• MLK Community Center

Preschoolers Prepare for Kindergarten... With Help from an MLK Alum

Updated: Sep 4


PRESCHOOLERS PREPARE FOR PELL SCHOOL... with help from an old friend

On Sept. 8th, eleven students from the MLK’s Preschool will move up to Kindergarten at Newport’s Pell School. Most of our Preschool kiddos have been at the MLK since they were 3 years old, so for many, this will be their first classroom experience outside of the familiar Center. Naturally, our curious Pre-K students have a lot of questions about the transition, and they were able to take some time with an old friend of the MLK's, who will likely become a familiar face at Pell School: Mr. Rob Toribio. Mr. Rob, an educator at Pell, attended the MLK's programming when he was small and later worked in both the MLK's Summer Adventure Camp and After School programs. He remains a friend of the Center's and joined us one afternoon for a Kindergarten Q&A with our kiddos.

As our students gathered to meet with Mr. Rob there were lots of excited hands raised to proudly tell him, “I'm going to KINDERGARTEN!” and to ask questions, too. Students asked what they would eat for lunch, if they would be with their siblings, when they would go outside, whether they’d have to wear masks, how many teachers they would have, questions about riding the bus, and how they’d know where their classroom is. Students were able to ask Mr. Rob questions in both English and Spanish. One boy raised his hand to ask Mr. Rob (in Spanish) “Will the playground close?”, recalling how many of his favorite things closed down during the pandemic – even the playground. Mr. Rob gave his answer to the student in Spanish and then in English: “Hopefully our playgrounds never have to close down again.” He shared some of the things they’ll learn in Kindergarten (numbers, simple addition, the alphabet, etc.). Lead Teacher Valencia and Education Director Tanya proudly stated, “they already know how to do these things!” Rob was impressed and assured our soon-to-be Kindergarteners, “Wow, you guys are going to be ahead of the game! Miss Valencia has taught you well.”

Your generosity makes moments like this possible. Click here to give to the MLK.

YOU'RE INVITED: Investing in Rhode Island’s Future - Virtual Visioning Session with the MLK

Members of the community are invited to participate in an important conversation, hosted by the MLK Community Center in coordination with the Rhode Island Foundation's Make It Happen: Investing for Rhode Island's Future initiative and the Local Voices Network (LVN). This collaborative visioning session will take place via Zoom on Thursday, September 2nd at 10 AM and will be facilitated by Executive Director Heather Hole Strout and Community Programs Coordinator Melanie Saunders. What we discuss together will inform the recommendations that the Foundation will make this fall to the General Assembly and the Governor regarding the potential allocation of $1 billion in new stimulus funding that the state is projected to receive from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The Local Voices Network (LVN) is a national project of Cortico that is focused on changing the way we talk and listen to each other, lifting up the voices of people not normally heard, and making the most of the power of human stories to connect and deepen understanding.

Audio from these small group conversations will be recorded and shared with the Foundation’s project team and the Make It Happen Steering Committee. That will allow for our discussion to inform the final recommendations the Committee makes to state leaders. Participants will also have access to the recordings via an online portal. The recordings will not be shared publicly. Excerpts or quotes from the conversations may be used publicly, but will not be attributed to conversation participants directly. Also, if you would like to participate but prefer not to use your name, you may choose a pseudonym prior to the conversation.

Our vision for this conversation is that it will bring together a diverse group of folks from across Newport County, with a range of perspectives and experiences. We hope you’ll consider lending your voice.

Please RSVP in advance. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Melanie via email or by phone at (401) 846-4828 x124.

This is your opportunity to make your voice heard! We look forward to dreaming big together and “seeing” you soon.


