What is TrY CAPS?
Founded in 2005, the Try Creative Arts and Problem Solving Program, better known as TrY CAPS, aims to engage youth in creative art experiences to promote positive youth development, support decision-making skills, and encourage leadership development. Participants create art and engage in community service opportunities supported by adult-youth partnerships in order to build healthy “youth-centered” communities.

Who do we serve?
The TrY CAPS program is open to young adults ages 10 to 15 and predominantly serves students and their families from the Silver Lake, Olneyville, and Valley Street neighborhoods of Providence.

What do participants learn?
In addition to exploring a wide range of art materials, tools, and techniques for individual and community projects, participants focus on development in five areas: Creativity, Problem Solving, Health and Well-Being, Personal/Social Knowledge, and Civic Engagement. The environment also plays an important part in programming and participants explore and learn about nature and connect to organizations in the community that have an environmental focus.

What is our impact?

Each year, TrY CAPS participants engage with their community through creative art projects, trips, and other experiential experiences that build skills for success in school and life. Many TrY CAPS students return to the program as volunteers, project facilitators, and mentors for younger students. Beyond student participants, TrY CAPS serves families, using its creative art approach to host family events and connect students and families to community resources.

TrY CAPS IS A 501 (C) (3)

Board Members

The guardians who steer TrY CAPS towards a sustainable future

Celeste F. Thomason

Program Director and Founder

Celeste founded TrY CAPS in 1995. Prior to TrY CAPS Creative Art Program, she operated and owned Today’s Child Family Daycare Home, in business since 1988. While attending the Community College of RI, she addressed an immediate need in her neighborhood by creating a grass-roots program called TrY CAPS. Celeste holds a degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on adolescent development from the University of Rhode Island and is a nature and still life photographer. She currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her three children and her husband. 

Jennifer Rivas


Serves as the secretary for TrY CAPS. She graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelors degree in Community Health and Wellness in 2018. She also served in the U.S. Army from 2004 - 2009 deploying to Iraq from 05-06. She enjoys serving her community and her family. She currently resides in Providence with her husband and three children.

Dana Derisier


Dana has volunteered in various roles over the past 10 years with TrY CAPS and currently, serves as Treasurer. She enjoys engaging TrY CAPS youth and families in activities, as well as writing grants to build and sustain programs. She has worked with non-profits, governmental entities, and businesses supporting efforts focused on providing educational and health-related opportunities. She partners with her husband in providing support to their foundation in Haiti, which focuses on educational assistance to children and adults. Dana holds a Master’s Degree in Health Communications from Tufts University School of Medicine. Currently, she is the Director of Community Living at the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging. She lives in Providence, RI with her husband and enjoys taking walks with him especially after a long day.

Vanessa Irving


Vanessa serves as a Director on the TrY CAPS Board. She has volunteered for TrY CAPS since 2010 and accepted a leadership role on the board in 2018. Vanessa holds a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona University and works for the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation in the Banking Division. She applies her many talents in coordinating events, grant writing, creating promotional material and liaising with TrY CAPS families.  

Sylvio Gario


Sylvio has been a member of the TrY CAPS board since 2016. He is a Learning Technologist and small business owner. Sylvio has organized educational events and has lead other boards. Since joining TrY CAPS Board, Sylvio has helped to standardize board meetings, guided fundraising, and built a web presence. Sylvio lives in East Providence, Rhode Island with his two children and his wife.

Felicia Y. Smith


Felicia graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. She supports fundraising and event planning for TrY CAPS. She has been working in the human service field for 20 years. Felicia owned and operated an event-planning and catering business for 10 years. Giving back to her community through collaboration with organizations and local agencies that work towards equity for all people, are part of her joys in life. Felicia resides in Providence with her husband of 23 years and their son. 


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