Congratulations, Champions! Welcome Members (September, 2010)

Washcokids logo

WCCC Spotlight September 1, 2010
A frequent reminder that our kids and families matter!
kids drawing membership
Welcome -
and thank you! - new members
(What are the rest
of you waiting for?)

The following people and organizations were the first to sign up under the Coalition's new membership program.  
     Their support shows commitment to the work we do on behalf of Washington County's children and families, a willingness to lend their names to a powerful advocacy effort... and some economic savvy as they reap the benefits of membership for as little as $10/year.

     Visit the website for benefits.

Businesses or Foundations
Delta Consultants of
   South County
Sunshine Child Development

Nonprofit Agencies
Families First RI
Family Service of RI
Mental Health Association
   of Greater Westerly
Neighborhood Health Plan
   of RI
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
RI Parent Information Network
South County Community
South Kingstown Partnership
   for Prevention
South Shore Mental Health
Thundermist Health Center
   of South County

These individuals generously joined at the $100 membership level:

Michael C. Cerullo, MS, LMHC
Marilyn Goodman
S. Scott Mueller, MSW
Pamela G. Watson, LICSW


Joseph Carr, LICSW
Elizabeth Carter, LMHC
Nancy Devaney
Lori Duffy, LICSW
Marian Faller, LICSW
Louise Kiessling, MD
Laura L. Lehrman, LICSW
S. Scott Mueller, MSW
Susan A. Orban, LICSW
Clare Sartori, LMFT
Virginia Stack
Judith Strickland, LMFT
Sean Walsh, LICSW
Pamela Watson, LICSW


Marc Archambault 
Luella Bragger
Linda Cardillo
Deborah Catone
Cathy Ciano 
Catherine Conroy 
Mary Cooney
Mary Eddy 
Kathleen Egan 
Karen Engstrume 
Rupert Friday
John Hall 
Deborah Harig 
Laura Jones
Candy Lodge
Melina Lodge
Lisa McKay
Susan Moses 
Donna Nabb
Jan O'Kelley
Sheila Grant Orphanides 
Jane Potter 
Keith Ranaldi 
Heidi Reardon
Rick Schwartz
Eileen Stone
Teresa Tanzi
Susan Vogl
Please note:
The Coalition has a
new phone number:
(401) 788-2347

YWCA features Coalition's report on Westerly kids at risk
pregnant teddy bear
The latest issue of she Shines, published by YWCA Northern Rhode Island, highlights the Coalition's report distributed earlier this year: "Westerly Children at Risk: A community's self-assessment of teen pregnancy, delayed prenatal care and food insecurity rates."
     The article's author, Ammala Douangsavanh, credits the Coalition and its partners for their efforts:
     "The remarkable work being done in Westerly is undoubtedly rooted in a profound sense of responsibility to insure the health of its children and families, and should be a lesson for all of us on model citizenship." 

Quick Links...
WCCC Website
"...and how are the    children?"
Children's Behavioral Health Guide

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Four receive Coalition's top awards
Our heroes: Candy Lodge, Lori Duffy,
Ellen Flannery-Schroeder & Greta Francis

"We don't have any money, but we know how to show appreciation for people making a difference for children," laughed Coalition coordinator Susan Orban, as she announced the 2010 winners of the organization's three prestigious awards: Champion for Children, Champion for Community Change, and Community Partnership.

Candy Lodge, an unsung hero for
children with developmental disabilities

Heidi Reardon presents Champion for Children award
to Candy Lodge (r).
Photo courtesy South County Independent

Candy Lodge

Candy Lodge of North Kingstown was chosen 2010 Champion for Children among nominations coming from all over Washington County. The competition is stiff: candidates can be advocates, volunteers, elected officials, nonprofit agency directors or board members, teachers, service providers, journalists, and other community leaders from any of the nine towns.
     "Candy is truly amazing. In addition to many years of service within the North Kingstown School Dept, Candy has been involved with North Kingstown's Special Olympics Team for many years,"  said Judith Strickland. 
     "Over the years, hundreds of athletes of varying challenges and abilities have benefited from her tireless work behind the scenes keeping everything organized, communicating with parents and coaches, arranging venues and schedules for practices and events, the medical needs of athletes and so much more," added Strickland.
     "What's even more amazing is that Candy does it all with apparent ease, a big smile for all the athetes and frequently with one of the coach's babies on her hip."
     The 2009 Champion for Children was South Kingstown School Superintendent Dr. Robert Hicks.

Coalition honors an 'original': Lori Duffy

Pam Watson congratulates
Lori Duffy for winning Champion
for Community Change award.
Photo courtesy
South County Independent.