Friday morning yoga class returns to the MLK this Friday, September 2nd at 8:30 AM. Presented in partnership with Newport Community Yoga & Pilates, this free all-levels yoga class will be offered in the MLK’s community room every Friday morning. All are welcome, but RSVP is required: create an account and register online, or register with Mel via email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x124. All Levels Yoga Wake up your body and clear your mind with an all levels yoga class that focuses on mind, body, and breath connection. The class is geared towards reducing muscle tension while increasing strength and balance. The instructor will offer modifications and variations to make this class accessible to all levels. About the Instructor: Elizabeth Hughes Elizabeth is an artist and yoga instructor here in Newport. She has been practicing yoga for over 25 years, and teaching for over 6. She received her first 200 hour certification in Raja Hatha in 2014 from Frog Pond Yoga in Princeton, MA. Elizabeth completed a 200 hour certification in Kundalini Yoga in 2018 at Tenth Gate in Portsmouth, RI. This year, she completed an intensive training in Phoenix Rising method. Teaching and participating in classes for over 4 years on the island and on line; Elizabeth continues her study, committed to healing, growth and opening the heart and mind. She welcomes all to join her and is honored to be a part of your journey. Elizabeth invites you, through your practice, to creatively discover your best way forward, for yourself and our planet.


You can make a difference for Newport County this fall: Make your 2021 run or walk across the Pell Bridge or for the Newport Marathon in support of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center! Register to run with us online, then create your MLK fundraising page. From there, share your personal fundraising page with friends and family so they can show their support for you, the Center, and contribute toward your personal fundraising goal. *This year, fundraising is only supported on GoFundMe until September 30th - but don’t worry, the Center will still receive all donations just the same. If anyone would like to support your run but would like to give directly to the Center, they’re welcome to donate via our PayPal, but make sure they select which race you’re participating in, and indicate which runner they’d like to support in the donation notes.

  • The Amica Newport Marathon & Half Marathon returns to Newport on Sunday, October 10th, 2021. Team MLK's page

  • The Citizens Pell Bridge Run returns to Newport on Sunday, October 17th, 2021. Team MLK's page

Any questions? Feel free to contact Alyson Novick, Director of Development, via email.

WE'RE HIRING: AFTER SCHOOL STAFF & MARKETING COORDINATOR Join our growing family here at the MLK! We are currently hiring for part-time After School staff and a full-time Marketing Coordinator. Visit our Indeed Careers page for more information and to apply!

More Information


There are still a few spots available in the MLK’s Preschool and After School programs for the 2021/2022 school year, beginning on September 8th. Preschool at the MLK is an affordable licensed education program for children 3-5 years of age. DHS child care subsidies accepted. Scholarships are available and all are encouraged to apply. The After School Academy at the MLK offers affordable, educational after school care for students in kindergarten to 5th grade. Serving students from across Newport County, this program is offered from school’s end to 6 PM each weekday. DHS child care subsidies accepted. Scholarships are available and all are encouraged to apply.

Visit our website for an application

FOOD PANTRY FEATURE:Incontinence Garments

Dignity is about more than having enough food. It's about having the items you need. Beyond food and household products, the MLK offers personal care items like shampoo, deodorant, dental hygiene, and menstrual products in our Food Pantry, Mobile Food Pantry, and Food 2 Friends pantry delivery program. These more expensive items are daily essentials, and for many seniors or those with health challenges, incontinence garments are a daily necessity, too. We see parents turn to the Center in dire need of diapers for their small children. Incontinence garments are an equally urgent need. They're pricey, and can be a stretch for those struggling to make ends meet or living on a fixed income.

At the MLK, we are committed to offering a wide variety of goods that serve our community's range of needs. We never want someone to leave empty-handed if they're in need of incontinence garments in their size. Throughout the month of August and beyond, we ask for contributions of adult incontinence garments, in all shapes and sizes. We know these are a more expensive item, and we're grateful for whatever you can donate. We can accept your donations at the Center's on-site loading dock Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Thank you!


View all: Google Calendar / Facebook events

Online registration is open: You can now register for Zumba, "Toning in '21," Yoga, Lunch & Learn, 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, 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!

  • Breakfast: Mon - Fri, 7:30 - 8:30 am. Grab & go, or dine-in. (Edward St. 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 - 12 pm.

  • Food 2 Friends delivery for homebound seniors. Contact Jose 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! Every Tuesday in 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) Our last P2P of the season @ Newport Heights will be August 31st. Don't worry: you can always get fresh veggies at Produce to the People at the MLK every Thursday year-round!

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

  • Preschool for registered students. DHS accepted & scholarships available. Now enrolling for the 2021/22 school year. Contact Tanya by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x117. There will be no Preschool this coming Friday, September 3rd.