this I believe

This I Believe Rhode Island: Second Chances

Apr 22, 2014

All of us have had one of those really bad days during the course of our lives -- the kind of day that turns into a genuine nightmare, the kind of day that haunts us until our last breath, the kind of day we'd like to erase from our lives if only it were possible.  If we're fortunate, we figure out a way to move on, and if we're really fortunate, we manage to turn tragedy into a rich collection of compelling lessons that last a lifetime.  And that's what happened with Miguel Rosario, who shares his beliefs in this encore broadcast.


Miguel Rosario spent his earliest years growing up in the Caribbean and Providence. His passion for photography started in 2009, when he began documenting life in his ancestral Dominican town of Moncion. Rosario continues to pursue his commercial and art photography projects, especially at AS220, a non-profit home for the arts in Rhode Island that offers residential and work studios, galleries, and performance and educational spaces.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Holocaust Remembrance

Apr 15, 2014

Holocaust.  For most of us this haunting word conjures up ghastly and painful images of concentration camp inmates, train cars filled with passengers bound for extermination, and tales of torture that defy comprehension.  The Holocaust gave new meaning to man’s capacity for cruelty.  And yet, somehow, the Holocaust has also managed to teach us so much about the possibility of stunning courage, resilience, and hope in the face of true horror.  And that’s what we hear from Rabbi Wayne Franklin.

Rabbi Wayne Franklin has been the Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El  in Providence since 1981.  Since 1984 he has chaired the committee which organizes the Rhode Island Interfaith Commemoration of Holocaust and Heroes Remembrance Day. This year the event will be held on April 27th at 3:00 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El.  Jewish and Christian choirs, along with the Sophia Academy chorus and the Gay Men's Chorus of Rhode Island, will participate in the program, joining together to demonstrate the freedom and multi-cultural cooperation that we celebrate here in America, but which was forbidden in Nazi Germany.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Momentos

Apr 8, 2014

Family mementos and memories.  For many of us they’re vitally important – and full of vitality, keeping loved ones near to our hearts, especially once they’re no longer with us.  Precious trinkets, heirlooms, one-of-a-kind photographs, this is the stuff that binds us to the people we care about. The novelist Saul Bellow once wrote, “Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”  And as we hear from Reed Caster, profound connections are sometimes forged from the most modest inheritances. 

A lifelong Rhode Islander, Reed Caster was the third generation to run the family business – Caster’s Bicycles. He’s the devoted husband of his wife Mindy and the proud father of his two children, Ruby and West.

This I Believe Rhode Island: The Power of Poetry

Apr 1, 2014

Who doesn't love a good story?  We begin hearing stories when we're tiny children and then develop our own. Sometimes joyful. Sometimes painful.  For most of us, there's a rich and compelling mix. As the poet and writer Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  And Nancy Jasper feels much the same.

Nancy Jasper is a clinical social worker at Child and Family, a comprehensive social service agency in Middletown, Rhode Island.  Nancy publishes chapbooks with the Rhode Island-based Origami Poems Project.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Bees

Mar 25, 2014

You know that aphorism about how in life it’s the little things that count?  Chance encounters with profoundly influential strangers we never expected to meet.  An aromatic cup of coffee sipped while listening to a Bach concerto on the radio. Or noticing nature’s tiny creatures that are so vitally important to our well-being. The poet Emily Dickinson once wrote, “To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee—one clover, and a bee, and revery.” And we hear similar sentiments from Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Seasons

Mar 18, 2014

No doubt you have noticed how our lives ebb and flow, much like the seasons.  Both literally and figuratively we get to experience the wonder of stunningly beautiful spring days and the bitter assault delivered by the occasional winter blizzard.  Such is life.  Indeed, seasons seem to be able to teach us so much about coping with life's inevitable ups and downs, including its bittersweet moments.  Consider the quote penned by the French Nobel existentialist Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."  These are the sentiments echoed by Terry Ward.

For more than two decades, Terry Ward has enjoyed working as a college counseling director, currently at the Providence Country Day School. He is also a religious studies teacher and loves music of all kinds.  Ward has sung with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus for more than 20 years.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Jack

Mar 11, 2014

The fog of war. The term was introduced by the nineteenth century Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz in his posthumously published book On War.  We know war can get very ugly, of course, but most of us have not been an eye witness. Tyrone Smith has, as we hear in his up-close-and-personal reflections.


