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Works Wonders Program Highlighted at Joint Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and Employment

Foster Forward is Proud to Showcase the Success of Works Wonders on National Stage

 Foster Forward's Deputy Director, Kat Keenan, and Works Wonders  Participant and Youth Leader, Randy Colon, were invited to speak on a  panel at a Joint Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth at the U.S. Capitol  on March 29, 2017.  Nationally, 49% of 19 year olds in and who have aged  out of foster care report having no employment-related experiences. The  need is great, but the opportunities are being developed to help youth  succeed. 

 Welcomed by Congressman Danny Davis of Illinois and supported by the  Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, Foster Forward's team was able to  showcase the success of the Works Wonders Research Initiative that was funded as part of a competitive grant through the Children's Bureau. The Works Wonders Initiative was independently evaluated using a quasi-experimental design and was shown to target the most disconnect youth, the youth with the most barriers to work, and to serve those youth who hisotrically experience disparate outcomes in child welfare - racially and ethnically diverse youth. 

Works Wonders has show to have impact on four key outcomes: 

  1. Reducing vocational and non vocation barriers to work;
  2. Improving critical relational competencies such as active listening, conflict resolution, and team work;
  3. Helping young people progress along the continuum of career readiness from career exploration, work preparation, job search and job retention; and
  4. The more young people completed the program components the greater the likelihood they'd connect to paid, competitive employment. 

In addition to highilghting the success of the program and talking about next steps for bringing the program to scale, Ms. Keenan was also able to talk about the unique position that Foster Forward was able to bring to this work leveraging our financial capability program through ASPIRE and being able to connect young people to employers using the Governor's Work Immersion Program. 

Members on the Hill are looking forward to learning more and partnering with Foster Forward to turn the tide on employment outcomes for youth in and who age out of foster care. 

Toy Distribution for Foster Families





Toy Distribution for Foster Families

50 Ann Mary Street, Pawtucket, RI

December 10, 2014

9:00am – 9:00pm

Contact: Lisa Guillette

(401) 439-0611


On Wednesday, December 10, 2014 from 9:00a.m. - 9:00p.m. Foster Forward will welcome over 400 foster families to a “pop up” distribution center in Pawtucket to receive toys, hats, gloves, pajamas, coats and other clothes for the children placed in their care. 


There are nearly 2,000 children and youth in DCYF care in Rhode Island and about two thirds of them are placed in foster homes.  Each year Foster Forward coordinates the DCYF Holiday Gifts Campaign and distributes toys donated by Hasbro and hats and gloves donated by the Providence Journal Holiday Fund.  The Campaign offers businesses and individual donors the opportunity to “adopt” teens in group homes to provide holiday gifts.  Foster Forward also accepts financial donations on behalf of the Campaign for gift cards to ensure that no teen in foster care is forgotten during the holiday season.


The “pop up” distribution center (photo attached) is made possible by Ocean State Job Lot, as they donate retail space in the shopping plaza at 50 Ann Mary Way in Pawtucket.  As part of their “Global Day of Joy”, a group of Hasbro volunteers painted the windows and delivered the toys, while a volunteer crew from East Side Marketplace helped to open boxes and prepare toys for delivery to DCYF regional offices.  On Wednesday, another crew of volunteers from Bank of America will fill toy orders for the foster families and help them select clothing for the children in their care.  Everyone is excited to help families pick out a special toy and new pajamas for children in care.


When the doors open at 9am, the Foster Forward staff brace for a line of foster families out the door.  The storefront will be bustling with holiday cheer and will offer great photo and video opportunities.  Press for this event will help publicize the Campaign, as donations are still needed for gift cards for teens, and our state is always in need of more foster families and mentors for children and teens in DCYF care.  For more information, please contact Lisa Guillette, Executive Director of Foster Forward at 439-0611.








Foster Forward is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to empowering lives impacted by foster care.  As a grantee of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, Foster Forward is honored to coordinate the DCYF Holiday Gifts Campaign each year. 

