Giving Matters

The work of non-profit organizations throughout New Hampshire is significant and ongoing. So each Saturday morning, at 8:35, we take two-minutes to examine the benefits generated by this work. We share the stories of people from all walks of life who have improved their lives with the help of these organizations.

This joint production of NHPR and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is hosted by Deborah Schacter, and produced by Andrew Parrella and Lois Shea.

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The SEE Science Center offers scientific explorations for all ages. Barnstead teacher Annie Bourque makes an annual trip with her 6th grade class to take advantage of the chemistry lab there. 

Bridges Domestic and Sexual Violence Support provides free services to victims of sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, harassment and stalking. Emily called Bridges when she and her daughter Brianna needed help.  

“A few years back I found out that my children were being sexually assaulted by my husband at the time.” Emily was stunned, “as a mom you feel so guilty, how could I not know, I brought this man into their lives, I thought he was a good person and now I find out all this.”

 

NHPR/Rich-Kern

Bear-Paw Regional Greenways is a land trust that protects important wildlife habitat in southern New Hampshire. Its work in Hooksett has helped to double the amount of conserved land in that town, including ponds, trails, and rare species habitat.

Courtesy Merri via Flickr/Creative Commons. (https://flic.kr/p/dcLU38)

Brenda Bouchard’s mother already had Alzheimer’s when her husband was also diagnosed with the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association has provided Brenda with a constant source of support and guidance.

Minnesota Historical Society

New Hampshire was the last state in the union to officially celebrate a holiday honoring Martin Luther King by name. It took 20 years of trying, but proponents of the King holiday finally won out. 

Courtesy DDA604 via Flickr/Creative Commons. (https://flic.kr/p/6H6XSo)

The Ossipee Children’s Fund was not created by a municipality. It is an NGO, started by caring people in the community who saw a need. The grassroots organization helps to pay for child care, education, recreation and enrichment programs for children from low-income families in Ossipee and surrounding communities. 

Courtesy Jonathan Moreau via Vlickr (https://flic.kr/p/mPZBe)

Nicole Jordan was a stay at home mom, looking after her daughter when her husband was laid off. She turned to the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, “that was the first time I encountered them. And we got fuel assistance back then because we still had some savings.” It helped the Jordans bridge the gap while he looked for a new job. 

The Community Action Partnership of Strafford County is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that helps people with basic needs while promoting self-sufficiency. 

Opera North brings classical music theatre to school groups and local theaters. Its summer festival has a wide following, and its outreach program brings free live opera to school groups. Lindsey Anderson sang the role of the Julia Child in Bon Appetit! which the company brought to Upper Valley schools. 

When doctors in this country work with patients originally from other countries, it can feel like a bit of a telephone game. This feeling is compounded when there’s a translator in the room passing messages back and forth. 

NHPR, Sheryl Rich-Kern

The Players’ Ring Theatre maintains a black box theatre space, owned by the city of Portsmouth. Free of charge, it allows local production companies to use the space to produce their works. When Todd Hunter was a senior at UNH, one of his scripts landed in the hands of Players Ring founder Gary Newton.

Flikr Creative Commons / Mike Willis

“Adolescent years are always the most difficult and I was right in the middle of that.” Sarah Gingras was a freshman at Concord High School when she started slipping through the cracks. “I wasn’t doing any homework, started skipping classes a lot and my grades went down significantly.” At the end of freshman year, one of her teachers recommended Second Start to her. 

Bob Logan’s grandson, Devin, was born on Christmas Day, 2004. Devin’s parents weren’t living together, so he spent the following Father’s Day weekend with his father. In early the morning hours of Father’s Day, Devin woke up crying, his father’s efforts did not soothe the baby. So, as Bob puts it, “in an effort to get the baby to stop crying, he shook him.” Devin stopped crying. 

Joan Cross/NHPR

On Belay uses adventure-based recreation as a platform to build community for kids whose families have been affected by cancer. The Kontarinis are one such family. After Angelo passed away from kidney cancer in October, 2010, His wife Melissa and their three children (aged eight, five and three) faced the daunting task of “getting on” with their lives. 

istock photo

When Lorraine Sevigny moved to New Hampshire, she still had health insurance through COBRA from her previous job but had to stay in her HMO network. “I became ill about a month or two after I came up and I did end up going down to Massachusetts to see my doctor,” so that her insurance would cover the cost. 

WOW stands for Winnipesaukee Opechee Winnisquam, but the rail trail that winds across Laconia might just as well be named for the exclamation of its patrons as they marvel over the views on offer. Plans in the works will have the trail’s running nine miles, connecting Meredith with Franklin.

Though unfinished, Laconia police chief Chris Adams sees the trail as a positive addition to the city. “One of the things I love doing when I’m driving around is looking down the trail head to see families and couples and children riding bikes or walking.”

 

Courtesy Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center

The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center offers year-round programs for all ages. Its “Wildquest” camps help connect kids with nature and their local landscapes. 

