BURRILLVILLE – While kids are home from school in honor of Veterans Day this month, Jesse Smith Memorial Library hopes to help them understand why we recognize the holiday at an event to include both fun obstacles along the Riverwalk and the chance to speak with past service members.
Connecting Kids with Veterans: A Program for Kids & Families will take place on Monday, Nov. 13 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the library at 100 Tinkham Lane in Harrisville.
To warm up for the program, kids will learn how to march in formation as they visit the US flag in front of the library to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The group will then run through some kid-friendly boot camp-style obstacles outside the library along the Riverwalk.
Next, the program will move inside to the library’s Community Room, providing attendees a chance to connect with local veterans and hear their stories. Families will meet local veterans from the Berard-Desjarlais American Legion Post 88 Burrillville led by current Commander Raymond Trinque, who served in the U.S. Army. Special guests include Marine veteran Angie Cardone and her Belgian Malinois, Bogi, a member of the Marine K-9 unit. Kids are encouraged to ask questions in the informal setting.
It’s a day off at Burrillville Public Schools and others across the state, and library officials hope parents will use the opportunity to help kids to understand why we honor veterans every November.
Head Children’s Librarian Renee Perron noted that it is the third year that the library holds the program, previously called, “Conversations with Veterans: A Program for Kids and Families.”
“In 2021, we planned the program on a regular school day in the early afternoon, gearing it towards homeschool families,” Perron explained. “We had about five different families attend that event which we held on the Riverwalk. We actually had a mother of two school-age boys in public school, take her children out of school early so they could attend this program. She felt having kids learn about and meet veterans was that important.”
That first year, Trinque was the sole veteran participant.
In 2022, the library scheduled their second program on Election Day, which was also a professional development day giving public school kids a day off. That year, U.S. Army Veterans Linda Peck and Donna Hamelin, and Retired Army Lt. Col. Richard Peck joined Trinque to talk about their experiences serving the country.
Perron noted that Trinque made a point to ask female veterans if they would volunteer to speak at the event as the year prior, an attendee had asked if girls could be serve
“We wanted to show more diversity that next year,” said Perron
Light refreshments will be served at the November 13 event and all are invited to attend. Registration is encouraged but not required. For more information or to register, visit the Children’s Department at the library or call (401) 710-7800.