This week: a special holiday Hummel Report as we take a break from government waste and the multitude of problems in Rhode Island - to profile an organization that over the past two decades has provided millions in free dental work to hundreds of elderly and disabled patients who need it the most. Jim Hummel speaks with the president of the organization and two patients who have benefited from the program.
Bridging the Gap
The St. Edward's Food and Wellness Center in Providence is filling the need for a growing segment of Rhode Island's population: the working poor. For most of the last decade the ministry has provided food, clothing and medical care for thousands in the northern section of the city. Jim Hummel sits down with one of the founders to talk about the center's roots, and how the effort has grown over the past nine years.
Every year millions of dollars of edible food winds up at the landfill: some comes from restaurants, some from large supermarket chains that can't get certain items to store shelves in time to sell before the expiration date. This week The Rhode Island Spotlight focuses on two men who came out retirement five years ago and created an organization that re-routes that food to the tables of hungry people.
Building a Family
This week Jim Hummel profiles an inner-city teacher and wrestling coach who is going above and beyond, rewriting the job description of what it is to work with students and athletes. Meet him - and the team he's turned into a family.
More Than a Meal
She has spent a career in nursing, assigned to the surgical intensive care unit at Rhode Island Hospital. But for nearly 25 years Liz McGrath has spent her Fridays shopping, cooking and feeding hundreds of homeless people in downtown Providence. This week Jim Hummel finds the program that she and a core of volunteers run - goes way beyond the meal.
A Refuge for Children
For more than a century St. Mary's Home for Children has been a refuge for children who have been abused physically and sexually, for those with behavioral problems and for families trying to deal with the fallout. This week Jim Hummel takes us inside a place that deals with some of the toughest cases in the state.
For the Families
The homeless in Rhode Island are not just the people you see hanging out on the street or in front of a shelter. Families now account for rapidly-growing percentage of the homeless population, a huge increase from just a few years ago. This week Jim Hummel introduces us to a woman - and an agency - helping families get back on their feet.
Discovering Their Potential
This month we go inside a school like no other in Rhode Island: a non-profit gender-specific middle school for 60 girls, grades 5-8, whose families are living near the poverty-level - many with single-parent households. And as Jim Hummel finds, the private non-denominational academy has seen impressive results.
Learning to Live
This month Jim Hummel goes inside the Adult Correctional Institutions to see first-hand a program where volunteers lead faith-based life skills classes for inmates. From overcoming addiction, to anger management, coping with loss, resolving conflict and developing personal integrity. It's a program that has reached hundreds of men and women.
Someone to Listen
Every year thousands of at-risk kids in Rhode Island could use an added adult presence in their lives as a sounding board. For the past two decades the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership has paired many of those school-age children with mentors during a critical time in their lives. Jim Hummel introduces us to some of them - and to the program.
A Worthy Goal
Two afternoons a week you can find close to 80 aspiring soccer players in classrooms well after school ends. They are there not because they have to be, but because they want to be. For the past decade Project Goal has offered more than 500 students the opportunity to improve academically, while receiving top-notch coaching from former soccer professionals and certified coaches. All at no cost to the kids. Jim Hummel finds it's a mix that is yielding impressive results.
Meeting the Need
Feeding the multitudes has taken on added meaning as Rhode Island's economy continues to struggle. Three times a week, a truck loaded with food and clothes heads out from area churches to help people in Providence and Woonsocket who need it the most. Patterned after a national program, this local outreach continues to grow - as it meets a growing need.
A Different Path
Six nights a week hundreds of teenagers, who otherwise might be hanging out on the streets of Providence, head to recreation centers across the city for a program called Project Night Vision. This month, Jim Hummel introduces us to the founder and force behind a program that reaches 500 teenagers a week and is shaping lives - all with very limited resources.
Much More than Music
Can music transform kids - and the neighborhoods they live in? It's a question the founder of a non-profit organization called Community Music Works first asked more than a decade ago. This year 120 inner-city children are receiving free music lessons every week, but it's not just music they're learning about.
Shaking it Up
In 1993 a private, independent school opened in South Providence with $50,000 in the bank, 15 boys enrolled, one man's vision and a lot of prayer. On its 20th anniversary, the San Miguel School in Providence now has 64 middle school boys, a $1.2 million budget and its original mission of using education to help break the cycle of poverty. As Jim Hummel finds right from the start: these are not your typical middle school kids.
