July 15, 2021

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The YMCA of Greater Providence and InMusic have partnered for a six-week MPC Beats Academy program that will teach the fundamentals of making beats, arranging songs and digital music technology to inspire creativity with students ages 12-18.

“The MPC Beats Academy is new era music instruction at its best. The YMCA and InMusic are proud partners providing professional lessons to youth statewide,” said YMCA of Greater Providence Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kobi Dennis.

This is the third session of the popular community outreach program. The program focuses on the digital aspect of today’s popular music and offers free and inclusive access to some of the music industry’s top of the line music products, music education and instructors.

“The YMCA continues to pivot, while creating new and exciting opportunities and initiatives for the urban core,” said YMCA of Greater Providence Steven O’Donnell. “Anytime that two like-minded and dedicated organizations collaborate, the community reaps the benefits. We are grateful for Patrick Sullivan and his team at InMusic.”

Many prominent producers and artists have successfully used MPC beats including Grammy-award winning singer Alicia Keys, producer Mike Will Made It and Hip-Hop artists J Dilla and Araab Muzik. Mike Will Made It has produced several notable tracks for Grammy-award winning rappers Lil Wayne, T.I., Ludacris, Drake and more.

Upon completion of the program, students will be gifted signed certificates and special inMusic products including a Bluetooth speaker, USB flash drive, Akai stickers, t-shirts and lanyard and a drawstring bag. Weekly two-hour classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6-8 p.m. through July 30th at the YMCA of Greater Providence Association Office on the sixth floor of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Providence. If you’re interested in registering to the InMusic program, click here.

July 7, 2021

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — More than 285 dancers graced the Providence Performing Arts Center stage in celebration of the 12th annual Shooting Stars School of Dance recital Saturday, June 19th.

The program came to fruition more than 12 years ago after Newman YMCA Director of Arts and Humanities Ashlee Bourque asked her bosses at the YMCA to teach dance classes to earn internship credits back when she was a student at Dean College. “I started the dance program over 12 years ago to earn enough hours for my internship and the program became so popular that my boss at the time asked if I can make enough to support my salary, I would be offered a full-time position,” said Bourque. “The June show was planned back in October 2020, before I went on maternity leave.”

“The program started out in high schools and moved to the Park Theatre in Cranston,” said Paula Roy, Operations Director at the Newman YMCA in Seekonk. “With COVID, we ended up having it at the Newman YMCA gymnasium in Seekonk. This year, securing it in Providence Performing Arts Center was huge! The dancers and families were excited.”

According to Roy, the first show had more than 600 people and the second show had more than 300 in attendance. “Pre-Covid, we sold more than 1,200 tickets,” said Roy. “We didn’t have as many dancers participating in the show as before Coronavirus.”

Despite the pandemic, this year’s show was able to showcase the amazing strength, resilience and passion of all of the dancers, staff and families. “I’m just super grateful to the families and proud of the dedication of the dancers. It was a strange year for all of them to continue to stick it out,” said Bourque.

For Roy, the most exciting part of this year’s recital was witnessing the jubilant facial expressions of the dancers and their families. “Being at PPAC for the girls was the most exciting part of the recital,” Roy said. “Coming out of Covid and dancing at PPAC was special. I heard one of the girls say, ‘I couldn’t believe I was dancing on the same stage other famous dancers were on.”

According to the Shooting Stars School of Dance Facebook page, dance classes are offered for toddlers up to adults for beginners through advanced, and in a variety of different genres. The program was originally designed to help teach children to dance, build confidence, establish proper dance techniques and maintain a healthy lifestyle through physical movement, while focusing on the YMCA values: Respect, Responsibility, Caring and Honesty.

Bourque tries to incorporate some dancing techniques that she learned after several years of experience as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots into her own dance school. “Any time you work for any other organization, you’re learning and growing as an individual. If anything, the experience working as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots helped me grow professionally on a more individual level and I was able to bring that to my dancers.

