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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

kas_
Photo by Frank Mullin

Kas DeCarvalho
Age: 38
Where he's from: North Carolina by way of Angola
Moved to RI: 1999
Level of hope and optimism for the state's future, on a scale of 1 to 10: 7
Reasons to be cheerful: "Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders are very open, [so] if you want to get involved, it's very easy to do so here."
When Kas DeCarvalho and his wife moved to Rhode Island, so that she could finish her degree at RISD, the plan was to "go off to places previously unexplored" — maybe San Francisco or Austin, Texas. Before long, though, the idea of leaving the Ocean State became decidedly unappealing, in part because of the biracial couple's appreciation for Providence's arts and culture, the discovery of a host of like-minded friends, and what struck them as a new sense of inclusiveness.

DeCarvalho, whose two children are approaching school age, and who calls the schools the greatest problem facing the city, recognizes the state isn't without its problems. Yet he also notes that a one-income family would be hard-pressed to enjoy the same quality of lifestyle in a bigger city such as New York or Chicago.

The South Side resident works as a lawyer, mostly for small businesses, with a practice near Wayland Square in Providence. Yet he has a passion for civic engagement, as demonstrated by his array of appointments (the Providence Economic Development Partnership; the Providence Public Library; the Quonset Development Corporation) and board memberships (Urban Ventures; Community Works; the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island).

"It's all part and parcel of what I do," DeCarvalho says. "I believe in being involved in the community. I believe in the old adage that it takes a village . . . . My philosophy is that if everyone got involved, we'd all be that much better off."

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