September 16, 2019

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island to Award 11 Scholarships to Program Graduates

Since its inception, BBBSRI will have awarded over $85,000 in scholarship funds to mentees in our program since 2000.


Annually, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island (BBBSRI) awards $1,500 scholarships to program participants (Little Brothers and Little Sisters) who are graduating high school and pursuing higher education or technical and trade careers.

The Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz Scholarship Fund was created in 2000 by our founding mother, Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz, who served as the first female Dean of Students at Rhode Island College and is a firm believer that education is the key to success. Since its inception, we have awarded over $58,000 in scholarship funds to mentees in our program. 

This year, Littles had an opportunity to apply for The CAC Scholarship Fund, created in 2017 by an anonymous donor. These Scholarships are awarded to former BBBSRI “Littles” who are attending their second, third or fourth year of post-secondary education or post-secondary training program. The Littles are eligible to receive up to $10,000 a year. Additionally, the family of Jean Pettee, the first Big Sister in Rhode Island, created a scholarship fund for Littles pursuing an education in STEAM fields.

Katje Afonseca, BBBSRI Executive Director, had this to say: “It is the most amazing thing to see people celebrate youth pursuing higher education. Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz has always put an emphasis on the importance of education.”

Little Sister Kena, (pictured with her Big Sister, Donna) was awarded the Dr. Dorothy Pieniadz scholarship in 2018 and will be returning to share how the scholarship has helped her pursue higher education. Kena said the following about her experience in our program, “Being matched with Donna for the past 12 years has been an awesome experience for me. Donna is my adventurous Big Sister who brings me out of my comfort zone. She shows me that life doesn't mean playing video games all the time and that there's more outside in the real world. She shows me love, respect, and life lessons. I have been blessed to be a part of her and her family as she has been a part of me and my mom. Thank you BBBS for matching me with my Big Sis, Donna B.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island is Rhode Island’s leading mentoring organization and has been serving boys and girls in Rhode Island for over 50 years. Our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. For more information on how to become involved with BBBSRI, visit, call 401-921-2434, or email


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Truly local news delivered to every home in town