July 7, 2021

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Greater Providence YMCA has partnered with Winn Residential Company for an initiative that would help serve 35 families in the Wiggins Village apartment complex with tablets and other important resources to help bridge the gap of education.

The program will provide 35 tablets for senior citizens in the Wiggins Village apartment complex located in the heart of the West End of Providence. The program also includes a translator, a program coordinator who will offer weekly office hours and coordinate weekly group meetings to review the best practices for usage of the tablets, hand sanitizers and PPE. There will be Wi-Fi hot spots, however, some residents will require a viable internet connection.

Dwayne Keys, the Chairperson of the South Providence Neighborhood Association is happy this is happening and has spoken out about the resources many communities of color lack. “I love it,” Keys said. “I’m so glad to hear that is happening. Given the digital divide we’ve been talking about since the late 90’s when the internet first became mainstream, we’ve always had historically excluded groups such as communities of color. We’ve also had low-to-moderate income families, families such as those who live in Wiggins Village and first time English language-learners who’ve just been left out. It is simple, easy and will provide other computer amenities that those who can afford a desktop or laptop can do.”

The families selected primarily consist of low-income families of grandparents ages 60 and older who live with adults and children or care for a K-12 student relative. With a population of approximately 92 seniors, the senior and family population in Wiggins Village makes up 98 percent Latino and African-Americans; many of those have struggled due to a lack of resources and financial support.

“The Greater Providence YMCA is continuing to “pivot” our resources to assist those most in need,” said Greater Providence YMCA CEO Steve O’Donnell. “In conjunction with the Office of Healthy Aging, we will be providing tablets to assist parents and grandparents who are caregivers to children for distance learning in both Spanish & English. This is community work at its finest!”

“The YMCA of Greater Providence is outstanding. The work that they’re doing is fantastic,” said Wayne Montague, Director of Community Relations at Winn Residential Company. I thank CEO Steve O’Donnell, Kobi Dennis [Director of Equity and Inclusion] for the great work they’re doing, and everyone who works for the YMCA because it’s a team effort. Before, during and coming out of the pandemic, they’ve done great things.”

“Think of how today people have to apply for jobs online, think of how so many of our everyday transactions and things we do are being moved online because it’s easier and it’s cheaper,” said Keys. “Not if you don’t have devices such as a tablet to do them.”


July 7, 2021


SPRINGFIELD, MA – February 15, 2020 – The Newman YMCA’s Shooting Stars School of Dance enjoyed their second optional solo competition of the season at Breakout Regional Dance Competition in Springfield, Massachusetts on February 15 and 16, taking home several high score winnings.

Junior soloist, Delainey Pari, finished the night with an opening number invitation, an “Outstanding Emotional Execution Award,” a Platinum Plus score, first overall in the Jazz category for her age, and 5th overall Junior advanced soloist.

11th-year student and current senior soloist, Sydney Mello, scored two Platinum awards and 4th overall Senior advanced soloist, against fierce competitors. While teen soloist Delaney Kotch finished up with a Platinum score and 8th overall teen soloist.

Several other students rounded out the weekend with Platinum scores and special awards such as the “Silky Smooth Special Award”, and the “Star Quality Award”.

“I am extremely proud of the students who attended this competition, as this was an optional competition for our soloists, and these dancers remain consistently dedicated to getting on the stage as much as possible,” said Ashlee Bourque-Tinkham, Director of Shooting Stars School of Dance. “We have many more competitions to attend this season and we are off to a fabulous start, thanks to the dedication of all of our dancers,” said Bourque-Tinkham.

Shooting Stars will be attending five more competitive events between February through July. Learn more about upcoming events, or how to register your child for dance lessons by visiting the Shooting Stars Facebook page.

About the Newman YMCA

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility with a mission of nurturing the potential of children and families, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and providing opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but also deliver, lasting personal and social change. Learn more at

Connect with the YMCA of Greater Providence on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and LinkedIn.

