Meet a (Grand)Parent: Meet Janice O’Donnell

[ 2 ] February 23, 2011 |

Today meet Janice O’Donnell, executive director of Providence Children’s Museum and panelist from the upcoming Kidoinfo Conversation, Parenting Simply. Please join the conversation on Monday, March 7th at the Speakeasy at Local 121 in Downtown Providence. Click here for details.

Meet Janice O'DonnellKidoinfo: What neighborhood do you live in?
Janice O’Donnell (JO): Bay Spring in Barrington

Kidoinfo: Where were you born?
JO: Rhode Island

Kidoinfo: How long have you been in Rhode Island?
JO: Pretty much all my life so far.

Kidoinfo: What is your current state of mind?
JO: Mercurial. (Wait a minute, it’ll change…)

Kidoinfo: Who’s in your family?
JO: Immediate family — Michaela (daughter) and grandchildren (Liv and Finn). Extended — my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, stepchildren and step-grandchildren, cousins and a few friends.

Kidoinfo: What trait do you most admire about your family?
JO: I’ve often said this and I really mean it — they really value and enjoy kids. And their sense of fun.

Kidoinfo: Tell me about your work.
JO: I’m the executive director of Providence Children’s Museum. Creating and sustaining a place that’s truly devoted to kids’ free play and exploration and also supporting parents and caregivers — I’m just honored to have this work. It’s such a privilege to do something so important — and so fun! — with great people. I didn’t have to leave childhood, I work in it.

Kidoinfo: What is your favorite thing to do?
JO: Hang out with my grandchildren, talk with kids. Or read.

Kidoinfo: Where is your favorite place to hang out?
JO: The beach.

Kidoinfo: Where would you most like to live?
JO: Someplace warm on an ocean.

Kidoinfo: What is the most overrated thing about (grand)parenthood?
JO: There actually is nothing overrated about grandparenthood. It’s the only thing I know that’s everything it’s cracked up to be.

Kidoinfo: What is your most treasured possession?
JO: I treasure people, experiences and ideas, not possessions.

Kidoinfo: What superpower would you most like to have?
JO: I really would love to fly.

Kidoinfo: Who is your favorite fictional mother or father?
JO: Jo of Little Women — in Jo’s Boys and Little Men.

Kidoinfo: What are you going to do now that you have answered these questions?
JO: Go back to my office and get ready for a board meeting.


Category: community news, kidoinfo event, meet a parent

Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

Comments (2)

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  1. Oh, Janice – if only you were my grandmother!

    I want to add that Janice and the PCM have been wonderful supporters of the “Children and Play” movement. They’ve sponsored many viewings of the powerful Where Do the Children Play? documentary; created a wonderful new outdoor space for unstructured play and exploration at the museum; started the fantastic PlayWatch listserve; created a wonderful “how-to” guide called Play with your Kids!; and so much more.

    And, full disclosure here, Janice and PCM have been wonderful supporters of RI Families in Nature. Thanks, Janice!! Hope to see you on the 7th at the Parenting Simply conversation.

  2. Eve O. says:

    A random share that was a big hit this morning with my 3 babes. I decided it was a great day for a scavenger hunt in the back yard so I found our plastic Easter egg’s in the basement and filled a bunch with random things, marshmellows, stickers, homemade pipecleaner rings and bracelets, and of course, a little chocolate! Before i left for work, i “hid” them all around the backyard. Our babysitter shared it was a huge hit and Linsey, Cole and Maggie would likely want another “hunt” tomorrow!

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