Distribution Center

12th Annual Gala is sure to be an Adventure!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  “Adventure Africa” is brought to Rhode Island to Raise Funds for Youth in Foster Care

East Providence, Rhode Island, September 17, 2014 - Foster Forward, a non-profit organization          that empowers the lives of Rhode Island children and families impacted by foster care, will host their largest fundraising event of the year - the 12th Annual Gala themed “Adventure Africa.”  This highly anticipated event will take place on Friday, September 26, 2014 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, in Cranston, RI starting at 6:30 P.M. 

At this year’s “Adventure Africa” Gala, John Orton Events will bring the beautiful African cultures to Rhode Island.  Guests will enjoy the majestic styles of Morocco with the exotic feel of the Serengeti’s wild safari and an evening filled with dancing, entertainment, live and silent auctions, a three course dinner and more.

Through “Adventure Africa,” Foster Forward is able to raise funds to support the programs and resources needed to empower and brighten the futures of the over 2,000 Rhode Island children and youth in foster care, many of whom are victims of abuse or neglect. 

Each year, this event attracts nearly 400 attendees and raises almost $100,000 to funds programs that help young children like Ray, an autistic 13 year old whose parents both died when he was young. Ray lives in a therapeutic foster home but is looking for a mentor who shares his love of ice cream. Money raised at “Adventure Africa” will help Foster Forward match Ray with a mentor through its Real Connections program. Dollars raised from this event will also help youth like Jen, a student at a local college working two part-time jobs. Jen needs a car to help her manage her schedule and through Foster Forward’s ASPIRE program, she can learn financial skills to save her money and be matched for the purchase of car to help her achieve her goals.

“Foster Forward is grateful for the generous support of our presenting sponsors, FGX International and Ocean State Job Lot and we are honored to be recognized by Bank of America as their Neighborhood Builder recipient this year,” said Lisa Guillette, Foster Forward’s Executive Director.  “We are particularly thrilled to announce that WJAR NBC10 will be the media sponsor for the event, with Patrice Wood as the night's emcee! We are excited to work with NBC10 and very grateful for their support of Adventure Africa. The many corporate sponsors and individual donors who contribute to this event help us power our work throughout the year and ensure that children in foster care overcome the trauma they have experienced and have opportunities to thrive.”

To enjoy an exotic evening at our Adventure Africa Gala and to support Foster Forward’s mission to help children impacted by foster care, please visit our website at or contact Linda Fournier at (401) 438-3900 x100. Tickets are $100 each and must be purchased in advance.  Additional donations are welcome.

Media Contact: Kat Keenan at 617-256-8046 or


Foster Forward Awarded Governor's Workforce Board Innovative Partnership Grant


Governor Chafee Announces $1.75M in GWB Innovative Partnership Grants. Foster Forward was one of 13 awardees to receive grants to connect employers and educational providers to develop Opportunities for unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders. Using the Works Wonders model, Foster Forward will be serving 50 youth in or who have aged out of foster care to build work ready skills and have test those skills in a work experience. Foster Forward is incredibly excited to be partnering with the following business: Ocean State Job Lot, Howley Bread Group, LaSalle Bakery, Econotel, Goldencrest Nursing Center, The Dog House, Burlington Coat Factory, & Cvs Pharmacy (Newport Ave). 


100 Things to do with kids in and around Rhode Island

Consider  100+ Things To Do with Kids in Rhode Island Kidoinfo’s Bucket List, filled with things to do with your children before they grow up! Fun, food, culture, and history—all unique to our area: these are things we believe every young Rhode Islander should see and do.  For easy planning in any weather and any mood, our list is divided into four categories: Outdoor, Indoor, Food, and Close-to-RI-Favorites. We’ve included a note to let you know if the activity is FREE.  Check it out here!

What does it look like to Empower a Lifetime?


Natcha madNatachae her first ASPIRE asset match for a shiny new (used) car! Her 2004 Honda Odyssey will help her maintain her full time job which helps support her family. Natacha will also begin Financial Coaching this Friday with the Capital Good Fund to continue to work towards her financial goals! Way to go Natacha!