April 22, 2021

Join us as we celebrate our fourth annual Y Heroes Event virtually on Cinco de Mayo Wednesday, May 5 2021. We are pleased to honor the following Y heroes and their contributions to the Greater Providence YMCA…


April 22, 2021

PROVIDENCE, RI – As part of its digiAGE initiative, the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging(OHA) today announced $200,000 in grants to ten local organizations, working to connect more older adults and their families to technology. Through grants of $10,000 to $30,000, funded agencies will equip residents living in areas hard hit by the pandemic with smart devices, internet services, and related training to help them better access online resources, work and study remotely, and virtually connect with family and friends.

“The internet is a basic necessity today,” said OHA Director Rosamaria Amoros Jones. “So much of how we manage our lives and connect with one another and to services is driven by technology now; yet inequities persist, with many older adults and families in lower-income neighborhoods lacking access to, or fluency in, digital tools. I am thrilled to support the work of these local agencies to get more of our neighbors connected. Kudos to all awardees. I look forward to the tremendous impact these efforts will make.”

According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 41 percent of Rhode Island adults age 65+ are not broadband users, with the least usage among older adults living in lower-income communities. Over 25 percent of older adults in the state aren’t online. The COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately impacts older adults, has magnified the importance of technology to bridging physical distance and fostering social connection. At the same time, it’s reinforced a deepening strain on caregivers statewide. Grant recipients were selected based on their commitment to advancing equity and providing free, ‘best-in-class’ tech programs to older-adult caregivers that support diverse language learners.

“The ‘Grands Get Digital’ Project will provide caregiver participants with laptops, hot-spots, one-on-one IT mentoring, and interactive trainings to reconnect them to family, friends, and community”, said Magdalena Andreozzi, Founder & CEO of Grands Flourish, a local organization serving grandparents raising grandchildren. “These virtual-circles with peer-to-peer supports will enable our grand-families to feel less isolated and more connected helping them gain confidence to become empowered, engaged, and inspired to navigate the underpinnings of everyday life both virtually and successfully.”

The complete list of grant recipients

  • Carelink ($20,576) – to support caregivers of adult day health center participants through investments in technology and education
  • Cornerstone ($17,000) – to partner with local colleges to educate caregivers on the benefits of connectivity and to offer remote teaching and learning sessions
  • Center for South East Asians ($10,000) – to help elders virtually connect to family and friends and combat social isolation through investments in devices, internet services, training, and translation services
  • Town of Cumberland ($16,750) – to support digital literacy among older residents to better connect them to health information, with specific focus on pneumonia, influenza and COVID vaccine content
  • digiAge Newport ($21,100) – to engage caregivers in supportive, educational and health/wellness programs, and social online opportunities through the use of smart devices and internet services
  • Grand Flourish ($22,720) – to enhance digital literacy among grandparents through one-on-one telephone mentoring and other supports.
  • Higher Ground ($22,064) – to increase digital access and literacy among isolated elders through the purchase of smart devices and internet services – and the provision of culturally relevant, digital literacy training.
  • Tri-County CAP ($23,700) – to provides a virtual method for caregivers to interact with those in their care during times when face to face contact is not possible or in between routine in-person visits.
  • Village Common of RI ($18,260) – to strengthen Virtual Village Caregiver Support Circles in Rhode Island and support more older adult caregivers in accessing the internet.
  • YMCA of Greater Providence ($27,679) – to assist older residents in areas hard hit by the pandemic with accessing culturally relevant, digital tools and training.

“During the pandemic and its related uncertainty, OHA helped our organization to “pivot” and provide comfort to communities in need,” said Kobi Dennis, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for the YMCA of Greater Providence. “Over this last year, we’ve worked together to address food insecurity and supply thousands of culturally relevant meals to local seniors and their loved ones. Through this latest partnership, we will bring that same cultural awareness and commitment to equity to expand digital literacy and access among older adults and their families in communities devastated by COVID.”

