• MLK Community Center

Heroes: the MLK's Preschool Graduating Class of '21, MLK Families, & MLK Staff ⭐️

Updated: Jul 3



Yesterday, we held an online graduation ceremony for 12 students who will move on from the MLK Community Center's Preschool and head off to Kindergarten in the fall. Some favorite moments included:

  • The children reciting their daily affirmations: "I am Smart." "I am Strong." "I am Loved."

  • The awe-struck faces of students in the 3 to 4-year-old classroom watching the "big kids" graduate.

  • Seeing the waves, smiles, and tears of over 30 family members on Zoom.

  • The wee stuffed puppet friend "José," with his own graduation cap, sitting at far right with the graduates. (José the puppet has been a constant presence during the children's day: he helps teach good hygiene habits and promotes the children’s social and emotional development.)

Each student received an "Off to Kindergarten" book of their own and took home a portfolio of their work. Lead Preschool teacher Miss Valencia selected Mariah Carey’s "Hero" to play as the students concluded their ceremony "because our students have been heroes," she said, navigating an uncertain school year with strength and grace. While this is absolutely true, we could say the very same thing about our incredible Education staff, too. Congratulations, students, parents, and teachers for all that you've accomplished!


On Wednesday, we held our first Live from the [Loading] Dock outdoor concert, sponsored by Jeff Brooks, Realtor - Hogan Associates. For anyone that missed it, we're happy to report that the evening was a success! Yacouba Diabate played the traditional West African kora, a stringed instrument that he constructed himself, while volunteers cooked up hot dogs and hamburgers for all to enjoy. Click here to check out a clip from the performance.

WATCH: Yacouba Diabate on the kora at Wednesday's event.

Our next Live from the [Loading] Dock performance is right around the corner, on Wednesday, July 14th from 4:30 pm - 6 pm. The Robertico Arias Percussion Ensemble will be performing, and dinner will be served (menu TBD). Arias, a Dominican Republic native, is a talented musician and master percussionist. This event is made possible through the generosity of event sponsors Caleb & Broad and Point Wine & Spirits.


Does anything else beat the simple, childlike joy of getting your favorite frozen treat when the ice cream truck comes around?

Our friends at BedJet and the Aramli Foundation brought that magic to the MLK's Education students this week. They arranged for the ice cream truck to visit the MLK, and covered the cost so that MLK After School students, Preschool students, MLK staff, and even some kids in the neighborhood who came running at the sight of the ice cream truck could enjoy summertime treats. We are ever grateful for kind and thoughtful sponsorship from BedJet and the Aramli Foundation.


Roam Around, Newport Restoration Foundation's reoccurring after-hours event in which all are invited to explore the house and grounds of the Rough Point Museum, returns this summer on the last Saturday of every month! Their first event is tomorrow, Saturday, June 26th from 5 pm - 7 pm. Newport County residents receive FREE admission, and free transportation is also available at designated pick-up locations (with advanced registration). Pickup locations include the MLK Community Center, Florence Gray Center, and Donovan Manor. For more information or to register for the shuttle service, contact


Thanks to the generosity of Mobile Food Pantry sponsors, the MLK's Mobile Food Pantry brings non-perishable food, fresh fruits & veggies, milk, meat, eggs, personal care and household cleaning items into Newport County communities where transportation is often a barrier.

This past Thursday, June 24th's Mobile Food Pantry, serving Bayside Village Apartments in Newport, was sponsored by KindWorks, a division of RightWorks Inc. KindWorks has generously agreed to sponsor one Mobile Food Pantry every month for a year – incredible generosity that will uplift thousands over the course of the year.

Pictured: Lawn signs on-site at Bayside Village Apartments in Newport announce KindWorks’ sponsorship ahead of Thursday’s Mobile Food Pantry.

