P.O. Box 72799, Providence, RI 09207 401-699-6167


We value diversity and believe that everyone can become a contributing member of society.

About Back to School of Rhode Island

The Back to School of RI is a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization whose mission is to provide outstanding quality educational programs helping individuals and families reach their full intellectual potential.

We value diversity and believe that everyone can become a contributing member of society.

Our History

The Back to School Celebration of RI was originally planned by Mr. Melvin Bell, Program Officer for the Rhode Island Foundation, and Jorge Cardenas, who at the time was a Field Coordinator for Parents Making a Difference. These two caring individuals had a great love for children. They wished to establish an organization whose goal would be to involve single parents in the education of their children, thereby helping to create an atmosphere of trust and open communication between schools, students and families.

Beside of the educational component the Back to School of RI has been hosting the Back to School Celebration Event since 1999. Growing steadily in popularity, the Back to School Celebration event continue to build wide support and momentum throughout the community. The inaugural celebration in 1999 was held twenty four years ago at just one site, hosting approximately 600 Providence School student and families. Since its inception and development by Sodexho School Services, the back to School celebration has grown significantly. In 2022, the Back to School Celebration event overall was a great success. Backpacks and school supplies were distributed to almost 20,000 students at twelve different sites. Students and their families enjoyed a day of entertainment, food and music. Families that attended the event received educational information and information about free services provided at different organizations in the State of Rhode Island.

Our goal for 2023 is to provide free backpacks with school supplies for at least 20,000 students at twelve sites.

2023 Featured Sponsors


Board of Directors

Grace Gonzalez
Grace GonzalezPresident
Doris De Los Santos
Doris De Los SantosVice President
Deborath Miller
Deborath MillerMember at Large
Emily Garthee
Emily GartheeSecretary
Ida Valentin
Ida ValentinMember at Large
Leah McPhail
Leah McPhailMember at Large

Get in Touch

Our Sponsors How to support us

Board of Directors

Grace Gonzalez (President)
Doris De Los Santos (Vice President)
Emily Garthee (Secretary) 
Deborah Miller (Member at Large)
Ida Valentin (Member at Large)

Please consider supporting our efforts.