Cranston Chatter

Posted 1/13/21

By MERI R. KENNEDY Pagano Foundation scholarships available The Lt. Jim Pagano Foundation, now in its 10th year, will again be offering $6,000 in college scholarships to graduating seniors in Cranston. The Lt. Jim Pagano Foundation Scholarship is a

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Cranston Chatter


Pagano Foundation scholarships available

The Lt. Jim Pagano Foundation, now in its 10th year, will again be offering $6,000 in college scholarships to graduating seniors in Cranston.

The Lt. Jim Pagano Foundation Scholarship is a nonrenewable $1,500 award to be granted to two students from Cranston High School East and two students at Cranston High School West to help defray the costs associated with attending a four-year college.

The awards are meant to assist those students who best represent the values of academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community service and well-rounded individuals with a drive to succeed.

The Lt. Jim Pagano Foundation was established in memory of the late James Pagano, a 17-year veteran of the Cranston Fire Department and a devoted family man, loyal friend and respected gentleman whose life was senselessly cut short by gun violence. The mission of the foundation is to make charitable grants to individuals, groups and organizations that improve the quality of life for children, and foster character building and a strong foundation for their future. Its work is made possible by the generous contributions and involvement from the community.

To learn more and for information about the scholarship, visit or follow the foundation on Facebook.

Learn to Earn L.I.F.E. training

CCAP’s Learn to Earn L.I.F.E., or Learning Information For Everything, Training Program is a 60-hour paid life skills workshop that will cover topics not always taught in school. It is a virtual program with interactive projects and activities and is designed for participants between the ages of 14 and 24. Participants are paid $11.50 an hour.

Learn about daily living, self-care, positive relationships, housing, work and study skill as well as career education planning, goal setting and customer service. To register, call the Cranston Skills & Youth Center at 562-8325.

Cranston partners with Tree-Plenish

As of the week of Dec. 7, Tree-Plenish has partnered with over 85 schools and communities, including Cranston, to help build sustainable communities through youth engagement. The group plans to plant 300 trees on April 24, 2021, to offset the schools’ paper usage during one academic year.

Tree-Plenish mentors students through a step-by-step process to achieve their ultimate goal – hosting their own tree-planting event. With the help of Tree-Plenish, students calculate their school’s paper usage. In order to reach their goal number of trees, students rely on residents of the community to request trees to be planted by volunteers in their yard.

Tree-Plenish is led by 15-year-old Kalliana Marek, who is part of several environmental groups in Rhode Island including the Sunrise Movement and the RI Citizens Climate Library. She may be reached at or through www.

Throughout the winter and early spring, students and schools will plan their tree-planting events. Students started in December to market their event to the community, with the goal of getting residents to request a tree to be planted in their yard on the day of the event. This tree request process continues until about one month before the event is to take place to allow time for the trees to be ordered and delivered. Students also reach out to their community to recruit volunteers to help plant trees on the day of the event.

These events are a perfect opportunity for members of the community to stay connected and involved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tree-Plenish has created specific guidelines to protect both the residents of the community as well as the volunteers for the event.

Residents of the community are able to help support the event starting now. They can request a tree to be planted in their yard or sign up to volunteer to plant trees on the day of the event. The more homeowners that request trees, the faster the students are able to reach their goals. If homeowners are unable to request a tree or volunteer their time, they can also make a monetary contribution on the Tree-Plenish website.

Catalina, the public relations lead at Tree-Plenish, explains why she joined the Tree-Plenish team: “Throughout my high school career, I noticed the excessive amount of paper teachers, students, and administrators used. As a youth passionate about affecting change, I thought there must be a way we could give back to the community the resources we had taken. Tree-Plenish does this by empowering the youth in each community to stand up and make a difference.”

Tree-Plenish is a student-led nonprofit organization striving to build sustainable communities through youth engagement. Together with students in Cranston, Tree-Plenish hopes to drive Cranston towards a sustainable future.

Cranston RSVP seeks transportation volunteers The RSVP Program at Cranston’s Department of Senior Services is seeking volunteers to help to deliver brown bag lunches to seniors in the community, run errands for seniors and transport local homebound seniors to medical appointments.

You must be 55 years of age or older to volunteer and a BCI is required. Mileage reimbursement is given to cover travel costs. AmeriCorps Seniors will also provide insurance protection with three types of coverage – excess accident medical coverage, excess volunteer liability insurance and excess automobile liability insurance.

If you are interested in becoming an RSVP Volunteer, contact Karen Porto at 780-6159 for an interview.

COVID-19 vaccine information

Cranston’s Department of Senior Services will be hosting a presentation to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. The presentation will be provided by the URI Pharmacy Outreach Program. Please note, this is for information only and not to receive a vaccine.

