• MLK Community Center

"We're like a family here."

Updated: Jul 24


PEACEFUL WARRIORS POWERED BY PRINCE: "We're like a family here."

Summer Adventure Campers take part in a program called Peaceful Warriors Powered by Prince, where Miss Judy and Miss Jenny teach mindfulness, movement, yoga, stretching, and literacy, plus self-awareness exercises, like journaling. On Thursday, they read “I Am Enough” by Grade Byers. In response to the page that reads, “To help each other when it’s tough, to say together: I am enough!” a student chimed in: “That’s like us! We’re like a family here. We look out for each other, and when things get tough, we’re there for each other.” We couldn’t agree more.

Be Part of the Family: Give to the MLK



Live from the [Loading] Dock, the MLK’s inaugural summer concert series, continues for its third and final performance of the summer on Wednesday, August 11th. Presented in collaboration with Common Fence Music, the Vox Hunters, a Rhode Island-based folk duo, will perform – you guessed it – live from our loading dock out front. Music is generously sponsored by Del Nero at the Square.

Our last event of the summertime will be a special one: delicious Italian fare will be served for all to enjoy. This meal is sponsored by BedJet and the Aramli Foundation and catered by Vieste Italian Restaurant. You won’t want to miss this.

We’ll see you there!

Hailing from the great state of Rhode Island, Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi are seekers and singers of old songs, cultivators of local music, and chronic multi-instrumentalists. They are touted as strong tradition-bearers in their generation, and their genuine affinity for the music is evident in the emotion they draw from it. With a pair of oft-harmonizing voices tastefully garnished with fiddle, free-reeds, and tenor guitar, The Vox Hunters offer an all-natural connection to the living tradition of folk music.

Pictured: Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (left), Executive Director of the MLK Community Center Heather Hole Strout (middle), and Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erin Donovan-Boyle (right).


On a sunny morning this past Wednesday, July 21st, business & community leaders from across Newport County gathered at OceanCliff Hotel for the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Excellence in Business Awards. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea delivered the keynote address. We are proud to announce that the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center was awarded the 2021 Excellence in Business Award: Nonprofit. Congratulations to the 2021 Greater Newport County Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Awardees: Team One Newport, The Nitro Bar, Clements’ Market, Newport Neighbors & Portsmouth Living Magazine, and BankNewport. We’re humbled by this recognition by our for-profit and nonprofit peers. We congratulate our fellow nonprofit category nominees: The Preservation Society of Newport County, FabNewport, Child & Family, and The Edward King House. Full event program.


This week, campers at the MLK’s Summer Adventure Camp were Chemists, enjoying lessons in literacy and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) centered around the study of matter. It was a beautiful week of sunshine in Newport, so campers were also able to enjoy much-needed time spent by the water: at the beach, and at sailing lessons with Sail Newport (pictured), plus workshops from Clean Ocean Access, the Audubon Society of RI, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Summer Adventure Camp at the MLK is made possible by the support of generous funders like the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and people like you.

FOOD PANTRY FEATURE: We Need Cereal of All Types

Summer is officially in full-swing, which means school is out, and many food-insecure families no longer have school meal programs to rely on. In 2018, around 64% of Newport public school students received free or reduced cost meals at school. But that food insecurity does not simply disappear once the school bell rings.

Since children are out of school, our food pantry request for the month of July is assorted cereal. Not only is it a favorite among children, but it's a meal or snack that kids can prepare on their own. A moment from a recent Mobile Food Pantry stuck with us: a 10-year-old boy approached a staff member at a Mobile Food Pantry and asked for just a box of cereal. He was grateful, and could be seen walking back to his home eating it right from the box. Of course kiddos love the sugary stuff, but we ask for a variety of cereal, so there's something for everyone. Whole grain cereals with low-sugar contents are great for adults and kids alike. You're welcome to stop by our loading dock on-site at the Center Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to drop off any donations. Thank you!

Your donation uplifts Newport County. Thank you.

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, August 11th at 4:30 pm, enjoy the sounds of folk group the Vox Hunters and a delicious Italian meal catered by Vieste Italian Restaurant. Music sponsored by Del Nero at the Square. Meal sponsored by BedJet and the Aramli Foundation.

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

  • After School program for registered elementary school students. DHS accepted & generous scholarships available. Contact Jeanine by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x209

  • Summer Adventure Camp: Offered June 28 - August 20, 2021 Monday - Friday, 8 am to 4 pm for registered campers. Rising 1st through 5th graders eligible. Campers enjoy daily field trips around Aquidneck Island, and make & maintain academic strides in math, literacy, science, & more through daily lesson plans. DHS accepted & generous scholarships available. Contact Jeanine by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x209.

  • NEW: LEAD - Peer Group for LGBTQQ+ Youth: On Wednesdays at 3 pm, LGBTQQ+ youth are invited to join the LEAD Youth Peer Group at the MLK (L.E.A.D. = Love, Equity, Acceptance, and Dreams). No RSVP necessary. Please contact Mirasia at the Center with any questions: via email or call (401) 846-4828 x201.

  • Yoga Class: Yoga is offered at the Center every Tuesday and Friday morning at 8 am. All skill levels & all community members welcome! RSVP online or with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124.

  • Toning in '21 Fitness Class: Every Wednesday at 8:30 am, this full-body workout aims to improve balance, bone health, flexibility, and strength of participants in a safe, welcoming, and fun environment. All skill-levels & all community members welcome. RSVP online or with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124.

  • Zumba Fitness Class: Every Monday morning at 8:30 am. All skill levels & all community members welcome. RSVP online or with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124.

  • Free, Safe, and Confidential HIV & Hep C Testing: Get tested for HIV & Hep C at the MLK by appointment every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 12 - 2 pm. This program is held in a confidential, private setting, separated from other Center programming. Participants are welcome to enter through the Center's Edward St entrance, where someone from APRI will meet you at your appointment time. To make an appointment: Call or email APRI: (401) 831-5522

  • Sabores Latinos: Every Monday at 5 pm, Spanish speakers are invited to join Yoli and Chef Carmen for Sabores Latinos, the MLK's first cooking class offered completely en Español. Yoli will teach recipes from around the Latin world, while Chef Carmen of Sprout & Lentil will teach plant-based recipes & nutrition. Participants cook alongside the instructor, take home a meal for their families, and learn a new recipe. Classes will alternate between traditional (taught by Yoli) & plant-based (taught by Chef Carmen). Spanish speakers are invited to attend & RSVP