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May 2017



How healthy are RI kids? Money-saving shopping tips RI youth to speak nationally

Fighting the

opioid crisis

Using drama therapy to talk about addiction Rebecca Fitzgerald of the Chariho Youth Task Force




Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017



Every month, Rhode Island Parent Magazine and website touch more than 15,000 families. We are a trusted resource. You can be part of RI’s only monthly publication solely focused on parenting! Now accepting new advertisers and writing contributors. / 401-337-9240


CAMP & SUMMER PROGRAM GUIDE Whatever you are looking for, you’ll find it in our Guide! Camps types represented: Art





Rock climbing




Find the Guide throughout the magazine with the title at the top of the pages. Some advertisers offer services year-round, so check the Guide even if you aren’t looking for a camp/program.

May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine






Win tickets to the Providence Children’s Museum

We’re giving away two sets of four tickets. Each set is worth $36! The Providence Children’s Museum offers hands-on, playbased exhibits and programs that explore arts, culture, science, technology, engineering, and math. Visit to enter for your chance to win.

Join us on @Instagram and show us your Mother's Day photos Send us your Mother's Day photos! Tag @riparentmag with #mothersday on Instagram and we may share your pics!


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017



May 2017 / vol. 2 / no. 10


4 Online Fun Giveaway and social media.


6 A Note from the Publisher Speaking at school. 10 A Better Life Shopping tips. 12 News Briefs Contribute to the magazine.

15 Get Active Local youths speaking nationally.

16 Education Help increase books in RI homes.

18 Calendar What to do in May.

Features 8 Cover Feature: Fighting the Opioid Crisis

14 Obesity among RI Youth

Check our website, to enter for your chance to win great prizes. And while you’re there, take a look at our latest calendar of events and directory of businesses and organizations for whatever you need.


Find information about camps and programs throughout the magazine.


For birthday parties and other events, see pages 19 and 21.

On the web: Our website is a one-stop shop for parents in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Find the current magazine and past issues on the website too, both as a digital magazine and searchable articles. The digital edition is great for reading on a tablet, phone, or computer. Also online, sign up for our email newsletter and join our Facebook and Twitter pages. Visit,, and May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


A Note from the Publisher


n April, I had the pleasure of speaking to 8th graders at the Davisville Middle School in North Kingstown for their career day. I spoke to four classes of students over a period of about an hour and a half. By the end, I couldn’t remember what I had told each class! Their questions were wonderful and show that students today are able to think about their futures. I met writers of all kinds, from poets to novelists. They covered everything from personal essays to science fiction stories. I left the students with a challenge: write a 700-word or less essay about something important to them and send it to me to be evaluated for possible publication. I gave them ideas such as “What I wish adults would understand,” or “Why I think sports are important to school.” This is an open invitation to all students in RI. I’d love to print a few essays on topics important to young people. This past month I also graduated from my Social Enterprise Greenhouse Social Impact Accelerator class. It was a whirlwind 12 weeks of studying business and how we can have a social impact. It’s helped me to think about my overall business, which is Gale Force Communications, and what we can do in addition to the magazine. I’m very sad that the class is over but I’m full of new ideas for how I’d like to create a one-stop shop for parents’ information. We’re talking about doing a Family Fun Day next spring where you and your children can have lots of crazy fun while learning about local organizations that can help you. We’d also like to do webinars to connect parents with local experts. If you have any ideas for how we can help you, please let me know at Happy Spring!

Susan Gale

57 Rolfe Square, Box 10094 Cranston, Rhode Island 02910 (401) 337-9240 Founder and Publisher Susan Gale Art Director/Graphic Designer Rob Kenney Copy Editor Sheila Flanagan Business Manager Lisa Koulibaly Sales and Marketing Manager Stephanie Bernaba (401) 337-9240 On the cover: photo provided by the Chariho Youth Task Force Publisher photo taken by Keith Jochim. Rhode Island Parent Magazine is published monthly by Gale Force Communications. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products, or services are endorsed by the publisher. Editorial submissions welcome. ©2017 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

Like us on Facebook and Twitter: @RIParentMag


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017


May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Cover Feature By Susan Gale

