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Flames of Hope Celebrates 10th Anniversary with New Dates & Events

PAWTUCKET, RI – The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation is excited to announce changes to the 10th Anniversary Flames of Hope Celebration. The largest breast cancer awareness weekend event in the Northeast will now take place a week earlier than usual to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month on October 3rd and 4th, 2015.

Your Passport to Survivorship + Wellness Expo 2015 is a new addition to this year’s weekend event. A free healthy living expo, it is New England’s only all cancers conference open to survivors and their loved ones. This event will take place Saturday, October 3rd, from 10:00AM-4:00PM at the Renaissance Downtown Providence Hotel and The VETs Memorial Auditorium, which are both located on the Avenue of the Arts in Providence, Rhode Island. This exciting day-long event will feature 30+ cancer-specific/healthy living vendors, cooking demonstrations, interactive health activities, a survivor’s lounge, a bookstore, information and resources and some amazing nationally recognized speakers, including Geralyn Lucas, a survivor and author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy. NBC10 news anchor and health check reporter, Barbara Morse Silva will serve as Honorary Chairperson of this event and as emcee.

At sundown, the Illuminations of Life: Hope Torch Procession will begin with a performance by the State Ballet of Rhode Island. The annual ceremony is a reflection to remember those who have lost their battles to breast cancer and honor those who have survived. 150 torchbearers will line up at the Rhode Island Statehouse for a procession to the Providence River Basin to light the largest WaterFire of the season. Afterwards, the ticketed Pink Party will take place offering food stations from Trattoria Romana, pink cake provided by Gregg’s Restaurants, a cash bar, music and dancing.

Along with the aforementioned events, the Flames of Hope weekend event will have a festive, family-oriented “Celebration Village” that will take place in Station Park (across from the Providence Place Mall). The Celebration Village will include several pavilions, including the garden of hope, healing arts activities, a movie theater, and resources and shopping, as well as a free live concert by 80’s tribute band Decadia hailing all the way from New York City.

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation will continue their annual Flames of Hope Run/Walk Series on October 4th. This annual event is always drenched in pink and features three distinct races: The Kids Fun Run, The Pink Pump Palooza which is a 50-yard dash in high heels open to both men and women and lastly, the Gloria Gemma 5k. Prizes and awards will be given for the fastest times and highest fundraisers. In order to participate, runners and walkers may preregister online as an individual or create a team.

To close out the 2015 celebration, join us at the VETs for a spectacular concert with Felix Cavaliere’s The Rascals on Sunday evening at 7:00pm. For tickets and information: www.thevetsri.com.

To register for events or for a more detailed description of offerings, visit www.flamesofhoperi.org.

United Way of Rhode Island Begins 2015-2016 Annual Campaign

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – When Rhode Islanders help Rhode Islanders, we get results. That’s the call to action of United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) as the organization begins its 2015-2016 Annual Campaign and highlights a year of life-changing community investments thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers.

Having recently released Requests for Proposals for its latest three-year grant cycle, UWRI’s 2015-2016 Annual Campaign has a goal of raising $12.8 million through hundreds of workplace campaigns. Last year’s UWRI campaign raised $12.5 million, helping the organization invest in programs that improve lives today while laying the foundation to create lasting change that strengthens our communities for the future.

“We know that our new strategic plan to change the lives of 250,000 Rhode Islanders by 2020 is ambitious, but one of the many things that make United Way of Rhode Island unique is our approach to fund proven programs that produce results,” said Anthony Maione, president and CEO of United Way of Rhode Island.

With a focus on life-long learning, providing basic needs supports, and engaging the community to facilitate change, United Way-funded programs made an impact in every corner of the state during the past twelve months.

Dedicated to improving how, when and where students learn, UWRI is helping children fall in love with learning by working with its partners in education to create afterschool and summer learning programs get results through hands-on activities. The Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative, established by Hasbro, Inc. and UWRI to keep students engaged in education during the summer, has grown to reach 1,600 youth. Instead of experiencing the typical two-months of summer learning loss, participating students achieved an average of 35 percent gains in literacy and 47 percent gains in math from the beginning of the summer until the end. Additionally, UWRI’s focus on education resulted in $450,000 to support afterschool programs for students of all ages, $392,000 in grants to improve early childhood education programs, and an investment of $100,000 to engage girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming.