A Camp Like No Other
Every summer millions of kids head off to camp, getting a break from school and family. But what about children with diabetes, which requires continual medical support? Camp Surefire - now in its 15th season - provides a safe and fun environment for 80 diabetic campers, and a respite for their parents. As Jim Hummel found, it's a place where the campers don't have to explain to anyone what they're going through.
Giving Some Back
A 10-year-old North Kingstown boy's roadside vegetable stand has not only become a popular place to get fresh-picked produce, but is quietly making a statement about giving back to the community. This summer he is donating half of everything he makes to Hasbro Children's Hospital. Jim Hummel tells us why.
Bridging the Gap
During the dog days of summer, when most kids are thinking about anything but school, dozens of soon-to-be Providence kindergartners are getting a jump start on the academic year - part of a program designed to help those who have not had the benefits of pre-school. Jim Hummel takes us inside a program that has shown impressive results.
Something About the Water
Autism and water. It has proven to be a magical combination for thousands of children across the country participating in a program called Surfers Healing. Last month 180 autistic children and their families descended on Narragansett Town Beach for a day that many found hard to put into words. Jim Hummel was there to capture it.
The league's motto is ``Remember, It's For the Kids'' - and for 30 years the Ocean State Soccer School in North Kingstown has taught thousands of players not only the nuances of the game, but some life lessons as well. This week Jim Hummel finds out why this volunteer organization is unique in Rhode Island.
Debating Their Future
Every month dozens of city kids gather for a competition. Not on a court or a field - but in classrooms throughout Providence, for all-day debate tournaments sponsored by the Rhode Island Urban Debate League. Jim Hummel finds the tournament is only part of the equation, as the students have to spend hours getting ready for their opponents.
Dozens of kids within walking distance of their Providence elementary school are now part of a pilot program aimed at getting them to school and home safely - and on time. The Walking School Bus program pairs professionals and volunteers with the mission of cutting down on chronic absenteeism and tardiness among students who, ironically, live closer to school than those who take a bus. Jim Hummel tags along.
Trust the Dog
This month we travel to a farm in the heart of Virginia for a look at how a non-profit organization trains Labrador retrievers to alert when a diabetic person’s blood sugar is abnormally high or low. It’s a fascinating process that involves a lot of work, an earned dose of trust and a little bit of mystery - a combination that is working for a Hopkinton family that got one of the dogs for their son last summer.
A struggling non-profit community theater relocated - and reinvented - itself four years ago with a simple mission: to give back to the community. This month Jim Hummel profiles the Academy Players, which has raised thousands of dollars for charities, other non-profit organizations and people in need. He finds they’re not only surviving - but thriving.
Tapping Into the Community
For the past three decades Tap In has been a mainstay for thousands of people in need of food, clothing, household items - and transportation to medical appointments. The all-volunteer organization is located in what some see as an unlikely place: the town of Barrington. But this week Jim Hummel finds there is a growing need throughout the East Bay communities it serves.
True to its Mission
The name certainly turns a lot of heads: The Providence Shelter for Colored Children. And though it has transitioned from a shelter building into a charitable foundation, the organization’s mission of helping minority children in the greater Providence area remains the same. Jim Hummel takes a look at the group’s 175-year history and finds out why some board members over the years have been the staunchest advocates for keeping the original name.
Weating it for Someone Else
A third of the 1.5 million who have heart attacks this year will die. What many people don’t know is chewing an aspirin immediately increases a person’s chances of survival considerably. This month, Jim Hummel profiles a Providence high school who has a creative plan to put aspirin at everyone’s disposal - not for them, but the person having the heart attack.
Continuing the Tradition
Two years ago a decades-long meal program for the needy in Providence had to find a new home, when the building it had been operating out of closed. An historic Episcopal church on the city’s west side stepped up - rejuvenating a program that feeds thousands of people every year with hundreds of volunteers pitching in to do it. This week Jim Hummel finds the program is feeding more than just the physical needs of those who come every week.
A Unique Partnership
The CVS Caremark Charity Classic is not only one of Rhode Island’s premier sporting events - featuring world-class golfers - but one of its leading charity events as well. It’s a unique partnership that has helped the tournament grow over the last 16 years, generating millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations. This week Jim Hummel discovers some things you might not know about the tournament, as he sits down with Brad Faxon, Billy Andrade and the CEO at CVS Caremark.
Taking Care of their Neighbors
It is one of the oldest charitable organizations in the world. And here in Rhode Island, the Society of St. Vincent De Paul last year helped 120,000 people through food pantries, one-on-one assistance and direct financial aid that totaled nearly a million dollars. This month Jim Hummel introduces us to some of the non-profit organization’s volunteers - and to a woman who got a lifeline when she needed it the most.
