Humans of Cranston: Season two

A look at the everyday people that make our city amazing

Posted 10/25/23

I’m an adjunct faculty member over at CCRI [currently teaching] English, just one class. My background is in higher education, so I used to work more on the student affairs side, and then I …

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Humans of Cranston: Season two

A look at the everyday people that make our city amazing


I’m an adjunct faculty member over at CCRI [currently teaching] English, just one class. My background is in higher education, so I used to work more on the student affairs side, and then I moved over to the teaching side, so I’ve been primarily [teaching] English for the last couple of years. I have three kids. When my oldest was born, I went part-time in higher ed, and then when my twins were born, I stopped completely and just did some adjunct faculty work, teaching a class, one or two a semester. When my twins were getting ready to go to kindergarten, my husband actually suggested that I look into [real estate], because I’ve been really active in the community, so I know people everywhere, and I like to talk to people, so it seemed like it would be a good fit. … All three of my kids were premature, and were in the NICU, so [I was] a member of the Women and Infants NICU Family Advisory Council. … The NICU Family Advisory Council is former NICU parents who put on events or just do things to support current parents. Somebody that was on it with me was a realtor, so I reached out to him, and I was like, “y’know, I’m thinking about going into real estate, what do you think?” and he was like, “well, I think you should come work with me,” and so I did, and six years later, I’m still working with him.

I think that being a realtor and living in Cranston has introduced me to nuances of a lot of the areas that maybe I didn’t know as much before, so it’s been interesting to kind of step back and look at things from the real estate perspective of property values, of where people want to be, neighborhoods, and also, people talk about the difference between the East Side, the West Side, and there is a big difference, but I have families that want to move to Cranston specifically for Cranston East, someone moved here specifically for Cranston West … what I really like [about Cranston] is that it’s such a mix; not only the people, but the areas, too. We have urban, we have suburban, we have rural, so we really have it all here ... I have always been exposed to lots of parts of the city, but now, even more, and smaller chunks, so [I’m] figuring out what makes one neighborhood tick versus another.

We live in an amazing neighborhood. When I was growing up, I always had a neighborhood where we all knew each other; the kids would go out and play, and I always wanted something like that, and my husband was like, “oh, I don’t know, not a lot of neighborhoods are like yours,” but we found it. So, we got super lucky, and then through my involvement with Save Cranston’s Open Space, which was in 2008, when they wanted to develop Mulligan’s, I helped lead the charge against that both times, so I met a lot of people throughout the entire city doing that, too. But as a parent, I find that in Cranston, for me, we’ve been able to develop a lot of relationships, not only in our neighborhood, but also through the schools. My kids all went to Garden City Elementary School, which had been a really small elementary neighborhood school, and now it's obviously bigger, but [there’s a] great sense of community there, and everyone’s involved and willing to help, and it’s been a great experience as a parent to raise my children here.

The Oaklawn Grange is a fraternal organization; however, it’s the only one in the country that when it was founded, was co-ed from the beginning. So, it started with an agriculture focus, which now, obviously, we don’t have much agriculture going on here, so it’s really more evolved into a community organization. The Grange itself is located right in Oaklawn Village, and my husband and I wanted to get involved, so it’s really trying to increase the membership, but we do a lot of community events. Every year, they do a Christmas tree lighting, and [this year] we’re doing a Pumpkin Walk for the first time, so hopefully the community will bring out pumpkins and participate in it … we’re doing that the weekend before Halloween, so it’s really trying to get more involvement with people who want to better their community, however that looks. And it’s not just people that live in Oaklawn, and it’s not just people that – y’know, in the past I said it was more farming culture, agriculture, but it’s now a little bit of everything, and we still do focus on some of those things, but look at it from how it relates to our community now. So, how does it relate to suburban, how does it relate to urban, how does it relate to some of the rural, but tying it all together.

I’ve been involved in community organizing, I’ve been involved in the NICU, I’ve been involved in the school’s PTO, I used to be a board member for the elementary school PTO, and I’m the type of person that likes to give back. I feel very fortunate. … the NICU side of it has – y’know, I owe my life, my kids’ lives, to the hospital, so that has really made me passionate about that part. Community involvement has really made me passionate because I’ve realized how important where we live is, our surroundings. Like, right now my kids go out and play for hours, and you don’t see that in a lot of places. My eleven-year-olds will go out with their friends and they’re all between certain houses, but there’s a whole gang of them, and they’re out running around, and I want to protect that, that our children have that. I like to be involved in things; I guess I’m a joiner, but typically I don’t just join, I take a role, because when I jump into something, I try to 100% jump into it. … I've met a lot of people, and once you build those relationships, you want to help improve whatever it is you’re involved with.

The second season of this project has been made possible by the Rhode Island Department of Health and the efforts of the OneCranston Health Equity Zone of Comprehensive Community Action, Inc. in partnership with the Cranston Herald and Timothy McFate. The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of Humans of Cranston participants do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the aforementioned parties. The presented stories are voluntarily provided, unpaid, and given verbatim except for correcting grammatical errors. 

Humans, Rachel, people


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