Rhode Island’s digiAGE Collaborative is comprised of a growing list of industry, government, academic, and community partners working together to bridge the digital divide for older adults through coordinated investments in smart devices, internet services, digital literacy training, and online content creation. For more information about the digiAGE Collaborative and Rhode Island’s efforts to promote digital equity, visit

March 15, 2021



BOSTON, MA – March 1, 2020 – The Bayside Family YMCA Stingray swim team clinched their 5th consecutive regional title at the Southern New England YMCA Championships this weekend at Boston University’s Fitness and Recreational Center.

The three-day competition drew over 1500 swimmers ranging from ages six to eighteen from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The Bayside YMCA Stingrays took the overall team championship by 900 points bringing several record-breaking moments and new qualifications.

Leading the team to victory were swim coach veterans Jen and Ray Baker along with a stellar coaching staff of seven. “We can’t say enough how proud we are,” said Ray Baker. “They came to race from the youngest to oldest. Our younger swimmers come with so much energy and excitement,” Baker said. “The older swimmers performed exceptionally well even after winning states the night before. They are all incredible athletes,” said Baker.

The Bayside Stingrays came out on top across all age groups in both boys and girls. 8 and under boys and girls placed 2nd overall with only seven boys competing. The 9 and 10 boys and girls also placed 2nd. This was followed by a strong session from the 11 and 12 age group for boys and girls taking first place. 13 and 14 took second in both categories, and holding the top spot were the 15-18-year-olds placing first.

Despite being unrested, both Stingray boys’ and girls’ teams churned their way to SENECY titles with a host of individual meet records and personal-best performances.

Kristen Baker, a freshman at Barrington High School broke the 13 and 14 girls 100 back record (1:02.40) previously held by her sister. Garin Stone, Barrington High School sophomore broke the girls’ 15-18 100 fly record (59:37) by two seconds and Juliana Goncalves, senior at Bayview High School broke the 15-18 girls 200 IM record (2:13.44) that stood since 1984.

Girls’ 15-18 200 Medley relay (1:50.70) shattered the previous team and SENECY records consisting of BakerGoncalvesStone, Barrington High School sophomore, and Zoe Webster, Barrington High School freshman, qualifying for the YMCA Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina in April. This dynamic team along with DiGiacomo also broke the team record for the 200 free relay (1:41.48) by almost one second. Stone set a new SENECY record with her 100 fly.

Boys’ 15-18 also finished on top breaking the 200 Medley relay (1:37.41) team and SENECY records. Seniors, Yanis BenadoudaAndrew BartonBlake Anderson, and freshman William McClelland qualified for YMCA Nationals as a result.

“This has been an incredible experience,” said Andrew Barton, Barrington High School senior. “The coaches have been so supportive in helping us excel in and out of the pool,” Barton said.

Next, 52 members of the Stingray team will compete at the New England Championships at MIT on March 24 with eight swimmers qualifying for Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina in April.

About the Bayside YMCA

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility with a mission of nurturing the potential of children and families, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and providing opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but also deliver, lasting personal and social change. Learn more at

Connect with the YMCA of Greater Providence on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and LinkedIn.

March 1, 2021

We are a relationship organization. We bring people together – large numbers of them, from all backgrounds and circumstances – and create personal connections. Our proximity to people and communities is an organizational asset, but the nature of this virus, and how it spreads, presents significant challenges in today’s environment.

To protect your well-being and the health of our employees, Kevin Washington, President of Y-USA, in partnership with health and community leaders, has urged all Y’s to close their facilities and explore alternative ways to meet the needs of our communities during this time of crisis.

Today, Governor Raimondo is requesting all childcare and preschool programs to close. As a result, all YMCA of Greater Providence locations will be suspending ALL business operations including exercise classes, swim lessons, youth sports, and all other programs as of 5:00 pm today through Sunday, March 29th.

