2015-03-12 / Around Town

Florence Gray Under New Management

By Olga Enger


Carol Ann Martinelli, Raytheon Principal Systems Engineer worked on a project with Areyonna C. (left) and Antonique W. at the Boys and Girls Club of Newport in honor of National Engineers Week “Girl Day.” Carol Ann Martinelli, Raytheon Principal Systems Engineer worked on a project with Areyonna C. (left) and Antonique W. at the Boys and Girls Club of Newport in honor of National Engineers Week “Girl Day.” The Newport Boys and Girls Club and the Newport Housing Authority recently entered into a partnership, which not only strengthens their 60-year relationship, but will also benefit their local clients.

As a one-year pilot program, the Boys and Girls Club will manage the Florence Gray Center, located at 1 York Street, which is owned by the housing authority. The multipurpose center is home to a number of local organizations: Fab- Newport, BabySteps, Even Start, Bike Newport, Boys & Girls Clubs, Parents as Partners, East Bay Skills Alliance, Crosspoint Connections, Community College of Rhode Island and Newport Housing Authority’s Food Pantry.

The transition is part of a national trend of housing authorities which are partnering with Boys and Girls Clubs to benefit their customers, explained Jim Reed, executive director of the Housing Authority of Newport. “This formal agreement between the two agencies brings together multiple efforts that will affect the quality of life for all participants of the center,” said Reed.

“We share similar goals,” agreed Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Joseph Pratt. He said the transition will help both parties focus on their core competencies and realize efficiencies.

The club, which originated in the housing authority in 1956 and has been a long-term tenant of Florence Gray, was chosen for its experience in running similar facilities and its well-established relationships with community members served by the housing authority.

Although the Boys and Girls Club’s primary focus is serving area youth, this will not be the first time they have managed property.

“The Boys and Girls Club has been managing our facilities and locations since our founding,” explained Pratt. “In addition, we manage our Grosvenor Summer camp, 95 acres in North Kingstown.”

The Newport club is part of a nationwide establishment of more than 4,000 clubs, and provides services to more than 3,200 youth every year.

Pratt said any future changes will align with the housing authority’s mission to develop the Florence Gray Center into a resource for personal transformation.

“You will see the Boys and Girls Club work closely with the housing authority and all of the tenants and organizations serving the residents and community to reach our full potential and improve lives for all served through the center,” said Pratt.

Raytheon Partners with

Boys and Girls Club

Raytheon has recently partnered with the Boys and Girls Club on two events to encourage an interest in math and education for their young clients. In recognition of National Pi Day, which celebrates the mathematical constant pi, Raytheon will deliver 10 apple pies to the club, along with infographic posters, quizzes and fact sheets on Friday, March 13.

The number begins with 3.14, and goes on infinitely, representing the ratio of the distance around a circle to the distance across its center.

Last month, Raytheon employees met at the central clubhouse on 95 Church St. in honor of National Engineers Week Girl Day.

“Seventeen club members plus guests attended the celebration” said Lauren Day, director of programs. “It was great to see the kids being engaged in an engineering activity. The kids had a great time and were looking forward to Raytheon returning again in the future.”

Engineers were on hand to lead interactive engineering experiments with the girls, hoping to spark an interest in science-related fields. Although many engineering careers are experiencing above-average growth, only 14 percent of engineers are women, according to the National Science Foundation.

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