RIC/HBS Mentors donate hand-made materials to Crossroads Rhode Island

Students from the Henry Barnard School are ready to donate their handmade blankets and other materials.
The Rhode Island College and Henry Barnard School (RIC/HBS) Mentors and their mentees recently presented hand-tied blankets and other materials for homeless children at a local family shelter during an assembly at Henry Barnard on March 23.

“The RIC/HBS Mentors is a student activity with over 60 RIC members, said Laurie Parkerson, media specialist and lead advisor for the Mentors at HBS. “They are asked to volunteer at least half an hour per week to mentor an HBS kid.”

The Mentors believe it is important to teach their mentees about giving back, so a service project like this one is included on the organization’s annual calendar, said Parkerson.

This year, the Mentors came up with a project that involved making “no sew” blankets for children at Crossroads Rhode Island, a private, non-profit organization that provides 24-hour assistance seven days a week to homeless Rhode Islanders, and serves as the leading organization of its kind in the state.

Through a grant provided by the Rhode Island Campus Compact – an alliance of colleges and universities dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement and service-learning in higher education – the Mentors purchased 20 blanket kids, 15 blanket pets for “adoption” by homeless children at the shelter and books about homelessness.

Each hand-made item was accompanied by a note from the donor to the anonymous recipient, said Parkerson.

Seated from left: James LaChance, RIC/HBS Mentor and Cicely Dove, director of the Crossroads Family Center. Children standing from left: Amari Banson-Gray and Giulia Carino, grade 3, and Sammie Shorr, grade 2. Adults standing from left: Bethany Hopfer, RIC/HBS Mentor; RIC President Nancy Carriuolo; Sharon Hellmann, HBS Spanish teacher and RIC/HBS Mentors' faculty advisor; Laurie Parkerson, HBS librarian and RIC/HBS Mentors' faculty advisor; Carie Hertzberg, executive director of Rhode Island Campus Compact; Liz Garofalo, coordinator of community service learning at FSEHD and Erin Hallene, RIC/HBS Mentor.
Cicely Dove, Crossroads Family Center director, attended the event and spoke with HBS students about homeless children. In return, the students and their Mentors showed Dove what they learned about helping homeless children, and gave her their homemade items to bring back to the shelter.

A graffiti board has also been erected in HBS, inviting students, mentors, teachers and families to comment on what “home” means to them.

“We look forward to working with the Crossroads family shelter again next year,” said Parkerson.

Photo gallery

For more information on the RIC/HBS Mentors, contact Laurie Parkerson at (401) 456-8097 or lparkerson@ric.edu.