amanda Charchafliah is education coordina- tor. Educators noted that the program needed to be flexible because some children in the community have had to take on additional roles or are in a more dire financial situation due to the pandemic. Reflecting this, stu- dents can tune in whenever they can and attend in-person events at the C3 Center on "Fun Fridays." "In terms of the actual structure, typically from 12 to 8 daily there are various online platforms for them to go on," said Monique Austin, a part- ner with NeighborWorks. There had been a degree of uncer- tainty about how the program would run as guidelines for staying socially distant were updated. Austin noted that "every week it was changing," and that the creativity in figuring out solutions to open safely has been a challenge for everyone involved. A portion of the grant from United Way has also gone to stipends for children to help their families finan- cially. The stipends are given for classes and courses that they attend, and are available both to children who can show up in person and chil- dren who take classes online. "Students will get points for every class they attend, and then that trans- lates into their cash stipend," Austin said. The rest of the grant has gone to keeping the program going, and giv- ing materials to the children involved in the program so that they can par- ticipate from their homes. "The state's been able to provide (personal protective equipment), but some of the money went to PPE costs. Another thing is we've got to have somebody come in and clean and sanitize this space, so when we're done today the cleaning company will come in over the weekend so that next week it will be safe," Austin said. Members said they were acting as the "ears" of the children, and listen- ing to their concerns to build a safe community. "This year, we got a lot of feedback from the youth. We had a couple of youth town halls, and they had identified that a lot of what they need is support, particularly social and emotional," Marlene Guay, a partner with NeighborWorks, said. Allyson Marino, a site coordina- tor for the Chillin' and Skillin' art program, also emphasized how much help each of their community part- ners have been. "We utilize a lot of community partners, like Roger Williams Park Zoo, RiversEdge Arts right over here in Woonsocket, Rhythm Room, remote for the Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art," she said. Programs offered by the Summer Learning Initiative are widely var- ied, and include cooking classes, art classes, physical fitness classes, book clubs, and different problem-solving courses, which have mostly moved online. The program also includes virtual field trips to places such as By ADAM ZANGARI Valley Breeze Intern BREEZE PHOTO BY ADAM ZANGARI Students eat at a cookout held at the C3 Center in Woonsocket, held as a part of Fun Fridays through the SUMMER LEARNING INITIATIVE. See LEARNING, Page 10 505 Old River Road, (Rte. 126), Manville, RI, Open: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. • Blueberries • Beans • Rhubarb • Radishes • Cucumbers • Kale • Squash (Yellow & Green) • Raspberries • Carrots • Native Lettuce • Cabbage • Scallions • Beets • Local Eggs & more! Old Orchard Farm And Greenhouse RI NATIVE CORN and TOMATOES have arrived! EBT Best Prices & Great Service 10 - 15 - 20 - 25 Yard DUMPSTER RENTALS 165 Poplar Street Woonsocket, RI 401-769-9125 Storage Units available 5x10's 10x10's 10x15's 10x20's DISPOSAL and STORE YOUR STUFF WITH GLADU YOU'LL BE GLAD U DID!

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