‘Tis the season for giving

Over the years, RIC has been involved with many kinds of charitable drives, from food and clothing collections to blood donations. This holiday season, a new partnership initiative has the campus again reaching out to those less fortunate.

Children from Joslin receive presents at the Dec. 22 holiday event.
Antoinette Gomes, director of the RIC Unity Center, has organized Precious Presents, an event in which the center’s Diversity Alliance group has "adopted" a family in need, in partnership with the Joslin Community Development Corporation.

The Joslin center is local, just one half mile from the RIC campus. Joslin helped identify the single-parent family of four, which includes a father, two boys ages 12 and 2, and a girl, age 8, who suffers from a chronic medical condition.

Precious Presents started as a project when Gomes spoke to Guia Sanchez, executive director of Joslin, about the idea.

The Diversity Alliance at RIC works to increase communication and understanding among student clubs, and to provide opportunities for leadership development. The Rainbow Alliance, Harambee, and the Asian Students Association, are among the groups working together to collect donations of new clothing, toys, gift cards and monetary donations, which will be used to purchase a grocery gift card for the family.

Donations have come from members of student organizations, as well as RIC students, faculty and staff.

There are over 40 children from low income families that comprise the program at Joslin. In addition to the "adopted" family, the donations provided a toy for each child from Joslin.

The Alliance delivered the donations on Dec. 22, and shared in a holiday event with the children.

“These are kids that truly are in need,” said Gomes.

Debra Thomson of Adams Library distributes copies
of 'The Precious Present' to children at Joslin.
The James P. Adams Library at RIC is also getting involved in the holiday event. Precious Presents takes its name from a book titled "The Precious Present" by Spencer Johnson. The library donated the book to each of the families in the Joslin program.

This is the first collaboration between the Unity Center and Joslin. The partnership will continue as an opportunity for RIC students to experience local civic engagement, and perform community service in the center.

Joslin is also working with RIC's Career Development Center to allow it to become an off-campus work-study site.

“The most important thing for me is that this is a mutually beneficial partnership. Not only will the community center benefit from the volunteerism and community service, but the students will get a lot back through this type of civic engagement,” Gomes said.

For more information on the RIC Unity Center and how to get involved in future events, contact Antoinette Gomes at (401) 456-7891.