Prescott Farm has always been a landmark for Gretchen O’Neill. “We’re very grateful that our daughter, Gabriella, can come here to attend the camp, or that we can come up and explore it and walk the trails.

Chris Jensen, NHPR

The Hand-in-Hand program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities connects youth volunteers in the North Country with elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners who need help with home maintenance. The youth volunteers spend a week in the summer pruning, painting, swinging hammers. 

Judy O’Leary, along with her husband Bob, coordinates a team of youth volunteers. She describes it as a a win-win situation. “It keeps our youth busy, and it helps our elderly who are really in need of help as they get older.”

 

Mary Jill LaRocca is an elementary school health teacher in Manchester. She helps students navigate the barrage of unhealthy messages that kids are exposed to. She turns to Media Power Youth’s Media Smart curriculum to help her students think critically about messages that promote violence, alcohol use, junk food and more, so they can be wise media consumers. 

The Monadnock Folklore Society is the steward of New Hampshire’s musical and dance heritage. Samuel Foucher, who is 17, received a scholarship from the Society to study with legendary contra dance piano and accordion player Bob McQuillen. McQuillen, who died in February, 2014 at the age of 90.

 

Emilia Ornellas is a student teacher at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. She works with middle and high school students in the Student Enrichment Program in the Arts, also known as SEPIA. She explains that the program offers art classes Manchester students grades K-12.

Dhahiro Osman is an outgoing student who participated in the SEPIA program. Her interest? Self-improvement. “I thought that I’d give it a try, because I’m not a good artist; I thought this might be my chance to be good at it.”

Star Island, one the Isles of Shoals, is one of just four maritime islands in New Hampshire. It is owned and operated by the nonprofit Star Island Corporation. For years, Star has been a retreat and conference center and is also open to the public for day trips and overnight stays. Brad Greely is a minister who has a lifelong history with Star Island.

 

BG: Both my parents and my grandparents were people who came to Star Island. So I was brought at the ripe age of six months out to a conference. Then I went on to have a family and started bringing my own kids out here.

Jeannette Fournier

WREN (formerly the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) provides support, training, and networking opportunities to people operating small businesses in northern New Hampshire. They also operate two storefronts and two farmers’ markets for local vendors. 

“I’ve been a painter all my life.” Jeannette Fournier’s medium is watercolors and a few years back she and her husband relocated to the Littleton-area. “We happened to drive through Bethlehem and I noticed the WREN organization on main street. I thought, “this couldn’t be more perfect timing.”

D-Kuru/Wikimedia Commons

The Northern Forest Center helps create economic opportunity and community vitality from healthy working forests.

 

David Benckendorf participated in the Center’s Model Neighborhood Project, and was one of 40 homeowners who purchased and installed a wood pellet boiler with the center’s help. “there were a lot of advantages to it and it really peaked my interest.” He eventually converted his oil furnace to a wood pellet boiler.

The New Hampshire Humanities Council’s Connections program is an adult literacy program that aims to develop communities of readers. Hari Sharma, who is originally from Bhutan, joined Connections via his ESOL class. 

 

The books he read with his connections were selected around to focus on important cultural lessons. One unit was based on American suffrage icons including, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The Farnum Center provides treatment to people with substance use disorders. It recently moved to a new facility which includes a new medical detox unit, the only one in the state not connected to a hospital. 

Dr. Cheryl Wilkie works with patients at the center. “We have a five day detox, a 30-day residential treatment center and then outpatient services that follow them as long as they need it.

Rachel via flickr Creative Commons

Peg Kelly fought three different types of cancer over ten years. Towards the end of the decade her chemotherapy was designed more to reduce her discomfort than eradicate the cancer, because she was dying. She and her husband, Dennis, called the Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice, who had been providing at-home service to Peg as she battled the cancer. This time when the Kellys called, they asked about the hospice service.

Melanie Everard, was an opera-skeptic. “I was much more than a skeptic, I disliked opera intensely.” A surprising sentiment from a music teacher, and it made her an unlikely candidate to participate in an educator’s workshop conducted by the Metropolitan Opera. 

 

The Kurn Hattin Homes for Children was established in 1894 for children whose families are not able to care for them. Lyssa Jackson was such a child, born to parents with mental illness. “I lived with my mother until I was about eight and at that point, I wasn’t going to school very often. My mother was keeping out of school because she was not feeling secure with my teachers because of her own internal issues.”

The Gilmanton Year-Round Library opened in 2009 -- entirely the product of volunteer labor and donated funds. Jenn MacLeod and her four kids could not imagine the town without it. “My son, who’s 3, comes into the library, takes off his shoes, hangs up his coat and says ‘I’m home.’”

 

The CareGivers  is dedicated to helping elders stay in their homes, and provides services that help them do so. Elsie relies on the CareGivers for help grocery shopping and getting to appointments. And each month, she welcomes a volunteer from the CareGivers Caring Cupboard food pantry.

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