Y employees are the heart of our organization and we’re committed to taking care of our team, which is why we’re asking all staff members to remain home with loved ones. Staff will be available to answer phone lines from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, should questions arise.

Additionally, stay up-to-date on developments by opting in to your local Y’s Emergency Text Alert Program. Opt-in information is provided below. Timely information will also be shared via your favorite social media page.

Bayside Family YMCA Text BAYSIDE to 51555 401-245-2444
Cranston YMCA Text CRANSTONY to 51555 401-943-0444
Eastside / Mt. Hope YMCA Text EASTSIDEY to 51555 401-521-0155
Kent County YMCA Text KENTY to 51555 401-828-0130
Newman YMCA Text NEWMANY to 51555 508-336-7103
Providence Youth Services Text PYS to 51555 401-456-0604
South County YMCA Text SOUTHY to 51555 401-783-3900

While our facilities are closed, cleaning crews will continue to use revolutionary Protexus electrostatic touches sprayers to disinfect and sanitize all areas more efficiently and effectively than ever before, so that you can come back and exercise with confidence. Additionally, the installation of new, state-of-the-art, cardio equipment will go on as planned.

We have an organizational responsibility to do everything in our power to prevent the spread of this virus. Thank you for your understanding. Be well.

Steven G. O’Donnell
Chief Executive Officer
YMCA of Greater Providence

February 25, 2021


In many ways farming and modern healthcare are worlds apart, but they shouldn’t be. After all, the basic goal of farming is provide the nutrients our bodies require. And the purpose of the healthcare industry is also to help us stay well. Maintaining human health is clearly at the heart of both industries, but over the years, many have lost sight of the common ground. Farming is firmly focused on efficiency and yields, while healthcare has become consumed with managing expensive diseases.

Now, a team of medical professionals and agricultural experts are making a case for change, suggesting a shift towards integrated farming and healthcare so that both industries work together with a prevention-based approach to human and environmental health.

This concept is supported by a compelling new white paper that compares historical data with health, nutrition and agriculture research. It highlights exactly how the increased industrialization of our food system has led to environmental degradation, poor nutrition and a proliferation of lifestyle-related diseases. It also addresses the issues with our current healthcare system, which prioritizes pharmaceutical intervention over lifestyle changes like diet and nutrition.


All over the globe, healthcare is overburdened attempting to treat chronic diseases with pharmaceutical intervention. At the same time, conventional farming processes use toxins detrimental to human health and prioritize crops that are low in nutritional value.

The facts speak for themselves:

  • While many of us are living longer than our parents, we are not living healthier – or happier – lives.
  • Approximately 92 million Americans are living with coronary artery disease.
  • Today, six out of 10 American adults have a chronic disease, and four in 10 have more than one chronic disease.
  • Globally, more than 71 percent of deaths annually are related to non-communicable, lifestyle-related diseases that include cancer, type 2 diabetes, chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease.
  • Based on current global trends, six of the top seven causes of death in 2040 (including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and diabetes) will be directly related to our lifestyle choices and diet.
  • The Standard American Diet derives more than half of total calories from highly-processed foods. Only 11 percent of calories come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
  • Industrial farming has resulted in crops continually reducing nutrient density. It also affects human health via exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and through environmental pollutants.

We face an epidemic of diet and lifestyle-related disease that is eroding personal health, straining healthcare systems and depleting our natural environments. Experts say a healthier future relies on dramatically altering the trajectory of chronic disease and Regenerative Healthcare could be the answer.

Regenerative Healthcare involves increasing the availability of nutrient-dense foods by shifting to a regenerative organic farming system that eliminates toxic inputs and focuses on foods optimal for our health. This type of farming will initiate regeneration of the soil – critical, given we only have 60 years of topsoil left due to soil degradation. Alongside the shift in farming, there must also be healthcare changes, where we move to an integrative medical system founded on lifestyle medicine and supported by regenerative, whole, nutrient-dense foods.


