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The upside of hope in Rhode Island

Nine individuals who are bullish and optimistic amid the state's current tough times
By IAN DONNIS  |  January 29, 2009

clay-rockefeller
Photo by Frank Mullin

Clay Rockefeller
Age: 30
Where he's from: Portland, Maine
Moved to RI: To go to school at Brown University
Level of hope and optimism for the state's future, on a scale of 1 to 10: "Basically, a 10."
Reasons to be cheerful: The severity of the state's problems makes clear the need for a new mindset.
It's an indication of Clay Rockefeller's social consciousness that, when asked to be a subject for this story, he thought it might be good to also gauge the level of hope and optimism of an unemployed Providence resident looking for work.

This outlook has informed Rockefeller's efforts on the West Side of Providence, where he was one of the principals who remade Monohasset Mill in 2002 with a mix of market-rate and affordable spaces for artists, and where he helped to establish the adjacent Steel Yard (thesteelyard.org), which offers arts and technical training programs meant to foster expression, career-oriented training, and small business incubation. The evolution of the area continues with the recent completed construction of 10 neighboring commercial-industrial spaces, which will bring more activity to the area later this year.

If these efforts reflect the ability of Rhode Islanders to make a difference in their community, Rockefeller remains concerned about the clear need for more jobs, and by the state's persistent difficulty in moving forward on such key issues.

Yet an underlying hopefulness — the belief that things can indeed be better — and the psychic toughness that comes with being a Red Sox diehard, keep him focused. "I feel mentally prepared," Rockefeller says. "You've just got to stay as positive as best you can."

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  Topics: News Features , AL East Division , American League (Baseball) , Andy Cutler ,  More more >
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