Beyond the Flames
Chances are you’ve seen, or been to, the annual Flames of Hope torch lighting and road races over the Columbus Day Weekend. This month Jim Hummel takes a look at the vast array of work the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource foundation is doing the rest of the year and introduces you to some of the lives the foundation has touched.
A Way Back
More than a third of the men and women released from prison in Rhode Island return to the ACI within a year - nearly half within three years - often because they have no support system when they get out. This month Jim Hummel takes a look at a decade-old program, run by a non-profit organization, that has reduced the recidivism rate of its participants dramatically, laying the groundwork for employment and sobriety.
Making a Difference
It’s Rhode Island’s oldest child welfare organization and one that has been a pioneer for much of the past 180 years. Children’s Friend, founded in 1834, serves the state’s most vulnerable children and their families. And while last month’s annual Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive drew support from hundreds of individuals and companies, Jim Hummel shows us some of the dozens of programs Children’s Friend runs the rest of the year.
Even with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders still have no medical coverage - often going without, or winding up at a local hospital emergency room. For the past 15 years The Rhode Island Free Clinic has been the safety net for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, through a vast network of volunteer medical professionals and corporate donors.
A Powerful Symbol
One in four Americans has a diagnosed form of mental illness, but two out of three don’t seek help because of a perceived stigma. Since 2009 PeaceLove Studios in Pawtucket has offered help to thousands through expressive art. This month Jim Hummel takes a look what happens when people step inside the studio doors.
A Good Investment
Since 2009 hundreds of people in financial trouble have gotten help from a non-profit organization that has provided loans and financial coaching during their time of need. The Capital Good Fund was founded as an alternative to the so-called `payday lenders’ - which can charge up to 261 percent interest for borrowers. This month Jim Hummel sits down with the fund’s founder, who has plans to take his model beyond the borders of Rhode Island.
Every month volunteers help needy homeowners in South County with repairs and maintenance - a lifeline for some to stay in their homes. Neighbors Helping Neighbors RI provides the materials and the manpower at no cost, and has grown significantly since the effort began several years ago. This month Jim Hummel interviews two leaders of the group, who talk about the impact the non-profit organization is having in the southern part of Rhode Island.
Speaking Their Language
Despite all of the public education and shifting social mores, smoking is still attractive to some teenagers. And while Rhode Island has one of the lowest smoking rates in the country for young people, The Department of Health has launched an initiative aimed at helping 13-18-year-olds stop using tobacco: an interactive texting program that’s the first of its type in the country.
A Century of Tradition
For the past 100 years, Camp Yawgoog has developed a reputation as one of the best Boy Scout camps in the nation. Every summer thousands of scouts from all over the country arrive at the 1,800-acre grounds on the Connecticut border for fun and learning. This month Jim Hummel shows us what is it that keeps many of them coming back every year.
Meeting the Challenge
Last month a team from the Warwick American Little League Challenger Division got to experience what it’s like to be a member of the Boston Red Sox: hitting off a tee at Fenway Park’s indoor batting cage, hanging out in the 1st-base dugout, and stepping up at home plate to take batting practice from the Red Sox pitching coaches. It’s the path each player had to take to get there that made the day particularly special.
Making a Statement
Every year more than 4 million people in 20 countries participate in a Relay for Life event - helping in the fight against cancer. While those events are typically held over a 24-hour period, the American Cancer Society has begun a new program bringing relays to the workplace. Last week more than a 1,000 people from one of Rhode Island’s largest, and best-known companies, left their desks to walk in an on-site relay. Jim Hummel talks with some of those who joined in.
A Profound Effect
Over the past five years, the Anthony Quinn Foundation has helped dozens of high school students across the country take advantage of art programs they wouldn't be able to experience without a scholarship. Katherine Quinn, who established the foundation after her husband's death in 2001, talks about why maintaining art programs is crucial to so many teenagers' development, and explains why she has opened up her husband's vast - and varied - art works to hundreds of Rhode Island high school students for hands-on tours.
Last month 2,500 foster children in Rhode Island and Massachusetts received duffel bag full of gifts with their name monogrammed on the side - compliments of an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that began working on this year’s holiday delivery last summer. Bags of Hope was founded by a couple whose experience adopting five children of their own drives them to want all foster children find a permanent home.
The Voice of Creativity
This week we are pleased to introduce a project that has been years in the making by our Director of Photography, Mike Rossi. The name - Facio - is Latin for create and through long form video interviews Mike has been able to elicit from artists: what it is that fuels their creativity.