Right now, experts are driving further research, education and collaboration between medical professionals and farmers to create meaningful change in our food and healthcare systems. There are visions of a Regenerative Health Institute, where farmers, soil scientists, medical professionals and consumers will come together for a common goal: regaining our health and vitality through food.


Making more thoughtful food choices is number one. The way our food is grown and raised impacts not only our own cellular health and immune systems, but also whole communities and entire ecosystems. With this in mind, we need to start considering not only what we eat, but also how it was produced. The easiest way to do this is to start purchasing more products from local farms. You can also start talking to healthcare providers about the benefits of an organic, whole-foods diet as a meaningful prevention of and intervention for lifestyle-related conditions.

Learn more about the issues with industrialized agriculture and why we need to rethink what we eat here.

This information comes from the ‘The Power of the Plate – The Case for Regenerative Organic Agriculture in Improving Human Health’ a white paper authored by experts at Rodale Institute and The Plantrician Project.

September 17, 2020

17 local children raced their hearts out in the third annual statewide Race4Chase youth triathlon at the Bayside Family YMCA in Barrington, Rhode Island on

Sunday’s event marked the finale of a two-week summer fitness program founded by the Kowalski family who started the program six years ago to honor their late son’s memory who died tragically in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012.

Training for this year’s race looked differently as it had in the past. In lieu of a traditional six-week preparation period, training sessions took place in two, two-week sessions to allow for smaller, stable groups in an effort to be COVID compliant.

“I was really excited and proud of myself that I have been doing this race three years straight,” said 9-year-old Annabelle Marquez, who came in first place in her age group. “I really wanted to do this for Chase,” she continued.

“Annabelle learned how to ride her bike through this program, said Silke Scholz, Annabelle’s mother. “We are incredibly grateful for the dedication of the Y coaches.”

Historically, the final Race4Chase event has been held at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island with hundreds of children from across the state participating. This year, the staffing team at the Y mustered up their creativity and designed a course at the facility in Barrington, Rhode Island.

“Despite the changes to Race for Chase due COVID-19, our athletes did a tremendous job practicing and did an awesome job in the triathlon,” said Race4Chase Coach, Bob Hassan.

The young athletes swam 100 yards in the outdoor pool, pedaled their way through a one-mile bike ride, and finished with a three quarter of a mile run on the Veterans’ Memorial Park baseball field next to the Y.

After the race, each athlete received a certificate of recognition for their hard work and dedication surrounded by family and friends.

  • Age 7 Brendan Philippe, Bristol, RI
  • Age 8 Aarna Jhunjhunwala, Barrington, RI
  • Age 9 Annabelle Marquez, Barrington, RI
  • Age 10 Alfie Davies, Barrington, RI
  • Age 11 Finn Pansa, Bristol, RI
  • Age 12 Benjamin Choi-Shattle, Barrington, RI

Logan Lane of Bristol and McKenna Philippe of Barrington were also awarded the Sportsmanship Award for demonstrating strong moral character, athletic performance, and professionalism throughout the race.

I was pretty surprised when they announced my name for the Sportsmanship Award,” said Logan Lane, Race4Chase Triathlete. “I signed up because I love the whole Foundation and the fact that it teaches kids how to bike, swim, and run,” Lane continued.

“I love encouraging my friends and playing sports,” said McKenna Philippe, Race4Chase Triathlete. “When I crossed the finish line, I felt like I had broken a
Since 2014, the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon program has expanded from 90 athletes to 1,000. The CMAK Foundation will continue to expand the program to provide more children with the same experience that Chase so loved.

“It’s like seeing a little Chase every time,” said Rebecca Kowalski, Chase’s mother and Founder of the CMAK Foundation. “I know what we’re doing is changing the world and making people remember Chase. It helps you heal a little bit more,” she said.

Visit the CMAK Foundation to learn more about Race4Chase.