'Neighborhood feel' makes Kidpalooza a success

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The 5th Annual Kidpalooza was held on Aug. 3 at Tate Field next to Hugh B. Bain Middle School, which houses a six-week summer learning center known as Camp XL.

Kidpalooza was planned by Camp XL Students through guidance by Caitlyn Blankenship, Community Engagement Specialist for OneCranston and Coordinator for Cranston’s STEM Mentoring Programs at Gladstone Street and Edgewood Highlands Elementary Schools. The current Director for Camp XL and Cranston’s 21st Century Community Learning Center Afterschool Programs is Sarah DeCosta.

“Camp XL serves all Cranston’s youth in grades K-8, students who participate in the 21st Century Community Learning Center Afterschool Programs known as Kidventure and Bain, and Middle and High School Students associated with the Youth Empowerment Zone,” said Ayana Crichton, Initiative Director.

Kidpalooza showcased what the campers have been working on during the 6-week program.

“Some projects are on-going like the community garden and Bain students work on it year-round during out-of-school time hours,” said Crichton. “Campers participate in learning how to sew, taking quality pictures, study the history of Rhode Island, work on community projects, and fun science experiments just to name a few. The camp celebrates its strong commitment to science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). The Youth Empowerment Zone identifies students’ leaders and gives them support on how to remain a leader during their Middle and High School years using different strategies including but not limited to partnering with CCAP’s Workforce Development Program which provides those individuals with paid jobs over the summer and school year.”

This year OneCranston, an initiative through the Comprehensive Community Action Program’s awarded Working Cities Challenge Grant, partnered with Camp XL to co-host Kidpalooza. 

OneCranston works on strategies to end disparities in Cranston. They believe in healthy civic and community engagement.

OneCranston has four factors it focuses on, which include community building, youth opportunity, jobs and post-secondary and faces and places.

At the event the group focused on an opportunity for Cranston residents to apply for mini grants that would help them improve something in their neighborhoods. You can still apply. They also focused on the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), which provides skills to parents or residents who wish to advocate for children using civic engagement strategies.

For more information about OneCranston you can visit their Facebook page “OneCranston” or email Ayana Crichton, Initiative Director at acrichton@comcap.org.

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