By Susan Gale

If there is one thing that is true about life, it is that change is inevitable. Kids change almost daily as do the needs of parents. To better meet these needs, Rhode Island Parent Magazine is becoming RIPARENT.COM.

The parent company of Rhode Island Parent Magazine, Gale Force Communications, is a social enterprise with a mission similar to a non-profit even though we are a for-profit business. When I started, my goal was to create a free one-stop shop for everything Rhode Island parents need in order to improve the lives of children and families.

Over the last two years, we’ve done a lot with the magazine but it has become clear that an online resource will allow us to do much, much more – to provide more useful information, education, and fun for you – our readers – all at no cost to you.

We are following our mission with this move and have some exciting new opportunities online at RIPARENT.COM. We are certain that you will love RIPARENT.COM just as much as the magazine and we are doing everything we can to make it as easy- and pleasurable-to-use as possible. Let’s first look at what will not change.

What will not change at RIPARENT.COM

The same great articles you read today will still be available
We will continue to spotlight all the great stories about kids in RI and neighboring Massachusetts towns. We’ll still have local experts write educational articles just for you. In fact, we’ll be able to do even more online – adding additional articles as well as more photos and in the future, videos. We’ll get important information to you more quickly without limitations. There will always be something new to read at RIPARENT.COM so you’ll want to visit often.

The most complete kid’s events calendar available
With more time to focus on the website, we will be adding events daily to our calendar. The calendar has grown quite a bit and is very full so we are also exploring ways to make it even easier to use so you can find whatever type of event you want – from repeating classes to one-time, big events. We will continue to be the most comprehensive kids’ event calendar around.

Even more great giveaways
At RIPARENT.COM, we love giving things away. During this issue’s run, we are giving away four tickets to HASCON! Go to RIPARENT.COM to enter. This giveaway’s entry period ends August 29 so enter soon. As we go forward, we plan to offer multiple giveaways at one time so it will always be worth visiting RIPARENT.COM to see what we’re giving away.

And now, let’s take a look at something new that you have never seen before.

Introducing RIPARENT.COM’S Ultimate Parents Guide
Now, there isn’t much new under the sun but we really think we have a special idea here. The Ultimate Parents Guide will be an interactive guide to everything you might be looking for from birthday party entertainment to places to go with your kids.

The Guide will appear like an online magazine so you can easily turn the ‘pages’ to quickly see all the details. It will have a table of contents for each section of the Guide. You click on a section and go right there to see listings that relate directly to what you are looking for. When you are done with that section, click a button and head back to the table of contents so you can look at a different section.

By breaking the information into specific, focused sections, we make it easier and faster to find what you want. No more searching website after website. No more culling through really long text listings where some of it is incomplete or out-of-date. You’ll find everything you need in the Ultimate Parents Guide with less time and effort. And it will be constantly updated so you will always find new businesses and organizations each time you visit.

These are the sections we’ve determined so far for the Guide:
• Activities & Sports
• Camp & Summer Programs
• Classes & Education
• Entertainment & Birthday Party
• Things to Do & Places to Go
• Health & Medical
• Non-profits & Foundations
• Pregnancy and Baby
• Pre-school & Childcare
• School & College
• Shopping & Holiday

If you have an idea for another section for the Ultimate Parents Guide, please let us know! We want to supply whatever you are looking for. And if you have a business or organization that would like to appear in our Guide – contact us today for information on how to be part of it. We have annual packages that work for any size business or organization.

But wait, there’s more!

With each individual listing in the guide, you will also be able to access additional information about the products and services you are researching. We will have buttons with each listing or advertisement. These buttons will give you extra details to help make your decision. The buttons available will be:

  • Website: Jump to the business’ or organization’s website
  • Email: Email the business or organization directly
  • Coupon: A printable or digital coupon you can use with the business or organization
  • Article: Read an informative article about the business or organization
  • Photo: See photos of the business or organization
  • Video: Watch a video about the business or organization

Not every listing will have all the buttons – that will be up to the business or organization and take some time to complete – but we’d like to get to the point where every listing and advertisement will offer you these choices because if you can get all the information you need in one place – isn’t that just better?

The Ultimate Parents Guide will be the new way to find the things you need for your family – saving you time, saving you money, giving you more information to make better decisions, and making your life easier! Now, isn’t that what every overworked parent needs?

When is RIPARENT.COM going live?
We are adding to the current Rhode Island Parent Magazine website to begin RIPARENT.COM. Throughout August, we will add great new articles, information, and fun things to do. On September 1, we will officially become RIPARENT.COM. But don’t worry, you can use the magazine’s website address, www.RIPARENTMAG.COM, or www.RIPARENT.COM to get to the right place.

We are excited to serve Rhode Island parents even better going forward so be sure to visit RIPARENT.COM often to see what surprises we have in store for you!

Susan Gale is Founder and Publisher of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.