"Laugh more than you cry every day" - Townie Angie Drainville Dolan
Memorial Fundraiser on August 24th.
Before she became Angela Dolan, she was Angela Drainville to her many Easy Providence friends. Angie Drainville was an example of a 'Townie 'Profile in Courage.' "My sister was special to so many people," recalled her brother Doug. Doug Drainville, now an East Providence Firefighter, has been helping the Drainville-Dolan family honor his late sister by helping others in Angie's name.
Angie Drainville was the consummate high school student. She was well-rounded as one of the top student athletes at East Providence High School. Among the top academic achievers in her class, she excelled in tennis, softball and basketball. Drainville also found time to be a leading member of the Townie Marching Band and the student council. She was a popular student while always maintaining her humble disposition and she always thought of others first. Drainville's family and many loyal friends stayed by her side through her final days of life. More on that later.
Angie told her teachers and family that she knew exactly what she wanted to do after high school. She wanted to educate kids and to stress the importance of good health and fitness to young people. She wanted to teach. After graduating from EPHS in 1988, Drainville attended Providence College where she received her elementary education degree. She began her career as a teacher at the James Oldham elementary school in East Providence. She then earned a Masters Degree in Guidance and became a guidance counselor at Kickemuit Middle School in Bristol/Warren.
Angie was on her way to making a major difference in the world. She married John Dolan and they became parents to a son and daughter. Angie Drainville Dolan would forever leave a mark in the East Bay and perhaps beyond.
Angie Dolan immediately had an impact on the middle school environment at Kickemuit and elsewhere. She was a beloved guidance counselor and quickly became an advocate for healthy mind and body. Students were responding to her teachings to excel in the classroom and to respect the importance of personal fitness. All the time she would keep in touch with her roots. "She never forgot all that East Providence had meant to her," said Doug Drainville. "If she could help a student or family or friend in EP, she was there in a flash."
As a softball star at EPHS, Angie whacked many hits in her interscholastic career. But it was in 2009 that Angie received a curve-ball she couldn't hit out of the park. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Angie and the Drainville-Dolan families and friends were devastated. It was Angie, however, who would prop up her family and friends. "Please laugh more than you cry every day," she would say. There were plenty of tears, both from joy and sadness ahead. The joyful tears were for all the good that this brilliant and loving 39 year old woman had brought to so many people. The tears of sadness were for the dark days ahead that seemed inevitable now.
Drainville-Dolan would continue on as long as humanly possible. She pushed her students to limits they had not thought possible. She loved her two young children, husband and others as much as she could. She smiled often. She lived as long as cancer would allow. On Thursday, February 25, 2010, Angie Dolan died. For awhile the world came to a stop for Angie's family and friends. "She was always the brightest smile in the room and everyone had such a great time when they were around her," said Rumford childhood friend and fellow Townie, Gina Ankner. "Professionally, Angie dedicated her life as a teacher and guidance counselor to supporting students and providing them with the guidance and encouragement they needed to be successful," said Ankner.
It didn't take long for Angie Dolan's students and colleagues to put their grief to good work. Soon after she passed, Kickemuit Middle School opened and dedicated the "Angie Dolan Wellness Center". In November of 2010, the Bristol Warren School District, Kickemuit Middle School and the school PTO formally dedicated the Angie K Dolan Wellness Center. The facility is located at Kickemuit Middle School and is now the focal point of their Wellness/Physical Education curriculum. The program directly impacts about 800 students each school year and is growing.
Local East Bay personal trainer, Orlando Lugo partnered with the school to help train kids at the new Angie Dolan Wellness Center. Organizers didn't know what to expect, but they were greeted by large after-school crowds of kids wanting to participate. The students were led through a series of running and stretching exercises and would then be introduced to an expanded number of exercises using the room's state of the art fitness equipment. The program serves kids four days a week and is free.
Shortly after that, the family formed the Angie Dolan Memorial Foundation (ADMF). It was organized as a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization to help sustain it. "As the foundation has grown over the years, its reach has increased. Along with funding the wellness center, the ADMF has established scholarships at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol and at East Providence High School," said Doug Drainville.
"The foundation brings Angie's friends, family and others together to spend time enjoying the things Ange enjoyed - such as wine tastings, tennis tournaments and laughing at the comedy show," said Gina Ankner. "Her legacy is being continued in the form of the financial support and charitable work that the foundation is doing to continue to support students on her behalf," Ankner added.
Angie's husband John and her family and friends have expanded the fund to establish scholarships at Bristol/Warren and East Providence High School "We are close to building the fund to a point where Providence College will match and perpetuate the scholarship to ensure that this will be a lasting tribute, forever, for Angie," said Doug Drainville.
Angie's fund also donates to various charities in her name. Recently, the ADMF has made a $50,000 commitment to Providence College to start a scholarship in Angie's name that will benefit local education majors. EPHS and Bristol/Warren students will be the first to be considered for the PC scholarships. "The ADMF strives to make a direct impact in the lives of young students. Last year, $5,000 was donated to the EPHS Marching Band to purchase new instruments and equipment. The goal is simple, to do good things in her name that will carry on her legacy and have a direct impact on the lives of young students," states family fund organizers.
Angie's family and friends want to maintain her passion for helping young people. "We fundraise and seek private donations in order to award an annual Memorial Scholarship to a student who best exemplifies Angie's life and legacy of compassion, sports and joy. We are hoping to receive donations in order to attain this goal," said John Dolan.
The group is trying to remember all of the things that made Angie such a vibrant woman. "Events that embodied her life like tennis tournaments, laughter at Comedy Nights, a Rock and Skate at a hockey rink, and more. Not only are these events a great way to celebrate her life and connect with friends, the money raised will go to causes close to her life's work."
The group's major fundraiser which will hopefully help to endow the Providence College Scholarship is planned for August 24, 2017. "A Mid Summer Night of Comedy" fundraiser to benefit the Angie Dolan Memorial Foundation will be held on August 24, 2017, 8-11 pm at The Narrows Center for the Arts, 16 Anawan St, Fall River, Massachusetts 02721 . "A great night is being planned including top local comedians, raffles, live auction items, appetizers, and plenty of laughs and fun," said Doug Drainville. Tickets to the show are $50.
Classmates, friends and Townies everywhere can contribute any amount to the Angie Dolan Memorial Fund. More information can be found on the group's Facebook page: Angie Dolan Memorial Foundation. "We humbly appreciate any donations we may receive in Angie's name," said John Dolan, Angie's husband and foundation Chair. If people can't attend the August 24th fundraiser in Fall River, donations can be made payable to: Angie Dolan Memorial Foundation, 52 Touisset Rd., Warren, RI 02885.
"Laugh more than you cry every day." - Angie Drainville Dolan - A Townie Profile in Courage.