The YMCA of Greater Providence is hosting the Y’s annual Healthy Kids Day® on April 29, 2023. This free, annual event features a variety of family-friendly activities to encourage healthy kids, healthy families and a healthy start to the summer season.
In celebration of this annual kick-off to summer, we are sharing several activities that we encourage you to share with your kids. The goal is to have them try something new at the Y by promoting a variety of opportunities to get involved in active play – hopefully, this will inspire a lifetime love of physical and mental activity! Share these opportunities with your children and inspire them to “find their fun” by discovering an activity that they love!
Find Your Swimming Skills with Y Swim Lessons
Each year the Y teaches hundreds of children to swim. This helps them find their CONFIDENCE, teaches a lifelong skill and introduces them to lifelong fun. Visit our website to learn more about Y swim lessons.
Find Your Adventure with Y Summer Camp
Summer is a time for kids to explore new things and expand the limits of their imagination. At the YMCA of Greater Providence, every day is a new adventure! Whether experiencing the wonder of Camp Fuller by the Sea or having a blast with new friends at one of our four summer day camps, many children and teens find their ADVENTURE with the Y. Learn more about Y summer camp HERE.
Find your Passion with Y Sports
Youth sports are just the start of something bigger– besides teaching healthy living principles, they also teach the value of teamwork, help fuel determination and build character. At the YMCA of Greater Providence we have dozens of sports programs to help keep children active while igniting their PASSION for something greater.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our commitment to protecting the children in our community, we’re participating in the Five Days of Action – a week-long campaign to increase awareness of child sexual abuse and empower and equip us all to prevent it. By taking part in this important campaign and through implementing abuse prevention practices year-round, the YMCA of Greater Providence is committing to the safety of all children in our community.
The Know. See. Respond. campaign is back this year, tying in three impact areas – preventing child sexual abuse at both summer camp and in youth sports, and internet safety. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, U.S. Center for SafeSport and Praesidium have shared resources to support this campaign.
Know: Summer Camp
KNOWing about child sexual abuse can help adults better understand what to look for and how to prevent it. As parents, caregivers, and trusted adults to the young people in our lives, we play an important role in protecting them from abuse. This requires our commitment to continually learn and then ask questions about the safety of our loved ones.
The Y – and other youth serving organizations – implement a series of measures to keep the kids in their care safe. Next time you enroll your loved one in a new program, ask them about their child protection practices. For this summer, you can use this list.
See: Youth Sports
When we SEE boundaries being crossed or suspect a child is being abused, we can and should act quickly. Sports should be safe places for children to grow, both as people and athletes. As a parent, caregiver, coach, or volunteer, it is up to you to make sure any environment in which children in your care interact is free from abuse. Learn more about the signs and how you can help prevent child sexual abuse in youth sports at https://uscenterforsafesport.org/parents/.
Respond: Internet Safety
Did you know that you don’t need evidence to report abuse—only reasonable suspicion? But even for adults, reporting abuse is hard. We don’t want to falsely accuse someone or get someone in trouble. On the other hand, reporting might be the one thing that saves a child – or children – from abuse. It is our responsibility to RESPOND to any and all disclosure, discovery or suspicion of child sexual abuse.
As adults and children alike have turned to digital tools for school, work and socialization, online safety matters now more than ever. Many online dangers put children at risk, such as cyber bullying, online enticement and more. As an adult, keeping an open line of communication with any children in your care who may access online content can be key to helping prevent sexual abuse. Learn the facts, how you can keep kids safe, and how to respond to online victimization at https://www.missingkids.org/netsmartz.
We take our commitment to child protection seriously and we hope you do too. Check out our protection policy here to learn more about how we keep kids safe at the YMCA of Greater Providence.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Thousands of toys were distributed to local families Tuesday at the YMCA of Greater Providence’s annual holiday drive.
YMCA CEO Steven O’Donnell said they expect 10,000 to 15,000 toys to be given away. As of 11 a.m., about 500 cars showed up at the toy drive.
Residents can pull up in their car to 21 Peace Street, tell the workers and volunteers what kinds of toys they need, and the team will gather the toys and brings them out to the car.
O’Donnell said it’s important to make sure every child has a gift to open on Christmas.
“There is nothing better than watching a kid smile and recognize that they got something because they might not have an opportunity to get something for no fault of their own,” he said.
The toys are donations from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The drive will be running all day until the toys run out.
We are excited to announce some enhancements coming soon to the Newman branch facility. Later this month, we will be reconfiguring the spaces within the branch to better meet the needs of our members and service our community. We will be relocating the fitness area with dedicated cardio and strength fitness rooms to the opposite side of the facility.
Members will still have access to the fitness equipment in a natural light area and maintain their same level of experience. With this new configuration we will be able to add group exercise programming throughout the year to enhance our member experience at this location. The gym use and swim programs will all remain unaffected by these updates and our goal is to grow our programing in these areas of our facility also.
In order to make these changes, our facility will be closed for one day, December 22, 2022. We anticipate this as only a one-day closure. We anticipate your member experience resuming with normal business operations on December 23, 2022.
We are excited to provide the same member experience in a different space arrangement. With this new setup we are delighted to be able to better serve our dance participants by bringing all of this programming into our facility. This dance enhancement will include:
The Greater Providence YMCA remains committed to serving the Newman branch and surrounding community. We appreciate your patience as change takes time, money and resources.
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.
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.
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.”