The Rochester Opera House is a historic theater located in the Rochester city hall. It has been a center of community and community entertainment for more than a century. Now it is leased and operated as a non-profit, bringing a variety of shows and performance opportunities to the community. Shay Willard started acting there as a sixth grader; he is now a graduate student in film production and is directing a play at the opera house.
The Krempels center is dedicated to offering a variety of assistance and support to people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Sandra Fortant sustained traumatic brain injuries from a car accident in 2005, and she had to start life over again. A year later she discovered the Krempels Center.
The BRING IT Nursing Program, part of the New Hampshire Nursing Diversity Pipeline Project, encourages minority youth to consider careers in nursing. Sevda Islamova is a Turkish immigrant from Russia who joined the program.
Sevda: : In the program, I learned how to take blood pressure, CPR, first aid care, and most importantly, I learned that I need to believe in myself. If you don’t believe in yourself you won’t be able to achieve anything.
The Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum is dedicated to sharing Native American history and culture, past and present, with all who come through its doors. In addition to displaying its collection and maintaining a lending library, the museum holds Powwows and runs educational and special programs. Peter Newell is chief of the New Hampshire Intertribal Native American Council.
The Humane Society for Greater Nashua cares for more than 2,500 animals each year. And it provides some often overlooked services to people who need help caring for their pets. Pam Gustafson has adopted cats from the shelter, and volunteers there.
Seacoast Family Promise organizes a network of religious congregations to help homeless families. These congregations open their facilities on a rotating basis to provide overnight shelter and meals; at the organizations’s day center, staff help families with the support they need to get back on their feet. Karen and her son came to Seacoast Family Promise for help in 2009.
Anna: I was teaching maybe a skull lab the other day, and in the middle of the lab one of the little kids turns to his friend and says “This is a lot of fun isn’t it.”
The Montshire Museum of Science is a vibrant center for children -- and adults -- to make discoveries about science and the natural world. Anna Super was three years old when her parents first brought her to the museum. She’s 29 now, and still fascinated.
Emerge Family Advocates provides a safe, neutral supervised place for child visitation and custody transfer. The Honorable Lawrence MacLeod, a New Hampshire circuit court judge, says that service is beneficial for children and families.
At Camp Inter-Actions, blind and visually-impaired children have the opportunity to do all the usual summer-camp things -- like boating and swimming and crafts. And the unusual -- like creating a full-scale choral production.
Camper: I’m absolutely music obsessed, so my favorite camp activity is music. I could do that all day long. I thihnk we do a fantastic job, Duy is a great director.
Duy Bui started there as a junior counselor, went to the Manhattan School of Music, and has gone on to create a choral program at the camp.
Good Bridges, a program of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, helps women transition from prison back to meaningful participation in their communities. The program pairs mentors with women transitioning from incarceration. April Dunn, a realtor, has been helping Val Fredette make that transition.
April: For a woman coming out of prison they have obstacles that the average person doesn’t have.
Val: I needed somebody that could show me the right way of doing things and somebody to look up to and really mentor me.
The Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter provides about 1,700 meals each week and operates two homeless shelters. But it also helps people address the root causes of hunger and homelessness -- and to offer the proverbial ounce of prevention. The shelter helped Jackie, who is in recovery from alcoholism, get back to work.
Jackie: The people at the transitional housing program where I live referred me to the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter for assistance with education and vocational goals that I had.
The Upper Valley Business & Education Partnership makes connections between schools and their wider communities. Tyler Mansfield and Jim Madden met through the Partnership’s “Everybody Wins!” reading mentoring program.
JIM: I’ve always loved to read so it was really just sort of a natural fit to share my love of reading with the students. I guess we both discovered we kind of liked mysteries.
16-year-old Victoria Arlen uses a wheelchair to get around. But before a neurological disorder left her partially paralyzed five years ago, sports were a big part of her life. Then she heard about a sled hockey team organized by Northeast Passage, an organization that specializes in therapeutic recreation and adaptive sports.