Play helps parents talk with teens about the OPIOID CRISIS


hat Ana Bess Moyer Bell wishes most is that Feeling overwhelmed by her grief and confusion, Moyer when she was in high school, the adults in her Bell put up a Facebook post about the epidemic. The life had talked about it. responses from local people came in fast – dozens of people Her South Kingstown High School affected by drug overdoses wrote to her, including nurses, boyfriend was top in his class, a varsity wrestler, and wellteachers, and pharmacists. liked. But when he died from a heroin overdose in 2012, no “As soon as I started talking about it, people came out of one talked about how he died. It led Moyer Bell to assume the woodwork to talk to me,” she said. that his death was an isolated incident. Drama therapy incorporates the tools of theater to “It wasn’t being dealt with in a healthy way. I found it help people deal with trauma and loss. Moyer Bell began complicated the grief,” she said. “And then there is all the thinking about how a play could help to educate and heal a shame and guilt that goes on top of losing someone to drug community ravaged by opioid abuse. She mined the many abuse. A lot of asking why didn’t I say something?” stories she had heard. Opioids include pain relievers “I used those stories, the themes available by prescription such as of them, and that’s how I wrote the oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, characters and plotline for the play.” morphine, fentanyl, and others. Her 35-minute play, called “Four Heroin is also an opioid, and Legs to Stand On,” is a “therapeutic surveys have found that nearly 80 theater” production done with percent of heroin users reported professional actors and is being shown using prescription opioids prior to locally in May and June (see sidebar heroin. They often turn to heroin for dates). In it, a son returns from because it is cheaper. college with an opioid addiction which In Rhode Island, more than started when he took pain relievers his half of high school students father had for cancer. At the dinner admitted misusing prescription table, cancer can be talked about, but drugs in the 30 days before they addiction remains a secret – the play Members of COAAST: (l-r) took a survey by the Rhode Island explores this dichotomy. Sarah Reed, Emily Lewis, Department of Education in the Turning grief and pain Jane Bird, Ana Bess Moyer Bell, 2013–2014 school year. into healing and Paul Kandarian A growing local problem Moyer Bell has taken her experience Rhode Island has the dubious distinction with the play and transformed it into a of being fifth in the country when it comes to deaths caused non-profit called Creating Outreach about Addiction Support by overdoses, with 28.2 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, Together (COAAST). The group’s mission is to provide according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention community-engaged, arts-based programs to address the (CDC). In 2016, 336 people died from overdose in RI. opioid epidemic. Comparatively, 290 died in 2015 and 240 died in 2014. In She has three goals with the organization: to improve 2014 and 2015, 47 of those who died were under the age of 24. prevention, create clearer communication between parents/ For Moyer Bell, the devastation was all around her. While adults and children, and to destigmatize the conversation at New York University working on her master’s degree in about opioid abuse. COAAST also offers a prevention drama therapy, three friends died from overdoses over a threeeducation curriculum. month period. 8

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

Moyer Bell’s play has been performed almost two dozen times over the past two years in locations from community theaters and rehab facilities to churches and high schools. Each showing includes a 20-minute talkback discussion at the end to help the audience process feelings of trauma and loss.

Talking is a necessity

It’s important to warn children about misusing prescription opioids, because they often have easy access to them at home, or at the house of a relative or friend. They can also be prescribed opioids, for instance, for a sports injury, and not understand the addictive power of the medication. “This is a really scary topic but at this point we can’t not talk about it,” Moyer Bell said. “Talking aids in prevention but also if [teens] do misuse opioids, at least the line of communication is open – parents saying, you can talk to me about this, I’m not going to judge you.” The play helps people, Moyer Bell said, because they identify with the characters. It allows the them to safely explore and reflect on their own lives at the same time. Some parents may wish to use the play as a way to open the conversations with their teens. (The play is for ages 13+ and has humor that a younger child might not understand.) “The play will give them and their teenager a reference point. Storytelling and performance art is so powerful and we can then have the conversation about the really uncomfortable issue without talking about ourselves directly.” Moyer Bell said. “We can project onto the characters and have the conversation that way.” 

See the play “Four Legs to Stand On” May 6: 6 pm, Block Island Maritime Institute, 216 Ocean Avenue, New Shoreham. Donations at the door. May 7: 7 pm, Brown University Kassar House Foxboro Auditorium, 151 Thayer Street, Providence. $18. May 11: 7 pm, Westerly Middle School, 10 Sandy Hill Road, Westerly (co-event with Chariho Youth Task Force – see page 15.) Donations accepted. June 2: 7pm, Jamestown Arts Center, 18 Valley Street, Jamestown, $20. Visit the calendar at for more information and to purchase tickets. The Westerly event is sponsored by Westerly Hospital in collaboration with the Washington Coalition for Kids, South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, and the Dunns Corner Church.

Susan Gale is Founder and Publisher of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.

A scene from "Four Legs to Stand On," a “therapeutic theater” production about addiction with Sarah Reed, Paul Kandarian, Emily Lewis, and Cam Torres.

May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


A Better Life By Stephanie Bernaba

So you say you want a DEAL?


hopping retail has become so confusing. Discounts on certain days, for certain items, (or only at certain times), make shopping less and less of a pleasurable activity. With discounts coming and going so quickly, it’s like you can never win. What’s a mom got to do to get a great deal? Well, I have a few tips for you. And while they’re not 100% foolproof, they may just help you save a few bucks.

Find coupon codes

There is often an active coupon code for your transaction. Googling your retailer plus the words “coupon code” may help you find one that’s active, though I’ve found that is the best place to find active, redeemable codes.

