On Thursday, March 22nd, students from the C3 Center attended “Together RI,” an initiative of the Rhode Island Foundation aimed at bringing together diverse groups of people to learn how they feel about Rhode Island. NWBRV youth joined the very first of 20 gatherings, giving a voice to young adults throughout Woonsocket. The event was held at Woonsocket Middle School and attended by about 75 community members. Attendees shared a range of ideas on how to improve Woonsocket as a community and Rhode Island as a whole, and our kids were more than excited to share their opinions.
Throughout the meal, our students shared their concerns.
Anthony Candelario pushed for “making school grounds safe for all kids.”
Binta Ndiaya spoke of the importance of “stopping bullying and fights at school.”
After dinner, attendees were invited to get up on stage and share highlights of their conversations with the attendees. D’Anna Bothelo served as speaking on behalf of the youth program. D’Anna shared that it was important for her to stand up and speak her mind “because if we don’t then our voices won’t be heard and our problems will stay our problems.” Well D’Anna made sure that wasn’t the case.
We brought the students to this event to demonstrate the importance of their voice and how it can be a tool in community change. The Rhode Island Foundation will use the information collected throughout these community dinners to inform future funding priorities. Our youth will hopefully be able to witness how their ideas can lead to change on the local and state levels. The earlier they can appreciate the value of civic engagement, the better they’ll be prepared for future participation.