This is How We’re Investing in Olneyville

Investing in children.

It’s a muggy Thursday afternoon in late July; for the third day in a row, the temperature pushes towards the upper 80s. Seemingly unfazed by the stifling heat, 11-year-old Paxton explains his secret to staying cool, “Biking on the path is so cool [that] I don’t even notice how hot it is when I’m riding.”

Before embarking on a five-mile trek to explore the Woonasquatucket River Greenway with his fellow campers, the fifth-grader learns how to use his bike’s gears to make riding easier. “They’re awesome for riding up hills,” he says with a smile.

Nearby, 9-year-old Hazel is peering into a small tube of water – a sample from the nearby river. She’s just returned from canoeing and is ready to conduct a water quality test; she’s most curious about the pH level.

“They’re learning without even realizing it,” says Sara Canuel, the camp’s co-director. The children are participating in the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council’s Red Shed Bike Camp, one of the Council’s three programs supported by our Olneyville Community Fund.

The Olneyville Community Fund

On Tuesday, August 6, we were back at the Red Shed. This time it was to announce $150,000 in funding for 13 nonprofit agencies who serve the community we’re proud to call home — an increase of over 60 percent from last year.

Since 2008, we’ve used the Olneyville Community Fund to invest more than $1 million in programs that support our community’s children and families, improve services for residents, and enhance public spaces.

2019 Olneyville Grant recipients.

So without further ado, here’s how the 2019 Olneyville grant recipients will use the funds to support our community:

  • Back to School Celebration of RI ($5,000): Provide school supplies and backpacks to neighborhood children.
  • Center for Resilience ($7,600): Partner with William D’Abate Elementary School to study the impact of social-emotional development and learning.
  • Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic ($10,000): Increase access to healthcare services for low-income, uninsured Olneyville residents.
  • Kings Cathedral ($5,000): Support Share to Care, a program providing food, clothing, and financial learning resources to individuals living in poverty.
  • The Manton Avenue Project ($20,000): Fund out-of-school time learning programs that partner students with professional artists and bring youth voices to the stage.
  • Meeting Street ($10,000): Support a six-week, classroom-based kindergarten readiness program for 36 Olneyville children.
  • Olneyville Neighborhood Association ($10,000): Offer free native language literacy and English speaking classes to residents.
  • ONE Neighborhood Builders ($23,000): Fund the Central PVD Resident Leadership Academy to provide local residents with the knowledge and skills to become effective self-advocates.
  • Providence Community Library ($17,570): Support The Olneyville Preschool Hub, a program helping families discover the library as a place for learning, and a grant for Spanish language and Latin American cultural classes for nonprofit staff.
  • Swearer Center at Brown University ($1,830): Fund an afternoon chess program for D’Abate Elementary students, taught by volunteers from the Brown University chess team.
  • The Wilbury Theater Group ($15,000): Develop a more connected community through performances and adult education programming in public speaking and theatre education.
  • Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council ($20,000): Fund three programs that reach hundreds of local children while in school and during out-of-school time.
  • YouthBuild Preparatory Academy ($5,000): Support the organization’s strategic planning process to better position YouthBuild to prepare young people for success in life.

By: Michael Cerio