The ‘cart’ trick

Always try the coupon

I’ve been in situations a few times where I just plain missed the deadline for a coupon that was either emailed to me or sent to my house. Instead of trashing it, bring it to the store and hit the service desk or see a cashier, and explain the situation. They may still be able to honor it (it does happen), or trade your expired coupon for their current deal.

Try clearance first

Before you head to the department of the item you want, head to the clearance section. I’ve found just the items I was looking for without having to pay full price. Pro Tip: Check the prices on all clearance items. If there is more than one of a particular item, check the tags on each. Since clearance status is determined at different times, you may be able to find the exact item, on the same shelf, at a lower price.

Sometimes when we shop online, we have to leave our carts. Either life gets busy, or we’re not really sold on an item, and we want to continue looking. Leave it in your cart. Leave your computer for a few hours. In many cases, you will receive an email stating a) it looks like you left an item in your cart, and b) here’s a discount to entice you to complete the transaction. From what I’ve seen, the discounts are usually between 10% and 20%, and have convinced me to try items I was unsure about. Sometimes it pays to wait.

Keep a close eye on social media

Order one more

It never hurts to ask

Sites like,, and Staples offer discounts for ordering more than one of the same or similar items. If it’s something you plan to rebuy anyway, it makes sense to purchase two or more. You also save on shipping.

Get a Groupon

I used to avoid Groupon, thinking Groupons were only offered by failing businesses. It was probably an erroneous assumption, but, after using it a few times, I’m hooked. Installing the app on your phone sends relevant offers right to your home screen. I’ve bought meals, gifts, and even started my gym membership via a Groupon. Once you add a method of payment to your account, it’s one click, and you’re through. And don’t worry about using the Groupon right away – they will email you to notify you of a pending expiration, so your deal doesn’t go to waste. 10

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

Following a business on Facebook or Twitter can help you get on-the-spot discounts. For example, Mohegan Sun will give you a phrase to say at one of their buffets to receive a discount. You can be alerted to “Free Cone Day” at ice cream shops, special events, and which nights your kids dine for cheap (or free!). Sometimes simply retweeting a business’s tweet will win you a discount code. And this is also the best way to find out about limited-time offers. If you are adamant about getting a deal, when you get to the cashier, ask about discounts. “Are there any deals I may not have seen in my inbox?” Or “Should I check my email for a current offer?” Oftentimes, they can apply some discount towards your purchase. For additional money-saving tips, see this article on our website,!  Stephanie Bernaba, of Richmond, is Sales and Marketing Manager for Rhode Island Parent Magazine. She is also an independent journalist specializing in life in the digital age and entertainment. View her recent work and digital portfolio at


SPECIAL DEAL for camps advertising in June: Try us out at a reduced price! Contact us now!

(401) 337-9240

May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


News Briefs

Do you have something to say? Call for contributing writers and story ideas


hode Island Parent Magazine is now accepting story ideas and articles for upcoming issues. Our goal is to harness local expertise and deliver it to parents in easy-to-use ways. Who can write? Doctors, teachers, non-profit officials, day care workers, parents, kids, researchers, businesses … anyone with interesting and relevant information. We ask that you write about your expertise, not your business, organization, etc. All writers receive a biography line at the end of their article which gives details about them and contact information. We will assist you with writing, and all submissions are edited for clarity and length. Suggested content areas include education, health, getting active, RI history related to children, feature stories, upcoming events, fun things to do in RI, etc. Please contact with story ideas. 

Mianna Gonsalves is winner of Governor for a Day essay contest


ianna Gonsalves, an 11-year-old student at Emma G. Whiteknact Elementary School in East Providence, wrote about the importance of fostering student leadership at a young age. Her essay won the Women’s History Month essay contest, sponsored by Governor Gina Raimondo. Mianna wrote that she wanted to be Rhode Island's Governor for a Day because "students should not have to wait until middle or high school to lead, they should get to start in elementary school."    She hopes to promote healthy lifestyles, writing, "My school started an exercise and movement initiative. I would like to expand upon this and make it statewide. How cool would it be if all fifth graders in the state were participating in movement breaks together? Whether it’s yoga or running, I think it would be amazing if the whole state was doing it together!" Mianna was sworn in as Governor for a Day on April 28. The Governor's office received hundreds of submissions from middle school girls across the state. "Mianna's essay inspires young girls—and all students—to become leaders in their communities, and I'm excited to spend the day with her,” Raimondo said. “I want to thank all the girls who participated in the contest. Reading their enthusiastic, creative essays assures me that the future is in good hands." 


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

Runners up include: Mara Oancea, 6th grade, Archie R. Cole Middle School, East Greenwich "If I were governor for a day, I would promote women’s rights and improve STEM learning opportunities for kids. As a girl, I am well aware of the many disadvantages that women face, including salary, education, and employment opportunities." Hamna Naveed, 6th grade, Islamic School of Rhode Island, West Warwick   "I would also support Governor Gina Raimondo’s plan of making college education free. I think this plan is great as most people don’t attend college because of its cost. College is very important because we need good education to get a good job." Sanjana Maddipudi, 5th grade, Lincoln Central Elementary, Lincoln "Bullying is one of the biggest problems facing the nation and I feel we need to spread awareness around it and fast. That's why I'll be stopping by some schools to talk to kids about how to prevent it from happening." Sarasvati Buchta, 8th grade, Martin Middle School, East Providence    "I would work to make schools safer and more supportive for LGBTQ+ and disabled students. Going to school can be hard for anyone, but especially for these students, who may face stigma and extraordinary harassment." 

