Friday, November 30, 2012

The Holiday Season Begins Saturday

Kick off the holidays by helping homeless women and children at Family Service of RI's affiliate organization Lucy's Hearth.

It's the annual Designer Wreath and Gourmet Bake Sale!

It takes place Saturday, December 1, at the Rotunda at Easton's Beach in Newport and runs 9 to noon--but the word is get there early because the items move swiftly!

Have a question? Email

Thank you!

World AIDS Day Event Today at State House

A Rhode Island State House event honoring World AIDS Day is being held today, Friday, November 30, 2012 from 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm in the State Room.

The event is being sponsored by The Rhode Island HIV Prevention Coalition. Featured speakers are Governor Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox.

The Coalition was formed in the spring of 2012 with the goal of reducing the incidence of new HIV infections in Rhode Island through collaboration, education, and advocacy. It is composed of twenty-two community-based organizations and other partners who meet regularly to support efforts to reduce HIV among high-risk groups through primary prevention efforts.

According to Thomas Bertrand, MPH, executive director of AIDS Project Rhode Island, “The State House event represents an opportunity for the Coalition and elected officials to renew attention to a public health problem that has been neglected for too long in Rhode Island."

The Rhode Island Department of Health HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Profile indicates that HIV continues to be a persistent public health problem in Rhode Island, with 106 new HIV infections reported in 2010.

“While we have seen some preliminary signs that indicate a small overall drop in HIV in recent years, some groups remain disproportionately impacted by HIV. People aged 20-29, as well as gay/bisexual men, represent groups that are making up an increasing percentage of new HIV infections. In addition Latinos and African Americans continue to have disproportionately higher rates of HIV infection compared to whites,” according to Wendy Hadley, PhD, assistant professor, Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Bertrand warns, “Unfortunately, an increase in HIV infection for at-risk groups could occur in coming years, as government funding for primary HIV prevention to community groups evaporates in Rhode Island on December 31, 2012.” Funding to conduct HIV prevention/education for five community-based initiatives will be discontinued at the end of 2012, leaving community-based funding solely for HIV testing and retaining people living with HIV in medical care.

 “I think community-based HIV primary prevention should be the foundation of Rhode Island’s public health strategy to eliminate HIV. Individuals in at-risk communities must understand what puts them at risk for HIV and learn ways to protect themselves. It costs about $400,000 in lifetime medical costs for people who are infected with HIV. It only makes sense for Rhode Island to invest in efforts that help people lead healthy lives and save in HIV-related health care costs,” says Aida Manduley, sexual health advocate, Sojourner House.

Bertrand points to Massachusetts as an example of how an investment in community-based HIV prevention/education can pay off. “In recent years Massachusetts has invested about five times more per capita than Rhode Island in HIV prevention at the community level, and their overall rate of new HIV infections has dropped about 46% since 2000. During that same time, Rhode Island has only seen a 16% decline. I think we can do better in Rhode Island, but it will require leadership by community groups, government agencies, and elected officials,” says Bertrand.

Rhode Island HIV Prevention Member Agencies:

 • Abbot Virology
• AIDS Care Ocean State
• AIDS Project Rhode Island, a division of Family Service of RI
• Bristol Myers Squib
 • Brown University LGBTQ Center
• Brown University Health Education
• Brown University AIDS Program
• The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health
• Center for AIDS Research
• Gilead
• JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.
• Housing Action of Rhode Island
• Jannsen
• Lifespan’s Hasbro Children’s Hospital PediII Clinic
• Miriam Hospital, Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research
• Pawtucket Prevention Coalition
• Planned Parenthood for Southern New England
• Project Renew
• Sojourner House
• ViiV Healthcare • Youth Pride, Inc.
• YWCA of Northern Rhode Island.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Get in the Holiday Spirit and Help Homeless Women and Children

Don't miss the annual wreath and gourmet bake sale benefiting Lucy's Hearth!!!  It's this Saturday 9 to noon at Easton's Beach, 175 Memorial Boulevard in Newport.  Get there early because Lucy's Hearth's wreaths are always in great demand for the holidays! Questions:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

World AIDS Day Event

The Rhode Island HIV Prevention Coalition is holding a World AIDS Day event at the Rhode Island Statehouse on Friday, November 30 from noon to 2 p.m.

AIDS Project RI, a division of Family Service of RI, is one of the members of the coalition, which, by the way, has a Facebook page.

You're invited to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS by joining us. Please pass along this information!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Friday, November 09, 2012

Help Make the Holidays Brighter!

Help us make the holidays brighter!

Family Service of Rhode Island seeks holiday donations of new toys for all ages, and retail/grocery gift certificates for our clients in crisis.

Last year, our services were provided to nearly 9,000 underprivileged children and adults in Rhode Island.

Please contact Karen Schnabel at 401.331.1350, ext 3311 or email for more information. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

It's Snowing in South Providence

The scene outside our office on Thurbers Avenue, Providence, on Wednesday afternoon.  It's snowing!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Please Vote Today!

Please join Debbie Robinson, of our human resources office, in voting today!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Child Stress & Trauma & Sandy's Aftermath

Family Service of Rhode Island’s child trauma and loss center has tips to help children deal with stress in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Susan Erstling, PhD

"Sandy was a serious disruption in our lives, and young children may react to this in multiple ways,” said Susan Erstling, PhD, who heads the center at Family Service of Rhode Island, which is the National Child Traumatic Stress Network site for Rhode Island.

 “Depending on the child’s age and level of development, reactions may include problems at school, difficulties sleeping, fear, and withdrawal from friends and family,” she said.

Some quick tips from Dr. Erstling to lessen childhood stress:

1) Parents should try to remain calm. This sets an example for how to manage stress.

2) One of the best lessons to teach a child is to have plans and back-up plans for moving forward. It sets an example of preparation and recovery and how to master stress. “We want our children to think this way,” she said.

3) Find alternatives to watching media reports. Focus attention on fun and productive activities and positive energy. Limit exposure to adult conversations which may frighten younger children.

4) Try to keep to routines.

5) Be prepared to answers questions, and truly listen to fears.

6) Children may worry about relatives and friends, so keep up communications with others if possible.

“If the child continues to show unusual behavior several weeks after the storm, a professional evaluation from a mental health professional would be advised,” she said.

More child stress prevention tips are available here.

Family Service of Rhode Island is a human service and education nonprofit organization.

Friday, November 02, 2012

$1.6 Million to Reduce Child Trauma; Military Families a Priority

Left to right: Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO of Family Service of RI; Dr. Susan Erstling, who heads the Family Service of RI child trauma center; Congressman David Cicilline; Dr. Janice DeFrances, director of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families; and Francis Paranzino, vice president/chief operating officer of Newport County Community Mental Health Center, a partnering agency with Family Service of RI.

Congressman David Cicilline and Family Service of Rhode Island CEO Margaret Holland McDuff today announced that the non-profit has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to reduce the impact of trauma on the state’s children, with military families being a priority.

The announcement took place in a therapy office at the agency’s Hope Street, Providence, Rhode Island, location. On the walls were messages from children receiving treatment for sexual abuse and other issues.