Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island delivering innovating STEAM programming to members

Published On: November 19, 2019By

WOONSOCKET/CUMBERLAND, RI— The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island (BGCNRI), a nonprofit organization serving Northern Rhode Island youth and teenagers is providing its members with access to high quality STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming.   


BGCNRI’s STEAM program runs year-round, providing youth with skills that support their overall academic achievement, interest in science, and teach budding programmers the basics of game design, 3d printing, and animation. This club is more than just science projects and coding, as it encourages teamwork, builds resiliency and fosters crucial problem-solving skills.  


Bonnie Piekarski, Unit Director at the Woonsocket Clubhouse, said, “Students in the program gain access to innovative programming and receiving homework assistance in the areas of math and science. During the 2018-2019 school year, 100 unique youth participated in STEAM programs at the Woonsocket and Cumberland Clubhouses, a program increase of 100% from the previous year. Thanks to the support of Cox Communications, students in the program are able to participate in app/game design, coding and 3D printing classes through OneUP Games, robotics, and Do-it-yourself STEAM curriculum, that focuses on energy, electricity, engineering design, and food chemistry.  


To help students extend their learning and gain access to club programming, like DIY STEM, BGCA coding classes, and school work at home, outside of Club hours, BGCNRI will continue its partnership with Cox Communications to bring low-cost, high speed internet to Northern Rhode Island families  


For many years, Cox has supported BGCNRI’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics programs for youth ages 5-18 enrolled in schools around Northern Rhode Island and during the Clubs’ Summer Camps. In 2017, Cox Communications granted state-of-the-art Technology Centers at the Woonsocket Clubhouse and at the Cumberland Clubhouse Teen Center.  


Gary Rebelo, BGCNRI President and CEO, said “While our members are able to use the internet at school and at our Clubhouses, many low-income families do not have access to wireless internet or to the same type of technology assets at home. We are happy to provide these amenities at our Clubs but also thankful for Cox to provide the opportunity for our families at home.”  


BGCNRI and Cox Communications will deliver information about Cox’s Connect2Compete program during the school year and summer. Flyers about the program will be distributed at BGCNRI family events.   


“Providing families with convenient and affordable access to the internet can help create learning opportunities close to home,” said Cox’s Jay Allbaugh, Senior Vice President and Region Manager for Cox Communications’ Northeast. “Internet access is a tool that can provide children with educational discovery and give family members the ability to apply for employment opportunities.  We are proud of our partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island and look forward to connecting as many qualifying families as possible to affordable, reliable internet service.”   


Piekarski, who also helps coordinate receiving BGCNRI families of the annual East Commerce Solutions Turkey Run (who donates Thanksgiving baskets to members’ families in need during the holidays), asked parents about their access to the internet at home.  


“Many parents commented that having Connect2Compete now provides the opportunity for their kids to continue their school assignments at home and on the weekends. Parents stated that they want to provide the best learning environment as possible and they are now able to do that with the C2C program,” added Piekarski. “A big role at the Club is providing helpful recommendations and resources to families, that they might not know of, but are there for their use.”  


BGCNRI will include information about the low-cost internet opportunities for families during the annual 2019 East Commerce Solutions Turkey Run and several upcoming BGCNRI community events. Also, information about the Connect2Compete program will be available at the Clubhouses front desks. For more information, Mr. Rebelo can be reached at or by calling 401-333-4850.   



Contact Information: Marissa Tuccelli, Director of Development

Phone:  401-333-4850      


About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island  

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island (BGCNRI) is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need help most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. In 2018, the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln and the Boys & Girls Club Woonsocket merged to create BGCNRI to enhance program delivery and increase operational efficiencies. Through the merger, BGCNRI can achieve the strategic goal of serving more Northern Rhode Island youth. BGCNRI has provided quality programs and outreach services in the critical areas of academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character & leadership development to help put all youth on a path to a Great Future.