Lori Duffy
The Champion for Community Change award goes to a member of the Coalition, and the 2010 winner is Lori Duffy of North Kingstown, one of the "originals", explains Pamela Watson, who presented her with the award.
     "Lori was one of the original members of the Coalition, even before it was a coalition," she said. "We were the 'Risk Response Team' back in the old days, meeting on a regular basis to ensure that at-risk families and children were identified and supported by every agency possible.
     "Every Data Book published by the Coalition has had her mark; every Data Book has happened because she has worked late into the night and weekends to write chapters for each one. And she has presented the data at every annual forum!"
     Duffy has a wealth of experience working for children and families in Rhode Island, including:
  • Residential worker and case manager for the Key Program
  • Family worker for Child Inc. Head Start
  • Social work intern for the Poverty Institute
  • Parent Involvement Coordinator for South County Community Action
  • Clinical social worker for Easter Seals CEDARR Center.
      Duffy is currently a clinical social worker and supervisor at Psychological Centers and maintains a private practice serving families with preschool children.

Women behind CBT initiative honored
Dr. Louise Kiessling bestowed the 2010 Community Partnership award on Psychologists Ellen Flannery-Schroeder and Greta Francis. Dr. Flannery-Schroeder is Associate Professor & Director of the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Rhode Island as well as the Director of the Child Anxiety Program.  Dr. Francis is Associate Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University and Clinical Director of The Bradley School. 
     Dr. Kiessling said the two women were instrumental in creating the very successful training series on Demystifying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Childhood Disorders, a collaboration that was over two years in the making. The continuing education project included training and lectures over a six-month period.
     "Ellen and Greta are the core of a team that met for a year to set up the program," reported Dr. Kiessling. "They are outstanding leaders in the field, and have raised it to a new level."


Gest photo
Key themes: funding formula,
graduation rates, "Race to the Top"
RI Education Commissioner
Debra Gist wows crowd at
Coalition's 8th Annual Breakfast

Supports funding formula for
state's beleaguered schools 

"I understand that some communities in Washington County won't benefit from a funding formula," Rhode Island Education Commissioner told the 100 attendees at June's Coalition 8th Annual Children's Issues Forum.  "And if we had, for example, two districts with a thousand students each and families with equal income, I could agree with equally dividing dollars.
     "But we don't. Today we have 1,250 students in one and 750 in another and disparate incomes. It wouldn't make sense to fund that way."

Just completing her first year as commissioner

"It's so easy for us to get caught up with the everyday work we do. But at the end of the day, it's all about supporting families, and therefore communities overall. My mindset is still focused on what it takes for our children to be successful.
     "When I say that, people like to say 'yes', but once I start actually doing it, they say 'whoa! We didn't know you meant everything!'"

Concerned about graduation and college-going rates
Gist said Rhode Island's high school graduation rate of 75% is not enough.
    "That means one out of every four isn't graduating. It's almost impossible to make a living wage without a high school education. 

     "And only fifty percent of our graduates are going on to college, making us 43rd in the nation. The reality is that we have to make it that our state requires:
  • educator excellence
  • accelerating all schools toward greatness
  • a user friendly data system
  • world class standards
  • collaboration and investing our resources wisely
  • a better funding formula.
     "The effort is about turning around struggling schools and significant data development," she said, adding that she was able to convince the number of unions in support of the proposal from two originally to 11 this round.

     Gist called the list her Strategic Agenda.

Strategic Agenda central to 'Race to the Top' application

Gist noted that her $75 million 'Race to the Top' application - just submitted at the time of her speech, but since approved - included the strategic agenda. 
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What you need to know about the WCCC

The Washington County Coalition for Children brings together everyone in Washington County who cares about children. The Coalition is known for: 
  • Tracking and publishing the trends in children's issues, and convening public meetings around the needs.
  • Convening monthly meetings that bring together more than 40 organizations
    to tackle the most compelling problems facing children and their families.
  • Establishing a website to help parents of children with mental health and substance abuse problems connect with local treatment providers
  • Sponsoring an annual "How Are the Children?" Forum, a must-attend event
    for anyone working on children's issues: community leaders, advocates, and elected officials.
  • Holding monthly workshops to help doctors and mental health professionals care for children with behavioral health problems and  developmental disabilities.
  • Organizing a holiday gift drive for teens in conjunction with Casey's Grill & Bar in Wakefield.
     The Coalition achieves astounding results, with just one part-time staff person, dedicated volunteers, and administrative support from VNS Home Health Services.
We cover all Coalition costs through voluntary contributions of Coalition members, grants, and your generous donations.

     For more information about the Washington County Coalition for Children, go to or contact Coalition Coordinator Susan Orban at or (401) 788-2347.