Cranston Chatter

Posted 2/10/21

By MERI R. KENNEDY Tax time at CCAP CCAP's VITA Preparation Assistance Program provides free tax preparation for individuals and families earning less than $60,000. Last year, CCAP's VITA program filed over 1,000 federal tax returns, helping Rhode Island

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Cranston Chatter


Tax time at CCAP

CCAP’s VITA Preparation Assistance Program provides free tax preparation for individuals and families earning less than $60,000.

Last year, CCAP’s VITA program filed over 1,000 federal tax returns, helping Rhode Island families receive $2 million in refunds without any cost. The program’s volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS and will help file federal and state income taxes. IRS e-file is the most accurate, safest and fastest way to file a tax return. Refunds can arrive in as little as 10 days.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all returns will be done via drop-off. Call 401-467-7013 for more information.

‘Meet the Artists’ at Warwick CFA

Join Warwick Center for the Arts for its “Meet the Artists” opening reception, to be held Monday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. See the multimedia exhibit of over 75 original works of art available for purchase or online. The entire exhibit in person runs through March 13. For more information, visit or email

Medical education scholarships

The Chartercare Foundation is now accepting applications for undergraduate and graduate medical education scholarships for the 2021 academic year.

The scholarships will support studies in nursing, pharmacy, dental hygienists, physician assistants, public health, occupational and physical therapy, dieticians, etc. The scholarship is open to Rhode Island residents only, and the application deadline is March 31, 2021.

Please visit and click on “scholarships.”

NAMI-RI Family-to-Family course

The local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is now accepting registration for its virtual Family-to-Family course, which begins Feb. 24.

This is a free, eight-session educational program for family members, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. It is a designated evidenced-based program, which means that research shows the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to a person with a mental health condition.

NAMI Rhode Island’s Family-to-Family course is taught by trained family members who have lived experience, and includes presentations, discussions and interactive exercises.

For more information on the Family-to-Family curriculum and registration requirements, visit or call 331-3060.

Mortgage assistance program

Residents of Cranston at risk of losing their home as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive up to six months of mortgage assistance.

The Cranston CDBG Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program assists low-income Cranston families earning under 80 percent of the median income.

For more information, call CCAP’s Social Services at 467-7013.

Update from Cranston Senior Services

Effective Friday, Feb. 12, Chair Exercise will be held on Fridays only until further notice. The hours are 9:30 to 10 a.m. in the Activity Room.

Cranston Y open for business

Call the Cranston YMCA, which is open seven days a week, to book an appointment. The Cranston Y is open for business with workout and swim times to help you and your family stay strong in spirit, mind and body.

With the highest commitment to the safety of the staff and members, all Y programs are currently scheduled by appointment. One-hour workout blocks in the cardio and free weight area as well as 45-minute lap swim sessions in the pool are offered seven days a week. The Y is also offering limited in-person group exercise classes and a robust schedule of virtual classes.

Registration is also open for youth and adult swim lessons. Call the branch at 943-0444, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and weekends, 7 a.m. to noon, for more information.

Existing members can register via their online account at

For more information about reopening, membership renewal and reactivation and program registration, visit or call the branch.

ARTS Scholarships available

Applications are now available at for the 2021 ARTS Scholarships Program. This year marks the program’s 25th anniversary! Since 1996, the program has awarded 700 arts scholarships.

The ARTS Scholarships 2021 program, sponsored by The Textron Charitable Trust and the PPAC Annual Fund Donors with support from WPRI 12, awards up to $500 in financial assistance to each of the 30 talented Rhode Island students selected as recipients. Qualified students must be age 11-14 by June 1, 2021, and reside in and attend school in Rhode Island.

These scholarships offer young artists an opportunity to participate in local summer arts education programs that will broaden each student’s experience in their chosen area of study.

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.

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

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 seeking 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.

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 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

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 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?

Valentine’s Day started with the Romans. In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages, as reports. For his disobedience, Valentine was executed on February 14 and is referred to as Saint Valentine.

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.

Cranston, chatter


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment