Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island
Dorcas International Institute Rhode Island (DIIRI) is an independent, non-profit agency with a guiding mission to empower individuals and families, especially the underserved, immigrants, and refugees, to become self-sufficient and fully participating members of our diverse community through innovative programs and advocacy that promote education, training, and cultural understanding.
It was formed in 2013 when two leading, well-established RI agencies merged: Dorcas Place, an adult literacy and learning center, incorporated in 1981, and the International Institute Rhode Island, an immigrant and refugee service provider, incorporated in 1921. With 92 years of experience, the two agencies as DIIRI provide an impressive continuity of education and employment services for low-income adults and families which benefits Rhode Island's economic growth by directly impacting the development of a more literate and productive workforce. Ninety five percent of DIIRI’s targeted population is low income and 94% identify as Latino-Hispanic.
Family Literacy is one of the pivotal programs at DIIRI. For the last six years DIIRI has been using the Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) model to deliver Family Literacy programming in several Providence Public Schools. The FSCS program incorporates a two-generational approach to improving the hearts, minds, and bodies of the children and families in the schools and community. The family literacy component of FSCS is an evidence-based, family-centered program that has demonstrated improved English language proficiency, and life skills. This program is structured on the "Families in Schools" model designed by the National Center for Families Learning. DIIRI engages with schools around the concept of family literacy and results for families are beginning to emerge. Consequently, DIIRI is now part of local school turnaround efforts funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The organization envisions strengthening the family mentoring component to its existing program, building off relationships already made among parents who are currently in the program. DIIRI also looks forward to engaging other parents in the school community to share resources and become role models as well as peer supports to families in need