KindWorks, a division of RightWorks Inc., aims to improve the lives of vulnerable demographics through monetary donations, fundraising, and volunteering. RightWorks connects the right people to the right jobs by consistently delivering a superior staffing experience, for both their client partners and job seekers. For more information on RightWorks, visit:

FOOD PANTRY FEATURE: We're in need of low-sodium foods

This month's "Food Pantry Feature" is low-sodium foods. We know: this is a pretty broad category of foods, but the demand in our pantry is great.

Have you been there? Your doctor reviews your lab report and tells you to reduce your salt intake ... immediately. For many of us, lifestyle changes like this are challenging enough on their own. But combatting food insecurity on top of that? What would you do if access to low sodium foods wasn't possible?

That's where the MLK comes in. Low-sodium foods are among our most-requested items. Many seniors in our Food 2 Friends program follow a sodium-restricted diet, as well as so many others that we see at our Mobile Food Pantries and on-site food pantry. For those who have or are at risk of kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, or simply anyone trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, low sodium foods are essential.

Are you able to donate some low sodium foods throughout the remainder of the month? We need items like: low sodium soups, canned beans, canned vegetables, diced tomatoes, etc. You can also look for low sodium packaged rice & stovetop pasta dishes, low sodium spice mixes... really anything that says "Low Sodium" or "No Salt" on the packaging! We accept donations of non-perishable food, fresh produce, household cleaning and personal care items at our loading dock Monday - Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. Thank you!

When you give, the MLK can keep helping. Click here to donate.

HERE TO HELP View all: Google Calendar / Facebook events Volunteers wanted! The MLK is currently seeking Volunteer Cooks to prepare meals for our Breakfast program. You don't have to be a morning person either, you can meal prep in advance! If you're interested in volunteering with us, please fill out an online volunteer application. Online registration is open: You can now register for Zumba, "Toning in '21," Yoga, and Sabores Latinos online! With this system, you can conveniently register, reschedule, and cancel appointments at your convenience. We suggest you make an account for easy account management (after you sign up for your first class, it will prompt you). If you aren't able to register online, you are always able to contact Mel via email or by phone to register: (401) 846-4828. Facebook Groups: We've recently opened two private Facebook groups: one group for Parents & Families of MLK Students, and one group for MLK Community Center Volunteers. Please join the conversation!

  • Grab & Go Breakfast Mon-Fri, 7:30 - 8:30 am. (Marcus Wheatland Blvd entrance)

  • Food Pantry: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am to 2 pm and Wednesday evenings from 4 pm to 6 pm; first Saturday of each month from 10 am to 12 pm

  • Food 2 Friends delivery for homebound seniors. Contact Ed for more info

  • Mobile Food Pantry visits to communities throughout Newport County. Schedule

  • Daily Bread: Mon-Fri at the Marcus Wheatland Blvd entrance, while supplies last

  • Produce to the People @ the MLK (formerly Veggie Days): weekly vegetable distribution at the MLK Center, Thursdays 10 am to 1 pm or while supplies last.

  • Produce to the People @ Newport Heights: The Center's weekly free vegetable distribution is hitting the road for the summer! Beginning June 1st, every Tuesday throughout the summer from 10 am - 1 pm (or while supplies last), get free, local produce for you and your family. Located behind the Florence Gray Center in Newport (on W. Evans St, between Girard Ave and John H. Chafee)

  • Grab & Go Lunch: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Sponsored by Blount Fine Foods. Free! Menu TBD.

  • Live from the [Loading] Dock, Summer Concert Series: This summer, bring a blanket/lawn chair to the Center's front lawn on the 2nd Wednesday of the month for upbeat music from diverse musicians and a meal. On Wednesday, July 14th at 4:30 pm, enjoy the sounds of the Robertico Arias Percussion Ensemble. Arias, a Dominican Republic native, is a talented musician and master percussionist. This event made possible thanks to the generosity of event sponsors Caleb & Broad and Point Wine & Spirits.

  • Preschool for registered students. DHS accepted & scholarships available. Contact Tanya by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x117.