December 19, 2018

BBBSOS to honor Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz

For her ongoing dedication and commitment to providing brighter futures for children in Rhode Island for over 50 years. March 15, 2018


Cranston, RI – Dorothy R. Pieniadz, Ed.D. of Providence, one of the Founding Mothers of Big Sisters of Rhode Island, now Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State (BBBSOS) will be honored on Thursday, March 15, 2018 from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM with a room dedication for her ongoing dedication and commitment to the agency. The event will be held at BBBSOS Headquarters located at 1540 Pontiac Ave, Cranston RI.

“The Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz Training Room” will be filled with supporters of the agency’s mission to provide mentors to the youth of Rhode Island who will motivate and empower them to make positive decisions, improve academic results, avoid risky behaviors and grow in a way that will positively impact our community. The Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz Training Room will be utilized for training staff, mentors and community partners on the importance of child safety and how best to defend our youth’s potential.

“Our agency strives to provide the best programs and services so the men and women of Rhode Island who have generously volunteered their time and resources are able to ensure our youth have a positive future.” States Katje Afonseca, Executive Director, BBBSOS, “Dr. Dorothy has been an inspiration and a professional mentor to me since I started my career at the agency as an intern nearly fifteen years ago. It is an honor to be dedicating this room to a living legacy.”

Pieniadz, Born in Buffalo, New York, received her B.S. from Buffalo State College, M.A. and Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her professional work and community service embody her holistic approach to learning and she brings that perspective to everything she does. From 1956-69 Dr. Pieniadz was the first dean of students at Rhode Island College.

Dr. Pieniadz was appointed professor emerita of foundations of education following her 31-year career at RIC. Then college president Carol Guardo cited her for the impact she made on generations of RIC students and for her “pioneering work” as dean of students as well as her service on numerous committees and service organizations connecting the college to the surrounding community.

By 1966 she and her like-minded friends and colleagues were mindful of the need for mentors for young girls. Following a visit by the Boston Big Sisters representative, Dr. Pieniadz and Zonta International established the local chapter of Big Sisters of Rhode Island, now Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State.

Over 50 years later, Dr. Pieniadz is still involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. Dr. Pieniadz has established an endowment to help ensure the future of the organization and contributes regularly to the scholarship fund each year, ensuring funds for each of the applicants to attend college. To qualify for a scholarship, one must be 18, a Little Brother or Sister who has graduated from the BBBSOS Mentoring Program, a high school graduate, and are applying for college or higher education equivalent.

BBBSOS is the state’s leading mentoring organization supporting over 500 children throughout Rhode Island and has been serving boys and girls in Rhode Island for over 50 years. Anyone interested in mentoring a child, donating to support the program or RSVPing for the dedication can visit the agency’s website or call (401) 921-2434.


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