SUCCESS STORIES

Youth Police Initiative (YPI)

The Youth Police Initiative (YPI) is a two week dynamic program that positively impacts the relationships and interactions between police officers and inner city youth.

The youth and police train together and participate in facilitated discussions, team-building exercises and reality-based scenario trainings. From these experiences, youth and police develop lasting relationships that foster a deeper understanding between the two groups.

YPI has successfully built bridges between local police officers and teenage youth living in public housing. These fifteen teens that could be considered “at risk” were able to see themselves as equals with seasoned police officers. Both groups broke barriers by presenting honest and heartfelt testimonies on their life choices. Some found common ground among the group while others realized they still have time to make better choices in order to achieve their goals. Each session is ended by participants stating something they have learned, or something that has impacted them from the discussion. A sense of community and pride has been cultivated among the group.

Many of the teens have expressed ideas on how to improve their community and make it a safer place for families to live. Ultimately, the program will seek to reduce youth violence, gang involvement and tension between teens and police by opening the gates of communication …

A Graduation Ceremony took place on Wednesday, November 9, 2017.

Woonasquatucket River Rangers

Junior River Rangers are in their 12th season in 2017 and will be recruiting in Spring. Click here (link to: http://wrwc.org/employment.php#junior) to see if Jr Ranger positions are still available and apply! In 2016, WRWC hired youth from the Olneyville neighborhood to learn about and become stewards of the Woonasquatucket River. Over the 2016 season, River Rangers learned a ton about the caring for environment around the Woonasquatucket River. They installed gardens to help clean stormwater , like the Red Shed Green Roof and Riverside Bioswale garden, and gardens that beautify the Greenway, like the Red Shed entry gardens and our new garden on the Route 6 mural wall behind Manton Heights.

In addition to growing and tending new gardens along the Greenway, River Rangers also led nearly 1,000 community volunteers in projects through Clean Days on the Greenway projects – painting and building fences, doing litter sweeps, cleaning the river, mulch mobbing, and sprucing up playgrounds for families to enjoy. River Rangers learn technical and professional skills through their stewardship of the Greenway, and many move on to additional employment and further higher education River Rangers are a program of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. (link to: http://www.wrwc.org/)

Red Shed Bike Camp

Winter is finally wrapping up which means preparation for summer Bike Camp is in full swing at the Red Shed.  This year WRWC is offering a special April Girls Bike Camp and will continue offering weekly summer camp sessions June 26th – August 18th for children ages 8-13.  Every day includes scenic group rides along the Woonasquatucket River, lessons in bike mechanics, smart cycling, and environmental stewardship. Online registration for summer bike camp opens March 10! Register early; space is limited.

Scholarships are available for Olneyville families. All scholarship applications must be made in person by a parent or legal guardian and there is a $5 application fee. Contact the Red Shed at (469)708-9792 or redshed@wrwc.org to apply or come down to the shop when we open in May.

Red Shed Bike camp is held at Riverside Park, 50 Aleppo Street in Providence, RI.
Dates: Weekly Sessions June 26th-August 18th
Contact: (469) 708 9792 or redshed@wrwc.org
Cost: $200/week; scholarships available.

Last summer in 2016, 75 campers went home with bikes and all campers went home with the skills and knowledge to ride more, and ride safely.   The Bike Camp program has grown in popularity every year, with last year’s program filling up before the first day of camp, and 89 campers participating overall. Thanks to organizations like the Olnyeville HEZ, the Red Shed is able to offer scholarships to all campers who live in Olneyville. Red Shed is a program of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. (link to: http://www.wrwc.org/)

Fresh Food: Riverside Community Gardens

The Riverside Community Gardens will continue growing in 2017! If you are interested in getting on the waiting list for a plot, please call the WRWC office at 401-861-9046, or email Lisa Aurecchia at lisa@wrwc.org. With support from the HEZ, the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council expanded the public container garden experiments in 2016, adding two new areas that include medicinal and culinary herbs as well as the popular healthy treat, strawberries!  The public container gardens simultaneously demonstrate a safe and inexpensive way to grow food in a post-industrial landscape, while increasing food production in a relatively small community garden.  These communally-maintained container gardens grew an abundance of vegetables and herbs, succession planting generated continuous crops throughout the season.  The bounty was shared between gardeners and passers-by; additionally providing visitors with the opportunity to harvest a snack or dinner, some young folks experiencing this for the very first time!   