Foster Forward presents on panel at United States Senate Caucus

Senate Caucus 2014

On Monday, June 16, 2014 Foster Forward Executive Director Lisa Guillette and ASPIRE participant Sarah Smith presented on behalf of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative on a panel at the U.S. Senate Caucus on Financial Literacy for Foster Youth.  

"There's no place like home, there's no place like home..."

On a cloudy morning in November, a group of Foster Forward staff and two young women who were facing homelessness trouped over to Central Falls to check out a construction project.  Greeted at the door by Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation staff, we were given a full tour of the three story house that was to become 5 units of supportive housing.  As we stood on the unfinished floors with the sound of saws buzzing and the smell of fresh paint, the two young women started to imagine out loud what it would be like to live there.  They talked excitedly with the PCDC staff about which apartments they liked the most and what kind of roommates they would want to have.

On April 1st those daydreams came true.

Through a collaboration between PCDC, Ferland Property Management, the RI Council of Resource Providers, and Foster Forward, with the support of DCYF and RI Housing, the newly named Linden Tree Place now houses 11 young adults (including the two young women from that day in November). These young people range from 18 to 24, have experienced homelessness, and struggle to maintain stable housing due to a long-term disability.  In addition to the brand-new apartments that they are able to rent at a significantly discounted rate, they also receive support through case managers provided by RICORP.  

This exciting project has inspired the generosity of a number of community members and organizations.  The Junior League of RI donated kitchen tables and a number of other household items.  The East Greenwich High School Community donated new sheets and comforters and Cardi's Furniture pitched in with beds.  Thank you to everyone else who has helped with this amazing project and congratulations to the new residents!

Linden Tree Place Apartment


Have you ever wanted to go to a movie premiere?

ask us who we are movie premiereHere's your chance!  The Department of Children, Youth, and Families and Foster Forward are sponsoring two free screenings of the documentary, "Ask Us Who We Are", in honor of National Foster Care Month.  Watch the trailer.


Movie Premiere: Saturday, May 17th 2:00-4:00pm

Cable Car Cinema-204 South Main St, Providence, RI


Second Screening: Wednesday, May 21st 6:30-8:30pm

Cinema World-622 George Washington Hwy, Lincoln, RI


If you plan to attend, please RSVP via Facebook or by contacting Leidy Alves at (401) 438-3900 ext. 125 or

This event wouldn't be possible without the support of our partners: DCYF, Adoption Rhode Island, Alliance Health and Human Services, Boys Town, Child and Family, Children's Friend, Communitites for People, Devereux, Family Resources Community Action, Family Service of RI, The Groden Network, North American Family Institute, RICORP, and Tannerhill, Inc.

DCYF is excited to announce the availability of the DCYF Post Secondary Education Tuition Assistance Program (PETAP) for the 2014-15 academic year (July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015).

DCYF announces that its application for the Post Secondary Tuition Assistance Program is now available. The application is completely web-based and must be completed online. This lets DCYF send and receive information directly to the school each student identifies as their "selected school". DCYF's priority deadline is March 1, 2014 but applications must be received by June 1, 2014 to be considered for an award. DCYF WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING ANY APPLICATIONS AFTER JUNE 1, 2014.  

Students can access the application by going to the DCYF website ( and looking for the paragraph "Am I Eligible For Money for College or a Trade School?" or by selecting the Post Secondary Education Assistance link on the right side of DCYF home page.

A student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before we can process the student's DCYF application. Go to for the FAFSA.

A copy of DCYF's Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.  These explain the eligibility criteria for the two funding streams - the state funded DCYF Higher Education Opportunity Grant Program and the federal Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program - which provide the money to support these programs.

For more information Contact the DCYF Educational Services Coordinator, Lori DiPina, at  



Real Connections Making Connections Nationally!

Have you met Kate Bronner? Or any of the other fabulous memebers of the Real Connections team, like Stacy, Danielle, and Bernadette?