2017 CAMP & SUMMER PROGRAM GUIDE Artists’ Exchange

50 Rolfe Square, Cranston 401-490-9475 Fantastic day camps for the creative mind! Art, Theater, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and Ceramics. Ages 5–15. Camps start June 19th and run through August 25th. Monday–Friday, 9 am–3 pm, before and after care available. See ad, page 7.

Community Boating Center

India Point Park, Providence 401-454-7245 Two-week youth sailing camps offered June–Aug. Mon–Fri 9am–3:30 pm. NEW one-week Save The Bay Camp. Two age groups, 8–11 years old and 12–16 years old. Waterfront “Sailabration” skippered sailing events, room/deck rentals, youth afterschool programs, and evening or weekend adult lessons, recreational sailing, and NEW kayaking also available. See ad, page 11.

Dream Big Academy

41 Comstock Pkwy, Cranston 70 Industrial Rd, Cumberland 401-228-8946 See ad, page 7.

Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England

Glocester, West Kingston, Newport, Swansea, MA 401-331-4500/1-800-331-0149 Get ready for a summer filled with activities like archery, hiking, sailing, reaching new heights on the challenge course, swimming, and don't forget campfires & s'mores! Financial aid available. Visit to register NOW! See ad, page 17.

J-Camp at the Dwares JCC

401 Elmgrove Ave, Providence, RI 401-421-4111 June 26–August 25, Mon–Fri 9am–4pm. For children ages 3–15. Welcoming all faiths and backgrounds. Enjoy a variety of activities with themes such as mystery, construction, Olympics and carnival. Daily schedules filled with sports, swim lessons, art, cooking, science, drama, field trips, and more. Lunch and snacks included. Early arrival and extended day options; half-day options for 3–4 year olds; sibling and early bird discounts; payment plan options; counselor-intraining opportunities for teens.

Kingston’s Camp on Larkin’s Pond Peace Dale 401-783-8620 See ad page 11.

Mother of Hope Camp

1589 Putnam Pike, Chepachet 401-568-3580 See ad, page 11.

RISD Young Artists

2 College Street, Providence (401) 454-6200 CE.RISD.EDU Summer is busy at RISD, where kids shape their creativity and imagination, and teens develop their personal style as artists and designers. Camps and classes for kids and teens ages 6–17. See ad, page 17. 

Rock Spot Climbing

100 Higginson Ave, Lincoln, (401) 727-1704 1174 Kingstown Rd, Peace Dale, (401) 789-SPOT See ad, page 7.


170 Jefferson Blvd, Warwick 401-463-5565 See ad, back cover.

The Children’s Workshop

Multiple locations 401-334-0100 A fun, active, and educational summer experience. Bi-weekly themes cover every interest from sports to discovery science to travel. Field trips, special guests, arts and crafts, swimming, dancing, singing - you name it, we do it! Also, special events for both children and families. See ad, page 7.

YMCA of Greater Providence

Barrington; Cranston; Warwick; Peace Dale; Seekonk, MA. See website for telephone numbers See ad, inside cover.

May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Feature Story By Susan Gale

Youth obesity in Rhode Island


n estimated 27% of Rhode Island adults and 15% of high school students were obese in 2014, but we don’t know the exact numbers because there is no statewide data collection. National studies say that the prevalence of childhood obesity in America has tripled and today, nearly one in three children ages 2–19 is obese (17%) or overweight (15%). Among 42 ranked states in 2013, RI high school students ranked 7th best for the prevalence of obesity but 37th best for the prevalence of being overweight. In March, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT released an issue brief on child and adolescent obesity in RI. The report looks at data; factors that relate to obesity, such as daily screen time and physical activity; and provides recommendations. Visit for a link to the report. Obesity is medically defined as the presence of excess body fat, which is often estimated using the Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of weight to height. The estimated RI numbers identify 17% of kindergarteners, 17% of 7th graders, and 11% of high school students as obese. But these numbers are old, as the first two are estimates based on 2010–2011 data and the high school number is based on 2012–2013 data. In addition, they are estimations based on what data was reported but may not truly reflect the population. According to the KIDS COUNT report, overweight kindergartners are four times as likely as their healthy-weight peers to become obese by the eighth grade; teenagers who are obese have a greater than 70% risk of being obese adults.

