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  • Amy Mendillo for East Side Monthly

Hope Tree & More

Personnel Announcement

The Executive Secretary position at FPNA has changed hands. After ten years of service, John Rousseau stepped down in January “for more free time to enjoy Fox Point.” The FPNA board has appreciated John’s extraordinary service and commitment to improving the neighborhood. His replacement, Amy Mendillo, is a freelance writer and Fox Point resident for ten years.

Neighbors, please direct all communications to Amy Mendillo at our new email address,

Hope and Wonder on Wickenden

After a highly contentious presidential election this past fall, the FPNA placed the "The Hope Tree" in George M. Cohan Square to foster tolerance and hope among neighbors. On December 21, the FPNA celebrated the tree and the season with "Wickenden Wonderland," an evening of caroling and holiday merriment.

More than fifty neighbors, including several families with children, met at The Point Tavern for drinks and conversation. The group then strolled up Wickenden St. while singing "Feliz Navidad," with guitar accompaniment by the Fox Point band The Mighty Good Boys. The neighbors sang several more carols by the Hope Tree. Among the revelers were City Councilman Seth Yurdin and State Reps Chris Blazejewski and Aaron Regunberg.

The tree, about twenty feet tall and glowing with lights, bore a large wooden sign that read, "THIS TREE IS FOR EVERYONE." According to an FPNA Facebook announcement, "In this post election time of uncertainty regarding the future safety, security, and rights of marginalized groups, let us come together to share our ideas, our voices, and our hopes for a better future; which always begins at the neighborhood level."

Residents were encouraged to write an idea or wish for the neighborhood on a star decoration. The FPNA asked, "Do you have an idea to make Providence better? Share that hope. Do you have a project that would benefit Fox Point? Share that hope. This is a tree of inclusion, acceptance and tolerance."

Some neighbors listed specific wishes for Fox Point and for the state. They asked for completion of the Gano Gateway, a new mural in the library, and for Rhode Island to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees.

Others pleaded for tolerance in an uncertain time. "I hope love trumps hate," one wrote. Another wrote, "I hope my town is safe." In a child's handwriting, one star read, "Peace."

According to Bruce Millard, FPNA Chair of Community Engagement and Outreach, the event and theme struck a chord among neighbors. "The response we received was pretty astounding," he said. "What is even more inspiring," he continued, "than gathering a large group of your neighbors—many of whom you've never met—to sing rather well in unison on a chilly December evening, is how truly engaged our community was with the idea behind the HOPE TREE."

Many thanks to The Point Tavern, The Shop, Rustigian Rugs and Blake Hayden for their generous support. Voluntary donations for Wickenden Wonderland went to the Amos House.

Share Your Ideas

The Hope Tree came down at the end of December, but the effort to foster tolerance and unity continues all year. Neighbors, please contact FPNA with ideas for your neighborhood. Follow us on Facebook, add your name to our list serve, send us an email, or join us at any open meeting or FPNA event.

Events this Month

Please join us at our monthly FPNA Board Meeting, 7pm, February 13, 2017 at the Vartan Gregorian Bath House Community Room, 455 Wickenden Street. The public is welcome.

Fox Point Neighborhood Association, Box 2315 Providence, RI 02906,, –Amy Mendillo

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