Take a look at this article that appeared in The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring highlighting the work of the Real Connections Team. Dr. Sarah Schwartz interviewed Kate to learn more about Foster Forward's work with youth in our mentoring program. Real Connections is a unique mentoring program that builds off a youth's own natural networks of support. Read the article here

Bank of American Announces $200,000 Award to Foster Forward

At 8:30 a.m. on December 11, 2013, Bank of America Announced that Foster Forward was the recipient of the prestigous Neighborhood Builders Award.  

"Bank of America's Neighborhood Builders® program helps address local challenges in community developmentworkforce development and education, and other critical needs. The program, an invitation only process for nonprofits addressing these three areas, provides high-performing nonprofits with $200,000 in unrestricted grant funding and leadership development for their executive directors and emerging leaders. We developed the program in response to the need for strong leaders to face the challenges of local communities."

Foster Forward is honored and grateful for Bank of America's grant support and commitment to helping all children and youth in Rhode Island succeed.  Volunteers stayed after the announcement to help distribute toys, clothes, and more to foster families throughout the state at the Annual DCYF Holiday Gifts Campaign Distribution Day in Pawtucket.   

Giving is in Fashion: Students Host a Fashion Show to Fundraise for Teens in Foster Care!

CWHSThe Cranston West High School Chapter of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) will partner with Foster Forward and host a fashion show showcasing formal Winter Ball attire. The proceeds of this event will be donated to the DCYF Holiday Gifts for Teens Campaign, to provide holiday gifts to teenagers in foster care in Rhode Island. It will be held at the Cranston West High School auditorium on Saturday, December 7th at 7pm, and all of the fashions will be modeled by Cranston West students. Dresses and gowns will be provided by Sonya’s, Ray Gardner Designs, Party Dress Express, Deb Shop, Zu Zu’s, and Cache. Tuxedos and suits will be provided by Carl Anthony Tuxedo and The Men’s Wearhouse. Toni and Guy Hairdressing Academy will be doing the models’ hair and makeup.

“This is truly a group effort”, said Carolyn Dawson, FCCLA Co-President. “FCCLA could not coordinate this event without the generous support of so many businesses and individuals.” Over 80 students are contributing their time to make this an exciting and successful event. In addition to students modeling, Graphics Communication students are designing and producing the tickets and programs. Entrepreneurship students are helping to sell program ads and tickets and are soliciting raffle prizes and donations. Culinary Arts students are preparing refreshments to be sold during intermission. Music and dance students are performing in between store lineups. Tech crew students are setting the stage and coordinating the music and lighting. “It’s wonderful to see Cranston West students join together in the service of fellow teens and be leaders in our community”, said Thomas Barbieri, Principal of Cranston West. “This is what Cranston West is all about." "We are grateful for the generous support from the students at Cranston West High School for the DCYF Holiday Gifts for Teens Campaign,” said Lisa Guillette, Executive Director of Foster Forward. “It is inspiring to see this diverse student body assemble their talents in such a coordinated way on behalf of other teens living in less fortunate circumstances. These students are true leaders and a credit to their families, school and community.”

This event benefits all of the roughly 1,900 teenagers under the care of DCYF, many of whom are residing in group homes or other residential placements. Ticket cost is $10 per ticket. Tickets can be purchased in advance and will be sold at the door. Additional donations are welcome. To contribute to the DCYF Holiday Gifts for Teens Campaign or “adopt” a group home, contact Beamer Aston at (401) 438-3900 x122 or Foster Forward is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting children, young adults, and families whose lives have been impacted by foster care. Foster Forward is funded in part by the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families and is proud to manage the Holiday Gifts Campaign on behalf of all children and teens in DCYF care and their families.

“We did a Fashion Show in 2011”, said Dorothy Martiesian, Cranston West FCCLA chapter Advisor. “We raised over $2,500, which we hope to double this year.” “There was such a positive attitude at the school, as there is again this year. Those who were not sure they had the courage to model felt the encouragement of their fellow students and their self-confidence blossomed. Students want to help one another and support teens in foster care through their efforts.”

National Philanthropy Day


Today is National Philanthropy Day.  This morning we had the opportunity to honor two of our Partners in Philanthropy - FGX International and the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades for their support of our annual event and commitment to empowering lives impacted by foster care!