Project to collect more RI data

There is movement to work on this problem. Rhode Island has received a State Innovation Model (SIM) test grant of $20 million to work on health issues. One area they are addressing is obesity and working to expand the ability of providers and policy makers to use and store data such as BMI rates. “We don’t really know, for the whole state, what the obesity rate is. We’re focusing on getting actual data to evaluate the impact on a local level,” said Melissa Lauer of the RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “There are pockets of data and we’re trying to bring that together.” She noted that 25 other states do BMI reporting and suggested that legislative change will be necessary to ensure the state gets the entire picture. It’s important, she said, because it will allow for improving current care and implementing targeted interventions. 14

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

What you can do

Here are recommendations to improve your child’s likelihood of not being overweight or obese: Limit total entertainment screen time to less than two hours per day and discourage screen media exposure for children under age 2. This is a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). While the percentage of RI high school students who watch three or more hours of TV during a school day has decreased by 21% since 2001, time spent on computers for non-school related activities and/ or playing video games has increased 46% since 2007. Have children engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day. This is another AAP recommendation. While the number of RI high students reporting daily physical activity has increased 27% since 2005, they rank 32nd in meeting this standard among 41 ranked states in 2013. Make sure your children are receiving enough active time in school. In Rhode Island, students are required to receive an average of 100 minutes per week of health and Physical Education (PE) instruction, according to KIDS COUNT. Nationally, the weekly recommended amount is 150 minutes in elementary school and 225 minutes in middle and high school. Among RI high school students in 2011–2013, 40% reported weekly PE attendance of two or less days, 60% reported three or more days, and 24% reported daily PE attendance. Increase their intake of fruits and vegetables and limit soda and other sugary drinks. This one is the no brainer we’ve all heard many times, but the numbers tell the story: overall consumption of fruits and vegetables by RI students have declined 24% since 2001 and 78% of students reported eating less than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Daily soda consumption has declined by 31%, but 22% of students between 2011–2013 reported consuming one or more cans of soda a day.  Susan Gale is Founder and Publisher of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.

Get Active By Susan Gale


Youth group presenting at

national conference

hen you say mental health, many people think image found in their video about mental health. of mental illness, and the stigma of that can The group feels that teaching positive coping skills early make it harder to talk about. on with children is better than only teaching teens what they The Chariho Youth Task Force would like should not do, such as underage drinking. to change that conversation. They’ve started a “Stand up to “Nobody is scared of things,” said Rebecca Fitzgerald, a Stigma” campaign to talk about how everyone has mental CCRI student. “You have to give people reasons not to go to health, just as everyone has physical health. They want those things in the first place. If they don’t have other coping more people, especially teens, talking about how they can skills, they turn to these things.” protect their own mental health through “You’re only educated in all the developing positive coping strategies before negative things you can do. We should be there is an issue. educated in the positive things you can do,” As part of their work, the group has added Hanna Bill, a Chariho high school developed a video that uses an allusion to an freshman. umbrella in the rain to refer to protecting Speaking at a national mental health. (Visit conference for a link to their video.) The Task Force’s work got them invited to “It’s necessary to talk about it,” said present on mental health at a conference Ali Felicetti, a Community College of for the national SADD group. The event Rhode Island (CCRI) freshman. “You takes place in Tampa, Florida, in June and have to try to find your umbrella – your they are currently raising money to send coping mechanism. We’re working in premembers there. (Visit prevention.” chariho-youth-task-force to donate.) “We want [young people] to know They are also part of a local event they are not all alone, to reach them before Sarah Felicetti of the happening on May 11, in which they are problems start,” said Dan Fitzgerald, the Chariho Youth Task Force combining with a non-profit, Creating group’s coordinator. Outreach About Addiction Support Together (COAAST). Fighting issues their own way During the day, the Task Force will present at Westerly High The Task Force, made up of youth ages 10–22 and in existence School about mental health. At 7 pm, COAAST will run its for nearly eight years, is an independent group of young play, “Four Legs to Stand On,” at the Westerly Middle School. people working together on community issues. They have The play is a “therapeutic theater” production designed to addressed tobacco use, substance abuse, and drunk driving. help audiences deal with the effects of drug abuse and overdose. They regularly work with local schools and adult-run local and Parents may choose to attend the play with teens to open up statewide substance abuse task forces. the discussion about prescription drug abuse. (See page 8 for Many in the group got their start as part of a Students more information. The play is designed for ages 13+.) Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group at Chariho Members of the Task Force feel the opioid crisis is very real Regional High School, but found they wanted more freedom in their area and expressed frustration that some adults aren’t to pick what issues to address and how to address them. listening, including some elected leaders. They’ve been very creative. For instance, they decoupaged “You try to talk about it. They don’t listen. They don’t an entire dining room set with all the alcohol ads they found want to believe it. It’s getting bigger and bigger and we’re not just in magazines in their own homes. During Artessy, talking about it,” said Aimee Louzon, a student at Chariho Chariho's K–12 art show, they put up a “green screen” and High School.  took photos of people with umbrellas, which matched the Susan Gale is Founder and Publisher of Rhode Island Parent Magazine. May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine



