Citizens Bank provides $40K for neighborhood projects in Central Falls, Pawtucket

PROVIDENCE – Eight nonprofit organizations and small businesses in Central Falls and Pawtucket were announced as the recipients of a combined $40,000 in funding as Citizens Bank completed the second phase of its Growing Communities initiative.

The funding was provided in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corp. Rhode Island and will support youth programming, job training and more access to safe public spaces.

In this second round of funding targeted at Central Falls and Pawtucket, the eight organizations chosen in a competitive grant process are:

  • City of Central Falls: In partnership with the city of Pawtucket, the Central Falls’ Youth Development Initiative will benefit the city’s significant elderly population, provide employment opportunities for Central Falls high school youth and serve as a catalyst for yearlong youth employment opportunities that will benefit all Central Falls residents (according to the 2014 census, nearly 20,000 residents). The youth employment initiative will build a successful youth-led snow removal program and provide the impetus for year-round youth employment opportunities while fostering a sense of commitment to their community and keeping seniors safe.
  • Farm Fresh: The Harvest Kitchen Nutrition Education and Job Training Center will create many cross-program connections for Farm Fresh through the creation of a healthy-food retail option in the low-income area on the Pawtucket-Central Falls border. Farm Fresh’s nutrition education team will collaborate on developing and presenting nutrition education programs at the Kitchen and provide job-training opportunities for at-risk, low-income youth.
  • Fuerza Laboral: Fuerza is the engine of economic growth in the region incubating worker-owned enterprises that can provide good dignified jobs to members of its community. Its Worker-Owned Collaborative Incubator Project demonstrates that fair, living-wage work is possible. The network of immigrant worker-owned cooperatives will benefit local consumers by providing quality goods and services that support family-sustaining, living-wage and small businesses.
  • Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corp.: The After School Youth Scholarships program will provide 100 scholarships to the youth of Pawtucket and Central Falls to attend the Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket, where they can get involved in health and life-skill programs. Providing youth with accessible and affordable programming where they can feel safe, socialize with their peers, engage in healthy programs and become more active will also help with their physical health, [and to become] healthier students and more active members of the community.
  • The Pawtucket School Department: Through a 13-week citizenship class that will serve up to 25 residents of Pawtucket and neighboring communities, the classes will be incorporated into the COZ adult-education program. Becoming a citizen will assist individuals with employment, buying a home and providing stability for their families as well as future generations. The classes will be developed to provide prospective citizens with a basic understanding of U.S. history and constitutional democracy.
  • Progreso Latino: Progreso Latino’s Job Club is a resource offering workers opportunities to connect to employers, job opportunities and job-search trainings. Through capacity building, the Club will integrate a volunteer recruitment and training component and also further develop linkages with employers and other organizations. The project will also emphasize two important aspects: enhancing workforce and business development. Progreso Latino will augment the impact of its Job Club and VITA program and connect entrepreneurs to the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center.
  • Southside Community Land Trust: The Garfield Park Community Garden will support neighborhood revitalization and promote livability on a parcel of formerly residential land that is now vacant. The 20-plot garden will serve as many as 12 families by providing them with 1-2 plots where gardeners can grow whatever food they choose for their families. Benefits to these 30-plus gardeners will include savings on grocery bills, increased consumption of fresh, healthy food and reduced health care expenditures.
  • YWCA Rhode Island: YWCA Rhode Island will implement a workforce-development initiative in Central Falls that engages Hispanic and Latino women to build language and literacy, basic education and other skills required to be successful in the workforce. Sister to Sister / de Mujer a Mujer will serve female residents of Central Falls who are low- and moderate-income who are in need of professional-development opportunities that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. The program will engage 25 women from Central Falls in a peer-to-peer approach to health education of breast cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and leading cause of cancer death in Hispanic women.

In a statement, Jeanne Cola, executive director of LISC R.I., said she was pleased by the continued partnership with Citizens Bank and: “We are proud of the work that has been accomplished by the organizations we are recognizing today. These projects build on existing assets of these communities and help to leverage additional resources for the neighborhoods. We want to do all we can to support healthy living, safe neighborhoods and workforce development for every resident in these two communities.”

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