A Heavenly Tribute
The tragic deaths of two young women - one in an accident, the other from cancer - has led to the creation of scholarship funds that have raised tens of thousands of dollars to help dozens of children interested in the performing arts. This month, Jim Hummel sits down with each of the girls’ parents, who talk about the tremendous support they have received over the past six years.
Fewer than 15 percent of adults in the United States smoke. But the pressure among young people to take up the habit remains strong - which is why the CVS Health Foundation has teamed up with a global book publishing company to design an anti-smoking curriculum for students as young as third grade. This month Jim Hummel profiles a school in Pawtucket, where the message is getting through - loudly and clearly.
A Warm Experience
What started out as a soup kitchen and emergency shelter in the heart of Westerly nearly three decades ago has evolved into a comprehensive non-profit social service organization that this year will serve more than 2,300 people. The WARM Center has expanded to serve not only those in Westerly, but surrounding communities in Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut. This week Jim Hummel sits down with the organization’s executive director and two people who say the center saved their lives
More than a Museum
For half a century it had to use borrowed space to stage art exhibitions. Then, in 2013, after five years of planning and construction - The Bristol Art Museum finally got a building to call its own. Along the way it has evolved into an emerging cultural arts center: offering art classes, Shakespeare readings, special programs - and a place for artists near and far to showcase their work.
One at a Time
With 20 million children right now on the verge of starvation around the world, a Rhode Island-based non-profit company has focused the past seven years on helping the hardest-hit countries. Edesia Nutrition is producing a lifesaving peanut-based food that needs no refrigeration or water, reaching more than 17,000 children a week. This month Jim Hummel talks with the company’s founder about the evolution of the operation and gets a first-hand look at its new production facility in Quonset.
The elite runners and Olympians often grab the headlines at the CVS Health Downtown 5K, but the event - in its 27th year - now includes a lot of runners you may not have seen on the news: from toddlers to high schoolers and a race designed specifically for kids with disabilities. This month Jim Hummel goes behind the scenes, to talk with a group that has run every year since the race began in 1990 and one of the organizers who talks about how the day is geared specifically to health.
For the Veterans
Last Saturday nearly 30 military veterans gathered on the field at Gillette Stadium, greeted by three former New England Patriots players for a day of football skills and drills, a tour and lunch next to the field. The event - made possible by CVS Health and the Patriots - was timed around Veterans Day in appreciation for the service of men and women from multiple eras. Jim Hummel caught up with two Rhode Island veterans - who have a message for those this holiday weekend.
The Volunteer Spirit
For more than five decades a group of South County women has raised tens of thousands of dollars and volunteered countless hours to help other non-profit organizations and needy individuals in the community. This month Jim Hummel sits down with several members - and recipients - to learn more about the club’s motto: Living the Volunteer Spirit.
A Book of Their Own
Every year tens of thousands of children’s books make their way into the homes of students whose families might not be able to afford starting a home library of their own. For more than a decade Books Are Wings has provided an outlet for families looking for a way to donate their own children’s books and help other students at the same time. This month Jim Hummel takes a look at what it take to get from start to finish.
Good for the Heart
Heart disease and stroke are the leading killer of women in this country and one in three women lives with cardiovascular disease. And while every 80 seconds a woman dies from some type of heart disease, 80 percent of it is preventable. Those are the sobering statistics at the core of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign. This month Jim Hummel hears from two women featured locally in this year’s campaign - and CVS Health, which has committed to raising $10 million over the next three years for cardiovascular research and education.
The majority of teenagers who become pregnant never graduate from high school. This month Jim Hummel goes inside a Rhode Island charter school aimed squarely at pregnant/parenting teens - and those who may have dropped out of other high schools for a variety of other reasons - giving them a support system to work toward graduation. We hear from faculty, staff, a graduate of the Nowell Leadership Academy, and several students who say they now don’t want to stop at a high school diploma.
The Community's Theater
In its heydey The Stadium Theater was the hub for entertainment in downtown Woonsocket. Vacant and deteriorating for years, a group of volunteers helped bring the building back to life in 2001. With a vibrant lineup of concerts, community theater performances and educational programs, theater officials have turned their attention to a new project: the renovation of an adjacent 30,000-square-foot building dubbed The Stadium Theater Conservatory that will provide much-needed space for artists. Jim Hummel takes us inside.
A New Course
For nearly two decades the CVS Health Charity Classic has brought together premiere golfers to help raise money for local non-profits. This year’s 19th edition came with a twist: a different format on the golf course and a new feature that attracted the best of the Providence food scene under one roof, with thousands of people turning out for a good cause.