Help increase the number of books in RI homes!


ast year, the United Way of Rhode Island’s book drive collected 40,000 books. Let’s make it 45,000 this year! The United Way, in partnership with Books Are Wings and the Women’s Leadership Council, has announced that its sixth annual Book Drive will take place until June 2. This event unites local businesses, community partners, families, and individuals around a common goal— helping children read. When children have access to books at home, they become stronger readers and better students. According to Books Are Wings, research suggests that growing up in a home with books is associated with additional years of schooling for children. You can help by donating your new and lightly used books, or by registering to host a book drive for your neighborhood, work place, or faith community. To help right now, you can visit the book drive’s Amazon wish list and donate a book. Visit for a link to the wish list and to register.

To donate books in person, visit one of these two book donation centers between 9 am and 1 pm on Fridays until June 2: Books Are Wings, Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street, Suite 8223A, Pawtucket United Way of Rhode Island Headquarters, 50 Valley Street, Providence Donated books are distributed to children through Books Are Wings and education programs, including the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative. Books Are Wings seeks to provide every Rhode Island child with regular access to books. The Women’s Leadership Council is a United Way of Rhode Island initiative, which creates STEM and literacy opportunities for RI youth and fosters mentoring partnerships with local schools and libraries. 

Fire safety plan a must for families


recent study conducted in the United Kingdom found that 80 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 13 do not wake up from a standard issue fire alarm – a scary thought for all parents. In response to this horrifying statistic, the BIC Corporation has offered tips to keep in mind when creating a family fire safety plan: Don’t make assumptions. Never assume that a child will wake up from a fire alarm. To help ensure everyone makes it out of the house safely, assign a parent or adult to each child and make sure they know to check on them in the event of a fire. Plan for the unexpected. The front door may be blocked or a window may get stuck. Make sure you and your family are prepared for every scenario and have alternative exit strategies.


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

Practice. This is crucial and helps ensure that everyone understands the escape plan and can perform it in the event of a fire. Share your plan. Make sure your babysitters, friends, and family know the escape plan in case you are not in the household when fire strikes. BIC recently created a website about fire safety. The “play safe! be safe!” site ( offers interactive games for preschool-aged children that teach them important lessons about fire safety like identifying fire-causing items and how to evacuate a burning house. The website suggests that parents use the games along with their children. 


May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


May 2017 Always check with event sponsors for updated information. Visit the calendar at for the latest information and the best way to submit calendar items. Or email to

Celebrate Roger Williams Park! On May 6, the Roger Williams Park Conservatory presents a full day of activities in Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. Free entrance. See the website for additional details and events. All day: Free admission at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center and Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium 9 am: Yoga, Temple to Music 10 am: Jane’s Walk, meet at Roger Williams statue 11 am–3 pm: Providence Flea and food trucks, Boathouse Lawn

May 12–14: Misquamicut Springfest Weekend. World-class carnival and games provided by Rockwell Amusements, music tent, international food court, 2-day classic car show and more. Friday: 5–11 pm; Saturday: 11 am–11 pm; Sunday: 11 am–6 pm. Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly. $7/admission; free/children under 4.

May 16: Kids Reading Across RI

Book Celebration at Weaver Library. Kids in grades 3–6 are invited to join us for a lively discussion and fun games relating to the Kids Reading Across Rhode Island (KRARI) book, “Save Me a Seat” by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. To register, call 401-4342453. 3:30–4:30 pm. East Providence Public Library – Weaver, 41 Grove Avenue, East Providence. Free.

May 17–21: Matilda The Musical.

1 pm: Joe’s Backyard Band, Boathouse

The story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her destiny. See website for days and times. Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street, Providence. $21–$83/tickets.

2 pm: Guided Trail Walk, meet at the Boathouse


11 am–4 pm: Jack in the Beanstalk planting activity for kids, Botanical Center Noon–4 pm: Free tennis court rental, lessons 1–2 pm (all ages)

Special events May 1: Discovery Tykes. Children

ages 2–4, with adult, investigate the world around them as they sing, dance, and discover in the Museum of Natural History’s monthly series which includes a 18

craft. Pre-registration preferred, but dropins welcome. 9:30–10:30 am. Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. $2/person.

May 5: Food Truck Friday Opening

Night at the Carousel Village. Experience the fun and entertainment of the Roger Williams Park Carousel Village with some of the best local food trucks around. Ride the carousel, explore Hasbro’s Boundless Playground, listen to live entertainment, and more. 5–8 pm,

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. Free admission.

May 5: Mariachi Festival. A cultural

celebration of “La Batalla de Puebla” also known as “Cinco de Mayo,” with a mariachi concert and intermission performance by Grupo Folklorico Mexicano de RI. Local taquería food trucks with a portion of sales donated to Rhode Island Latino Arts. Bring lawn chairs. 5:30–7 pm. Southside Cultural Center, 393 Broad Street, Providence. Free.