PFB Supports Foster Forward!


Thank you to Providence Fullcourt Boardroom (PFB) and all of the former Providence College athletes invloved with PFB for donating $1,000 to support our work. Sean Holley stopped by Foster Forward last week to drop off this gift.

Thank you J Crew!

J Crew

A HUGE thank you to the wonderful staff at the Providence Place J Crew for supporting Foster Forward through their Back to School Event!  We greatly appreciate all the generous J Crew customers who donated back to school supplies for children and youth in foster care.

A Little History...

Visit the Foster Forward History Page to learn more about what we stand for and watch a video about how we came up with our new name.

Foster Forward on the Rhode Show

Leidy Alves from Foster Forward is pictured here with the Providence Fullcourt Boardroomrhode show and St. Mary's Home for Children outside the studios for the Rhode Show. 

PFB has been formed and maintained by former Providence College Basketball Players, along with alumni and friends. 

At 7PM on August 9th at Gavin's Pub & Restaurant in Providence, RI the PFB STARS SOCIAL & BILLIARDS event will be held to benefit Foster Forward. 

Check back soon for the link to the Rhode Show's video! Great job Leidy and special thanks to PFB for their great work and support of vulnerable youth! 

ASPIRING Young Leaders Program Kicks Off Today


Mike Peno, a Young Fellow with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative and local Rhode Islander, and Tiffanie Barbosa, Youth Engagement Specialist at Foster Forward, launch the first ASPIRING Young Leaders Program today. Youth from around the state are gathered for this three day training to build and enhance leadership skills that will empower them to be advocates, thought leaders, and systems changers! Stay tuned for more pictures and updates! 


NAIFA-RI is Putting for Dough!

NAIFA2The Rhode Island Chapter of NAIFA (the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) donated the proceeds from their annual golf tournament to Foster Forward!  Thank you NAIFA for your generous support!

Coffee for a Cause!


Do you love coffee? Spend time on the East Side? Want to support programs that help children and youth in foster care? You are in luck! Blue State Coffee at 244 Thayer Street (in the Brown University Bookstore) is dedicating 2% of their proceeds over the next 6 months to support Foster Forward. All you have to do is visit them, buy some coffee and use your token to select Foster Forward as your charity of choice. Thanks for your support and click HERE for more info about Blue State Coffee.

Adoption Day!

Higgins familyCongratulations to the Higgins Family on the adoption of their son Athan today!  Paul and Michelle are long time foster parents and are amazing in their commitment to the children in their care and their perspective on respecting biological families.  

Of her son's biological mom, Michelle stated, "My promise to her is to love and protect him as my own and to honor her name forever."  

100 Things to Do in Rhode Island with kids!

Looking for something to do with the kids this summer?  Check this out!

Thank you Team SIMULIA!

Team SIMULIAOn Friday, June 14th, Team SIMULIA participated in a day of service at various locations across Rhode Island.  Foster Forward was grateful to have a team deployed to our storage unit to sort clothing for children in foster care and another team at the new home of a YESS Aftercare Services client to perform an apartment makeover. Thank you Team SIMULIA!

A Mitzvah for Dance!


Shayna Goldstein used her November 9th Bat Mitzvah as an opportunity to collect dance apparel including tights, shoes and tutus to donate to Foster Forward.  These new and gently used outfits and equipment will be distributed to children in foster care who would like to take dance lessons.  Thank you Shayna!

How Foster Care Defined a Family

Colantuonos1 The story of the Colantuono Family and their foster care experience!


April is ASPIRE Survey Month!

Calling all ASPIRE Participants!  April is survey month, and we want to hear from you.  Please contact Julia at (401) 438-3900 x114 to schedule your survey and receive your $40 participation stipend.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

Easter baskets

Thank you to CVS for the generous donation of hundreds of Easter baskets for children in foster care!  The baskets were delivered to DCYF today for distribution to children in care.

 55 South Brow Street - East Providence, RI 02914 - 401.438.3900    © Copyright 2013 Foster Forward.