UWRI also made substantial investments to help Rhode Islanders from all walks of life meet their basic needs. Last year, United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island, a 24/7 call center that helps families and individuals get answers and connect with a wide-range of human services, handled more than 197,000 requests. Whether someone is seeking information on childcare, mental health issues, food and utilities assistance, or elder care services for a loved one, donations to UWRI’s Annual Campaign help ensure they have one place to turn by supporting 2-1-1.

Believing that being homeless should be rare and temporary, UWRI continues to invest in programs that connect people with services designed to help them become permanently housed. In addition to supporting the goals of Zero: 2016 to eliminate chronic and veteran homelessness in Rhode Island by 2016, UWRI last year invested $573,000 in programs to stabilize households in crisis, along with $874,000 to support programs that address temporary and permanent housing through the creation of affordable housing and case management services.

Another UWRI-funded and led initiative, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, experienced tremendous results this past year. Through nearly 30 statewide sites offering free tax preparation services to working Rhode Islanders who earn less than $53,000 annually, 11,500 individuals filed their 2014 tax returns through the program, returning more than $17 million to the local economy through tax refunds and tax credits.

“While we remain proud of the accomplishments of the past year, there’s still more work to be done; work that is only possible when we all come together around common goals,” added Maione. “Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on growing the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative, further supporting the creation of affordable housing, and expanding use of the VITA program, for when children have access to a high-quality education and our neighbors have safe, affordable housing they are able to do better for themselves and their families.”

About United Way of Rhode Island

United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) has been working to improve the quality of life in Rhode Island for more than 80 years. Together with its partners, UWRI is changing lives and strengthening our communities by investing in proven programs that work over the short-term, and are scalable over the long-term. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDri.org.

Save The Bay announces collaboration with National Grid to support volunteer programs

PROVIDENCE, RI – Save The Bay Executive Director Jonathan Stone is pleased to announce a new relationship with National Grid, supporting Save The Bay’s robust and dynamic volunteer program. The collaborative effort kicked off yesterday with National Grid’s generous support of the Rhode Island International Coastal Cleanup, which drew more than 2,000 volunteers to pick up trash and debris on nearly 60 miles of Rhode Island coastline.

In addition to shoreline cleanups, Save The Bay’s volunteer program includes habitat restoration efforts, education of families at the Exploration Center and Aquarium and South Coast Center, assistance with summer camps, special events, professional office needs and more. In 2014, 3,403 dedicated volunteers contributed 29,525 hours to Save The Bay, adding an in-kind value to the organization of $676,602.

“The strength of Save The Bay and our talented staff is multiplied exponentially by the dedication of thousands of volunteers every year. We applaud National Grid’s clear commitment to Narragansett Bay and the environment through a relationship that will not only help provide supplies and equipment to support the work of our volunteer projects, but will further amplify our volunteer base by providing National Grid employees to participate as volunteers in shoreline cleanups and habitat restoration projects,” Stone said.

“National Grid, our employee volunteers and Save The Bay share a common commitment to work for a cleaner environment,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island. “We can think of no better way of doing this than by assisting organizations like Save The Bay through our financial backing and the work of our employees.”

Moving forward, National Grid employees will join Save The Bay in events that will provide for hands on experiences with Narragansett Bay and an introduction to the organization’s  initiatives. They will embody the Save The Bay mission to protect and improve Narragansett Bay by participating as volunteers in shoreline cleanups, habitat restoration projects, and other opportunities specifically focused on such coastal communities as Providence, Warwick, Newport, and Westerly.

“Donations and working relationships like this one with National Grid are truly invaluable,” said Save The Bay Volunteer and Internship Manager July Lewis. “They enable us to engage so many more volunteers and are essential to our volunteer projects, providing trash bags for cleaning up, storm drain markers, outreach for our volunteer opportunities and so much more. People love volunteering, and to have National Grid’s support in engaging more volunteers is a tremendous gift.”

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