The Cranston Enrichment Center understands that some people may be concerned about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. At the presentation, participants will learn about the benefits of getting the vaccine based on current information from the CDC.

Seating is limited. Call 780-6000 to make a reservation.

Need help with your mortgage?

RI Housing’s Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island (HHFRI) program is offering zero-interest, forgivable loans to eligible Rhode Island homeowners who became unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to make their mortgage payments. Loan proceeds may provide eligible homeowners with up to six months of mortgage payment assistance and a mortgage will be recorded on the homeowner’s property.

Learn more about the loan program and eligibility at

CCAP Portal now available

Need a hand with your rent or utilities? CCAP’s new Online Application Portal can help.

As part of its continuous effort to provide the best possible service, CCAP is pleased to announce the launch of the new application platform at

With a goal of expanding access to CCAP’s social services programs, the application portal will improve clients’ access to up-to-date housing and utility assistance program information and allow clients to upload documents and electronically sign applications.

For questions about the new portal, email or call 401-467-7013.

CCAP Emergency Housing Assistance

The Comprehensive Community Action Program’s Emergency Housing Assistance program assists individuals/families living in Cranston, Coventry, Scituate and Foster with back rent, security deposits, mortgage assistance, late fees associated with back rent or mortgage, moving costs and utilities. Funding is limited. For more information, call CCAP at 467-7013 or visit

Neighbors helping neighbors

Kevin and Barbara Dwares of Cranston are still in search of much needed items to help others.

They are not collecting clothing or household items, but are still seeking more items that are needed for donation. Thank you to everyone who has supported this cause.

McAuley House is in need of canned goods like canned vegetables, apple sauce, canned fruit, powdered milk, coffee, tea, corn, tuna (all shelf stable). The Dwareses are collecting shelf0stable snacks like granola bars, peanut butter cookies, raisins, pasta, tuna, crackers, bread and more to help those in need. Hand warmers are also needed during this time to be handed out by Help the Homeless RI.

McAuley House also is need of new packaged underwear, socks and T-shirts for adults and children.

Also needed are new or gently used hats, gloves, and scarves for adults or kids.

McAuley House is also desperately in need of full-sized toiletry items – shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, powder, shaving cream, hair brushes etc.

Please drop items off at the Dwares’ home at 46 Balsam Court in Cranston’s Garden City neighborhood. Please put them in the plastic container located near the breezeway. If bins are full please leave the donations in plastic bags (in case of rain) under one of the awnings at front or side door. The bin will be outside every day all week.

Zoom-ba program

The MS Dream Center will offer a virtual Chair Zoom-ba Program sponsored by Maguire Disability Law, with the class being instructed by Michelle Calise.

Classes will be offered nationally on Mondays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. for people with MS and their loved ones. There is no fee to participate and classes can accommodate up to 100 on a first come, first serve basis.

Please contact Anne at to register for the classes and to complete a signed liability waiver, which is required of all participants.

The MS Dream Center provides a dedicated resource and support facility in which people living with multiple sclerosis, and their care partners, may engage in a wide variety of interactive social and educational activities, workshops and therapies. The MS Dream Center’s goal is to bring awareness to the disease and reach out to those living with it, empowering them and offering important respite opportunities for care partners.

Troop 22 looking for Scouts

Boy Scout Troop 22 Cranston is looking for new Scouts. Following all the BSA and state of Rhode Island safety protocols, the troop is meeting, hiking and camping. It has a full schedule of activities planned for the 2020-21 program year. Troop 22 is affiliated with girls’ Troop 13-G, which is also looking for new members. Both units meet at the Edgewood Congregational Church, 1788 Broad St., at 7 p.m. on most Thursdays.

The program is for youth ages 11 to 18. For younger children, Troop 22 also has a relationship with Cub Scout Pack 2 Cranston. Anyone interested is invited to call Paul Kelley at 401-595-6726 for more information.

Mindful Mondays

Mindful Monday is a weekly drop-in meditation group open to all teens 13 to 18 years old. Brief meditations are facilitated by CCAP’s Community Response Program team members. The program will be held on Mondays, on Zoom, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Jennifer Pelkey at or 318-2555.

Did you know?

Martin Luther King's birthday was finally approved as a federal holiday in 1983, and all 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000. Officially, King was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta. But the King holiday is marked every year on the third Monday in January. This year it is held on Monday, Jan. 18.

To submit your news from the community, email Meri R. Kennedy at This includes virtual events which should be submitted 2-3 weeks ahead of the event. Photos in jpg format are accepted and news can include community events, promotions, academic news and nonprofit events. Email today and see your news in our column in the Cranston Herald.

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