May 19: Waterfire. A multisensory art

installation featuring a series of bonfires that seem to float along the rivers of Providence. Curated music, aromatic wood smoke, and crackling firelight create an enchanting atmosphere. 7:41 pm. Waterplace Park, Providence. Free.

May 26: Misquamicut Drive-In

Movies. Featuring classic movies, concession stand, and restrooms. Movie is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Gates open at 6:30 pm, movie starts at 9 pm. Wuskenau Town Beach (Pondside Lot), 316 Atlantic Avenue, Misquamicut. $12/car. Visit events/misquamicut-drivein-movie-theater to purchase advance tickets.

Every Friday: Messy Arts! Bring the

kiddos each week for a unique craft, story time, and open play gym. 10 am– 11:30 am. Dream Big Academy, 41 Comstock Parkway, Cranston. $12.

Every Friday: Toddler Try-It. Young children, ages 18 months to 3 years, use real tools and explore the creative process as they delve into different hands-on art and science activities. 10 am–noon. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. (continued on page 20)


May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


May 2017 Every Friday: Bring Your Own

Improv. Family–friendly comedy show. 7–8:30 pm. Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road. $8/adults; $4/children under 12 and seniors.

Every Friday: Frosty Drew

Observatory & Sky Theater. Public stargazing. 6:30–11:30 pm. 61 Park Lane, Charlestown. $1/person suggested donation.

Weekends May 6/Saturday 11th Annual Touch-A-Truck with East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce. Vehicles to climb on and toot the horn, take photos with local mascots, free rides on the Chamber Choo Choo, free raffle drawings. Bring canned goods for donation. 9:30 am–2 pm. 1011 Waterman Avenue, East Providence. $5/person; $20/family of 4+ people. Taco-Fest. Join InDowncity at their 6th annual outdoor celebration of spring with food, music, dancing, and more. Face-painting, balloons, sidewalk chalk, masks, etc. Food vendors include Mijo’s Tacos, Laughing Gorilla, Poco Loco Tacos, Tallulah’s Taqueria, and Fugo. Like No Udder and Millie’s Macaroon Cart for dessert. 11 am–6 pm. Grants Block and Westminster Street in Providence. Free admission. Raid on Spell Hall: Revolutionary War Living History Encampment and Reenactment. Experience Colonial camp-life, music, musket and cannon demonstrations, tour General Greene’s homestead and watch continental troops defend Spell Hall from British and loyalist raiders. 10 am–4 pm. Historic 1770 Gen. Nathanael Greene 20

Homestead, 50 Taft Street, Coventry. $6/ adults; $4/children; $20 family admission cap. An Evening of Star Gazing at Ballard Park. Robert Horton, Manager of Astronomical Laboratories at Brown University, and Scott MacNeill of Brown’s Ladd Observatory guide the event and bring telescopes to view the moon and Jupiter. Dress warmly, bring a chair/blanket, and a flashlight. Sponsored by Friends of Ballard Park. 8:30–10 pm. 21 Hazard Road, Newport. Rain date, May 7. Free. Free Family Fun Days at Audubon Environmental Education Center. Open to the public the first Saturday of every month. Crafts, nature stories, animal discoveries, hikes, and more. No need to register. 9 am–5 pm. 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. Free. Field Studies for Families: Estuary Adventures. Discover marine life within RI’s largest coastal salt pond. Reservations required, cash or check only. 10:30 am–12:30 pm. Meet at Grassy Point parking lot in Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, just down from Frosty Drew Nature Center, 61–62 Park Lane, Charlestown. $20/ family. 401-859-1450 or fieldstudies@

May 7/Sunday Bird Walk at Ballard Park. Walk begins at the Wickham Road entrance (across from Rogers High School). Birder Patty O’Neill guides the walk and shares her knowledge of local, breeding, and migratory birds. Open to birders of all levels. Participants should wear sturdy shoes as the trails are steep and uneven in areas, and bring binoculars. 8 am. Ballard Park, 21 Hazard Road, Newport. Free.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

Enchanted Fairy Fun in the Enclosed Garden. Visit with the Fairy Queen and Mary King, plus enjoy Maypole Dancing, Rocket Fine Street Food Truck, and Fairy Crafts in the Summer House. Noon–2 pm. Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, 101 Ferry Road, Bristol. $28/family (two adults, two children); $14/adults; $5/children 6-17. Raid on Spell Hall: Revolutionary War Living History Encampment and Reenactment. See May 6.