The Riverside Community Garden has eleven raised container plots and is ADA-compliant.  In 2016, eight community gardeners and three student groups grew their own food. Gardeners included CITE School, English For Action, and the Manton Avenue Project. The Riverside Community Garden is a program of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. (link to: http://www.wrwc.org/)

Fall Festival 2016

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The annual Olneyville Fall Festival was a fabulous event that made a splendid scene in the heart of Olneyville this past October. Every year members of the Olneyville Collaborative coordinate this ALL-free event which features live music and dance performances, games, raffles, food, resources, and much more! San Souci Drive in Olneyville Square was closed down and kids and adults were able to enjoy the entertainment. The festival is the perfect opportunity for residents, community organizations and law enforcement to celebrate Olneyville and the fall season in positive, safe, and fun ways. DJ LadyRuck & local rappers hyped up the crowd, and the live Salsa and Zumba performances got residents grooving and moving. Children climbed and bounced around on the Y on the Move bouncy and families took pleasure in enjoying the sunny day while on a stroll on the Sol Chariot rides.

International Walk/Bike to School Day

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On October 5th, the William D’Abate Express Walking School Bus celebrated International Walk/Bike to School day. International Walk to School Day gives children, parents, school teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global event as they celebrate the many benefits of walking or biking. This year, the D’Abate Express was joined by community stakeholders including Councilman Michael Correia, Providence Police officers, ONE Neighborhood Builders staff, RI Department of Education staff, Principal Brent Kermen and Mayor Jorge Elorza. Once the group arrived at the school, Mayor Elorza and Principal Kermen presented all the Walking School Bus students Certificates of Participation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William D’Abate Walking School Bus

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For children living within a mile of their schools, who do not qualify for bus pick-up and drop-off, the Walking School Bus program ensures that those without transportation at William D’Abate elementary school have a safe way to get to and from school. “Many parents can’t take their kids to school and without this Walking School Bus, a lot of kids wouldn’t go to school at all,” says Stephen Hug, senior vice president of marketing, communications and community relations at Family Service of Rhode Island.

Walking School Bus monitors guide students home and sometimes act as crossing guards when there isn’t anyone else available to help the children navigate the busy streets.

In October 2015, the D’Abate Walking School Bus was finally launched! In partnership with Family Services Rhode Island’s Providence Children’s Initiative, the WSB started with three students and one walking route. By June, the WSB had increased to two routes and 23 student participants!

Interested in volunteering to be a Walking School Bus monitor? Contact Karelin Marcia at 401-351-8719 ext. 115 or Marcia@oneneighborhoodbuilders (all volunteers must pass a background check).

Farm to Pantry

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Through the Olneyville HEZ, Farm Fresh RI and the Olneyville Food Center partnered in efforts to bring fresh produce to the Food Center. Through this partnership, Farm Fresh RI distributed fresh produce to an average of 442 Food Center clients monthly between August 2015 and March 2016 through Farm to Pantry. More than 10,000 people visit the Olneyville Food Center every month and the addition of more fresh produce options was reported to be welcomed by food center customers. Given the high number of clients and high need, food center staff members prioritize Farm to Pantry for new clients as they are often more deprived of fruits and vegetables in their diets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoke Free Policy Implemented at Manton Heights

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In December 2015, the Providence Housing Authority’s Board of Commissions passed a resolution to implement a smoke-free policy at Manton Heights. Numerous outreach activities occurred after that time and in March 2016 the Manton Heights Resident Advisory Board implemented a resident survey about the new policy. Of the 37 surveys collected, 89% expressed favor for a smoke-free living environment. A common concern in the comments section of the surveys was resident concern about the health of their children, 54 children live in the households of  the 37 respondents’ in favor of the smoking ban.