A Lasting Combination
Since 1892 the Westerly Library and Wilcox Park have been a resource - and a refuge - in the heart of downtown. As the organization celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, Jim Hummel looks at the special partnership the library and park, both privately held but open to the community, have with the community.
In its first year Clothes To Kids RI has provided a diverse wardrobe to more than 3,000 students in Providence County whose families may be struggling to pay for rent and food, let alone clothes. This week the co-founders of the non-profit organization talk about how boosting a child’s self-esteem with a solid set of clothes can translate to how they do in school.
Although smoking rates among college students have decreased dramatically over the past 15 years, other forms of tobacco have grown in popularity. The University of Rhode Island is one of more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide working toward becoming totally tobacco-free, getting help from Rhode Island-based non-profit CVS Health Foundation, along with The American Cancer Society. This month Jim Hummel travels to ACS headquarters in Atlanta to learn more about the program- and to Kingston, where he finds out about what’s going on locally.
A Productive Year
For more than a decade, Year Up Providence has given hundreds of young adults the opportunity to train for entry-level corporate jobs in Rhode Island. Over the course of 12 months, dozens of adults facing economic challenges go through intensive business or IT training with a path to land an internship at some of the state’s best-known companies. This month: Jim Hummel goes inside to see why the non-profit workforce development program has been so successful.
Back to The Future
In a city where the word `oldest’ greets visitors at nearly every turn, The Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport stakes a claim as the oldest lending library in the United States, first opening its doors in 1750. Like every library, though, The Redwood is navigating its way in a digital age, working to remain relevant and vibrant for its patrons. And that’s where the `athenaeum’ part of its name comes in. This month Jim Hummel takes us inside a place that is looking back and ahead at the same time.
Something to Count On
Many people have heard of McAuley House and the hundreds of meals it serves to the homeless and working poor every day. But the larger McAuley Ministries offers a complete package of social services at three separate sites: from a 23-unit apartment complex for single mothers trying to get their lives on track - to a retail store in Central Falls that offers low-priced clothing, household items and a word of encouragement to struggling families.
A Refuge for Everyone
For more than a decade, eight acres in the southern part of Tiverton have been a refuge for abused and neglected animals, along with the volunteers who help care for them. This month’s Rhode Island Spotlight profiles the West Place Animal Sanctuary - how it all began and why it has been a go-to place for wildlife rehabilitation and destination for unwanted animals. Jim Hummel introduces us to the woman who left a job in the corporate world to focus full-time on the animals.
Bringing Families Together
It began more than two decades ago as little more than a concept: Parents and some community leaders in Woonsocket looking for a way to keep their children engaged in the summer and after school during the academic year. This year, Connecting for Children & Families will serve upwards of 3,500 children and family members with everything from preschool programs and summer camp to workforce development programs and a food pantry. Jim Hummel discovers how the organization has become embedded in the community.
United in the Community
For 60 years the United Theatre provided entertainment for generations of people who lived in Westerly. But changing times forced the downtown theater - which had opened with vaudeville acts in 1926 - to close in the mid-1980s. Now there is a move to transform the United and an adjacent building into an arts complex aimed at drawing residents from southern Rhode Island to nearby Connecticut. Jim Hummel introduces us to some of those leading the effort.
In the early 1990s, the Woonasquatucket River was hidden in many areas of Providence, running through a neighborhood where people didn’t really want to live. But over the past two decades it has seen a transformation, with the installation of bike paths, the creation of a park on a former Brownfield site and construction of affordable housing where drug houses used to be. The non-profit Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council has been the driving force behind much of the change. This month, Jim Hummel introduces us to some of the key players - and takes a tour of the watershed.
A Different Approach
Over the past decade hundreds of adults - some who had given up their dream of ever graduating from college - have been taking a different approach to earning a bachelor’s degree. College Unbound, headquartered in Providence, is taking college to low-income and minority students: offering flexible schedules, favorable tuition rates, a tailored curriculum and locations at various parts of Rhode Island to go to class. This month Jim Hummel finds that the educational world is paying attention.
On any given night, more than 1,100 people are homeless in Rhode Island. For the past 30 years, the House of Hope has been trying to get those living in shelters or on the street into housing. This month, Jim Hummel finds out the nonprofit does it in a number of ways: from street teams that go to where the homeless are staying - to a new mobile shower unit that has helped draw hundreds and connect them with much-needed medical services and put some into a place they can call their own.