May 13/Saturday Rock-A-Baby Concert at Roger Williams Park Zoo. Jam with the popular Rock-a-Baby band in the Meller-Danforth Education Center. Specifically geared towards the youngest guests and promises to be fun for the whole family. Must pre-register. 10:30– 11:15 am. Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. $7/ participant (age 2+). Family Fun Mornings at John Brown House. Interactive, family-friendly activities for children ages 5–10. Play historic games, cook old-fashioned desserts, and more. Preregister online and sign up for e-newsletter for updates. 9–10 am. John Brown House Museum, 52 Power Street, Providence. Free. Laugh Out Loud: Jessica Chace & Friends. Laugh out loud with "The Club" members Lauren, Dave, Jessie, and Tommy. All kids allowed in this club whose rules include to "Have Fun," "Be You," "Speak Your Mind," and "Dream Big."  Play games, act out stories, and be silly together. 11 am–noon. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay what you can, suggested $5 donation. (continued on page 22)


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May 2017 Festival Ballet Providence presents Cinderella. This ballet sweeps audiences away with the magical rags-to-riches story. From the comic stepsisters to the handsome Prince Charming, this story is sure to leave audiences entranced and enchanted. Runs Friday 7:30 pm, Saturday 7:30 pm, and Sunday 2 pm. The Vets, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence. $23–$85. Sheep Shearing at Watson Farm. Watch the farm flock be shorn by local shearers and visit with the baby lambs. View the farm's herd of Heritage Red Devon Cattle and enjoy a scenic hike around fields and pastures along Narragansett Bay. No dogs. Rain or shine. Noon–4 pm. Historic New England’s Watson Farm. 455 North Road, Jamestown. Free/members; $10/ vehicle for non-members.

May 14/Sunday

Happy Mother's Day! Mother’s Day Bead Making. Create a variety of beads and bead jewelry in celebration of Mother’s Day. Mold, sculpt and roll beads from paper, clay, and other materials and use them to make necklaces, keychains, and more! Admission is free all day for moms and grandmas. 11 am–2 pm. Providence Children’s Museum. 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. Mother’s Day Boat Rides. Familyfriendly boat tour of picturesque Providence waterways. 45-minute ride. Complimentary Prosecco served to adults 21+ or BYOB in a small cooler. 10 am–3 pm. Providence River Boat Company, 575 South Water Street, Providence. See website for times. $22/adults; $17/children under 12.


Festival Ballet Providence presents Cinderella. 2 pm, see May 13.

May 20/Saturday Tales from Land and Sea. Storytellers Anne Marie Forer and Cindy Killavey combine their talents to present lively, interactive performances. Stories “Magic Crab” and “Clever Jack’s Adventure.” 11am–noon. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay what you can, suggested $5 donation. Westerly Springs Green. An outdoor festival at the Avondale Farm Preserve, marking the 30th anniversary of the Westerly Land Trust. Children’s activities, farmer’s market, learn about greening your lifestyle, music, food, and more. 10 am–3 pm. Kings Way, Westerly. Free. Pie Contest and Eco Fair. Learn about gardening and the environment. Food, activities, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, organic seedlings, and more. Scheduled to appear: Saddle Up the Chicken Band, Pete San Giovanni, and weather permitting, The Whale Mobile. 10 am– 4 pm. The Compass School, 537 Old North Road in Kingston. $10. Engineer It!: Brick Building Challenge. Explore and experiment during a monthly series of engineering challenges. Kids make brick prints, experiment with brick laying using clay and blocks, and build with boxes to create large-scale constructions. 11 am–2 pm. Providence Children’s Museum. 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months.

May 21/Sunday 9th Annual Rhode Island Fiber Festival and Craft Fair. Craft demonstrations, handcrafted items, watch a master sheep shearer at work,

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  May 2017

old-fashioned games, kids’ crafts, dance performances, acoustic music, and local food. Compete for prizes in the Coggeshall Cook-Off. 10 am–5 pm. Coggeshall Farm Museum, 1 Colt Drive, Bristol. Free/members; non-members: $7/ adults and $5/children under 12. March of Dimes 2017 Touch-a-Truck. Featuring 50+ unique and exciting vehicles to check out up close. 11 am– 3 pm. Seekonk Speedway, 1782 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk, MA. $5/person; $20/family (up to six people). Engineer It!: Brick Building Challenge. See May 20.

May 27/Saturday Craft Bash: The Life of a Plant. Paint a custom planter and care for your seeds as they grow into plants. 11 am–2 pm. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Free. Tell Your Story: Create a Flag. Families tell their own stories as they explore vexillography, the art of designing flags, and create their own flags. Examine global and cultural flags to discover the symbolism and meaning behind colors, shapes, and images. 10 am–3 pm. Providence Children’s Museum. 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. Crafting with the Kids! Family drop-in crafts. Several self-guided projects for children ages 3 and up with a grown-up. Every Saturday through June. 11 am– 3:30 pm. Marian J. Mohr Memorial Library, 1 Memorial Avenue, Johnston. Free.

May 28/Sunday Tell Your Story: Create a Flag. See May 27.

May 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine



Rhode Island Parent Magazine May 2017  

Using drama therapy to talk about addiction. How healthy are RI kids? Money saving shopping tips. Local youth group to speak nationally.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine May 2017  

Using drama therapy to talk about addiction. How healthy are RI kids? Money saving shopping tips. Local youth group to speak nationally.