Tyrone Smith, the father of two boys, is a junior at Brown University, concentrating in English.  Before attending Brown, he spent more than six years in the U.S. Army.

This essay was co-produced by Rebecca Steinberg.

Nature’s bounty.  Perhaps the phrase sounds too much like a cliché. But isn’t it true that the natural world that surrounds us, especially here in the bountiful Ocean State, nurtures our souls and connects us to what matters most in life?  In As You Like It, Shakespeare says, “And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything.” And we hear echoes of these sentiments from Mike Fink.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Capacity to Love

Feb 25, 2014

The least among us.  There but for the grace of God go I.  Certainly you have heard these phrases.  Perhaps you have thought about what these words mean, or maybe not.  The harsh reality is that too many of the people who take life’s journey with us struggle, sometimes in very big ways.  And sometimes these individuals cross our paths and become our most powerful teachers. The Lebanese prophet, Khalil Gibran, once wrote, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”  And this is what we hear from Jessica Mowry.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Past Mistakes

Feb 18, 2014

William Cullen Bryant -- the 19th century American poet and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post -- once said, "remorse is virtue's root; its fair increase are roots of innocence and blessedness." Surely, all of us can recall misdeeds from our youth, those painful memories of our missteps and insensitivities toward others. True maturation, it seems, occurs when we are able to acknowledge our blunders and learn from them. And this is the stuff of Brian Shanley's poignant reflections in this encore essay.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Pay It Forward

Feb 11, 2014

Most of us have faced the decision:  Should I or shouldn’t I give money to the man or woman standing at the end of the highway exit or on the neighborhood corner – sometimes in pelting rain or snow – who gestures with a paper cup in hand?  Sometimes there’s a sign on a torn remnant from an abandoned box: homeless, veteran, hungry.  Some of us give money; some of us don’t.  Some of us struggle with the wrenching decision and our conscience; some of us don’t.  In this essay we hear the insights shared by a very wise 13-year-old, Alyssa Howard, about her impressive efforts to wrestle with these common challenges in all of our lives.


Alyssa Howard is an eighth grader at the Gordon School and lives with her parents and two older sisters in East Providence.  She plays field hockey and basketball and loves photography and drawing.    

This I Believe Rhode Island: Hope

Feb 4, 2014

Hope.  It's what keeps us going when storm clouds move into our lives, in those darkest moments when there seems to be no glimmer of light.  Hope.  The poet Emily Dickinson said "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all."  And as we hear from Samantha Andersen, hope is what she found where she dared to expect it.

Samantha Andersen is an independent education consultant living in Pawtucket. After living in various states across the country, she settled in Rhode Island in 2012, and believes that in the Ocean State she has found her “forever home.”

This I Believe Rhode Island: Bearing Blindness

Jan 28, 2014

The renowned seventeenth-century British poet John Milton began to lose his sight in his early 30's. Milton opened his poem entitled On Blindness with these words: "When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days in this dark world . . . ." Milton spent considerable time reflecting on his blindness and also wrote these poignant words: "To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable." In this encore essay, Nancy Jasper shares her own poetic reflections on this remarkable challenge.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Across Continents

Jan 21, 2014

Surely you know the Biblical tale about the Tower of Babel in which, according to tradition, God punishes humankind’s arrogance by scattering them and destroying people’s ability to understand one another’s language.  In our modern lives, we certainly struggle to communicate across continents and cultures, knowing full well that the stakes are high.  Both international conflict and genuine peace depend heavily on our ability to connect with people whose lives and vocabulary are profoundly different from our own.  And as we hear from Shai Afsai, sometimes our well meaning efforts to connect indeed bear, wonderful, wonderful fruit.

Shai Afsai has published articles on Ethiopian, Israeli, Nigerian, and Rhode Island Jews, as well as Jewish-themed short fiction, in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, The Jerusalem Post, Rhode Island History, The Providence Journal, and Midstream: A Jewish Review. Afsai was the recipient of the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association’s 2013 Horvitz Award.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Curiosity

Jan 14, 2014

What National Public Radio listeners have in common is a keen interest in ideas, intellectual curiosity, and a thirst for knowledge. But where does this need to know come from? What makes us curious? In this encore essay, Mary Baker reflects on the roots of her own insatiable curiosity, which, interestingly, began with a childhood visit to the zoo.

Mary Baker is an anthropology professor at Rhode Island College. She has a special interest in understanding what factors influence patterns of behavior among white-faced capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica and in the conservation of nonhuman primates.