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Fall 2014       
Dear Volunteers,

For those of you who don't know me, I am the new Director of Volunteer Services. Prior to coming to Inspiring Minds, I was well aware of the amazing work you all do because I volunteered for both Power Lunch and Kids Bridge. I'm so excited to be continuing my association with this wonderful organization in my new position!

I just want to say THANK YOU for committing to make such a difference in the lives of Providence students. I firmly believe, as I know you all do, that all Providence students deserve an equal chance at academic success. But sadly, many of our students don't have that equal chance. With limited opportunities, many students are already behind on the first day of school. Without educational assistance, this achievement gap could widen. This is where you all come in! The good news is that through your efforts, this gap is starting to close. I'm sure you can see it yourself with the students you help.


So please - keep up the good work!  And bring a friend!  We're always looking for new volunteers!


Best Regards,


Jane Lavoie

Director of Volunteer Services


Dorothy Melo

A Truly Inspiring Volunteer

 Tutoring at 

Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary School at Broad Street



Q: Why do you volunteer?

A: I first got involved in volunteering as part of a requirement for college. As my service hours were nearing completion, I realized I didn't want to leave the school!

Q: Who inspired you when you were young?

A: My piano teacher, Teresa. She is an amazing teacher who allows her students to come to her with problems. Many of my lessons turned into her listening to my dilemmas and giving me advice. My goal is to be the type of teacher she is. I want my students to consider my classroom a safe space where they can be themselves without judgment.

Q: What surprised you most about volunteering?

A: I started out with the mindset that I would be the one doing all the teaching, but I was wrong. Last year after Christmas break, I asked the first-grade girls I was working with about their gifts. One responded, "All I got was books, but they are special books, because mommy reads one to me every night." Though she didn't receive anything extravagant, she was proud because those books gave her quality time with her mother. I learned a lesson that we all know but often forget- don't take things for granted. Now, whenever I "sweat the small stuff," I remember this story and change my mindset.

Q: What would a book about your life  be called?

A: There's No Place like School: A Future Teacher Finds Herself

Meet the Staff!

Shelbi Hoover

Volunteer Coordinator


I'm Shelbi Hoover and I grew up and lived in Indiana until moving to Providence in 2012 to participate in City Year, an AmeriCorps program. After City Year, I spent a second year as an AmeriCorps member at Inspiring Minds before becoming Volunteer Coordinator! I love serving and talking about service with others, because I think being committed to a cause greater than yourself reveals the very best in people, and is the only way we can tackle global issues that will be shaping humanity in the 21st century.

Yawilda Jimenez
AmeriCorps VISTA Data Coordinator

My name is Yawilda Jimenez. I'm originally from the Dominican Republic and I have been living in RI for 5 Years now. During these 5 years, I have enjoyed working closely with the Providence community. Right now, I am an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Inspiring Minds. I came to this organization because I love the work they do to help kids who are struggling with different subjects in school, and it is a way for me to keep helping my community.
Ellen Cummings
AmeriCorps VISTA Outreach Coordinator

I'm Ellen Cummings and I grew up in southern RI. I studied Anthropology and Creative Writing at Hampshire College and then received a Bachelor's degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am currently an AmeriCorps VISTA at Inspiring Minds. I enjoy working for this organization because I fully support their mission to close the achievement gap in Providence public schools. I believe that providing educational assistance at early ages is one of the most important and effective ways to address many social and economic issues.

TECH Highlight


The Tech Center, the Inspiring Minds high school after-school program, is wrapping up its Fall activities and getting ready for 2015. This Fall we were able to offer tutoring, English classes, a robotics club, computer programming workshops, and a girls engineering club, thanks to our knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers. The Tech center strives to offer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) activities to Providence high schoolers. All of our programs are free and open to any high school student in a Providence public school. If you have a STEM background or know a volunteer who does, get in touch with Brandon Keith, the Tech Center Coordinator, or Carlos Lopez, the assistant coordinator.

Make Content Comprehensible For All Students

Provide ELLs (English Language Learners) with alternative ways of understanding key content. Target all learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) by using charts and diagrams, books written in their first language, discussion, etc.; this allows ELLs to learn the same material as other students while they continue to develop their English language skills. Talk to your teacher to learn more about how to use this technique to instruct your ELL students!
Share Your Voice!

If you have a story about your service that you would love to share, or if you'd like to join our newsletter team and have your writing featured, let us know! Email Shelbi at to learn more about how to share your volunteer voice in our next edition!
FACT About

The Providence Public School Department (PPSD) released a report in October  on chronic absenteeism - defined as students missing 10% or more of school during a year.  At district level, there has been a four-year positive trend in chronic absenteeism, decreasing from 36.6% in the 2009-10 school year to 30.7% in the 2013-14 school year.  While middle had almost a 10% decline in students being chronically absent, elementary schools showed a smaller drop from 26% to only 25%.
Join us for a fun evening this Friday, Dec.5 at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. Proceeds support tutoring for Providence public 
school students. 
For more information on how to buy tickets go to
or call 401-274-3240
New Community Partner!
The WBNA organizes neighbors and businesses on the West Side of Providence to preserve and promote our diverse, historic, urban community as a safe, vibrant, and sustainable place to live, work, and play.

Learn more at
Your donation now will help a student get the individual attention necessary to overcome learning obstacles and get on the road to academic success.


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Inspiring Minds' mission is to create successful students by providing them with the appropriate academic and social supports.  -  763 Westminster St. Providence, RI 02903  -  401.274.3240