Humans of Cranston

Posted 4/12/23

Humans of Cranston is a recurring column showcasing the stories of Cranston residents’ community involvement, diversity, and unique life perspectives.

Shelley Fusco has lived in Cranston for …

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Humans of Cranston


Humans of Cranston is a recurring column showcasing the stories of Cranston residents’ community involvement, diversity, and unique life perspectives.

Shelley Fusco has lived in Cranston for twenty-one years and is a crossing guard at Bain Middle School and Dutemple Elementary School. She volunteers with the Cranston East Band and is the former State President of the PTO.

I was working in a pharmacy until my son was about ready to enter kindergarten. I broke both feet the year before and decided that I really just didn’t want to go back to full time work and I wanted to be home with my kids as much as possible. I saw a flyer for the crossing guard [job], and I started pretty much immediately. This is my sixteenth school year, so it’s been quite a while, and I love it. … I've been at Bain now I think ten years, at that post, being able to see all these kids grow up, and some of them come back to see me and let me know how they’re doing in high school and college now. It’s great. … [I’ve gotten to know] the families dropping off and picking up their kids, and just the kids alone, you’ll see them out in the environment and they’ll go, “hey, that’s my crossing guard! That's my crossing guard!” and the parents are always like, “oh, thank you!” and you just get to see them everywhere, basically. ... It really is pretty neat when you have that connection with the kids. Some of them want nothing to do with you, but others, they come to you and they’re like, “good morning!” and it just brings a smile to your face and you’re trying to brighten their day. … My husband and I will go to all the productions and concerts and whatnot that Bain has … it gives you such a sense of belonging.

Both my children were in the Emerald Encore [at Cranston East] and my son was in the Winter Percussion Band, so we just kind of stuck with [volunteering], and we just keep going back. [We help with] the home shows, and throughout all the years we were there with the kids, we would always help with the props and riding the bus as a chaperone, helping out with sewing the costumes, a lot of fun stuff. … The Winter Percussion is kind of like a theatrical show, almost that you’re telling the story through the music and it’s really neat and of course, 2020 was the last year that my son was there. He graduated and a group of us moms all got together and we sewed all the costumes and met a couple times a week at somebody’s house and brought our sewing machines. It was really a lot of fun. … People ask me all the time, “oh, did you grow up in Cranston?” and I’m like, “no, but I really feel like I did!” because I wouldn’t know half of these people if my kids didn’t go through the school system. Almost all of our friends are band parents, and it’s great because we still get together now even after my kids have graduated.

I grew up in Rumford, and I had the best childhood ever. I tell my parents all the time, I can’t complain. I don’t feel like I wanted for anything, though there were many things we didn’t have. I just think we had a great group of kids on the street – we all played together, we all got along. My dad would blow the boat horn to get me and my sister home; we had a very small street that my parents still live on, and everybody knew when it was time for Shelley and Holly to go home. We would be in somebody’s backyard, or somebody’s basement, and it was always just such a great time. … I try to give [my children] what I had, and I try to give them the happiness of knowing your family is right here, your parents care about you, and we’re always going to be here for you no matter what. 

This project has been made possible by a Rhode Island Foundation Community Grant and the efforts of the OneCranston Health Equity Zone of Comprehensive Community Action, Inc. in partnership with the Cranston Herald and Timothy McFate. The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of Humans of Cranston participants do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the aforementioned parties. The presented stories are voluntarily provided, unpaid, and given verbatim except for correcting grammatical errors.

Want to nominate a Cranston resident to be featured? Email JB at jfulbright@comcap.org.

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